Have Vehicle, Will Travel: Starting your own Courier Service

Are you a whiz at directions? Do you know your way around your hometown with your eyes closed? If you answered yes to these questions, then you may want to consider starting a courier service.

If you know how to traverse all of the streets of your home city in a short period of time, then a courier service may be your golden opportunity for a part-time business during this recession.

Skills Required: An excellent sense of direction

Although a GPS can aid a courier when making deliveries, to run a successful courier service, you must have an excellent understanding of your town. Businesses and individuals use courier services because they offer near-immediate delivery of important documents and items, and the more shortcuts and back ways you know, the more successful you shall be.

There are different types of couriers, such as ones that transport medications, flammable materials and even hazardous materials, but if you want to keep it simple, aim to be a document courier.

Startup Expenses: None, provided you already have a dependable vehicle

Startup expenses are close to nothing for a courier business, provided that you have a trustworthy, dependable vehicle that won’t let you down on the job. If you have a “problem” vehicle that frequently brings you anxiety, then investing in a more dependable car is probably worth your while.

Contact your insurance company and ask whether your auto insurance will increase due to your new part-time business as a courier.

Monthly revenue: $200 to $500

Couriers are generally compensated using a mileage-based system, so you will first need to decide how much you will charge clients per mile; this will likely determine how much you can make every month as for your courier service.

Remember: charge too much and you won’t get any clients, but charge too little and you won’t make any money. Consider the cost of gasoline and wear and tear on your vehicle into your mileage costs.

Monthly Expenses: $200 to $400

Most of your monthly expenses as a courier will be gasoline expenses, which of course, change on a near-daily basis because of the fluctuations in gasoline prices.

Other expenses for your part-time business will include car repair and maintenance, as well as any parking charges. In addition, you may incur advertising and marketing costs, but you can always start with the free classified boards, such as Craigslist. If you have more money to invest, you may want to place ads in your local newspaper or send out direct mailings to the area’s businesses.

Time to Break Even: almost immediately

If you already own a reliable vehicle, then you can begin to enjoy a profit from nearly the beginning. This time frame, of course, will be much longer if you need to purchase another vehicle.

Possible Bumps in the Road

You may find that running a courier business can be quite stressful. Deadlines, traffic and vehicle problems can also add a great deal of stress to your job. In addition, if your car breaks down, you will be unable to earn money, and you may even lose clients if you can’t deliver at a moment’s notice.

Many couriers, as a result, have at least two vehicles as to prevent a loss of business should one of their vehicles become damaged or require repair or maintenance.

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