Ok, I get the van, find few customers and off I go to run a courier franchise. Hmmm... not so fast! The courier franchises do seem to be simple businesses to run. However, there is more to the courier service than just a mere delivery of goods. The presumable simplicity of the courier business has caused a considerable growth in the number of its operations. There are quite a few independent and equally many franchise contractors which provide courier services in cities and the countryside. It is simple to create a courier service. There is no formal training or accreditation but this is also the reason why the courier services face a massive competition.
The truth is that a lot of independent couriers have failed to survive.
Courier franchises do perform better but the number of franchisees selling their own business is not exactly known either.
You do not have to get into the courier franchises to succeed.
If you have few reliable customers (who let you meet the day's end) then independent operation is the right choice.
For starters, you can better invest the money into your own business rather than spending it on franchisor's fees.
Secondly, you make your own rules and you run the business more effectively without constraints.
However, if you do not have clients then the advertising is the key feature for your success. You can invest into your own ads but the majority of people will contact the most visible businesses. Therefore, it is likely that the courier franchises will attract initially more customers than the independent operations. In this case you should join the franchise. Whichever option you choose, you need more to run the courier service than simply having a van. You must have a good GPS, decent driving skills and an excellent vehicle management. The vehicle management is based on daily needs and monthly inspections.
The daily needs relate to petrol; the monthly checkups refer to oil, radiator and even brakes. As the rule of thumb you should charge about $1/km to be competitive (or $10 per 15 minutes of driving). For 8000km a month you should be able to make a profit of at least $500 per week. Lower profits will indicate that either you are too far from the clients or your service is grossly undercharged. What's more, inappropriate driving management may further reduce the profit.
Unfortunately, courier franchises will not train you to manage the outgoings. As a rule of thumb you should put about 20% of the previous day profits into your tank. You must clearly understand what franchisor offers for its price. Spending $100K on the logo and some corporate notes is not enough. The exposure to clients, exclusive territory, vehicle management training and strategic adverts are key components to consider the courier franchise for the business.
There are some decent courier franchise companies which are worth investigating. Fastway Couriers, Forex, Australia Post and FedEx are probably the most prominent and proven courier franchise operators. However, these are also expensive businesses to purchase. The alternatives are smaller courier franchise companies but these have to operate in big cities to survive on their own.
You will need about $100K to purchase one of the renown courier franchises. There are cheaper options which cost in the vicinity of $30K. However, the less expensive operators may not have the sufficient exposure to the public. In this case, you better invest $30K into your own advertising.