We share several helpful ideas on what it takes to start an air courier business.
Are Air Courier Businesses Still Viable?
Advancements in information delivery, post 9/11 security requirements and a plethora of international shipping options have made some people question whether air courier businesses have the legs to be viable as long-term business option.
Technology and the proliferation of FedEx and other international shipping providers have undoubtedly had an impact on the air courier industry. Rather than an assigning a courier to deliver critical documents and sensitive packages overseas, many shippers now simply do so with the click of a mouse or a call to a package delivery provider.
However, the air courier delivery model is likely to extend well into the foreseeable future for several important reasons. First, many shippers prefer to know that their time-sensitive materials will be accompanied by an actual human being. For these shippers, they receive the benefits of status and peace of mind. Second, it's still easier and faster to send a package as checked baggage than it is to send it as cargo.
For startups, both of these advantages should be featured in advertising and marketing messages as a way to differentiate your services from the alternatives and incentivize prospective customers to learn more about your company.
Finding Couriers for Your Startup Air Courier Business
Air courier businesses don't pay couriers to accompany their customers' shipments abroad. In fact, most air courier businesses receive income from both ends of the transaction – customers pay to have their shipments and documents transported to international destinations and couriers pay for their own (discounted) travel fees.
Operational efficiency is key for profitability as an air courier provider. Here's how it works: Prospective couriers make themselves available to accompany shipments to specific international destinations on specific dates. The more lead time you can build into the process, the lower the discount you need to provide your couriers.
So from a profit perspective, you will earn more income by booking couriers several months in advance than you will by relying on "on call" couriers to engage in same day travel.
Facing competitive industries both within and outside the industry, successful air couriers use scheduling software solutions and other technologies to achieve peak efficiencies, creating longer lead times and reducing the amount of profits that are lost through last minute courier assignments.
Successful Business Plans for Air Courier Businesses
By now, you're probably tired of hearing how important a good business plan is to your air courier business startup.
Although it might seem like an unnecessary formality, your air courier company's business plan is a document that will shape your goals and strategies on a go-forward basis.
Furthermore, a good business plan will help you avoid key startup mistakes. Lacking a solid business plan, many startups find themselves rudderless and incapable of executing consistent decision making processes, while committed business planners rely on their plans to guide all of their decision making and short-term planning efforts.
Don't Ignore Competitors
Prior to launching an air courier business in your area, it's a smart move to see how you will fit in the competitive landscape. Try our link below to get a list of local competitors near you. After following the link, enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of air courier businesses in your area.
Is the established competition doing a good job? It's important to understand their strengths and weaknesses and think through how you'll stake up against those established businesses.
Learn from Others Who Are Already In This Space
As part of your due diligence on opening an air courier business, it's a smart move to learn as much as you can from somebody who is already in the business. If you think owners of nearby air courier businesses will give you advice, think again. What's in it for them?
Thankfully, an owner of a an air courier business in another town may be more than happy to give you a few tips, after they realize you reside far away from them and won't be stealing their local customers. In fact, they are often very willing to share startup advice with you. If you are persistent, you can find a business mentor who is willing to help you out.
So, what can you do to find an entrepreneur who is running an air courier business outside of your area who is willing to talk?
No problem! Just use the link below and try a random city/state or zipcode. Then start dialing for advice until you are successful.
Acquisitions vs. Startups
Unfortunately, many inexperienced air courier business entrepreneurs approach ownership with the mistaken idea that a startup is their only option when they could also pursue a business acquisition.
Unless you have compelling reasons to launch a new business, buying an existing air courier business may be the better choice.
An acquired air courier business is a known quantity; a startup is less certain because its forecasts depend on estimated outcomes. In a best case scenario, you'll be able to locate a turnkey operation with proven profitability and a well oiled business model.
Consider Buying a Franchise
Your chances of achieving the entrepreneurial goal of becoming a successful entrepreneur are much better when you opt to franchise instead of doing it all on your own.
If your goal is to start an air courier business, you should assess whether franchise opportunities in your space might alleviate your startup process.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you already are in business and came here to learn about growing an existing air courier business, these resources will come in handy:
If you sell to air courier businesses, we've got better information for you elsewhere on our site. Try these resources instead:
If you are still exploring all of your options, please browse our directory of guides below.