Starting a Courier Service

  • Price: £5.99
  • Published: March 2017
  • Type: Business Opportunity Profile
  • Format: PDF
  • Qualifications and skills
  • Key market issues and trends
  • Trading, commercial and legal issues
  • Legislation
  • Further information

Courier services collect and deliver parcels, packages, letters and documents for a wide range of organisations either on an express or same-day delivery basis within 48 hours of collection. The independent courier sector is dominated by individual 'man with a van' owner-drivers and couriers using motorcycles and pedal cycles to provide fast, local deliveries in larger towns and cities. Most start-up couriers are contracted to provide local collection and delivery services for larger courier networks, such as Hermes, Whistl (formerly TNT Post) and Parcelforce, which dominate the market.

Some courier services specialise in delivering high-value or fragile packages, or deliveries for the healthcare sector, while many deliver parcels on behalf of eBay traders. In addition, some smaller courier services work directly on behalf of local traders, such as retailers, mail order services, and legal and professional firms, particularly once they have become established in their local area.

This profile provides information about starting up and running a courier service within the UK and describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends and the key trading issues. It also explains the main legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information and support.

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