3 Tips For Running A Successful Courier Business

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Starting your own courier company is a very sensible move in the current business climate. The massive surge in online retailers over the last decade means that more parcels than ever are being shipped out and those online retail businesses need regular couriers to handle all of those deliveries. While there are already a lot of large courier companies that are well established, that doesn’t mean that a smaller business like yours doesn’t have a chance of succeeding. Some companies don’t mind using a big courier company but a lot of online retailers feel that they don’t get the level of service that they’re hoping for because that courier is dealing with so many different companies. If people are sending items that are an awkward shape, for example, they might want to deal with a smaller company that can dedicate more time to finding the best way to send their products, rather than simply using standardized boxing sizes and shipping them out.

However, you do still need to realize that you’re up against some big competition and success is going to be an uphill battle in this industry. If you’re considering starting your own business or maybe you’ve already started one but you’re struggling to get new customers, read these simple tips on how to run a winning courier business.

Specialize In The Beginning

If you just start a general courier business, you might find it hard to gain any traction because there are better established companies out there that can offer the same service or even a better service, at half the cost. They’re shipping out in such quantities that they can afford to do things cheaper than you can. You might get a few customers that don’t like the idea of working with a big company, but for the most part, people are just going to go for the cheapest option. If you’re going to get anywhere, you have to offer something that other companies aren’t, and that means specializing.

There are all sorts of different ways that you can do this. The most obvious way is to specialize in moving fragile packages and offer a custom packaging service to ensure that things are well protected. However, there will already be quite a few companies that do this so you should consider looking at something even more specific. You might decide to specialize in moving artwork, for example, which requires a lot of custom made boxes and often temperature controlled vehicles to ensure that valuable artwork isn’t damaged in transit. Maybe you could specialize in moving expensive musical instruments or antique furniture. Offering a specific service like this means that there will be less competition out there and you’ll also be able to charge higher prices because you’re offering a unique service that people are willing to pay more money for.

When you start turning a profit, you can expand your services and move into more general courier jobs but if you start there, you’re not likely to see any growth at all and the business will probably fail.

Find Ways To Reduce Prices

Courier businesses have very high overheads because you have to cover the costs of packaging, storing items, and running a fleet of vehicles. If the overheads are too high, you’ll have to pass some of those costs on to the customer if you want to keep the business afloat. If you don’t pass those costs on and you offer cheap prices that you can’t really afford, you’ll end up running out of money pretty quickly and the business will fold. That’s why it’s vital that you find ways to keep the costs as low as possible so you can be competitive on pricing.

There are all sorts of different ways that you can save money but the best place to start is always with your vehicles. When you’re first investing money in a fleet of vehicles, you might decide to save money by purchasing older ones. The only problem is, they’re more likely to break down and you’ll end up spending a lot on repairs. It might be more sensible to spend the money upfront on newer vehicles that are less likely to break down, they’ll also be more fuel efficient so you’ll save a bit of money there too.

Fuel costs are one of your biggest overheads so anything that you can do to reduce them is a big bonus. Buying more efficient vehicles is a start but you can also save a lot of money if you buy fuel in bulk when prices are low. You can store it all in a petrol storage tank so you’ve always got a good supply. Fuel prices shoot up and down quite a lot so if you get it in bulk while it’s cheap, you won’t be wasting money if prices increase again.

Focus On Branding

Branding is so important for a courier business. Your aim should be to position yourself as the go-to service for any online retailer in the area. People should associate your brand with speed and efficiency as well as good customer service. The best way to start increasing brand awareness for your courier business is to get the design right on your vehicles. It’s the best marketing opportunity that you have because your vehicles are driving around all of the time, being exposed to so many potential customers. If you don’t use that as an opportunity to build brand awareness for your business, you’re really going to struggle.

When you’re building your brand, you need to think about what the core values of your company are. For example, if you want to reduce your environmental impact then you should use electric vehicles and more sustainable packaging and make this the core of your marketing. If you can position yourself as the eco-friendly courier company, you’ll find a lot of customers will use you over competitors that don’t have such an environmental focus.

Beating the competition in the courier business is going to be tough, but the popularity of online retail does mean that there are a lot of potential customers out there so if you follow these tips, you should be able to build a successful company.

3 Ways For Online Businesses To Tackle Late Deliveries

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Customers have very high expectations when it comes to shipping. Big companies like Amazon can get products out to people the following day or even the same day in some places. You’re not going to be able to compete with that, and that’s ok, but it does mean that your customers are still going to expect quick and efficient shipping. If your products don’t arrive when you said they would, it’s likely that you’re going to lose that customer for good. Problems arise from time to time and products will arrive late for reasons that are outside of your control, but if it’s happening a lot, you’ve got a big problem on your hands. If you’re struggling to get your products out on time, here are some of the best ways to improve your shipping service.

Choose A Better Courier

A lot of smaller businesses will outsource their shipping to a third party. When you’re choosing a courier to handle your shipping, it’s important that you choose wisely. If you find that you’re getting a lot of complaints from customers about late shipping but you’re sure that you’re processing orders quickly on your end, it’s probably an issue with your courier. Often, new businesses try to cut costs by going with the cheapest company, but they’re cheap for a reason. You should ask your courier to explain why your products are arriving late and what they’re going to do about it. If you find that you’re still having problems after that, it’s time to find a new courier service, even if it costs you a bit more.

Evaluate Delivery Routes

If you aren’t outsourcing shipping and you’re handling it yourself, you’ve got nobody else to blame. There must be a reason why your products aren’t getting to customers on time and more often than not, it has to do with your delivery routes. If you don’t plan your routes effectively, your drivers are covering more distance than they need to and that leads to lateness. You can easily get around that by using telematics software to evaluate your delivery routes. It will help you to identify the most efficient route possible. That means your deliveries will get out on time and you’ll be spending less money on fuel costs as well.

Manage Expansion

So many businesses run into trouble with their deliveries because they don’t manage expansion properly. They get products out on time just fine when they’re first starting out, but as the business starts to expand, they can’t handle the increase in orders properly and that’s when they fall behind. It’s important that you manage expansion properly by creating sales projections and working out what your demand is likely to be. Then you need to increase staff levels and add more delivery routes as sales increase, so you can maintain the same level of service that you were offering before.

It only takes one late delivery to lose a customer for good, and they’re likely to tell their friends about it as well. That’s why it’s so important that you deal with delivery issues straight away before they kill your business entirely.