If you've always dreamed of leaving the paid workforce to start and manage your own business, but live far outside the city limits, you may be wondering whether you have any viable business options other than opening a restaurant or small grocery store. Fortunately, there are a number of niches that often remain unfilled in these areas. With most rural communities offering lower costs of living than their urban neighbors, you may find that the financial barriers to entry for many niche businesses are surprisingly low. Read on to learn more about private courier services to determine whether this type of business could fill a legitimate need in your rural area.
What do private courier services do?
At the most basic level, private couriers deliver mail, packages, and messages to their intended recipients for a small fee. While you may be accustomed to receiving packages through one of the major shipping companies, local or privately-held courier services still make up a decent chunk of the total market in this area.
These courier services often thrive in areas where the major shipping companies have trouble operating. For example, small towns in mountainous or snowy terrain or on islands with limited bridge or ferry access for large vehicles. In addition, many individuals who are shipping products or delivering documents locally may not want to pay the higher cost (and take the extra time) to have their items sent to a central sorting facility in another part of the state before being trucked back and delivered just a few miles down the road.
Is a private courier service a viable option in your rural area?
Each rural community is different, and you'll likely first want to visit some local businesses to discuss their shipping needs or talk to friends and relatives to determine whether a courier service would be well-received in your town. In some cases, you may find that your area's largest employers are unhappy with their current shipping services—in others, you could quickly hit a wall as you realize the prices you'll need to charge to earn a profit may not be competitive with the larger national courier services.
However, one benefit of starting a courier business in a rural area is the flexibility you'll have to avoid specialization and broaden your market. In addition to delivering documents and packages, you may be able to partner with local flower shops to take over their delivery services (which can often be a financial drain), or even with the local court system to serve legal documents to litigants.
What will you need to do to start your business?
From a financial perspective, a rural courier business can often be started on a shoestring budget, using your current vehicle or even enlisting your spouse or children to help you collect and deliver packages. You'll likely also need to purchase a dolly or other small wheeled cart to help handle large packages, furniture, or appliances. Once you've secured transportation and the accessories needed to tackle packages of all sizes, you'll be ready to go on the service side of your business.
However, you'll also need to invest some funds into financial planning and tax preparation. Before you begin to solicit customers, you'll likely want at least a rudimentary accounting spreadsheet that can help you accurately track your business income and expenses. As a courier, you will probably also need a credit card reader or other device that can help you take credit card payments on the go. These expenses should be relatively minor and will allow you to hit the ground running. You can get a better idea of what you need by contacting companies like Morningside Courier Systems.