Checklist to Start a Courier Business: 32 Best Steps on Getting Started

So you want to start a courier business? Great! you’re in good company! According to Logistics News, the analysts are predicting an annual growth rate of 12.76% in North America for last-mile delivery between 2018 to 2022. The total industry is predicted to go over $53 Billion by 2027.

This is great news for you! Now here’s the tricky part: how do I get started with my courier business? And more importantly, how do I build a successful courier business? In this article, we wish to create a quick checklist to get you started!

What is a Courier?

A courier delivery business is a type of courier service that ensures the transportation of packages, envelopes, items, and paperwork to customers in a customer service area. This type of delivery service can take many forms, including bike couriers, car couriers, etc. The owner-operators can do the deliveries themselves, or they can hire employees. The small business can serve a variety of customers and package types, ranging from deliveries of food, errands, packages, legal documents, and more.

For more information, consult our previous article:
4 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Starting a Delivery Business

Checklist – 32 Steps to Getting Started

Below is a checklist for starting a courier business.


  1. Research the courier industry as a whole. What are the overall trends of the courier industry? Where are the opportunities?
  2. Do a competitive analysis of courier companies in your metropolitan area (or municipality).
  3. Do research on the existing type of courier services and see if there is an underserved market.
  4. Start talking to another owner who runs a courier business startup. Hint: Reach out to someone in another area or in a different type of market place.
  5. Go and see another local courier business, put in an order and see how they run their delivery services.
  6. Talk to 10 customers who may want your services and do a Customer discovery process with them. (ex: if you want to service lawyers, do user interviews with lawyers).
  7. Create a competitor analysis spreadsheet. Create an excel where you compare all your competitors (tye of courier service business, small business or large, type of customers, pricing etc.)
  8. Figure out transportation – lease vs buy. Note: this also depends on the delivery jobs you will do. Are you serving a flower company or delivering documents? This will influence what questions you need to ask in terms of vehicles.
  9. Looking into franchises – does this work for your business? Is this a good way for you to start a courier business
  10. Business Planning

  11. Before this phase, ensure you’ve done extensive research on what type of courier company and courier service you wish to start. When starting a courier business (or any business for that matter), research and planning is generally 80% of the work.
  12. Choose the type of courier service business you wish to run. (errands, packages, shipments)
  13. Choose your customers (or niche) for your courier service
  14. Start thinking about your courier rates. Make sure that these courier rates flow from your research.
  15. Money – Determine how much money do you want to make. We don’t like talking about money, but it’s important!
  16. Write a full courier business plan – Make sure you have these sections – financials, operations, marketing, sales, human resources)
  17. Legal and Administrative

  18. Choose a new business name and check to see if the business name is not already taken in the registry of your jurisdiction.
  19. Get a tax identification number for your business.
  20. Get a business license – all businesses need one!
  21. Get vehicle insurance (important for the operation of your business!)
  22. Choose your type of business (sole proprietorship, partnership etc.)
  23. Marketing

  24. Choose a company name
  25. Choose your branding (color schemes, fonts, look and feel)
  26. Get Business cards (there are many businesses that offer these services online)
  27. Create a website (again, there are many businesses who offer a way to set up a website for your business)
  28. Start making a list of prospective customers for your business
  29. Create an excel sheet or a CRM to keep track of customers. This will be annoying at first, but all businesses generally would agree that this is useful in the long run!
  30. Getting set up

  31. To get a start as a courier company (or any type of business for that matter), there are always things to do to get setup.
  32. Get the capital (money) you need to start a courier business
  33. Identify key employees or contractors
  34. Identify partners, suppliers that help you and your courier company.
  35. From the information gathered in the research phase, choose a vehicle that will be appropriate to your services and your deliveries.
  36. Ensure you have a great route planning tool. We recommend Upper Route Planner as we think it’s the best combination of ease of use, design, and value. However, you are free to look other options if you are so inclined!

If you’re looking for more options,
What is the Best Courier Route Planning App in 2020

Get Started!

Get started! You’re ready to go! There is much yet to do, however, you have the basics that people need to start their courier business!

Plan quickly, deliver faster, delight customers and get home early.

Everyone deserves to have simple and easy route planning.

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A courier business makes money by providing a valuable service to customers. This service includes deliveries of goods, services, or food.

Short answer: yes. It is hard to start any business. What smart business people will tell you is that you want to do your research to get data and information. This will reduce the risks and difficulties associated with starting a business.


Congratulations! You’re your own boss now! Did you think it would be easy? Sorry! There are lots of steps in the process. However, as is the case for most businesses (courier businesses, or otherwise), it’s certainly a worthwhile endeavor. We hope you found this interesting and useful. As always, let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you.

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