If you’ve ever felt at the mercy of a courier company when you needed an important document delivered or waiting to receive your parcel, you’re not alone. Delivery times are often dictated by the courier companies rather than the customer which sometimes meant that you may have to wait the entire day to receive your package. In recent times, the market has changed significantly as there has been an increasing rise in the number of companies offering tailored courier services to suit the individual needs of the customer.

Did you know that if you have a reliable vehicle and a cell phone, you can start your very own courier service? It’s that much of a simple business to start and operate without a lot of money.

But what does a courier do?

Well, a courier service picks up and deliver parcels, documents, for individuals and businesses and sometimes even pets. A fast and reliable courier service is always needed in smaller areas as you can always find someone who is in need of a document or package delivered. An independent local courier service will often be able to provide the type of service which is in demand throughout Singapore which you might not be able to get from a larger delivery service such as FEDEX.

Having said that, a courier service a great “shoestring startup”, business as it requires, no formal training or education, and very little money. You just have to ensure that you’re able to communicate in a clear and concise manner with your customers to establish trust and respectability. In fact you can provide a fast courier service from your home without having to pay any additional rent or utility costs.

When deciding to provide a fast courier service, the list of potential customers is limitless. Pharmacies, caterers, contractors, attorneys, printers grocery stores and medical labs are just some of the busy individuals who seldom have the time to run delivery errands.

If you’re considering setting up to provide a fast courier service, then here are a few tips to starting a successful business.

Take time to plan your business

Setting up your courier service will surely seem easy enough. A reliable vehicle, location to safely store packages, and the necessary paperwork and you’ll be already off to a good start. However if you really want to provide a fast courier service then its very important that you do not underestimate the amount of effort you will need to put into your business. Not only will you have to consider the initial cost of seeing up the business, but you will also have to factor in the day to day costs of running your business.

Moreover it is essential that you have an insurance plan which will cover any instance of breakage or lost packages which is likely to happen as with any other courier service. Planning ahead is vital and you will need to do some research to identify what the specific needs are in your local area regarding delivery services. Remember, courier service is a highly competitive market and you will want to ensure that you get it right the first time to gain the advantage on companies who may be offering a cheaper service.

Start small but think big

If you want to provide a fast and reliable sourer service its always a good idea to start small. Consider specializing in specific types of packages which may include confidential or medical reports, or maybe perishable items such as produce or even fragile items to as they say in business, “get your feet wet.” During this period you will want to build your reputation and clientele before considering expanding your business into other types of delivery.

The key to providing a fast and efficient service will be your ability to pay attention to detail, your reliability and maintaining a good relationship with your clients by way of customer service. A first-class courier service is always ready to go the extra mile for the clients. By doing this you will gain the loyalty and continued support of your clients which will allow your business to grow and mature into a, efficient and thriving courier business.

Partnership or go it alone?

Many of the most successful business today began with one person. I will admit that this is undoubtably a straightforward way of starting your courier service. However by going it alone will mean that you’ll be taking sole responsibility for the business which will often require that you put in those extra hours to maintain a good reputation and efficient business operation.

You may find that occasionally you’ll have to give up those relaxing evenings, weekends and even holidays to tend to your customers. However once you have established a strong client base, you may want to consider investing in additional vehicles and employing other drivers to share the workload.

Writing a press release, putting up a magnetic sign, handing out custom made notepads and flyers or creating a website or blog are just some of the great ways to begin networking your courier services to introduce yourself and what you can do for them. Tell them about some of the great services you offer and why they need your courier services.

Take a look at some services outlined below which can optimize your business to enable a prompt, and reliable package delivery.

  • Booking – Offer more ways for your clients to schedule bookings such as by phone, fax, email and EDI file
  • EDI File – Use a variety of file formats and from the file, and create your bookings or barcoded freight labels that detail the file created. You may want to consider investing in scanner technology.
  • Scanning – Scanning allows you to validate each order to ensure you have full orders and item tracking.
  • Route Optimization – Route optimization with step by step navigation will allow you to schedule each delivery in a time-slot window.
  • SMS – Send your clients an upstream SMS offering a choice of a specific delivery day, and allow the customer to respond to the SMS in a given 2-hour window and request a call if the suggested dates on offer are not suitable.

It seems pretty obvious that the best way to provide a fast and efficient way is to simply just do a great job always be prepared to go the extra mile for your clients. I can’t promise you that you won’t make any mistakes but I will guarantee that those which you are likely to make will offer great lessons from which you will learn from. Before you know it people will begin to recognize your courier service and you’ll soon be the the one on call.