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Starting Your Own Courier Service
Sooner or later everyone has dreamed of quitting their job and starting their own business. Unfortunately the main thing that stops or prevents someone from making the dream a reality is usualy what I call the 'two F's', and this is 'friends' and 'funds'. You can probably understand 'funds' as a lack of money needed, but why 'friends' ? Because I have said and I have heard others over the years say 'I am thinking of starting my own business', as soon as you say this to your friends, do they tell you it's a great idea ? No, they tell you 'oh it will fail', or 'there's no money in that' or some other negative comment, friends very rarely tell someone 'hey that is a great idea, you should try it!', the reason why is because it wasn't their idea, or they were not the one who first brought the idea up in conversation. I am telling you right now, when it comes to starting your own business, the only friend I want you to listen to is me, the one who wrote this article.
Can you answer 'yes' to these 2 questions ?
1. Can you or someone you trust devote some time to driving a vehicle ?
2. Is the vehicle dependable ?
If you can answer 'yes' to them two questions, you can start a ' Courier Service '.
What exactly does a courier do ? They pickup and deliver merchandise and sometimes, people and pets to and from various places such as businesses, airports, Hospitals and even peoples homes. These services are in great demand, because there is always someone that needs a package delivered to a nearby airport, or some other location ASAP, and this is where a courier is needed. UPS and the Post Office have set schedules and will only pick up at certain times, where a courier can often deliver or pickup the item at any time of the day or night, when it's needed.
You must decide what type of packages or things you will pick up and deliver, and how many miles you will travel. If you live in the country it will be harder due to the distance involved between, Hospitals, airports, and businesses, and if you live in the city you will have to deal with traffic and lots of stop and go driving, so both have their advantages and disavantages.
The easiest way to determine your driving area, is to get a state map, find your location and then make a circle with a compass with your town or location as the area in the center where the compass point is. From this point move the compass outward as far as the miles is your willing to drive to a location, ie; 30 miles, 50 miles, etc. Once you find the right area of miles, make your circle with the compass, you now have your area of service for your new Courier Business. I bet your getting excited already and you should be.
Next you must carefully sit down and decide what type of items you will courier. Will you do hazardous material, medications, explosives, liquids. If so, you may need a special license and certification, you may need to be bonded or approved by your local or state authorities or public works departments. If I was you I would start out small only hauling safe items. Make sure you have a photo ID card made, clearly showing your image and the name of your Courier service, along with your name and other info. In this day and age it's important for folks to feel safe when dealing with a business especially a newly established one.
If possible have a nice magnetic sign made for your vehicle, which clearly shows your service, displaying the name, telephone number and town, this is a cheap item, but it will help you build your customers and it will also add credence and make your service seem more official or real.
Check with your vehicle insurance company, to see if they charge additional fees since you will now be using you vehicle a lot more for business needs instead of personal use, it's better to be safe now than sorry later. For your personal safety, you may wish to have any passenger(s) sit in the rear seats, and place packages in the trunk or rear areas behind the driver if this is possible, for this reason a nice utility van or SUV makes the ultimate courier vehicle.
How will you choose your rates ? Sit down and call as many courier services as you can and ask them what they charge per mile. Most charge a fee per mile for gasoline, vehicle deterioration and business fees. If you travel 10 miles to pick up a package and then travel another 50 miles to deliver it, you must also travel back to your home or courier service location, this may be another 60 miles back. This is a total trip of 120 miles from start to finish, if you charge only 50 cents per mile, that is . You should be able to easily drive 120 miles in roughly 2 hours or slightly more, so that averages out to an hour for your earnings.
Once you have the service area, and the fees you will charge, place a small ad in local Newspaper's under the sections: Services Offered or Work Wanted. You can also place flyers on store bulletin boards and hand out business cards. Word of mouth is a great and free way to increase your customers. When you start getting calls from a customer, be sure to write down directions carefuly, and what is to be picked-up and delivered. When the job is completed, It's a good idea to telephone your customer and tell them that the job has been completed.
There is computer software that is made for someone that is starting or already owns a small Courier Business. The software is available for download at this website address:
By Robert W. Benjamin
Copyright © 2006
You may publish this article in your ezine, newsletter on your web site as long as it is reprinted in its entirety and without modification except for formatting needs or grammar corrections.
About the Author: Robert W. Benjamin has been in the software business on the internet for over 5 years, and has been producing low-cost software for the past 25+ years. He first released products on the AMIGA and C64 computer systems in the late 1970's-80's.