Starting your own business comes with a high sense of flexibility and freedom. It also opens doors for you to serve through your talents, skills, and passion.

Today, there are plenty of entrepreneurial opportunities. One such venture is a courier business.

In the US, the delivery business offers endless opportunities to succeed. And although starting a courier business from scratch requires a lot of hard work and determination, the process can be faster and easier with the backing of the right resources.

Read on to learn how to start a courier service business. 

Starting a Courier Business

As with most business ventures, learning how to start a courier service business is a process. Before you can launch your business, you need to follow these steps: 

1. Find Your Target Market

Before anything else, you need to identify your target market.

Remember, yours is a small courier business, and your competitors are big package delivery companies, such as DHL, FedEx, and other big and medium players. Therefore, to remain competitive, you need to select a specialty.

For example, you can focus on offering fast delivery in one geographical area. Alternatively, you can specialize in delivering a particular brand or several brands of products such as flowers, confidential documents, or medicine. 

2. Prepare a Business Plan

After identifying your target market, the next step is to write a comprehensive and solid business plan. Such a plan considers market research, pricing, and estimates of your courier business’s expenses and revenues.

A business plan guides you at the beginning of the business and helps secure investors and investments for your small business.

It is essential to have a brand name that reflects what you intend to do and how you’ll do it.

The name should resonate with your prospective customers, and no other company should be using it. That can be challenging, but you can devise a short, memorable business name with a bit of creativity.

Additionally, after settling on a suitable name, create a professional logo for your company. Once more, creativity is much needed here. The logo should be highly recognizable, distinguishing your business from the rest.

4. Get the Right Vehicles

To effectively start your courier business and run it, you need to invest in one or two reliable vehicles.

While most courier companies use a cargo van for their deliveries, some use other means, such as bicycles or motorbikes.

Your geographical area of operation and field of specialty should determine the type of vehicle you need to purchase.

Just remember vehicles are one of the most vital tools that determine the success of your courier business. Therefore, make sure you invest in a reliable car that won’t let you down along the way. 

5. Consider Loan Options

Whether you have little money to invest or are trying to figure out how to start a courier business with no money, starting a courier business comes with quite a lot of expenses. This can necessitate applying for a loan to enable you to purchase the right equipment for your business.

If getting a business loan is not possible, consider a personal loan or a cash loan.

6. Establish a Storage Space

Storage space is necessary for any courier business. It’s where you’ll store parcels and packages and sort them out before taking them out for distribution.

Make sure the storage space is safe. You want the packages to be secure all through. 

7. Choose the Right Business Structure

Running a small courier business as a sole proprietorship or partnership is often the simplest and most cost-effective way.

However, if you bring in external investors or want to protect yourself against future liabilities, registering your courier business as a company would serve better. 

As a law-abiding citizen, you need to follow all the legal procedures and get all the legit documents required to start a courier business. 

These include licenses and business permits and other templates like Service Agreement and Cancellation Policy.

9. Market Your Courier Business

Once you have figured out how to start a courier business and all the steps required, you have to think marketing. Your marketing strategies will depend on your target market. For example, if your specialty area focuses on bakers, florists, pharmacies, and other businesses requiring fast delivery, you can directly market yourself to these businesses.

Marketing strategies may include emailing, handing out business cards, and cold calling.

On the other hand, if your customers are primarily individuals, you need to diversify your marketing efforts to reach a wider audience. This may include making good use of social media platforms. 

How to Establish a Niche

To establish the area where your services are much needed, you need to do extensive research.

Remember, courier services take various forms, and you need to figure out the area you can make the most out of especially as a small courier business.

Through the research, you’ll also understand how the competition in your area shapes out. Then, you can set realistic expectations and lay strategies to cope with this competition.

Some of the niches you can exploit and venture into include:

  • Luggage delivery
  • Same-day shipping
  • High volume pallet shipments
  • Next-day shipping
  • Commercial package delivery
  • International shipping services

Equipment You Need to Start a Courier Business

Here’s the equipment you require when considering starting a courier business:

  • A delivery vehicle, such as a cargo van, motorbike, or pickup truck. The ideal vehicle to invest in will depend on your budget, quantity of deliveries, and package sizes.
  • Cargo ropes, tapes, moving blankets, and straps to hold items securely and protect them.
  • Hand truck dolly or trolley.

You may also need courier software to help manage your business tasks. It will enable you to operate effectively, no doubt how to be a courier successfully. 

Before you can set up your courier business, there are a few things you need to take care of. Some of the legal decisions you need to make for your courier service business include:

  • The legal structure of your business – you can register your business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company.
  • Get a license for your courier business from your state.
  • Get yourself a federal tax identification number.

In case any of the legalities seem challenging, you can seek the help of a lawyer. Just ensure you follow all the legal steps required to be on the right side of the law.


Nicole Fevrin, Senior Product Marketing Manager, has been with WorkWave for over four years. She works on the Route Manager, GPS, and ServMan products. Nicole has over 21 years of experience in B2B and B2C Marketing in various industries and possess a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies. Her background industries range from ultra-luxury and cosmetics to commodities and home services. This range has afforded her a well-rounded perspective of customer insights and various business models.