How to Start a Courier Business


Congratulations! If you want to start a courier business, you’ve chosen a lucrative industry. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication, though, to manage the legal aspects of deliveries and the postal service. 

In this article I’ll give you everything you need to know about how to start a courier business using the lean startup method, which means you won’t spend time and money on methods that won’t help you succeed. The lean startup method was first introduced by author Eric Reis, and he explained the method in greater detail in his 2011 book The Lean Startup Method.

Before I jump into teaching you about how to start a courier business, I’ll explain the traditional business startup method and why it isn’t effective.

The traditional flawed business startup process

Typically, when you read about the traditional startup method, the steps look something like this: 

  1. Identify a passion or skill set you can cash in on (in this case, I’m guessing it’s making deliveries).
  2. Write a courier business plan.
  3. Fund your business.
  4. Choose a location for your business.
  5. Choose a structure for your business.
  6. Decide on a business name.
  7. Form your business formally: register your business, get tax IDs for your business, apply for business licenses and permits, and open a business bank account. 
  8. Ultimately fail because this method is flawed. 

It’s easy to see why so many entrepreneurs choose this business startup method because at first glance it appears to be an efficient and well-thought-out method, until you get to the eighth step (which most literature on the traditional startup method leaves out). The traditional method makes it sound as though having a solid business plan, funding for your courier business, and acquiring a good location is all you need to start the money flowing in like honey, with little additional effort on your part. 

While the promised outcomes of the traditional startup method sound nice, in reality starting a courier business is much different. 

The reality of the traditional startup method is that you can follow its steps to the letter and still watch your business fail. As a matter of fact, four out of every five businesses that are started with the traditional business startup method fail within their first year. 

They don’t fail because their owners are too lazy or don’t have enough ambition to achieve success. Instead, they fail because their businesses were started using a startup method that makes three flawed assumptions and results in faulty foundations.

Assumption 1: You have deep and intimate knowledge of your market. 

Chances are that if you’re reading this in hopes of learning how to start a courier business, you haven’t yet mastered the courier industry. There are probably several aspects of owning a courier business that you’re unaware of, like the massive amounts of insurance that it requires, the types of vehicles you need for your delivery service, or the other equipment and materials you’ll need. 

As the owner of a new courier business, you’re not likely to have the type of expert-level knowledge and experience in the courier industry that the traditional startup method assumes you do. If you’ve worked for either the postal service or another delivery service, you probably have more experience and knowledge about what to expect from running a courier business than other entrepreneurs with no experience in the industry. However, starting a courier business yourself is far different from working at one. 

The traditional startup method’s first flawed assumption is that you have comprehensive knowledge of the courier industry. Most people simply don’t have this knowledge and experience when they first open a new courier business. It can take decades of owning a courier business to obtain this level of knowledge. So it makes no sense to assume that you have this much experience while you’re learning how to start a courier business. 

Starting a courier business using the lean startup method means you get hands-on experience in the industry and learn while you run your business. It’s easier to start a courier business this way because you aren’t attempting to start your business and learn everything there is to learn about the courier industry at the same time. Because it’s easier, you have a better chance of running a successful courier business without the stress and strain imposed by the traditional startup method. 

Assumption 2: Your needs and wants are more important than your customers’ needs and wants. 

Everybody knows that the main objective of any business is to make money, and your courier business will be no different. However, if you don’t pay any mind to the wants and needs of your customers, your courier business won’t be open for long. 

You’re encouraged to think about the reasons that YOU want to start a courier business when you use the traditional startup method, rather than what your customers need from a courier business or delivery service or why they would pay for your services. 

If you don’t get feedback from your customers about what they want from a courier business or delivery service, your advertisements will come off like “Please pay for my courier services.” Obviously, this will not only make your business look bad, but is also an ineffective marketing technique, to say the least. 

If you use the lean startup method to start a courier business, you’ll learn about your potential customers and what they would like to see in a new courier business, as well as gain insight into other courier businesses that can help you understand the industry and what’s expected of your new business. Are there rural sections of your service area that have trouble receiving deliveries? Is there only one local courier business in your area, leaving customers wanting some variety?

The second of these flawed assumptions is that your needs as a new business owner are more important than the wants and market demands of your customers. 

You’re encouraged to ask customers what they think of other courier services or delivery services, as well as what they hope to see from a new business when you start a courier business using the lean startup method. There are also fewer financial risks and less stress associated with starting a new business with the lean startup method because you aren’t expected to make monumental financial risks on an untested and unproven business using this method. The information that customers provide you is vitally important because it will help you determine which products and services you want to provide, as well as shape your courier business. 

Assumption 3: You have unlimited cash to burn. 

I’m sure everyone has, at one time, fantasized about having a never-ending supply of money, but that isn’t a reality for anyone, sadly. Even the wealthiest people in the world have a finite supply of cash, and they have to monitor their spending habits to ensure they remain wealthy. Eventually you’ll need to take some financial risks to reach your goal of owning a successful courier business, but there’s a difference between making a calculated financial risk and blowing through money like there’s no tomorrow. 

When you start a courier business using the lean startup method, you’ll start with a local courier business, using bicycle delivery services, or a couple of vehicles to deliver packages to a small service area, which probably pales in comparison to your grand fantasies of delivering packages to people nationwide and becoming a household name like UPS or Fedex. 

If you were going to start a courier business using the traditional business startup method, you would start with one brick-and-mortar store, a fleet of vehicles to deliver packages, and business insurance immediately, without learning which marketing strategies and business tactics work best for your courier service. This is because the traditional startup method assumes that you have the money to fund a large-scale nationwide courier service, that you’ve spent time networking to make important contacts in the courier and delivery service industry, and that you have the knowledge and experience necessary to jump right in and open a major delivery service. 

When you’re learning how to start a courier business, it’s important to know that the cost to start a courier service can range between less than $100 and more than $35,000. There are a lot of different reasons for this wide range, and factors that contribute to it include things like the cost of delivery vehicles and their insurance, the cost of business insurance and the type of insurance policy you choose for your courier service, and various business licensing fees. On the more expensive end of that scale, $35,000 is a lot of money. The average American couldn’t afford to replace that much money if they were to lose it due to risky business decisions, and I’m willing to bet that it would be a crushing blow to your finances as well. 

But if you start your courier business using the lean startup method, you’ll not only start your business in smaller, more bite-sized increments, but also network and make important connections with owners of other local businesses, learn about other courier businesses, and even begin to make money before you’re expected to take on any risky financial investments. 

If you’d rather own a successful courier service instead of one that becomes a statistic—like the four in every five businesses that were started using the traditional startup method—then the lean startup method is the way to go. 

What is the lean startup method?

Three core ideas are at the center of the lean startup method: build, measure, and learn

When you’re learning how to start a courier business using the lean startup method, it’s important to know that you’ll be experimenting with various product and marketing ideas to find what works and to constantly improve your small business. Another important aspect of using the lean startup method to start a courier service is finding the cheapest, easiest, and most effective ways to sell your products and services. You dive right in and start learning about the courier industry, but you do so more gradually than the traditional startup method allows for. When comparing the two startup methods, the lean startup method is superior because using the traditional startup method automatically puts your new business at a disadvantage. You’re required to create and stick to a business plan before you really understand your courier company or how to run it. 

The first phase of the lean startup method is the build phase. You’ll survey local customers about problems they experience with other courier businesses, identify a problem that your courier service can solve, and finally develop a solution to the problem that satisfies your customer base. Are customers upset because there is only one delivery service in their area? Is it difficult for rural customers to receive deliveries? Do other courier businesses only deliver packages during certain times, or keep odd customer support hours that aren’t convenient for customers? 

Next is the measure phase. During this phase you get to test the solution that you developed during the build phase. The measure phase provides you with loads of vital information that you can use to determine whether your solution will be effective for your courier company. What do people think about your delivery service? Are packages carefully delivered on time? Have people noticed that your courier service has been delivering a lot of damaged packages? What is your top-selling service or product? Have you made money making deliveries and selling shipping products? 

The third phase of the lean startup method is the learn phase. During this phase you will obtain feedback from your customer base to learn how satisfied they are with your deliveries, packages, products, and the overall customer experience with your courier company. Are customers satisfied with the quality of the shipping products your courier service sells? Which products do they like best? How do your products and courier services compare to other courier businesses in the area? If one of your ideas turns out to be a failure, you can scrap that idea and focus on ideas that are more successful and profitable without wasting time and money on failing strategies, ultimately leading to a more successful small business for you. 

Why use the lean startup method?

If you knew that an expensive product had an 80% chance of failing in some way within a year of purchase, would you still buy it? This may seem like a silly question. Who would pay a bunch of money for something that would just fail in less than a year? However, this is the reality of the traditional business startup method. Four out of every five businesses that are started with the traditional startup method close their doors within their first year of business. 

You’re required to take significant financial risks when you use the traditional business startup method to start a courier service. Market research and experience in the industry are an afterthought and you dive headfirst into the industry instead, hoping for business success. But as the owner of a courier business started using the lean startup method, you’ll frequently test products and services and get feedback from your customer base about your company so that you can make changes based on their opinions and comments. Starting a courier service using the lean startup method will provide your company with an automatic advantage over other courier businesses that were started using the traditional startup method. Among other reasons, this is because you’ll create a community for your courier service and it will eventually become a customer base for your business. 

Starting your courier company with the lean startup method means that the startup costs of your company will be less than the costs of a company that was started using the traditional startup method. The traditional business startup method assumes that you have enough money to cover the cost of starting a large scale delivery service. In contrast, the lean startup method allows you to learn about the industry, develop marketing strategies, and run the business to make money before you dive headfirst into running a large business. Because your delivery service won’t be burdened by the added stress of making risky financial investments during its infancy, it has a higher probability of surviving beyond its first year and becoming successful. 

Why am I so confident that the lean startup method will work better for your courier service than the traditional business startup method? That’s easy to explain. I’ve started five different businesses over the course of eight years using the lean startup method. Of those five, three were successfully sold and the other two are still in operation to this day. I’ve helped thousands of people start the businesses of their dreams using the lean startup method, and I can help you start your courier business as well!

How do you use the lean startup method to start your courier business?

Every time I start a new business I use the lean startup method and the main ideas that drive it: build, measure, and learn. The lean startup method will drastically reduce the startup costs of your delivery business, while also giving you solid business foundations and the skills and experience needed to succeed in the delivery field. You can see how this is a better option when compared with the shaky foundations and high startup costs that the traditional business startup method brings with it. 


The build phase is the first phase of the lean startup method, during which you’ll begin creating your courier service. You’ll accomplish this by identifying a problem that local people have with other courier businesses in the area and in the courier field, designing a community of people who will become the customer base of your company, recognizing an opportunity to provide a solution, and developing a solution. 

Completing this phase is important because you’ll gain important information that will help you determine whether your business ideas are feasible and whether the solutions you’ve developed will suit the needs of your customers. You’ll come away from the build phase with a solid business foundation for your delivery company, as well as the skills and experience necessary to run the business successfully. 

Step 1: Identify a problem

The first step is to identify a problem that your potential clients have that you can solve. 

As ideal as it would be to jump right in and start your courier service hoping that people purchase your delivery services, this isn’t an effective way to start your business. Every day new delivery businesses show up on the market, and customers can’t spend money at each one. It’s far more effective to give your customers a convincing reason to buy your products and use your delivery services. 

The hard part is finding this convincing reason. 

To get started finding this reason, you need to find what is referred to in the business world as a “pain point.” This is a problem or concern that causes customers inconvenience or pain so much that they begin seeking a solution. One of two things happens when customers seek solutions: they either find a solution themselves, or they opt to pay someone else to provide them with a solution. In this instance, you want your courier services to be the solution. 

You can’t simply create a delivery service and then provide customers with the same courier services and marketing tactics that other courier businesses in the area are providing. It’s more effective to identify a problem that people in your area have and a way to solve it using your delivery company. Do people complain about the high costs of using other courier services? Would they like a delivery service that makes deliveries more than once a week (which is a problem with courier services in rural areas)? Or would they like a delivery service that will take more care with their packages so they don’t deliver damaged goods? 

Pay attention to the complaints and opinions that customers express. This information is vital for your own courier company, especially in its beginning stages. Do people think that the shipping products that other companies provide are ugly? Do they want a company that hires friendlier drivers? Do they want to be able to keep track of deliveries online? Would they like to be able to schedule deliveries or pickups online? 

Common problems will become evident to you once you’ve talked to several customers, and you can use these common problems as questions on surveys with future customers. You could ask how much these problems affect customers, as this is important information. Ask about other couriers, the overall customer satisfaction level with other companies, the types of services people most often purchase from delivery couriers, how they feel about the vehicles and drivers that other companies use, and how fast and in what condition their packages arrive. Use this information to identify a problem you can solve. 

How do you choose which problem to focus on?

Unfortunately, there’s no strict method for this process specified in the lean startup method. However, here are a few tips that should make choosing the right problem to focus on a bit easier: 

  1. Choose a problem that affects many people. If it’s not something that affects the majority of people that use other couriers,1` it’s not going to provide you with many customers. Are there enough couriers in your area? Do they provide online services to make deliveries more convenient? Does the local delivery company use beat up, shoddy-looking vehicles, or not vet their drivers enough? 
  2. Make sure that you choose something that is a “pain point.” If you don’t choose a problem that people want a solution to because it inconveniences them, it isn’t a problem that people care enough about to pay for. Do people living on the outskirts of town deal with inconsistent delivery schedules? Do drivers mark packages as “delivered” at the end of the day without delivering them, so they can go home and deliver the packages the next day? Do customers have problems with creepy drivers acting unprofessional while delivering their packages? 
  3. Choose a problem that you can reasonably solve. If people want same-day delivery on all packages, that’s not going to be something that you’re going to be able to provide. But it’s likely that you can provide same-day service for local deliveries, and you could even team up with local businesses to provide this service. 

The objective of this goal is to identify a problem that affects a lot of customers, is a source of pain or inconvenience in their daily lives, and that they’re desperate for a solution to. This combination of factors means that customers will be more likely to pay for the solution you provide them with, and your company will have a better chance of success. 

Step 2: Build a community

The second step involves building a community for your courier business. This community should consist of people affected by the problem you’ve identified in the first step. The good news is that it’s easier than ever to create a community online using various social media platforms thanks to our technology-driven society. You could easily start up a Reddit forum, Instagram page, Facebook group, or all of the above. Upon completion of this step, you’ll have a community teeming with people who want a solution to the problem you’ve identified, people who will become potential customers. During this stage you could also get started with developing marketing strategies and branding your company. If you were to use the traditional business startup method to start your company, completing all this would take at least three steps to complete, but you can accomplish it all in one convenient step with the lean startup method. 

Online communities are a great way to reach more customers, but it’s a good idea to diversify your community with offline options as well. This can be accomplished by creating a club or meetup group with regular meetings in a local establishment. There are benefits to having offline communities, like the face-to-face interactions you can have with customers that provide them with a more personalized experience, and the ability to obtain feedback in real time, as opposed to waiting for online comments to roll in. Interacting with customers in real life can make them feel a close connection with you, leading them to develop a more favorable opinion of your business. 

It’s also a good idea to check out local business groups, like the Chamber of Commerce, because they can often provide your small business with a variety of benefits. 

Reasons to build a community:

  1. You can not only learn more about the problem you’ve identified, but how it affects members of your community as well. 
  2. Creating a community provides you with a platform to develop your marketing and advertising strategies as well as your brand. 
  3. You will have a customer base that you’ve primed and prepared before you’ve even opened your business. This is an advantage that other businesses started with the traditional startup method don’t have because they are forced to basically develop a customer base from scratch after they start their businesses. 
  4. When you create a community for your business, you create the opportunity to obtain funding for it before it’s officially open. 

How to build a community:

  1. Create a Reddit forum or Facebook group, using social media platforms to start your community. You can use your social media group to share posts about various trends in the courier and delivery field, such as interesting and creative stationery products or related memes and stories. You’ll notice that when you consistently post content, start discussions, reply to comments, and interact with your community, your community will grow steadily. 
  2. Create polls for customers to interact with. It’s not a marketing secret that people love interactive media. It’s brilliant marketing because your customers will feel like they’re able to voice their opinions, and you’ll gain followers and advertising for your business. 
  3. Post pictures from various courier-related events on Instagram. Yes, there actually are courier-related events and conventions, such as the Package Fulfillment, Logistics & Delivery Expo in Ohio. You can simply Google “courier events” and scroll through to learn more and find content for your page.
  4. You could use nearly any social media platform to reach out to small business owners, the owners of other local businesses, other couriers in your service area, and people interested in supporting local businesses. These relationships will benefit your company in the future. From these relationships you’ll learn insider information about owning a small business and running a courier business, including the ways other couriers are delivering their packages, the types of insurance hassles you may encounter, the process to obtain a business license, and information about state regulations relating to delivery vehicles. 

When you create an online community for your business, you provide your clients a place to voice their concerns and opinions, which ultimately means they’ll provide you with a lot of useful feedback. From a marketing standpoint, this is great for you as a business owner because people will give you this information without you having to conduct a complicated survey campaign. They’ll tell you everything you want to know about other couriers and about your own business,positive and negative. They’ll let you in on what sorts of services they’re used to buying, the shipping products they typically buy, how satisfied they are with other couriers, and the products and services they’d consider buying from you. This information is vitally important for your business, which is why completing this step is so crucial. 

Another reason that creating a community for your business is so important is that you can use it as free advertising for your business. As your community members interact with your posts, make comments and take part in discussions, they’re actually advertising your business. As your community grows and interacts with your posts, so will your community or page, and it will become more visible to more people. And once your business gains a reputation for interacting with community members, your brand will grow even more. 

Step 3: Identify a solution opportunity

It would be ideal if problems were solved by simply identifying them, but, alas, that’s not how it works. So in this step you’ll start thinking about ways to solve the problem yourself. 

While you’re conducting market research and building your community, you should be asking questions that pertain to the problem you’ve identified, like their satisfaction levels with other couriers, the products they’re currently buying, and how they could improve, the advertising campaigns that other couriers are using, the product information available on their website, whether they provide options to schedule deliveries or buy products on their website through an e-commerce store, and the overall customer experience with other businesses. The easiest way to get this information is to turn to your community and ask questions. Once you have some information, you can start brainstorming solutions. 

It’s important to learn about the advertising campaigns and sales tactics of other businesses, the types of products and services they provide, and the quality of their products and services to understand the user experience on your competitor’s website and the services and products potential clients want to see from your business. 

Step 4: Develop a solution

This is the step where you’ll develop the solution to the problem you’ve identified. This isn’t something that should be taken lightly but instead should take careful consideration and creativity. The right solution will be one that your community is satisfied with, one that meets their needs so much that your potential clients would be willing to pay for it. 

How to develop your solution:

  1. Brainstorm solutions that your company could provide. If clients have been telling you that they want a particular product that they can’t find at other businesses, then that should be the first product that your business stocks. If people have voiced a desire for drivers who are friendly and helpful while delivering packages, then that should be part of your brand. 
  2. Turn to your community for feedback about your solution ideas. Because your solution should meet the needs of your community, it’s important that your community likes your solution. The majority of your customer base should ideally be in favor of your solution idea and agree that it’s sufficient to solve their problem. It’s also a good idea to speak with other couriers during this time to find out whether your solution is even possible. 
  3. Create your MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Your MVP is the product that is the cheapest and easiest to produce and brings in the most profit for your business. 

You’ll know you have the right solution when you find something that meets the needs of your community, has the lowest production costs, and is something you can easily provide to customers. When you adequately develop the MVP for your business, it won’t be strained by production costs, which means that your company has a good chance of succeeding beyond its first year. 


The second phase of the lean startup method is the measure phase. When I say “measure,” I don’t mean “grab your ruler.” Instead, you can think of it in the scientific sense of the word, synonymous with “test” or “experiment.” This is the phase where you’ll test if your MVP and your solution will work. 

Step 5: Test your MVP

After you’ve formulated and developed a solution, checked to make sure that your community found your solution adequate, and developed the MVP for your business, it’s time to run some tests on it. You should get used to testing because you’ll be experimenting with various aspects of your business over the years as part of the lean startup method. 

Many factors go into creating your MVP, such as the vehicles your business will use, the insurance plan you choose, and the shipping products and services you sell. One of the best parts of the lean startup method is that if you choose a product or advertising campaign that doesn’t work, you can simply start the build, measure, learn process over again and find tactics that do work. 

It may sound funny to test your MVP before you’ve even received funding or opened your business, but it makes sense if you really think about it. If you were a loan officer, would you be more likely to award funding to an entrepreneur who came to you with a theoretical business plan and an untested business idea, or the person who came to you with not only a solid business plan, but also thorough market research, a community of potential clients, and proof that they could sell their products and services? Most financial institutions are more likely to fund the latter example. It’s the better bet. 

Testing your MVP may seem like a daunting task, but it’s quite simple. It will also get your business some recognition and word of mouth advertisement. 

You can test the MVP of a courier business a few different ways. You could develop a line of trendy shipping products, stationery, and office supplies. It’s likely that other couriers only sell bland manila envelopes and clear packing tape, so you’ll have an advantage over other couriers in your area if you offer creative options and designs. 

To test this product you could go to various events and venues, set up a table or booth, and hand out free samples of office supplies and stationery along with business cards. Some venue ideas include flea markets or farmer’s markets, local festivals, and job fairs. Consider the venue that you choose carefully. You’ll want to set up in a place that makes sense for you to be handing out samples of office supplies and affiliated products. Bars and music festivals, for instance, may not be the best venues for testing your solution. 

Ask customers questions about your products. What do they like or dislike about them? How do they compare to the products that other businesses are selling? What colors are the most popular? Do they like the quality and thickness of the paper? Are they likely to buy more?

You can determine whether this test was a success if people are enthusiastic and there’s a lot of buzz about your products and your business. Ideally, your stand will be popular and have lots of traffic. If you’re not getting much traffic or people aren’t excited about your products or asking questions about your services, then this test didn’t go as well as planned. 

Step 6: Sell your MVP

By the time you reach the sixth step, you’ve tested your MVP and learned a bit about the market. Now it’s time to actually sell your MVP. But selling your MVP when you’re using the lean startup method is a far cry from the booming delivery company of your dreams. 

This step is important because it’s the last step you must complete before you get feedback from your customers to improve your business and then go on to receive funding and expand your operation. Selling your MVP this way gives you an advantage over other couriers that were started using the traditional startup method because you’ll prove that your products and services will sell, that you can run a successful business, and that your business deserves funding. 

Since your business involves delivery services, you’ll actually have to deliver some packages. It’s a good idea to set up an office (even if you use your house as your home base temporarily) and a website with an e-commerce store for online orders. If you don’t have a vehicle to use for deliveries, you could buy a bicycle and do local deliveries. (In fact, if you start this way then your insurance rates will be far cheaper later because you won’t need automobile insurance for a bike.) Encourage other local businesses, such as restaurants, to use your delivery service. You could offer them a discounted rate on services, and once people learn that you’re teamed up with local businesses to deliver their goods, they will talk and raise awareness about your company through word of mouth. If you’ve started with a vehicle it will be much easier to service a wider area, and taking service requests from your website should be a breeze. 

When you sell your MVP you’ll learn more about your business, develop a solid marketing strategy, learn how to legally conduct business in your state, and earn a group of loyal customers that love your business and your products. 


The learn phase is the last phase you need to complete in the lean startup method. After you’ve built your small business and measured its success, you need to get feedback about your products and services to learn about how well your solution fills the needs of your community. You can use this information to improve your services and adapt them to fit the desires of your customer base, which will lead to its growth. 

Step 7: Get feedback on your product idea

You should now have a community of devoted followers for your small business with whom you regularly interact, a problem that affects your community that you’ve successfully identified, a solution that your community is in favor of, and an MVP that you’ve both tested and sold. This process may have been a long one, but you should now understand the courier field and possess the skills necessary to run the business successfully. You should also know the monthly cost of running your business and how much of a profit your business can make. The final step of the lean startup method is to get feedback about your product idea. Here’s how to best use the feedback to learn, then improve and grow your business: 

  • Start by asking your community members which of your products or services they like the most, specifically what they like about your products or services, how your services compare to those of your competitors, and what products or services your customers would like to see more of from your small business. 
  • Carefully analyze the information you receive. Do customers have an enjoyable experience with your business? Do they like the quality of your products? What is your most popular service? Which office or shipping supplies sell the best? Are there products or services that customers repeatedly request in the comments on your website? 
  • Take the feedback that your community has provided and use it to improve your business. This will lead to more loyal, happy customers over time because you’re tailoring your business to meet their demands. And happy customers mean more prosperity. 

With social media you can get most of this feedback with little effort on your part. Create polls on your social media accounts and set up a survey or suggestion section on your website. Read through the reviews that customers leave about your business, as well, because they’re loaded with useful information. 

After you’ve collected a reasonable amount of data and you have an understanding of the desires of your community, it’s time to start making changes based on the feedback you’ve received. 

It’s also a good idea to watch the marketing and ad campaigns of your competitors. Every new product, sale, or ad campaign is an attempt by your competitors to provide a solution to a problem that your community faces. If these attempts fail, then you’ll know to avoid them. But if they succeed, you’ll know that you should implement similar measures for your own business. 

Feedback will not only help you grow and improve your services, it will also help you compete with other businesses in the same field, which will wildly benefit your business overall. 

What’s next? 

Now you’ve proven your solution will sell and obtained valuable customer feedback to help you improve your products and services, all of which will guide your business towards success. From here you can expand your business to include a brick-and-mortar office location and at least one delivery vehicle. This will of course require a business license, automobile insurance for your delivery vehicle, and some sort of funding, such as a business loan, to make the dream come true. With all the experience you’ve acquired, drafting a business plan to apply for a business loan should be a simple matter. 

There’s still a lot of work to be done once you’ve obtained funding for your business. 

You’re going to need to hire employees, which means you’ll need an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. This is a federal tax identification number that identifies businesses in much the same way that a social security number identifies individuals. Aside from obtaining your federal tax identification number, you should also open a business bank account for your courier company at this time. 

Choosing a business structure for your courier service is important as well. There are many to choose from, such as a sole proprietorship, corporation, or limited liability company (LLC). If you’d like to learn more about forming an LLC to protect your personal assets while keeping them separate from your business assets, check out my article on How to Form an LLC. 

You’ll also need to hire a registered agent. A registered agent is an individual or business that agrees to receive mail and legal documents on behalf of your business. To learn more about what a registered agent can do for your business, check out my article on the Best Registered Agent. 

Choosing the right office location for your courier service is an important decision. No one wants to have to travel to some remote office location just to return or ship their package. You want a fairly popular location with lots of foot traffic that will be convenient for your customers to visit. 

Here is a list of some other things you’ll need to do to ensure success once you choose a brick-and-mortar office location for your business: 

  1. Hire employees: Of course, because shipping and deliveries need to be accurate and timely, you’ll want to hire a team of competent employees you can trust. Here’s a list of some of the employees you should hire for your courier business: delivery drivers, inventory managers, processing clerks, front-desk reception, security, operations managers, and overnight package handlers. 
  2. Follow state requirements: It’s pretty likely that you’ll need to obtain a business license in your state, but you may also be required to pay certain taxes or get local permits and purchase specific types of insurance. For instance, if you choose a bicycle courier service, you won’t need to purchase automobile insurance, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need other types of insurance. 
  3. Vehicle upkeep: You’ll be required to obtain automobile insurance to ensure that each vehicle can legally operate. You’ll also want to hire mechanics that are familiar with the particular type of vehicle you’ve chosen, who perform routine vehicle maintenance to your standards. It’s important that you make sure each vehicle is safe to drive for long distances each day.
  4. Find the right vendors: It’s important that the products you sell to your customers are high quality and meet your expectations, so choose the right vendor to purchase them from. Some vendors will offer you wholesale deals on products, but then skimp on the quality. So make sure that you vet your vendors properly. 
  5. Switch on the utilities: Once you’ve achieved your dream and obtained a brick-and-mortar office location, it’s time to turn on the lights! Here are some of the utilities you’ll need: electric, water, heating and air, wifi, and a good security system. 
  6. Business Software: Business software is important to any business, no matter how big or small. It can help you keep track of deliveries, sales, the activities of your employees, and it can help with both payroll and taxes. Read more about what business software can do for your small business in my Best Business Software article. 
  7. Obtain legal advice: Because you’re in the business of handling other people’s stuff, it’s a good idea to obtain legal advice for all the legal questions that may come up during the course of your business operations. Luckily, the advent of online legal services makes this easy. Online legal services can help you with a slew of operations, including ensuring that your contracts are legal and enforceable, allowing you a certain amount of free legal counsel per month, and printing legal documents. For more about what online legal services can do for you, check out my article on the Best Online Legal Services


Congratulations! Starting a courier business requires a lot of hard work. And it’s scary to know that four out of every five businesses that are started with the traditional business startup method will fail during their first year of business. But when you choose to open your courier business using the lean startup method, you give your business a fighting chance at success. Here are the steps to start your courier business using the lean startup method: 

  1. Identify a problem.
  2. Build a community.
  3. Identify a solution opportunity.
  4. Develop a solution.
  5. Test your Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
  6. Sell your MVP.
  7. Get feedback on your product idea.

This process isn’t completed once you’ve finished the last step. Instead, you’ll complete the build, measure, and learn cycle dozens of times over the life of your business and it will help keep your business on the track to success. 

Starting a business is always hard, regardless of the startup method you choose. But if you’re serious about starting a courier business and have the drive and ambition to see it through, that and the success rates associated with the lean startup method will give your courier business a much better chance than most small businesses. 

Congratulations again on choosing to start a courier business, and best of luck to you on your business journey!

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