Could you and your family start your own courier business?
Many people who may have never considered a courier business for a living until a few months ago have started thinking about it now – and the reasons are hardly surprising.
The COVID-19 crisis kept great numbers of us indoors over the spring of 2020, with the consequence that online shopping soared as high-street stores were forced to shut their doors. In the UK, for instance, Internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales was an already strong 19% in February, but this jumped to 32.8% in May.
So, there would seem to be a lot of opportunity for new courier business. But what are the factors that will help you to determine whether it’s actually a good idea for you to become one?
What kind of courier do you fancy being?
If you’ve never done any kind of couriering before, your idea of entering this sector may involve simply leasing or borrowing a van and starting out as a self-employed courier. And of course, that’s certainly one way in which people start out as couriers, but if you have zero related experience, a potentially very hefty learning curve awaits you.
That’s why you might instead consider – at least at first, as you build up your experience – seeking employment with a company instead.
Then, if you do still decide to ‘go it alone’ eventually, you’ll at least possess much more confidence and knowledge of how the industry works, and the steps that will help you to succeed where so many new independent couriers fail.
What mode of transport will you use?
As touched on above, you might consider starting your courier business with a van, and if you intend to carry larger parcels for relatively long distances, it’ll certainly be a lot more convenient than depending on the family car or even a bicycle or motorbike. However, the van itself could represent a very significant investment that is prohibitive to those only just entering the industry.
That’s why some people may instead think about starting out as bicycle couriers, with this mode of transport being especially well-suited to cities and towns.
Not only can bicycles take routes that are barred to vans and motorbikes, but they’re cheap to run, being powered by human propulsion rather than fuel.
Have you factored in the appropriate insurance?
One of the main sources of downfall for beginner couriers is a failure to take account of all of those ‘little’ costs that can build up to become heavy costs very quickly.
Beyond the right mode of transportation and appropriate work clothes, for instance, you’ll also need to think about what insurance will be required, including for the mode of transportation you choose, and indeed, yourself. Certainly, self-employed couriers are urged to arrange appropriate cover for those times when they’re ill and unable to make collections and deliveries themselves.
Then, there’s the not-insignificant matter of insuring the contents you’re carrying. Goods in transit insurance can help you to recover the cost of a consignment if anything happens to it.
As for how you can reduce your goods in transit insurance cost, the experts at MoneyBeach suggest such steps as equipping your vehicle with an immobiliser, being accurate with your estimates of how much your goods are worth, and properly packing the goods to minimise the likelihood of damage.
If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail
The above are just some of the things you’ll need to think about if you’re seriously contemplating starting a courier business with your family.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple to take advantage of the boom in online orders in this way as it might look. However, with the right preparation, you’ll also be well-placed to make your new courier business a longer-term success.