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 :
ROADRUNNER COURIER SERVICE – BUSINESS PLAN
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: score.org
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.