Public perception has changed over the years and the established delivery companies don’t quite cut it anymore. They are increasingly becoming seen as untrustworthy and unreliable when it comes to quality of service. We hear horror stories of packages being flung over fences, or documents being folded and stuffed through letter boxes. Or even lazy delivery workers skipping deliveries altogether, if they’re already late delivering the goods. That’s not to say that all major delivery companies have become like this, but the industry has certainly been tarnished by a few bad eggs.
Many businesses and individuals are turning to independent courier services for the delivery of their packages. In today’s “customer-first” generation, people expect a more personal service than ever before. One that prioritises their needs and expectations beyond all else and, quite simply, puts the customer first.
1) Choose your method of transport.
The transportation method used will obviously depend on whether you are carrying out nationwide or local deliveries. For startup companies, obviously focusing on same-day local deliveries will be the most obvious choice. Your method of transport will also depend on your local area.
Bicycles can be a green alternative for inner-city courier services, and can be far more flexible and time-efficient than cars, vans, or motorbikes in urban areas where gridlock traffic is commonplace. Similarly, motorbikes can be the most efficient way of quickly delivery goods across short distances in less high-traffic areas. Whereas vans can reliably deliver numerous packages at a time across longer distances, but may be far more than you need if you are delivering single packages.
2) Know your area.
Not only does knowing your area dictate what transportation your couriers will use, but it can also impact what jobs you take on. This is why it helps to know your area. Know your competitors, what they offer and their pricing strategy. Know your customers. If you see a gap in the market, you can always find a niche and specifically target and be known for that type of business.
If you employ your couriers (or “riders”), you will obviously need employers’ liability insurance, and you will need to sort out the insurance for your fleets. However, many startup courier businesses begin with having self-employed couriers who can supply and maintain their own equipment and methods of transport.
Don’t just recruit anyone! Your riders are the face of your company. Make sure that your riders and friendly and provide a high level of customer service. Ensure that they are sufficiently trained and thoroughly background-checked before they are sent out on any jobs.
4) Think about strong branding.
Whatever vehicle best suits your business, branding is key for any startup. Your vehicles can be branded for maximum exposure while on the road, effectively advertising your brand wherever you deliver. High visibility is a safety requirement on the road, but if you can incorporate your branding into it then your couriers will not only be highly visible to vehicles but to potential customers too! Think bright colours and a strong, memorable logo. Chances are that potential customers on the road won’t get a good long look at the logo or message while your couriers are moving, so something instantly recognisable and snappy works best.
5) Make sure you’re insured.
As a courier service, goods-in-transit insurance is a must. Your entire business is centred around the transportation of customer goods, and goods-in-transit cover will financially protect your business in the not so uncommon event that items are damaged, lost or even stolen while in your care, and your customer holds you responsible.
This type of cover is usually offered as an extension of a public liability insurance policy, in a complete courier insurance package. Liability insurance will protect you from financial difficulty should there be an unexpected incident that you are deemed liable for. For example, someone trips over a package as a courier is unloading it and injures themselves, or a courier accidentally causes damage to the customer’s property while they are delivering a package. It could be something as simple as not seeing a glass of water, and dropping down the package on the surface, causing the glass of water to be knocked over onto an expensive laptop that is then water-damaged.
Self-employed riders are responsible for their own public liability insurance, and you will not need employers’ liability insurance.