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Launching a courier business is a great way to capitalise on the booming ecommerce industry. Setting up a successful courier business requires investing in proper marketing and legal work, as well as delivering parcels on time. Read this comprehensive guide to learn the important steps involved in launching a courier business.
A courier business delivers packages and important documents to their intended destinations. Typically a small courier business will offer a fast, on-demand delivery service to a city and the surrounding areas.
Follow these steps to launch your own courier business:
While there are no formal requirements needed to open up a courier business, having experience in deliveries and being familiar with your local area will be advantageous.
Running a courier business can be a physically demanding job, especially if you are just starting out and have limited resources. Couriers must have superb organisation and time management skills, as the speed and reliability of your deliveries are more important than ever.
As a courier business owner, you will need to be able to coordinate and schedule your workload by estimating how long deliveries may take, how many couriers you'll need and how much to charge your customers.
If you are considering using a heavy vehicle, you will need to register the vehicle and hold the appropriate licence. The following types of vehicles are classified as heavy vehicles:
You do not strictly need to have any formal qualifications to become a courier. However, you will need to have a valid driver's licence for the vehicle you are driving. If you want to learn more about planning deliveries or if you want to train employees, you can do an online course that is focused on courier delivery operations.
You can set up a courier business with relatively low overheads, which includes:
To operate the business efficiently, you may also consider software for managing tasks such as:
Depending on the level of your savings and the vehicle you need to buy up-front, you may need to get a loan to start your business.
Our guide to small business loans can help you figure out which option is the best for you. Keep in mind some lenders will require you to have been operating the business for at least six months to a year, while other lenders will require a minimum annual turnover of at least $100,000.
If you're just starting your business, you may need to think about getting car loans or personal loans instead. Before you apply, always make sure you're able to afford all repayments, including any additional fees or charges.
When you officially register your business, you must identify the type of business you are operating. Common business structures in Australia are Sole Trader, Partnership and Company.
The amount of control you intend to have over the business, its costs and tax implications are among the key considerations for your business structure. If you're not sure which path to choose, reach out to an accountant for more guidance. Our guide to structuring your business can help too.
It is important to have all the relevant legal documents in place before you start operating your business. Legal documents help protect your business and clarify your responsibility towards your customers.
Documents that you may need to set up a courier business include:
You may also need to speak to a lawyer to make sure your business is run in a legally compliant way. You could speak to:
With many of the legal documents required, you can access a number of free templates (see the table below) to get started. You can request a free quote for lawyer services through a number of websites, including:
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
If you're targeting local businesses who need fast delivery services, it's a good idea to directly connect with companies in your local area. This might involve cold calling and emailing or dropping off your business cards.
If you're targeting a wider market, you will need to invest in building a digital presence. From social media pages to online reviews, there are many ways you can grow your customer base and, in turn, sales. Some practical, simple ways to do this include:
According to the online marketplace Oneflare, the average domestic courier cost is $9 for standard delivery, a base rate of $12 to $20 for same day delivery and between $15 and $80 for overnight delivery.
A courier business usually has fixed pricing, which varies owing to the following factors:
Take two of the major Australian courier and postal services. Sendle usually charges $6.96 for a one-off 500g & A4 satchel if it's being delivered to the same city, or $8.50 for interstate delivery. Australia Post typically charges a flat fee of $8.95 for a small, regular parcel. The figures stated in this article were correct as of January 2021.
Is owning a courier business profitable?
Thanks to the growth in online shopping, the Australian courier market is set to grow at a rate of 5.8% a year until 2021 to reach over $6 billion. While the courier business is currently dominated by the major players, such as Australia Post, we are also seeing a disruption to the industry with local startups such as Sendle, Go People and Zoom2u.
Should I join a franchise?
Becoming a courier franchisee allows you to collect and deliver parcels in an exclusive area with an existing brand. The advantage of joining a courier franchise is that you will benefit from the reputation, marketing campaigns, training and ongoing support with the brand. The disadvantages of joining an existing franchise include franchising and marketing fees, and restrictions on where you can operate.
How can I grow my courier business?
The most sure-fire way to grow your business is to provide exceptional customer service through speed, reliability and proactive communications. Effective marketing is also crucial when you're just starting out and this can be as easy as contacting local businesses in your area or listing your business on Google. You may also expand your local operations through online marketplaces such as Airtasker. Another effective way to grow your business is to reach out to your customers for reviews and referrals.
How much can you make as a courier?
According to PayScale, a courier in Australia typically makes between $19 to $29 per hour. If you need to employ couriers, keep these rates in mind as you grow your company.
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