How to Start a Medical Courier Service

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A medical courier service is a business responsible for transporting medical items, such as lab specimens. Medical offices commonly use couriers to transport medical specimens to laboratories for analysis. A medical courier service may also deliver medical supplies, transport prescription drugs, deliver blood and organs, and transport X-rays and medical notes. Starting a medical courier service typically does not require licensing, other than driver's licenses for your couriers; however, additional security clearance may be required for the transporting of such things as blood and organs. Several steps are necessary in establishing a medical courier service.

Establish a physical office where you can handle the administrative functions of your courier business, such as taking orders, managing pickups and deliveries and sending invoices to medical clients. If you are starting a small courier service, you may be able to use a spare room of your home as an office; however, as your medical courier service grows you may likely need to rent or lease office space.

Acquire vehicles for the pickup and delivery of medical supplies or specimens. The type of medical items you're transporting may dictate the type of vehicle needed. Unless your drivers are transporting large medical supplies -- such as wheelchairs -- passenger cars are typically sufficient. When starting your business, you may also choose to use your personal vehicle to keep expenses down; however, you will need a commercial auto insurance policy.

Place local ads to find prospective courier drivers. Interview and screen candidates to find responsible drivers for your business. Order driving history reports and background checks for each of your drivers -- hiring drivers with clean driving records and criminal background reports will help reduce liabilities.

When you are starting out, you may opt to handle all of the deliveries yourself, or contract with drivers on an "on call" basis to keep startup expenses down.

Obtain insurance for your medical courier service. You will need a commercial auto insurance policy that covers all of your drivers and vehicles, as well as a general liability policy to cover incidents and losses that occur during the course of business. Ideally, your general liability policy should have a limit of at least $1 million to adequately protect your business. You may also need a courier insurance policy, which covers the costs if medical supplies and specimens are lost or stolen during transit.

Enroll your drivers in an infection control course in your area. An infection control course typically covers topics such as disease transmission, handling of biohazardous materials, waste disposal and maintaining a sanitary environment. This will help increase the safety of your drivers and may make your service more attractive to potential clients.

This course may not be applicable to all types of delivery; for example, a driver transporting new wheelchairs, ostomy supplies or prescriptions will not likely need an infection control course. Conversely, this training may be essential for a driver transporting blood, organs or lab specimens.

Contact nursing homes, physicians' offices, laboratories, skilled care facilities, pharmacies, medical supply businesses and hospitals in your area to seek out clients for your business. Medical and health care professionals are busy people who typically avoid telephone sales pitches, so visiting prospective clients in person may be a more efficient way of getting your business in front of them.

Also, contact nonprofit organizations in your area that provide services for elderly and disabled people, as well as national organizations that specialize in medical ordering and transporting.

If you will be taking personal delivery orders as well as commercial ones (for instance, picking up and delivering prescriptions for individual clients), you may also find it profitable to post fliers in senior citizens' centers, pharmacies, physical therapy facilities and other locations that target clients who may need your services.

Ask for referrals as you secure clients. Medical and health care professionals may be able to refer you to other facilities and individuals in your area who need your services.

Tips & Warnings

  • Order professional brochures detailing the services your company offers, as well as professionally printed business cards. These items project a polished image for your company, which can help clients feel more confident doing business with you.
  • Avoid relying on your personal auto insurance policy to cover you when delivering in your personal vehicle. Your personal auto policy typically will not pay for damage you cause or incur when delivering and conducting business operations. Your insurance company may offer business or commercial coverage to protect you against liability and financial loss.

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