Special Delivery How to start a courier service
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Business Start-Ups magazine, February 1999
Q: A friend and I are considering starting a courier company. We both have some experience in the industry. What kind of start-up information or guides would help?
A: "Starting a small courier business is easy compared to [lots of] other businesses," says Lenny Farin, owner of Shotgun Delivery in Hayward, California. "With a pickup truck, a phone and [someone] to answer it, you're pretty much in business."
Basic equipment needs include multiple incoming phone lines and a pager system to communicate with your drivers. Farin estimates a courier business can be started for as little as $10,000, depending on the complexity of your communications system.
Before you set your budget, you need to research the courier industry. Learn about the area you plan on serving, your customers, competition and pricing.
The best way to get this information is to talk to others in the industry. Read trade magazines and attend conferences and seminars. "I suggest anyone who is seriously interested [should] work for a company for six months and get a feel for the business, because coming into it fresh without understanding the lingo is really tough," says Farin. "Another way to pave the way for [yourself] is to join an association. You learn a lot from the people there."
The Messenger Courier Association of the Americas holds a yearly conference; its Web site (http://www.mcaa.com) has a listing of members nationwide you can contact with questions about starting your own business. Call (202) 223-9741 for more information.
Another good resource is Courier Magazine. Check out its Web site (http://www.couriermagazine.com) for current trends, the latest industry news and links to other services. Call (703) 330-5600 for more information.
Shotgun Delivery, firstname.lastname@example.org