How to Start a Delivery Business
One would think that there is nothing to a delivery business, which is in part true, because of the low start-up costs. However, just like any other work, there are certain guidelines to go by, to ensure its success.
The basic requirement of any kind of a delivery business is a vehicle in a good condition (that gives you good mileage), a valid driver's license, and a cell phone. As you expand later you may feel the need to set up an office. On the personal abilities front, good communication skills, good organizational skills, and a positive attitude towards hard work and resilience are extremely essential.
Type of Delivery Business
The success of your business largely depends on the type of work you wish to start. For instance, if you deliver an item like blood, you will require cold storage provisions in your vehicle to transport it in good condition. On the other hand, groceries do not have any such requirements, and as long as you have a spacious vehicle, along with a mobile phone, you are good to go. Other potential ideas include delivering mail, fast food, flowers, medicines, pet foods, laundry, spare automobile parts, event tickets, etc. Keep in mind, that when you begin a delivery service, just delivering is not part of your job; you may be required to run errands too. For instance, you could have customers call you up to have certain groceries picked up and delivered. For this you will have to ensure that you have enough cash at hand, as not many customers agree to pay an advance. A receipt for the purchases made, along with another one for the delivery charges are required to get you the final amount.
Advertising your services is a very important aspect of starting a business of any kind, and the delivery business is no exception to this rule. First, decide on a suitable name for your business. If you can add a slogan to it, it will definitely be catchy and attract more attention. You can have fliers printed, and put them up in strategic locations such as grocery stores, flower shops, hospitals, pharmacies, homes for the elderly, etc. Finding a customer base and targeting it is the prime rule of advertising. If you can afford it, have an ad put in your local newspaper to ensure a strong client base. Finally, have your name and number printed on your vehicle too, to serve as a means of advertising on the go. Ensure that it is legible from a distance, so that people can see it and make use of your services.
As mentioned earlier, the basic setup does not require much of an investment. However, advertising will take up some money, along with the regular costs of gas and your cell phone bills (if you are required to make some calls). Calculate the total expected expenses to decide on a charge for your services. A good way of assessing the costs involved in traveling, is to find out how much it costs to travel in a cab, from the pick up point to the area of delivery. You ought to charge slightly lesser than that, so that customers see the worth in your business. This will help you cover costs, and you can slowly increase the charges as you expand. You may have to face losses initially, till word spreads and you develop a strong customer base. However, hang in there, everyone needs the kind of service you are providing, and sooner or later they will come to you.
Expanding a Delivery Business
When your business starts off successfully enough for you to foresee the potential to expand, there are certain tips you should follow.
- When you begin, don't limit your service to just one product. Be open to different kinds of services to make more profits. As you expand, you can choose to get into just one niche such as package or flower delivery.
- Start with a small locality. As you make profits, you can try and cover a larger base. Even if you must travel far away, ensure that you communicate to the customer that extra charges will be applicable.
- To make the most of your business, try to run different errands together. For instance, two of your customers may have requirements in the same area. Club these errands together so that you don't have to go back and forth for each and every delivery. Your profits will definitely increase this way.
- You can even call your customers if you are in a particular area, to see if they need anything, so that again, you avoid the whole back and forth process.
- Over time, you can start performing these services for larger organizations. This way you can ensure a steady flow of business and income.
- As your business grows, you can start investing in additional vehicles, so that you can target a larger customer base and increase profits. By now, you will need to set up an office to manage orders and accounts. Moreover, when you start hiring other drivers ensure that you remain in touch with your clients. Many drivers are likely to divert your customers and start their own business in the bargain.