What makes small courier businesses successful is the unmatched personalized service they provide to customers. In many cases, small and specialized couriers fill the gaps that larger national companies don’t have the capacity for. A small courier business often accommodates special delivery needs such as providing safe transportation for appliances or medical supplies. Customers also trust small couriers to transport sensitive items because they’re more comfortable handing them to someone they know personally.
If you’re ready to seize a niche opportunity in your local market, here are seven helpful tips for setting yourself up for success with your small courier business:
- Research your local market. In order to help you decide what types of courier services to provide and the ideal geographical area to serve, research is the very first step. A good place to start is by researching competitors in the area to see what they offer, but more importantly, what they don’t Is there an unmet need that your business can fulfill? Think about the specialized courier services you can offer, such as biohazardous, chemical, or perishable items.
- Find the right vehicle. Having a dependable vehicle for your business is crucial. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to purchase a cargo van if you plan to deliver large appliances. Consider what’s better for you financially – buying a vehicle means you acquire an asset you have more control over, but renting a vehicle allows for more flexibility. Also, figure out how you can customize the vehicle with necessary equipment, such as refrigeration for perishable items.
- Establish yourself as a business. As a business, you can significantly increase your opportunities as you look instantly more attractive to companies that prioritize contracting with independent contractors who have an established business entity (which is becoming more and more common). For drivers, setting up your LLC can move you one step closer to appropriate licensing and operating authority requirements as well. Best of all, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Openforce recently partnered with Rocket Lawyer to give independent contractors the ability to form an LLC for just $99!
- Obtain permits and licenses. Requirements vary by jurisdiction so be sure to check with your local and state authorities. An occupational license is typically required before a business begins operations. Each driver will need a driver’s license. A few states require a courier license. Additional regulations may exist for transporting perishable food, medical, and biohazardous items.
- Connect with contracting companies. More so today than ever before, delivery companies across the US are looking to contract with qualified drivers like yourself. Be sure to sign up for Openforce’s Delivery Driver Network to make you and your business visible to hundreds of logistics companies and brokers looking for enthusiastic independent contractors.
- Insure your business. Personal liability vehicle insurance is a must, but occupational accident insurance is also required since the vehicle is used for commercial purposes. Coverage for the items transported is also important. Check with an insurance agent on the proper type and amount of coverage. If you contract with a company using the Openforce platform, chances are you’ll be provided exclusive access to specially designed, affordable coverages through our trusted broker partners with added benefits such as no down payments and settlement deducted premiums.
- Market your business. Spreading the word about what you do will help connect customers who need courier services directly to you. Start simple. Let your friends and family know about your new business. Create business pages for your social media accounts, especially Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. And every professional needs materials that represent your business, whether that’s business cards or fliers, so that people you meet remember your services. The more you hand out, the better. Discounts for professional business cards are available through your Openforce Member Benefits portal. We provide a number of business services for member ICs, but you can start shopping now by visiting the Openforce members custom print center.
It’s not easy to start your own business, but that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. For 20 years, Openforce has been empowering independent contractors to be their own boss, work without limits, and become financially independent—and it’s so worth it. You’ll not only get the tools needed to grow your business, but you’ll also gain access to exclusive benefits and discounts designed just for you and most importantly, a trusted partner.
Openforce is the leader in technology-driven services that reduce operating costs and mitigate risk for companies using independent contractors. Our cloud-based applications help companies and contractors alike achieve more sustainable, profitable growth by removing financial, operational, and compliance barriers to getting business done.