How to Start a Courier Business

shipping startup guide how to start a courier business

The great thing about starting a courier business is that people will always need to ship things.

That doesn't mean running a courier business is going to be easy, though. Because there are so many of them out there, the competition is fierce and the established brands are always going to be more reputable among the public.

In this post, we're going to tell you how to start a courier business that will make you money and have longevity. The first steps are always the most important, so if you get them right, you'll be booking clients and growing steadily right out of the gate. 

If you're still feeling overwhelmed, keep reading this courier startup guide and we'll show you how to do shipping the right way.

Why Starting a Courier Business Is the Right Move

You might wonder how there are so many existing courier businesses out there. In a day and age where everything is bought and sold online, the need for shipping companies to get products from point A to point B as quickly as possible is paramount.

Companies like Amazon employ local couriers as part of their unfathomably fast turnaround times, so with the e-commerce boom, we've got a courier boom. In other industries, this type of saturated market would scare off young entrepreneurs.

The difference here is that the internet is still developing at a rapid pace and now that we're used to the convenience of door-to-door, sometimes same-day shipping, there's almost no way we're going back to a pre-e-commerce world.

So, why not start a courier company? As you'll find out, it's a relatively simple business model and as long as you're willing to invest in yourself and put the work in, there's no reason that you won't succeed.

How to Start a Courier Business

Starting a courier business that will stand out among the haystack of other ones requires a little bit of startup capital and a lot of creativity. Here, we're going to give you a quick rundown of how to get started.

Find Your Niche

Your niche is basically the thing that makes your courier business different from the next one. 

Finding it requires you to do some very important research on your competitors, your desired customers, and the market you're operating in.

You'll want to look for a hole in the market. Doing something that no other courier company in your area is doing allows you to push your company as being different. It might be same day guarantees or it could be that you only use energy-efficient methods to make deliveries.

Get the Equipment You Need

To start a courier company, you need to have your fleet of vehicles and the necessary equipment for your employees to operate efficiently and safely. You may need to take out a business loan to purchase these things, as they're necessary to run your business. You should read more about business funding for a courier company before taking out loans.

A cargo van is the most suitable vehicle for a courier. Most courier startups would begin with one van, then build their fleet as the company grows. You'll also need dollies, cargo straps, and moving blankets to get your parcels to their destinations safely.

Name and Register Your Business

Once you've got a plan in place and begun buying the necessary equipment, you can officially launch your courier business. Coming up with a great name is important, so give it some serious thought. 

Finding the perfect name might not happen right away. Make sure to check with your secretary of state to find out if your name is taken, then register your website and social media accounts. You'll also want to legally register your company as an LLC before you start operating.

Get Insurance

Courier companies handle a wide range of items, from cheap to expensive. Don't take any chances while these parcels are under your care and get the right insurance plan in place to protect your vehicle and the things inside of it.

Not only do you need to be protected in the event of a collision, but you won't be able to find customers without parcel insurance. One of the first things prospective clients will ask about is your insurance policy, so get a good one and they won't have anything to worry about.

Building a Brand That Gets Ahead

Finding those first clients is always a big hurdle for a young company. A lot of it comes down to marketing and a lot of courier marketing comes down to branding. Unless you want to spend all of your time cold calling new clients, you have to create a recognizable brand for your company.

Logo and Voice

How you look and the way you speak to your customers should always be consistent so that they know what they're getting. Create a great logo and color scheme for your business. If you do this, eventually, your customers (new and old) will recognize it and associate it with you.

Similarly, your on and offline voice should be professional and courteous. New customers won't want to work with a courier that appears aloof and unconcerned, so you've got to make customer service the main priority.

Social Media

Brands are built on social media platforms. Even for a courier company, the way you portray yourself online should represent your core values. Engaging with your followers will also give you another channel to pursue and convert leads.

It's really important to stay active on social media, even if it feels like it's getting in the way of doing business. You never know who's paying attention to what you're doing and that next big contract could come from something you posted online.


The other big online brand-building tool is content. When you post something to your blog or put out a promotional video, it should always be with a specific purpose in mind.

Blog posts, for instance, are great for driving traffic and boosting your SEO numbers. For young courier companies that operate in a specific region, local SEO and geo-targeting are crucial to getting off the ground. Putting a local spin on your blog posts, therefore, can have a positive effect on your search rankings.

Ship and Earn

As you find those first customers and start to build your company's online and offline profile, you'll learn what works and what doesn't. Finding out how to start a courier business can be taught to an extent, but the best way is to just get out there and start doing it.

Follow these tips we've given you today, however, it's also important to follow your gut. Find your niche, buy your equipment, register your business, and start building your courier brand today.

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