Courier Business Switches to Hybrid Electric Cars


How to Start a Green Courier Business

How to Start a Green Courier Business

When gas hit $3 a gallon, Green Express, an Atlanta courier service business, switched to Toyota Prius hybrid electric cars.
Atlanta is one of the top 5 cities for traffic congestion, poor air quality and frequent smog alerts. In addition, everyone at Green Express has kids and did not want to contribute to the air pollution that has made Atlanta one of the worst cities for kid’s asthma.
Gas is one of the largest expenses of a courier business. After switching to electric hybrids, Green Express found their new fleet used 46% less fuel than their old cars, and averaged 47 miles per gallon.
An additional bonus is that electric hybrid cars are zero-emission vehicles when stuck in traffic or moving below 30 mph. At highway speeds they put out just one-third the greenhouse gases from conventional gas-powered cars.
As a direct result of becoming a “green courier service business,” Green Express has landed dozens of new customers who love the idea of helping to keep reduce pollution in Atlanta by supporting a cleaner delivery service.
Green Express also uses GPS navigation in every vehicle to boost efficiency even more by finding alternate routes to avoid traffic congestion.
An unexpected bonus of using the most efficient routes and zero-emission cars – customers now regularly use Green Express run personal errands as well, saving them time, money and reducing pollution even more.
If you plan to start a courier service, think green, as the fuel savings in your first year could go a long way towards paying for a new Prius or other hybrid electric car. To learn more about Green Express, visit their web site, If you’re planning to start your own courier service, read my book, How to Start a Courier Business, for more money-saving ideas.


Start a Courier Service For a Full-Time Income With Part-Time Hours

Start Your Own Part-Time Courier Business

Start Your Own Part-Time Courier Business

A part-time courier service is an ideal business for generating a full-time income for 12-20 hours a week of work. In a recent national survey of couriers, we found almost half worked less than 30 hours a week, by choice, while enjoying an average hourly rate of $34.

In addition, quite a few were early retirees who had no desire for a full-time job. Working part time allows couriers to spend more time with their family, enjoy hobbies or do volunteer work in the community.

As the owner of a courier service, you’re in charge of how many hours you work, and set your own rates. Working only 3 hours a day, or 15 hours a week, that’s $550 to use for a child’s college fund, pay off bills or to help pay for that dream vacation or a car.

With just a few local repeat customers, you can structure your deliveries to meet their needs and yours too. You could specialize in delivering legal documents for local attorneys, flowers for local florists, groceries for home-bound seniors or specimen pickup and delivery for a medical lab. The possibilities are endless.

If you’re motivated, dependable and good with people, you’ll do well as a courier. Do you have a reliable vehicle, a computer and a cell phone? If so, you’ve got the three essentials to get started.

If you want to start a service business that can provide a full-time income with part-time hours and enjoy more free time every day, a local courier service could be the ideal solution for you. To learn more, read How to Start a Courier Business.



How Much Should You Charge For Courier Services?

Courier Service Business Questions

Courier Questions

If you’re starting a courier service business, figuring out what to charge for each delivery job can be a challenge. You don’t want to overbid and lose potential new customers. Underbid and you could get stuck with customers who expect cheap prices for every delivery.

The goal is to price your delivery jobs so you get paid what you need to stay in business. Of course, you want to make a fair profit and add new customers. Here’s a checklist to help.

1. What do your competitors charge? Call the courier and delivery services in your area to check their rates. If there are several, use an average to determine a competitive rate. For example, if there are 3 competing courier services in your area charging $16, $20 and $22 for the same delivery, the average is $19.33. This gives you a target rate to aim for. Beware of the temptation to charge less than everyone else to get an edge, as it can backfire. Potential customers may wonder why you are so cheap, and be reluctant to hire you. Worse, you may have underestimated your overhead and find you are unable to make a decent profit at a low rate.

Remember if your competitors are charging $XX for a delivery, customers are willingly paying that price. When you charge about the same price, you’ll be able to make a profit and grow your business.

2. Charging by the hour. In order to quote a price to a customer, you’ll need to know your hourly rate. Here’s how to determine an hourly rate. Let’s say the competition charges $15 for a cross-town pickup and delivery that takes 20 minutes. That’s $45 an hour. Get at least 3 rate quotes to verify that your hourly number is correct. Now you can quote prices to customers, using an hourly rate. If you plan to charge $45 an hour, for example, that’s 75 cents per minute. If a delivery takes 30 minutes, your quote would be $22.50. A 15 minute delivery would be $11.25, and so on.

Although most couriers charge by the job, it’s not uncommon to charge by the mile, especially for longer deliveries. For example, $1.50 per mile if you are using a car, $2.00 per mile if you need a pickup or van because of the size of the items.

3. Heavy or bulky Packages. Speaking of size, most courier services charge extra for heavy or bulky loads. An easy way to compute this charge is to have an overweight fee. Foe example, your standard delivery charge would apply to items under 50 pounds, and items over that weight would pay 10 cents per pound for items over 50 pounds.

4. Rush orders & after-hours orders. While most deliveries will be scheduled during the business day/week, you will get occasional jobs that require extra attention or speed, such as rush orders that must be delivered right away, or after hours. It’s normal to charge extra for these deliveries. For example, an after-hours delivery, such as after 5 p.m. or before 8 a.m. could carry a $15 surcharge.For a late-night delivery, between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m, an extra charge of $20 might be appropriate. Likewise on weekends and holidays, with a $15 surcharge.

5. Waiting charge. What if you arrive to pickup a package for delivery and have to wait because the customer does not have the package ready? This definitely slows down and could put you off schedule. If you have to wait under 5 minutes, no surcharge. Over 5 minutes, consider charging your hourly rate, 75 cents per minute, for each additional minute.

These general guidelines will help you get started with your courier service business, and insure you make a profit from day one. As your business grows, you’ll be able to adapt your rates to better fit your customer’s volume and scheduling, as well as your own schedule. For more information, read How to Start a Courier Business.



How to Find The Best Customers For Your Courier Service Business

If you can find a dozen or so businesses in your area that need regular, scheduled deliveries, you’ve got a successful courier business. Contrary to what most “newbies” believe, that the money is in rush deliveries or same-day deliveries, providing scheduled deliveries to a few good repeat customers is where the money is.

Local businesses may ask you to pick up the mail at the post office every week day. Florists and pharmacists want someone to deliver flowers and prescriptions every day. Architects need to get plans to clients every day. Attorneys need help delivering legal documents every day. Besides, at $250 an hour, they can’t afford to do it themselves!

In my town, a local caterer specializes in preparing frozen gourmet meals for busy customers who like to heat and eat. She has a courier service deliver a week’s worth of frozen meals to each customer, using large Igloo coolers to keep the meals frozen. With over a hundred regular customers, it’s become a large source of dependable income for this courier.

Visualize a broken slot machine – Ka-ching, Ka-ching _ spitting out payouts over and over again. That’s what you want when you’re starting a courier service. They make it easy to plan each day’s pickups and deliveries and easy to budget and plan with a consistent, predictable income coming in.

Where are these wonderful customers who want to give you money every month? They are waiting for you to call them, as many have never regularly used a courier before. When you explain how you can actually save them money, they only want to know “Where do I sign up?” That is the best reason to use a courier – to save money. When you consider how much money most businesses and professionals pay their skilled employees, it makes sense to pay an outside courier service $35 to $50 an hour to handle deliveries. In addition, the recession has forced many businesses to lay off employees and outsource services like deliveries.

The best way to find new customers for your courier service is to make the rounds of local businesses to let them know about what you can do for them. Take along lots of custom notepads printed with your contact information. Everyone who gets a notepad is reminded of you each time they make a note. You’ll find a list of the 25 best prospects for a courier service in my book, How to Start a Courier Business.

Networking is a great way to meet potential customers. Join your local Chamber of Commerce and other civic organizations to meet business owners and tell them about your new courier service.

Once you get started, each happy customer is a source of referrals for future customers. Word-of-mouth referrals are far more powerful than any newspaper or Yellow pages ad. It may be slow at first, but, like a snowball rolling downhill, you’ll gather speed and new customers as you go! For more ideas to help you succeed with a courier service, read: How to Start a Courier Business.



Do You Need a Courier Service Business Plan?

Courier Service Business Plan

Courier Service Business Plan

Although business experts say a business plan is required for starting a new business, it’s not always true. For every business that fails because of poor planning, another fails because of too much planning. As the great Michael Jordan said, “Just do it!” Here’s how to jump-start your new courier business.:

The secret of a successful courier service business is providing services not available from the bigger firms like Fedex and UPS, such as local, same-day service, or finding a profitable niche, like medical specimen deliveries. What delivery services should you offer? A business plan can’t tell you that, but your customers can. Instead of wasting your time and energy coming up with an elaborate business plan, just get started. Have one of the many web-based printers (just search “printed notepads” to find them) print notepads to hand out to prospective customers in your area. One marketing tip is to offer new customers a gift certificate for one free pickup/delivery. This let’s them test your service at no cost, and makes them much more likely to call you the next time they need a same-day delivery.

You’ll quickly learn who will be your best customers, as they now have your contact information and will call you when they need packages or documents delivered locally the same day. This takes care of the biggest problem a startup business has – cash flow. Once the money is coming in from deliveries, you can prospect for more businesses in your area that are similar to the customers you now have.


Regardless of how much planning you do, it’s only a hunch – an educated guess about how well your business will do. The danger is, by spending too much time on planning, you’ll have less time and energy to try new marketing ideas to find paying customers. The secret is to test your ideas as quickly and cheaply as possible, then improve and refine them. Handing out notepads with your contact information and a catchy slogan is a great way to do that.

Here’s another “quick & cheap” way to do a simple business plan for your new courier service business. If you plan to borrow startup money from friends or relatives – the most common source of funding for new businesses – do an “executive summary” business plan to show them that you’ve done your homework. It should cover the business plan basics, with an overview of the business, a market analysis with a look at the competition, and an estimate of your first year’s sales. It assumes that you will not have employees to start, or buying or leasing property and equipment. Here’s a sample :


Business Overview: Roadrunner Courier Service is a new courier service based in Bend, Oregon, specializing in local, same-day deliveries. Roadrunner can transport documents and parcels to customers within a 40 mile radius of town. Our customers are medical professionals, attorneys and local businesses who need reliable, same-day services not offered by the larger service providers, such as Fedex and UPS.

Market Analysis: The demand for reliable, cost-effective delivery services has been growing in the area for several years as the town’s population continues to grow. In addition to a growing population, there are more customers who require faster service, ranging from “stat” medical specimen deliveries to time-sensitive legal documents to “just-in-time” parts deliveries to local manufacturers. There is only one other local courier service in the area, and we believe there is ample room, due to our growing local economy, for another reliable courier service.

Marketing Strategy: The marketing strategy of Roadrunner Courier Service is to provide dependable and exceptional delivery services to businesses and professionals who have a regular need for pickup and delivery services. This will insure that Roadrunner will have a regular, steady income from repeat customers. The second part of our marketing strategy will be to gain customers who need courier services occasionally, such as last-minute parts and supplies delivered to a contractor’s job site, plans deliveries for architects and engineers and documents and materials for local government agencies.

First Year Goal: Based on the size of the local delivery market and the fact that Roadrunner will be a one person business, our sales projection for the first year is $40,000. We plan to build our customer base through direct contact with prospective customers and word-of-mouth referrals from happy customers to continue to grow our sales, focusing on the most profitable types of deliveries.

There is a free resource available to start-up companies, including courier and delivery businesses. SCORE is a government program that taps the experience and brainpower of retired business owners to help new owners get off to a successful start. If you find you need a comprehensive business plan to get funding for your new courier business, SCORE can help you with that as well. To find the nearest office, visit:

If you are planning to start a courier service, you can probably skip preparing a courier business plan unless you plan to borrow money. Informal sources of funds will likely be happy to see a simple one-page plan that demonstrates you’ve give some thought to the best way to build your business.  To learn more about how to start a courier service, read HOW TO START A COURIER BUSINESS.








Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Starting a Courier Service

WAiting For The Courier

Waiting for the Courier

You’d like to learn more about starting your own courier service business. You have a few questions too. Here are the top 10 frequently asked questions about the courier business:

1. What is a courier?

A courier transports packages or other items across town, quickly and effectively. They provide a service similar to UPS or FedEx, but are set up to do a better job locally and for last-minute deliveries.

2. How much can you make?

The amount you can make as a courier varies based on where you live in the country. Those in big cities make the most, while couriers in smaller towns and rural areas make less. The national average is about $36 an hour.

3. Do you need formal training?

No. There is no formal training or classes required. There is no certification required either.

4. What supplies do you need?

You have to have a reliable vehicle. You also need a computer and cell phone as a way to get jobs and keep track of business records. It also helps to have a day planner or other scheduling device, GPS unit, hand truck for hauling heavy loads and moving blankets for fragile items.

5. What type of vehicle do you need?

You just need something reliable. It doesn’t have to be a big van. You need something that won’t break down, and can carry whatever it is you’re asked to transport. In most cases, your car, mini-van or pickup truck will work just fine.

6. What hours do you have to work?

You don’t have to work any set hours. You can work as little or as much as you’d like. Delivering packages can be part-time, full time, or just a way to make extra money. You decide.

7. When will I get the most business?

You will get the most business if you can offer service between normal working hours, such as 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. But you could still get good work if you can work later or even earlier than that. Weekends are also be a time to get a good amount of work.

8. Do you have to have a lot of money to start a courier  service?

If you have a reliable vehicle, then you won’t need to have a lot of money to get started. Chances are you probably have a cell phone and computer too, so after this you’ll just need to pay for insurance, licensing fees and the optional supplies that could help your business run smoothly, such as a GPS unit or a day planner. Over all, you won’t need a lot of money to start a courier business.

9. Are there free ways to promote your business?

Yes, of course. Write a press release and send it to your local newspaper. Advertise on or Make a web site or blog. And finally, just get out there and talk to people about your business. Networking is still the best way to build a courier business, and it doesn’t cost a penny!

10. Who uses a courier service?

Banks, architects, lawyers, medical professionals, shop owners, property managers and more. It’s a long list. There is a lot of work available.

Hopefully the answers to these FAQs will help you start a courier service of your own. To learn all about the courier business, read How to Start a Courier Business.




Top 5 Ways to Profit Starting a Courier Service

5 Ways to Profit Starting a Courier Service

5 Ways to Profit Starting a Courier Service

Like all businesses, making a profit is one of the top priorities. You certainly want a healthy profit for your courier service business. So how can you do that? Here are five ways:
1. Do great work

It sounds obvious, but it can be the very thing that can hold you back from a big profit. Do really great work. Go the extra mile and then keep on going. This attitude will propel you to the top of the courier-service world. You want your service to be the best one in town, the one everyone calls when they want a trusted business to get that package or other item safely and quickly across town. Work hard and that can be true.
2. Press release

Writing a press release is a completely free and very profitable way to get business. In the press release talk about what makes your business special. Mention what services you offer. Next, send the press release to your local newspaper. You might have to make a follow-up call, but you could soon have an article written about you and your business. An article about your business is not only great press, but newspapers are still looked upon as one of the most trustworthy sources of news and information, so a positive article from a reputable newspaper is a glowing recommendation for your service.
3. Custom notepads

Custom notepads are a fun and fairly inexpensive way to get business. Hand them out to existing and potential customers. People need notepads for a variety of things: writing to-do lists, making a grocery list, remembering a phone number, jotting down thoughts and ideas and more. Each time someone uses your notepad, they’ll be reminded of your business. Be sure to put your business’s name and contact information at the top of each page. Soon enough you’ll get calls and big profits coming your way.
4. Rush and stat service

Offering quick service will easily bring you a lot of business. “Rush” service is when you are asked to pick up and deliver the items within two hours of the call. “Stat” service is pickup and drop-off in an hour from the time of the call. If you can offer these services, you’ll get a lot of customers, especially from the medical community who often needs medical specimens transported quickly and safely.
5. Senior errands

As seniors continue to age, many become homebound and unable to complete errands. Still, they need groceries, medicine picked up from the pharmacy, dry cleaning and a variety of other errands done for them. If you offer this special niche, you open yourself up to a lot of business. Many seniors live in communities with other seniors and love telling their friends about a great service. Do a great job running errands for a senior, and you could see a lot of work head your way.
There are many ways to profit with a courier service business. Offer rush and stat service, run errands for seniors, write a press release, pass out custom notepads, and above all, do great work. Soon enough you’ll see the type of profits you’d like. To learn more ways, read How to Start a Courier Business.




Seven Ways to Profit When You Start a Courier Service

Seven Ways to Profit With a Courier Service

You’d like to see some big profits coming in for your courier service. You’ve heard the national average is $36 an hour, so you’d like to make something like that. You can too. Here are seven ways you can make it happen for you.

1. Press release

Writing a press release is an excellent way to get attention for your courier service business. Plus, if you do it yourself, it’s completely free. In the press release, mention what makes your business great, what makes your courier service the one to call. Send it to your local newspaper, and there’s a good chance they’ll want to do a story about you and your business. It’s free publicity for you, and potential customers will be more likely to give you a call if they see a great article written about your business.

2. Custom notepads

Handing out custom notepads is a great way to advertise your business. On the notepad, be sure it has your courier business’s name and contact information. Everyone needs notepads, whether it’s to write down a grocery list, to-do list, a phone number or random note or thought. After awhile your company name will become ingrained in their memory, and they’ll be likely to call you when they need a package transported across town.

3. Do great work

Doing great work sounds obvious, but it’s something you should really strive for. Always go the extra mile and then keep going! If your customers are “wowed” by your service, then they’ll be likely to keep calling you and referring you to their friends or associates. If you can get a great reputation around town, everyone will be calling you.

4. Rush/Stat jobs

Offering a “rush” or “stat” service can greatly improve your business. “Rush” jobs are ones where you pick up the item and deliver it within two hours. “Stat” jobs are pickup and delivery within an hour. Courier services are often called on when businesses or companies need something done very quickly, so if you can offer this service, you can look forward to a lot of work.

5. Senior errands

As seniors get older, many become homebound and unable to run errands themselves. Still, they need groceries, medicine picked up from the pharmacy, dry cleaning and more. Consider offering a senior errand service in addition to your courier business. Do a good job and you could see a lot of work, as seniors love to refer good services to their friends. To learn more about this profitable niche business, visit

6. Professionalism

There are many ways to increase the professionalism of your courier business. First of all, dress for success. Wear a polo shirt with your business’s name on it. Consider wearing a cap with your business’s name too. Always smile and act professional. Be on time, deliver items in perfect condition and be friendly. You’ll see people respect your business a whole lot if you can deliver things in a professional manner.

7. Learn from complaints

You will get complaints from time to time. Don’t panic. Don’t start an argument with a customer. Instead, try to fix the problem. Say you’re sorry. Try to learn what you can do better in the future. If you’re able to fix the problem, or at least make a good effort in doing so, you’ll most likely make the previously frustrated customer happy. If they see you worked hard to solve the issue, they’ll be likely to give you a second chance.

There are many ways to profit with a courier service. Learn from mistakes, try out smart advertising, act professional, offer quick pickup and delivery in addition to other services and above all, do a great job. You’ll see the business continue to roll in. To learn more, read How to Start a Courier Business.




Secrets of Successful Couriers

Secrets of Successful Couriers

You’d like to have the best courier service business in your area. You know being the best could lead to big profits and a successful business. But what are the things that could make you successful? Put you at the top of the courier business world? Here are some secrets that should help you:

1. Custom notepads

A lot of people underestimate the value of custom notepads. They’re fairly inexpensive and are a continuous advertisement for your business. Hand out the notepads to prospective and existing customers and watch the business continue to roll in. On the notepads, be sure to have your courier business’s name and contact information. People use notepads for everything: jotting down random thoughts and notes, making to-do lists and grocery lists, reminders to themselves and more. Every time they grab their notepad they’ll immediately see your business’s name, so when that time comes up that they need a courier service, they’ll be sure to call you. It can’t get much easier than that!

2. Dress for success

As a courier, you want to project professionalism. One of the easiest ways to project professionalism is to dress professionally. Wear a polo shirt with your business’s name on it. You could also wear a cap with your business’s name as well. Look good, and you’ll do good work too. Also, always be friendly. Don’t forget to smile. Treat customers like friends. If you can build good relationships with your customers, they’ll keep calling you for their courier needs.

3. Learn from mistakes

No one wants to mess up, but use it as an opportunity to learn. It’s your chance to learn what the problems in your business are, and just how you can improve them. Encourage your customers to give you their honest opinions of how you’re doing. If they have a complaint, don’t get defensive or start an argument. First, say you’re sorry, and then work towards finding a solution to the problem. If you’re able to fix the problem or the customer sees you’re making a great effort to do so, they’ll be more likely to give you a second chance.

4. Have the right tools

There aren’t a lot of items required to be a successful courier, but there are a few that can really put you ahead. First of all, you need a reliable vehicle. The key word is “reliable.” If your car breaks down a lot, then it just won’t work. It also helps to have a GPS unit that can quickly direct you to where you need to go. It’s simply safer and easier to use than a map. Also, it’s not a bad idea to have a hand truck in your car, something that can carry up to 300 pounds. You might have to transport a heavy load, and this will greatly help. And don’t forget about moving blankets, something to help protect a fragile item. Finally, you need a day planner or other way to keep track of your schedule and customers. An organized courier is a successful courier.

These are just some of the secrets of successful couriers. You could be on top of the courier world if you learn from your mistakes, get creative with advertising, have the right tools and dress for success. So when you start a courier service, use these tips to give yourself a head start. To learn more secrets, read How to Start a Courier Business.




Recession? Not For Courier Service Business

Start Your Own Courier Service

These tough economic times have hurt everyone. More and more people are having to cut back and watch where their money goes. Some are losing their jobs. Many businesses are suffering too. On the other hand, courier service businesses aren’t being hurt by the recession. They’re continuing to get good, high-paying work, and due to the recession, in some cases they’re getting more than ever. Here’s why:

Couriers provide an important service for any community. They help keep businesses and other companies running smoothly. They make sure packages and other items get to where they need to be in good condition and on time. It’s in a company’s best interest to get things delivered in the best way possible, and couriers can provide that service.

In a recession, businesses are evaluating how they do things, and how they can keep profits coming in. Especially in rough times, they know how valuable great service is, and that’s why they’re willing to pay top dollar for a good courier. Also, due to the rough economy, many businesses have had to make cutbacks. In particular, many companies aren’t using in-house deliverers and are out-sourcing work to . . . you guessed it, couriers. It keeps their costs down, and for you, it means more work.

So what does a courier do exactly? Many of us run errands every week. We drive around town in our cars, pick up items and drop off items. It’s simply a part of life. Well, couriers do those same things, but in this case they make good money doing it. It’s a fairly easy job too. There is no formal training or certifications required. But you probably have to buy a fancy truck or van, right? No, not at all. You’ll need a reliable vehicle, but it doesn’t have to be a semi-truck to do the job. You’ll also need a cell phone and computer, as this is how you’ll get most of your business and keep track of invoices and other courier service business record keeping. Chances are you probably have these items already. If so, you’re ready to go—but there are a couple other things you’ll need to have. Are you motivated, hard working and good with people? Do you enjoy making good money and being your own boss? You do? Great! You’ll be on your way before you know it.

And what kind of money could you make? Pay varies based on where you live, but the current national average is $36 an hour. That’s right, an hour. Work an eight-hour day, and you’ve just made $288.

The rough economic times are hurting everyone, but they don’t have to hurt your courier service business. Companies want to keep deliveries moving fast, and many are out-sourcing more work, so couriers are busier than ever. It’s simply a recession-proof business. To learn more, read: How to Start a Courier Business.