How to Start a Courier Service in 9 Easy Steps

Speedy Delivery the Key to a Successful Courier Business

Speedy Delivery the Key to a Successful Courier Business

Starting your own local courier service can be easy and quick, or it can be a slow, difficult and frustrating process. Here are nine basic steps to make your courier business startup easy, painless and speedy.

Step 1. Find your niche. Establish your unique “niche” to insure success. If you live in a metropolitan area with lots of existing courier service businesses, this is an essential step. Even in a small town, it will give you a “quick start” to targeting your new customers.

Talk to your prospects, whether they are lawyers needing same-day document delivery, or caterers needing prepared meals delivered every day at a certain time, to find out what they want, and then offer it to them at a reasonable price. That’s the secret of success for any business – giving customers what they need or want. One of the best niches is filling the UPS/FEDEX gap by providing local businesses with same-day local delivery.

Step 2. Don’t spend money. Resist the urge to spend money when you are starting up. If you have a reliable vehicle to make pickups and deliveries, don’t spend thousands on a new delivery vehicle. Keep your office at home if possible to avoid spending unnecessary money on rent, utilities and the overhead of a separate office. Think and act like a miser until you’re making a decent income from your new courier service.

Step 3. Legal structure. When you start a courier business, it is important to decide on the legal structure for the new business. Will you operate it as a sole proprietorship, as an L.L.C. or as a corporation. You’ll need to get this out of the way first, before you apply for a business license from your town or state and get a federal tax identification number. You’ll find lots of good free information about what structure might be best for you at

Step 4. Finding Customers. After you’ve set up your business and found a niche or two that makes sense for you, start looking for customers. You only need a few good ones, so start prospecting by calling or visiting local businesses in person to learn how you can help them solve their courier needs and find out what kind of services they might need. No “hard sell” is required, just a helpful attitude will do just fine.

 Step 5. Referrals. Once you have your “core” customers and have treated them well for a while, ask them for referrals. Tell them you’re still growing your business and could use a few more good customers like them. Offer a free delivery or a discount on a month’s service in return for a referral that becomes a regular, repeat customer.

 Step 6. Set your rates. Many new couriers make the mistake of not charging enough to cover all their costs, as they haven’t been in business long enough to be aware of all the little costs, like a business permit renewal fee, that can add up to big bucks over a year’s time. Other examples include bookkeeping fees, social security taxes and vehicle maintenance, and many more. A good rule of thumb to remember is to add about 30-35% to the wages you’ll be paying yourself to arrive at a reasonable rate that allows you a profit and still makes your customers happy. After a few months, take another look and see if your rates still give you the net hourly rate you want. The current national average rate is $36 an hour.

 Step 7. Provide exceptional service. If you give customers great service, you’ll do well and soon have all the customers you can handle. For example, if you promise two hour service, aim for 90 minutes. Your customers will love it and recommend you to others.

 Step 8. Keep track of your customers and their deliveries with one of the free scheduling software programs, like or Another option is one of the calendar programs offered by Google or Microsoft.For a small monthly fee, you can also use them to get paid online with Paypal. Of course, it can be used on your smartphone while out making deliveries.

 Step 9. Track your expenses. Like the software programs for scheduling, there are programs to help you do your own bookkeeping. My favorite, which makes keeping track of your small business finances easy, even if you can’t add or subtract, is, which is around $10 a month and even reminds you when taxes are due or when you overlook a deduction.

About deductions … the biggest one most couriers will enjoy is the business mileage deduction, currently 55 cents a mile. Many couriers have used this deduction to pay for upgrading their vehicle to a fuel-efficient newer model, like the Toyota Prius, and found the fuel savings were greater than their vehicle payments! A fringe benefit is that when you do upgrade to a fuel sipper, you’ve now become a “green” courier service business, which customers love! For an example of how powerful this can be, visit

Follow these nine simple steps, and you’ll be on your way to a successful courier service business. To learn more, 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.