Have you ever thought of starting a courier business? The good news is that this business is easy to start and would need low start up capital. The world might be communicating electronically but we’re still quite keen on sending things to each other. The business world daily continues to trust important documents and parcels to the hands of parcel courier companies. A courier business involves conveyance and delivery of packets, documents, parcels distribution of publications or any other items that may need to be delivered.
This can be a good business opportunity for those who do not have a very big budget to set up a business. You can start by collecting and delivering documents, letters, parcels, packages etc from one point to another on behalf of clients within the town and residential areas. Since many people have things to be delivered and many are busy or want to avoid traffic and parking problems within CBD, you can take advantage of these and offer this service at a fee.
Before you start your courier business, decide on the type and capacity of deliveries that you plan to do. It is also important to make up your mind on the area you want to operate in. These will determine the type of license that you will need to apply for to operate legally.
All courier businesses have to get licenses from the industry regulating body, Communications Authority of Kenya (CCK), before they begin their operations. Courier license fees are charged based on the service to be offered, format and area of service. According to CCK, regional operators within Kenya and with networks within East Africa pay Sh50,000 annual license. An operator within Kenya pays Sh30,000 while intra city or town operator pays Sh30,000. Applications and payments must be done on or before 1st July of each year.
You can start as an intra city or town operator and get clients within the town or city. This will help you learn the trade and gain customer confidence and trust, which is very important in this business. It is safe to start with a small area of operation before expanding to other regions.
Your business will have to be registered to operate therefore you will need a business permit and a premises to carry out your courier business. This will require renting an office, medium sized for a start to save on rent charges.
Before you decide to start your courier business, it will be absolutely necessary to carry out your market research and feasibility study to determine the viability of the business in your area. After deciding on your area of operation, ensure that you get to know those who are already operating in that area, their mode of operations, charges, clients, etc. This information will help you tailor your operations to best meet your clients’ needs.
The basics of this business are simple. Pick customers’ packages, parcels, documents or items to be delivered and take them to their destinations and charge a fee. It could be a package or parcel to be taken to post office or other agents, documents to be delivered to offices, personal or gift items to be delivered to individuals and many others depending on your customer needs.
Some documents or items may be very sensitive or delicate. Your customers must develop trust in you before accepting to deal with you in this business. Some transactions may involve handling cash, such as sending a parcel or letter for further transit to other destinations using other couriers such as bus companies. Some may expect you to use your money upfront and get refunded, so be ready for this.
As you start, you have an option to walk around collecting and delivering the items and parcels. You may also acquire a good motor bike and a rider to do the deliveries. This will make it quicker and help in transporting bigger and heavier parcels though may cost you more initially.
There are many courier companies and businesses already doing exactly what you will be doing. This will call for aggressive marketing of your business to potential clients. Target small businesses and individuals within the area you operate. Leave nothing to chance. Leave your contacts with your customers and other businesses that are around. Let them know that you can deliver their parcels, items, letters and other documents to their intended recipients at a fee. Charge a competitive fee for your services and deliver on your promise, always.
Contact small businesses, office complexes, hospitals and schools to procure commercial clients. Leave a business card and brochure with the owner or business manager. Stress that you can provide more personal attention with your courier service over larger companies. Leave stacks of fliers behind in retail outlets to attract residential customers.
If you have a bike and a rider, consider branding them with your company name and logo to further market your business. This will give your business visibility all over your area of operation.
If you do a good job, referrals will easily market your business too, therefore, concentrate on meeting your customers needs as much as possible, whenever you are given a chance to serve. People expect good service and don’t want to wait in all day for their packages. If you can’t deliver when they want you to, they’ll go elsewhere.
With friendly, quality service you can build a client list quickly. You will also need persistence and the ability to keep going until you reach the level of success you are seeking.
• No special skill needed as long as you are comfortable dealing with people.
• There is always demand for this service and the list of potential customers is almost endless.
• The business can be home-based, reducing start up costs.
• The business is flexible and you can do it alongside your regular job or business.
• Competition is high.
• Risk of losing or damaging customers’ items or documents.
• It may take long to earn trust among your potential customers
To improve your reach and income, you can also include services such as document processing for your customers and others. Processes such as motor vehicle and land transfers and searches, license renewals (driving license, business permits etc), bill payments, shopping and other renewals can give you extra income in addition to courier business.
Here is a business opportunity that is easy to start, has low start-up costs and does not need special skills to set up and operate. What are you waiting for? Start a courier business.