How To Make Extra Money With A Delivery Service
If you have a truck, motorbike, van or even a small trailer, you
can use it to deliver messages or make light deliveries. Contract
with stores and businesses to deliver their messages and or
packages on a retainer plus trip basis, such as $50 per month or
year retainer and $4 per delivery (within the city) or 20 cents
Many businesses either have a need to deliver or have customers
who need delivery service.
Examples are merchandise for handicapped or elderly people,
phone-in orders and catalog store deliveries of merchandise that
comes in several days after it is ordered.
Maintaining a delivery service can be very expensive for local
merchants. They must have a truck, commercial insurance, pay and
insure a driver -- expenses that may be out of the question for a
This is why some would be happy to contract or refer delivery
chores. Even businesses that have their own services can never
predict how busy they might be at any particular time and may
need help with backlogs, especially during high sales seasons.
People who buy a new vacuum today do not want to wait a week to
have it delivered -- some will even cancel the order if it is not
delivered on time!
Deliveries are not limited to merchandise; they can be packages
of important papers, picking up items for shipment or going after
a part for a mechanic.
Your delivery business can be oriented to retail or wholesale
customers, or even both. Retail is the most profitable, but it is
less dependable and may not support a good business by itself.
For retail business, keep an ad in the paper and make sure you
have good signs on your truck that display your company name,
service and how to reach you. Some of your most effective
advertising is when people see you performing your service and
note your name and phone number. They then associate need
(theirs) with the solution (you).
If there are other delivery services in your area, you might call
find one that will agree to reciprocal back up -- you call him
when you need assistance and vice-versa.
Be prepared to enter into wholesale agreements, where your
services may be need on an irregular basis... The contract may be
for a set schedule, or it can be for up to a certain mileage and/
or number or calls per week or month. The agreement should state
what you get for deliveries, mileage or hours over and above that
called for in the contract.
You might also agree to display the client's sign (magnetic signs
are good for this purpose) when making deliveries to his
customers - and, you should assure your clients that you will
represent their interests professionally on their behalf.
When you deliver for Smith Drug Store display their sign, you ARE
Smith Drug Store as far as the customer is concerned.
A variation of the above plan is to have a referral agreement
with the stores. When customers need something delivered, the
store recommends (and even calls) you. The main difference with
this alternative is that you are working for the customer, not
The customer pays you. You are responsible for the item being
delivered while in your possession.
This variation works nicely with a retail delivery business and
requires the same type of insurance. With this arrangement the
store could hire you to pick up things for them too (as a retail
customer), but you can give them a discount for volume of trips.
The delivery service business needs advertising to make every
potential customer knows who you are, what you do, and how to
Put signs on your truck, notices on bulletin boards (the
supermarket is great for this), keep a small ad in the local
paper, and if you can afford it, a listing in the yellow pages.
Have some business cards printed and leave them with every
business or potential customer you can. If you can't afford
business cards, get a rubber stamp and make your own (use the
same stamp to "imprint" your receipts).
Print copies of your rates where you can. Call on businesses in
the area and ask them to try your services. Inform the Chamber of
Commerce, banks, real estate offices and the bus station (many
packages come in there and some may need transportation) of your
services. Leave your name and number with travel agencies, depots
and furniture stores.
This is closely allied with delivery service but is a little more
complicated. Messages and small packages (often of very important
papers) that are sent by messenger are almost always expensive or
urgent (or both). They can be deed that is needed to transact an
important real estate deal, a note that is being paid off, a
package of valuable bonds that are being traded, or an affidavit
that must be signed immediately and gotten back to the broker.
A messenger service generally requires more speed, accessibility,
reliability (human and vehicle than a delivery service.
In a smaller town environment , it should be sufficient to have a
beeper system, where the office can alert messengers in the field
to call response time.
A defense lawyer in court may not be able to wait 30 minutes for
a messenger on an errand to call in. In the larger cities a radio
telephone will become a must in order to compete with the "big
In preparing for your messenger service, plans can be made to
"get by" until the business is established, but long range plans
should include a system to provide almost instant response in
order to be the best service in town.
As mentioned above, messengers frequently are called upon to
handle not only important packages, but also expensive ones--as
in the case of negotiable bonds, and partially completed
documents concerning ownership.
Each messenger should be bonded -- not only to deter theft, but
to ensure potential customers that their important papers and
valuables will be handled only by bonded personnel -- a major
pint with some organizations.
Bonding can be obtained through most any insurance agency and is
usually not very expensive.
Another important consideration is scheduling and the
establishment of priority procedures.. The messenger must know
which deliveries (or pickups) take priority over others -- and
that you, as a company must be able to explain this policy to
If a delivery is delayed, the customer whose package is late has
much right to know the reason as the one who gets priority
treatment. The easiest way to solve this dilemma is to establish
your rates based on priority (it is also the most profitable
For example, you might charge $5 to pick up and deliver a package
up to 2 pounds that calendar days; $7.50 to do it before noon,
and $10 to "drop everything" and do it now.
Remember, however, that the $5 jobs still have to be done the
same day -- they CANNOT be postponed without serious damage to
your reputation. If you EVER have to do that, be sure and inform
your clients in advance! Remember the old, but same advice:
Surprise people with GOOD news, not bad.
There are distinct similarities in delivery and messenger
services, and there is no doubt that the two could be combined in
the less populated area where there is not much competition.
A new business could also provide both types of service
initially, and then "gravitate" towards whichever seems to be the
best. In either case, it is necessary to build a reputation for
honesty and dependability.
The biggest chance for major problem in either would be an
accident (or incident) that was not adequately insured. If you
have the necessary insurance, do a good job and advertise your
service well, you have an excellent chance of building your
service into a very rewarding business.
PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION, Box 684, Washington, DC 20004.
United States regulatory service for delivery and messenger
services. Write for information.
QUILL CORPORATION, 100 Schelter Rd.,Lincolnshire, IL 60917-4700,
312/634-4800. Office and computer supplies.
NEBS, 500 Main St.,Groton, MA 04171, 800/225-6380. Office and
ZPS, Box 581, Libertyville, IL 60048-2556. Business cards (raised
print - $11.50 per K) and letterhead stationery. Will print your
copy ready logo or design, even whole card.
IVEY PRINTING, Box 761, Meridan, TX 76665. Write for price list.
SWEDCO, Box 29, Mooresville, NC 28115. 3 line rubber stamps and
business cards. Write for catalog.
WALTER DRAKE, 4119 Drake Bldg.,Colorado Springs, CO 80940. Short
run business cards and stationery. Good quality; no choice of ink
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