If you’d like to enter the fast-paced and, potentially, very lucrative courier and delivery industry, you’ll need a strong business plan to start your journey on the right foot. Here are five top tips for building the strongest possible courier franchise business plan.
The postal and courier activities industry in the UK is worth £26.7 billion [IBISWorld]. It’s not a small market by any means, and if you can capitalise on that consistent, constant demand, you’ll be able to build a thriving franchise business in no time. Creating a business plan is one of the first steps along the journey to success, and it’s one you shouldn’t miss when making a career change with a courier franchise.
Building a business plan for a delivery franchise
When you start a franchise business, best practice dictates that you should create a business plan. In some cases, this will be an absolute necessity - say, for instance, if you need to show this plan to a bank in order to receive additional funding or secure a loan. But even when it isn’t a necessity, it’s still business common sense to get it done. These are the key elements of a franchise business plan, regardless of industry:
- An executive summary
- A business description
- Product/service descriptions
- A management summary
- Some market analysis
- Operational details
- Sales and marketing plans
- Business premises plans
- Financial projections and needs
That said, there are certain inclusions that will be especially crucial when starting your own road transport franchise. Here are five tips to bear in mind as you build a business plan for your successful courier business...
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1. Include information about your services
Since there are so many different options and areas of specialism within the courier industry, being specific about your services matters. Do you offer same-day services? Next-day services? Onboard courier services? International courier services? Specialist courier services (for example, medical and hazardous waste transport, or temperature-controlled goods transport)? Eco-friendly courier services?
This is a crucial inclusion in your business plan, and it will also help you to better understand the space you occupy in the delivery market, getting on the same page as your franchisor and the rest of your network. Being on the same page is crucial if you want to build a franchise business that can thrive in the long term.
2. Comprehensively cover the costs
The costs are something that you’ll need to extensively cover in your business plan, particularly if it is something you’re planning to hand to potential funding bodies in search of financial assistance. Costs to consider aren’t just limited to the initial investment, but should also account for:
- Franchisor royalty fees charged on an ongoing basis
- Franchisor advertising fees charged on an ongoing basis
- Franchisor operating fees charged on an ongoing basis
- Other overheads, like garage rental for storage of a fleet of courier vehicles
- Upkeep for a fleet of courier vehicles
- Payment of a team of employees/delivery drivers
- Equipment and uniform costs
- External courier outsourcing costs
- Insurance (business, car, etc.)
- Vehicle tracking systems
- Vehicle GPS systems
- Invoicing, payroll and CRM (customer relationship management) software
You need to be fully prepared before heading out on the road, and having a shiny new van and a business plan under your belt isn’t quite enough to succeed in the courier industry. The next step is to purchase all the necessary equipment and services required to ensure your business operates efficiently, and remember: factor these outgoings into your budget.
3. Make marketing and advertising plans
This is a really crucial section of your business plan, and probably the part of it that you’ll turn to the most often further down the line in order to return to your roots and assess what is and isn’t working on the marketing and advertising side of things. Whatever kind of courier franchise investment you make, marketing will matter for the success of your business, and in the relevant section of your franchise business plan, you should include:
- Plans for a website
- Local businesses you plan to reach out to/connect with
- A profile of your target customer
- An explanation of your niche
- Marketing strategies for different locations (website, social media, offline, etc.)
- Customer service plans
- Sales and business development plans
4. Detail your team of employees, and the structure of your business
Few courier franchises are run by one person, and you are likely, in 99.9% of cases, to have a staff to account for. Make sure that you establish and concretely define the structure of your business in your plan, including the job titles and ranks of employees and the operational rules that will be followed.
This section shouldn’t be difficult to complete, though it’s an important inclusion, because many of these rules and guidelines will already have been set out by your franchisor, and will only need to be reiterated in your business plan, rather than created from scratch. One of the biggest benefits of franchising is, of course, that proven business model that you’re always able to turn to.
5. Complete a market analysis of the courier sector
This is the foundation for the whole delivery service business plan. Information on the industry in your area will lead you to a higher likelihood of success. Market analysis will help you figure out your delivery business model.
- Riddhi Patel, Upper Route Planner
An understanding of the market can only be of benefit to you when you’re entering a new industry - especially one known to be as competitive as courier and delivery services. When you know what the consumer is looking for and you know what other companies are doing, you’re that much better placed to meet needs that aren’t currently being met. Here are some questions you should be asking yourself during the market analysis you conduct:
- What does my target market look like?
- How will I appeal to my target market?
- How large is my target market?
- Are there opportunities for growth in my target market?
- Who are my competitors?
- What are my competitors doing?
- What aren’t they doing?
- How has my industry changed over the past ten years?
- How has my industry changed over the past five years?
- How has my industry changed in the past twelve months?
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Start a courier franchise today with these business plan tips in your back pocket
With these tips in mind, you should be better equipped than ever to enter the delivery industry and thrive as a franchisee. There are many advantages to running a courier franchise, and many opportunities available in the industry, too. You could run a parcel shop with Post & Packing, a same-day delivery fleet with Speedy Freight, or a worldwide fulfillment network with World Options!
Lily Sweeney, Point Franchise ©