How to Run a Delivery Service

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Be prepared to deliver anything
Be prepared to deliver anything (Image: All images: MorgueFile.com)

Because people are too busy spending their lives working, playing golf, or toting their children around to various activities, there is always a market to establish a delivery service. The ability to have a dependable person who is able to follow through and deliver the goods is always a plus, and even in a bad economy, people are willing to pay extra to streamline their lives, and not have to make a few extra trips weekly.

Things You'll Need

  • Reliable vehicle
  • Cell phone with email capability

Establish the parameters of your business. This includes what geographical area you're planning to service, the types of items you plan on delivering (prescriptions, dry cleaning, groceries, miscellaneous items) and what days and hours you plan on operating. Also you have to determine your pricing structure, whether you charge a flat rate for deliveries or charge by time, mileage or extra effort (doing the grocery shopping for someone, for example).

A lot of people need their prescriptions delivered
A lot of people need their prescriptions delivered

Have a reliable vehicle that can withstand the punishment of stop and go travel, is hearty enough to brave bad weather and is economical enough to not drain your profit.

Get yourself a service vehicle
Get yourself a service vehicle

Promote your business, based on what you plan on delivering. If you're going the general delivery route, align yourself with the types the businesses that depend on good partners: pharmacies, dry cleaners, grocery stores, liquor stores and take-out restaurants. Use direct mail to get the word out, and target your demographic, whether it's the elderly, working parents or simply people with money that can't be bothered with the minutia of daily life.

Delivering dry cleaning is an oft-requested service
Delivering dry cleaning is an oft-requested service

Make yourself available at all times. This means having a cell phone, preferably one with email capability, so you're always reachable.

Pay attention to your client's requests
Pay attention to your client's requests

Tweak your business model to be more effective, once you've started to establish yourself. That could mean getting into a daily routine by planning a schedule (pharmacy, dry cleaner and grocery store) or a schedule based on geography (north side of town on Monday/Wednesday/Friday and south side (Tuesday/Thursday), for example.

Be careful if you offer liquor delivery
Be careful if you offer liquor delivery

Have a backup plan available for any situations. This means having the ability to procure a vehicle on a moment's notice, a backup worker (or two) in case things get crazy, or if you suddenly get sick.

Fast delivery keeps fresh food fresh
Fast delivery keeps fresh food fresh

Tips & Warnings

  • Goodwill is mandatory in the service business. Be prepared to make after-hours exchanges and credits to unhappy customers, all with a smile on your face.
  • Think long and hard beforehand if you plan on offering tobacco and/or alcohol products in your delivery service. Your current auto insurance probably doesn't cover a commercial venture, so check into that.

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