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by Laura Slingo | April 20, 2020

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In this day and age, convenience is king. With food, clothing, movies, and more available at the touch of a button, consumers expect—or even demand—things instantly. As a result, delivery services are in high demand, due in no small part to the current coronavirus lockdown.

You might be considering starting a delivery service yourself, either as a side hustle or new full-time job. If so, read on to understand whether it’s worth it and to identify a few key elements you need to know before getting started.

Is it really a good time to start a new full-time or side business?

With the world still firmly in the grip of coronavirus, it might not seem the best time to start any business. But with crisis comes opportunity, and a delivery service is a perfect business idea. With much of the world in lockdown, people are increasingly reliant on delivery services to get what they need. Whether it’s vital medicine, food, or something else, there has never been a greater demand for delivery services.

Of course, like any business venture, it’s important to conduct some research first, start small, and slowly and surely build your business up. Read on for a few essential things you need to consider before starting your own delivery service.

How do I start my own delivery service?

Starting your own delivery service requires time, effort, and no small financial investment. However, there are a few essential things you need to get right.

Consider and choose your delivery service type. In general, there are four different types of delivery services: bicycle delivery, motorbike delivery, van delivery, specialist service (i.e. medical couriers, hazardous materials, temperature-controlled goods, and so on).

Naturally, the kind of delivery service you opt for will limit the kind of deliveries you can do. If you opt for a bicycle courier service, for instance, you won’t be able to deliver long-distance, but it gives you the advantage of speed if you’re working in a busy city.

If you opt for a van, it’s worth investing in some flexible van insurance. Besides protecting you against the financial hit of accidents, vans are often targets for thieves—insurance safeguards you against that.

It might be worth starting small—just a bicycle, for example, or a single vehicle—before expanding your business. This gives you a solid foundation upon which you can build your delivery service business.

How do I create a business plan that covers all the bases?

While starting a delivery service is still a good idea in 2020, you’ll be up against considerable competition. It won’t be impossible, but it’ll certainly be tricky. Consequently, it’s worth formulating a business plan to help guide you along the way.

First and foremost, your business plan needs to identify your USP (unique selling proposition), the single thing that makes you stand out against your competitors. For instance, if you use only electric vehicles, you could market yourself as an eco-friendly alternative.

As well as your USP, you also need to map out startup costs, opportunities, competition, and so on. Identify opportunities and steps required to scale up. Here is a useful template to get you started.

How do I start sourcing customers?

There are myriad ways of sourcing customers for your delivery service: social ads, local directories, business cards, flyers, search engine traffic, and so on.

But during the coronavirus, it’s also worth directly reaching out to businesses themselves. Many small and medium enterprises have pivoted their strategy as a result of the lockdown, offering delivery where previously they did not.

As such, now is the perfect time to reach out to businesses and offer your services. This strategy also helps you build up word of mouth recommendations too. Word-of-mouth is a strong method of sourcing customers. While it takes time to get your first couple of clients, if you deliver a stellar service that impresses them, they will pass on your name to others in need.

Starting a delivery service in 2020 can be a good idea—when executed correctly. You’ll have stiff competition, of course, but with virtually the entire world in lockdown, there are plenty of customers to serve.

Laura Slingo is a writer and editor that regularly pens career, marketing, and lifestyle advice for leading publications across the globe.

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