Starting a successful courier service takes more than having a car. You will need your business ideas and plans in order, as well as adequate insurance. Independent couriers are their own boss; therefore, you must have self-discipline and be reliable. Messengers and couriers are a necessity to an array of businesses, such as mom and pop corner stores as well as major cooperations and even your neighbors, so look for how your niche can be a part of this lucrative courier business.
Research local and national courier industry activities. Visit your local Chamber of Commerce and ask for all public information on market trends or resources for starting a business. Observe how other courier businesses in your community are operating. Determine if there is a demand for couriers in your area and decide if your business idea is both unique and profitable.
Create a business plan. Form a comprehensive business blueprint that outlines your vision and addresses all your business ideas. Incorporate into your business plan marketing and advertising campaigns, ideas for capital, transportation ideas and plans for insurance. According to the Small Business Adminastration, your business plan should contain all your ideas as well as future plans and evolve as your company evolves.
Register your business. Decide if your business will be a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC or corporation. Go to the Internal Revenue Service's website at IRS.gov for helpful information and to apply for your Tax ID Number. Visit your local municipal courthouse and apply for a business license. Talk with someone at your area’s Chamber of Commerce about any additional permits or licenses your specific state or city may require for independent couriers.
Determine the limitation of your delivery service, if any. Look at your business plan and decide which form of parcel or mail you will be delivering. Decide if you will be an independent contract courier for various companies or will form your own client list.
Decide on your means of transportation. Once you have determined the range of the items you will be delivering, find a reliable car, truck, van, SUV or bike. If you have the capital to start a small fleet of vehicles, you will need to hire drivers. Accept applications from drivers with clean driving records. Get each vehicle up to date on all scheduled maintenance and ensure that it passes all state requirements.
Find a dependable insurance provider. If you are not using your personal vehicle to deliver your packages, you will need courier insurance. Begin with a search of trusted local companies and expand your search to national providers, if necessary. Ensure that your insurance plan covers your vehicle, drivers and packages.
Join a national or regional courier association. Having a network of couriers inter-trading and helping each other helps provide a more secure same-day delivery sevice. The Messenger Courier Association of Amercia is a great national organization providing industry profile as well as helpful courier resources; the New York State Messenger and Courier Association and the California Delivery Association are examples of state-wide organization. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce for any organization in your area.
Look for clients. Use the advertising ideas from your business blueprint as a guide to your first marketing campaign. Hand out business cards and flyers; talk with friends and family about your business venture. Be on time and dependable with your deliveries, and drive safely.