Interview with Stuart Warner
Earlier this month, we were contacted by Stuart Warner, who runs www.Successful-Home-Based-Business.com/, who asked whether we would be interested in doing an interview for him.
We wanted to know whether any of you had any thoughts or feelings to share about starting up. Post them in the comments below!
Sam’s Interview with Stuart Warner:
How did you get to start your CourierPros.com website?
In 2009, the economy was in free fall. So many people were losing their jobs with no real prospect of finding meaningful work. We started to think that maybe we could help a few of them who might have considered courier service opportunities. CourierPros.com started as a way to provide a little guidance and inspiration to anyone looking to start their own private delivery business.
What information do you offer on the site?
Often, the hardest part of starting anything new is overcoming the huge wall of perceived “unknowns.” How will I set prices? How will I find clients? What licenses do I need? What about insurance? What kind of equipment do I need? How do I set up a website? There are a seemingly endless number of them. CourierPros.com aims to demystify the whole process by showing how simple some of the answers to those questions are. Once the details of starting a courier business don’t seem so scary, the process becomes both more fun and more satisfying.
What are the main challenges to someone starting a home based courier business?
When just starting out, some people struggle to stay motivated while searching for their first clients. It can be a tedious process, contacting potential businesses and selling your services. But we’ve seen some of our motivated starters finding half a dozen clients in a matter of days.
The process of finding clients isn’t so difficult, but staying motivated in the face of rejection can be a real challenge, particularly for those who haven’t ever had to “sell” to anyone before.
How much money does someone need to set up as a courier?
As always, it depends, but often, less than $500. If you already have a reliable vehicle and a cell phone, then you don’t need much in the way of equipment when starting out. One of the greatest mistakes people make is thinking they need a fleet of matching, logo-wrapped vehicles, a crew of uniformed employees, and a flashy advertising campaign to get started. You don’t need this stuff to start.
What people fail to realize is that the things that will make or break you when you start out cannot be bought. Vision, creativity, motivation, perseverance – these are things that don’t cost anything. But they are worth a lot more than all the equipment you could ever buy.
The bare minimum when starting out? You need a vehicle, a cell phone, some business cards and some clean, professional-looking clothes. We’ve seen large businesses created by people starting with just these essentials.
How can someone find customers for their courier business?
When starting out and when starting to expand, the best source of new business is always referrals and networking.
Is it best to go for a regular pick up and deliver run or to go for one-off jobs?
Our favorite clients are other businesses that need regular daily deliveries. Think of the value of your clients on a monthly and yearly basis, not on a per-delivery basis. In those terms, one-off or “hot shot” deliveries aren’t very lucrative.
Is it difficult to compete against the national companies?
Actually, there are a ton of general deliveries that UPS, FedEx, and DHL don’t or can’t handle. For instance, the post office generally doesn’t deliver mail to businesses in business parks, meaning one of the employees or owners has to go get it and bring it back on a regular basis. Try calling UPS and asking them to go to the post office and pick up your mail. You probably get the idea.
What are the biggest mistakes to avoid in the home based courier business?
Spending money upfront. There are a handful of things you actually will need (I mentioned above). Everything else can wait until you have some cash flow coming in. People don’t realize that spending money (or waiting until they have the money to spend) can be a huge form of procrastination. After all, it’s much more fun to buy things than it is to sit down with the phone book and start making calls.
What other advice do you have?
Don’t spend a lot of time worrying about whether or not it will work. Just try it and SEE whether it will work. If you or your market are not cut out for a delivery business, then move on to another opportunity. People will spend years waiting and contemplating whether they should or shouldn’t do something. At the end of those years, you could either have a growing business that you have been building for a few years, or be a few years into a new opportunity that suits you better. Otherwise, you end up, after all that time spent worrying, with nothing more to show for it than what you did in the beginning.
There was a business executive who famously said, “We don’t make the right decisions. We make decisions, and then we make them right.”