Starting a delivery service business can be an attractive proposition for entrepreneurs wanting to enter the growing industry of commerce and logistics, especially in these times when contact-free deliveries are becoming increasingly popular. However, there is more to starting a successful delivery business than just buying a vehicle and hitting the road. From planning and financing to regulations and marketing, there are many steps that need to be taken in order to make your delivery service stand out from the competition. In this blog post, we have put together a comprehensive 10-step checklist to help you start your delivery business and take it from idea to launch. The delivery industry has shown tremendous growth in recent years, primarily due to the rise of e-commerce. According to a report published by Statista, the global e-commerce market is expected to reach $6.54 trillion by 2023 (1). This means that there has never been a better time to enter the delivery business market, which is expected to grow alongside the e-commerce sector. But, with the pandemic pushing more consumers online, the growth of the delivery business has been even more pronounced, with online orders increasing by over 110% in 2020 (2). This is why starting a delivery business is a smart move for those seeking new business opportunities. Starting a delivery business may seem daunting, especially if you are new to entrepreneurship or logistics. However, this thorough 10-step checklist will take you from the concept of your business to the launch. Whether you intend to operate as a sole trader or expand to a full-scale delivery service business, this checklist will help lead you to success. So, let's get started! In the first step, we will take a closer look at defining your business goal, so let's dive in!
  1. Statista. (2021). E-commerce worldwide – Statistics & Facts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Aug. 2021].
  2. Sloan, P. (2020). The impact of COVID-19 on the food and drink delivery market. [online] Just Eat for Business. Available at: [Accessed 11 Aug. 2021].

1. Identify The Business Goal

The first step in starting a delivery service business is to identify the business goal. This means deciding on the type of delivery service you want to offer, what sets your business apart from the competition, and defining your target market.

  • Decide on the type of delivery service: This could be anything from food delivery to courier services. Be sure to choose a delivery niche that you are passionate about and have relevant experience in.
  • What sets you apart: Identify your unique selling proposition (USP). For example, you could focus on using eco-friendly packaging or offering 24/7 delivery services.
  • Define your target market: Determine the demographics of your target market, including age, income level, and location.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Research your competition to see what they are offering and how you can differentiate yourself.
  • Consider offering incentives, such as a loyalty program or discounted rates for first-time customers, to attract new business.
  • Perform a SWOT analysis to identify your business' strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

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2. Research & Understand Your Market

In order to successfully open/start/launch a delivery service business, it is important to conduct thorough research and gain a complete understanding of your target market. By doing so, you can determine if there is a demand for your service, identify your competition, and tailor your business to meet the needs of your customers.

  • Identify Your Target Market: Who are your ideal customers? Are they individuals or businesses? What geographic area do they reside in?
  • Research Your Competition: Who are your competitors? What services do they offer? What prices do they charge?
  • Determine Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): What sets your delivery service apart from your competitors? Is it faster, cheaper, or more reliable?

Once you have a clear understanding of your market, competition, and USP, you can move forward with developing a solid business plan, branding, and marketing strategy to launch your business.

Tips & Tricks

  • Consider conducting surveys or focus groups with potential customers to gather valuable feedback and insights.
  • Research industry trends and statistics to stay up-to-date on any changes or challenges that may impact your business.
  • Network with other business owners in your area to gain perspective and possible partnership opportunities.

3. Draw Out A Business Plan

Before starting any business, it is essential to have a business plan in place. This document serves as a roadmap for your company and helps you stay on track towards your goals. A well-written business plan can also be useful when seeking funding or investors. Here are the key elements to consider when drawing out a business plan for your delivery service:

  • Market Research: Research the market thoroughly to understand the demand for delivery services, your competition, and potential customers. Identify the service areas, delivery options, target customers, pricing strategies and other relevant information.
  • Business Structure: Decide on the legal structure of your business, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC or corporation. Each structure has its own advantages and disadvantages, so choose one that suits your needs.
  • Mission Statement: Clearly define the mission and values of your delivery service. This statement should outline the purpose of your business, its core values, and the benefits it provides to customers.
  • Services: Identify the services you will offer, including pickup and delivery options, the types of goods you will deliver, and any additional services you may provide.
  • Marketing: Develop a marketing plan to reach your target customers. This can include advertising, social media, flyers, and other promotional activities.
  • Operating Plan: Develop a plan for managing your service operations, including hiring staff, training, delivery routes, inventory management, and customer service.
  • Financial Plan: Create a budget, cash flow projections, profit and loss statements, and other financial documents. This will help you determine if your business is profitable and sustainable.
  • Risk Assessment: Identify potential risks and challenges that may affect your business. Develop contingency plans to mitigate these risks.
  • Milestones: Set achievable goals and milestones for your business. This will help you track your progress and stay motivated.
  • Executive Summary: Create an executive summary that summarizes your business plan. This should include your mission, services, target market, competition, financial projections, and other key information. Use this summary to pitch your business to investors and lenders.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Keep it Simple: Write your business plan in simple language that is easy to understand
  • Be Realistic: Set realistic goals and expectations for your business. Don't overestimate the demand or your ability to deliver
  • Get Feedback: Share your business plan with trusted advisors and get feedback before finalizing it.

Remember, a well-written business plan is essential for the success of your delivery service business. It will guide you through the start-up process, help you secure funding, and set your business on a solid path towards growth and profitability.

4. Develop A Financial Model

Developing a financial model is crucial for any business as it helps in understanding the potential costs and profits of the venture. A financial model is a set of assumptions and projections that predicts the profitability of a business. It is important to have a realistic financial model that can guide business decisions and help in managing the finances properly. Here are some steps to develop a financial model for your delivery service business:

  • Identify the revenue streams: The first step is to identify the different sources of revenue for your delivery business. This could be delivery fees, rush charges, distance fees, and other charges that you will charge your customers.
  • Determine the costs: The next step is to determine the costs associated with your business. This includes the cost of the vehicles, gas, maintenance, drivers, insurance, office rent, marketing, and other miscellaneous expenses.
  • Estimate the unit economics: This involves figuring out the cost per order and the revenue per order. This will help in understanding the profit margins and the pricing strategy for the business.
  • Project the growth: Once you have analyzed the past trends and identified the revenue streams and costs, it's time to project the growth of the business. This involves estimating the number of orders, the customer base, and the revenue over a period of time.
  • Prepare the financial statements: The final step is to prepare the financial statements of your delivery service business. This includes the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. This will help in understanding the financial health of the business and making informed decisions based on the actual numbers.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Use conservative estimates for revenue and growth projections to avoid overestimating the potential profits.
  • Stay updated with the latest industry trends and regulations that may impact your financial model.
  • Consider using financial modeling software or consulting with a financial expert to create a robust financial model for your delivery service business.

5. Determine What Financing You Need

Starting a successful delivery service business takes more than just an idea; it requires funding. Before you dive into the world of business ownership, you need to figure out what financing you need. In this step, we'll cover how to analyze your needs and determine the best financing options for your delivery service business.

  • Assess Your Needs

The first thing you need to do is assess your needs. How much money will you need to start your delivery service business? Will you need to buy vehicles? Rent a warehouse? Purchase delivery equipment? All of these factors will affect your costs. It's essential to create a comprehensive list of everything you'll need, so you can accurately calculate your financing needs.

  • Explore Financing Options

Once you know how much money you need, you can explore the financing options available to you. There are several ways to finance a business, including:

  • Bank loans
  • SBA loans
  • Angel investors
  • Venture capitalists
  • Crowdfunding
  • Personal loans

Each financing option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so it's essential to do your research. For example, some financing options may require collateral or have higher interest rates.

  • Create a Financial Plan

Once you've assessed your needs and explored your financing options, you need to create a financial plan. Your financial plan should include all of your projected costs and expenses, as well as your projected revenue. Having a solid financial plan is crucial when presenting your business to potential lenders or investors.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Make sure you have a solid understanding of your financials.
  • Shop around for the best financing rates and terms.
  • Consider obtaining multiple financing options to diversify your funding sources.

In conclusion, when starting a delivery service business, it's essential to determine what financing you need to be successful. By assessing your needs, exploring financing options, and creating a financial plan, you'll be able to secure the funding you need to start and grow your business.

6. Start Building A Network

One of the most important things you can do to ensure the success of your delivery service business is to build a network of contacts and connections. This will help you reach potential customers, form partnerships with other businesses, and establish a reputation within the industry. Here are some key steps to take:

  • Research your market: You need to find out who your potential customers are, where they are located, and what they need. Look at demographic data, conduct surveys, and analyze your competition to identify opportunities.
  • Create a strong online presence: In today's digital age, having a website and social media accounts is essential. Make sure your website is user-friendly and includes all the necessary information about your business, including your services, prices, and contact details. Use social media to engage with your customers and promote your business.
  • Attend industry events: Networking events, conferences, and trade shows are great opportunities to meet other professionals in the industry, learn about new trends, and showcase your business. Bring business cards and be ready to introduce yourself and your services.
  • Join industry associations: Joining a professional association can help you stay up-to-date with the latest industry news and regulations, and provide you with valuable resources and networking opportunities. Look for associations that are relevant to your niche.
  • Partner with local businesses: Forming partnerships with other local businesses can help you expand your reach and offer new services to your customers. Consider partnering with restaurants, grocery stores, or other retailers in your area.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Attend networking events with a specific goal in mind, such as finding potential customers or forming partnerships. This will help you stay focused and make the most of your time.
  • Consider offering referral bonuses to customers who bring in new business. This can be a great way to expand your network and reward loyal customers.
  • Don't forget about the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Encourage satisfied customers to spread the word about your business to their friends and family.

Building a strong network takes time and effort, but it can pay off in the long run. By establishing relationships with other professionals in your industry and finding ways to connect with potential customers, you can set your delivery service business up for success.

7. Get Necessary Permits & Licenses

Starting a delivery service business requires a lot of legal documents and permits. Here is a breakdown of some of the most important ones:

  • Business License: A permit granted by the local government that allows the business to operate in the area.
  • Vehicle License: Any vehicle used for commercial purposes will need to be licensed and registered with the government.
  • Insurance: Commercial insurance policies that protect your business in case of an accident or theft.
  • Certifications: Some delivery services require specific certifications, such as a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) for larger vehicles, or a Hazmat certification for the transportation of hazardous materials.
  • Tax ID Number: A unique identifier the government uses to track a business’s tax obligations.

It’s essential to do thorough research and comply with all requirements to avoid legal issues and penalties.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Contact your local government office to determine the permits required for your area.
  • Be sure to carry all documents required with you while operating your delivery business.
  • Consider hiring a lawyer to assist with the legal obligations of your business.

8. Choose A Location & Set Up Shop

When launching a delivery service business, choosing the right location and setting up shop correctly is crucial for success. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Location: look for an area with high demand for delivery services, such as near a busy office district or university campus. Make sure to research the competition in the area as well.
  • Workspace: consider renting a commercial kitchen or shared workspace to prepare your goods and store inventory. Make sure the space is in compliance with local health and safety regulations.
  • Equipment: invest in reliable and efficient refrigeration, cooking, and transport equipment. This should be tailored to the specific type of delivery service you are offering.
  • Online Presence: set up a user-friendly website or mobile app for customers to place orders and track deliveries. Make sure to also have an active social media presence.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Research your local regulations and health codes to ensure compliance and avoid fines.
  • Consider offering a loyalty program or special promotions to attract and retain customers.
  • Invest in a good quality POS system for smooth transaction processing and inventory management.

9. Invest In Quality Management

Quality management refers to all activities that organizations use to direct, control, and coordinate quality. Good quality management can help you maintain consistency in your business. It also helps you establish repeatable processes that assure consistent product and service delivery. Therefore, investing in quality management is an essential part of opening a delivery service business.

Implement Quality Control Measures

When starting your delivery service business, you should always have quality control measures in place to ensure that you deliver quality products and services consistently. You should develop and track key performance indicators (KPIs) consistently. This will help you manage and improve outcomes in your business. Quality control measures should start at the process level, where you design and develop your delivery processes. This can be done by creating standard operating procedures (SOPs) that describe each process, including the sequence of events, the people involved, and the expected outcomes.

Ensure Proper Training for Your Employees

Employees are the backbone of delivery service businesses. Without proper training, employees may not understand their roles, resulting in poor performance and service delivery. Properly trained employees will understand their roles and responsibilities and perform their duties to the best of their abilities. Therefore, it is essential to provide adequate training to your employees. This will empower them to provide quality services and enhance customer satisfaction.

Manage Your Inventory Effectively

Managing inventory is one of the critical success factors for delivery service businesses. It involves effectively managing your stock levels to ensure that you have adequate supplies to meet customer demand. Inventory management also involves tracking inventory levels and understanding how to replenish inventory when it gets low. You should also ensure that your inventory management system is effective to avoid stockouts and overstocks, which can be detrimental to your business.

Set Clear Quality Standards

Setting clear quality standards for your delivery service business is essential in ensuring that your customers receive consistent service. Quality standards set expectations for the type of service that customers can expect to receive. You should set clear quality standards for your employees that align with your brand and customer needs.

Invest in Quality Management Software

Investing in quality management software can help streamline your quality management activities. Quality management software automates many of the quality control processes, such as recording and analyzing data on compliance, customer complaints, and service quality metrics. Investing in quality management software will help you stay ahead of compliance requirements, reduce error rates, optimize production, and reduce costs, thereby increasing your business's competitiveness.

Pro Tips:

  • Always track KPIs to measure progress and improve performance.
  • Partner with reliable vendors to ensure consistent inventory supply.
  • Develop and implement a continuous improvement program to enhance quality standards.

10. Launch & Market Your Business

So, you have made up your mind to start a delivery service business. Congratulations on this bold move! However, starting a business is not easy, especially if you don't have a roadmap to success. In this article, we will outline the ten essential steps that you must take to launch your delivery service business successfully.

Step 1: Research Your Market

Before anything else, you need to research your market thoroughly. Identify your target customers, your competition, and their pricing strategies. This will give you an idea of what to expect in the market and help you adjust your strategies accordingly.

Step 2: Choose Your Niche

You should pick a niche that you are passionate about and that has a high demand for delivery services. This could be anything from food delivery to courier services.

Step 3: Write a Business Plan

A business plan is a blueprint for your business. It should include your business goals, target customers, marketing strategies, funding sources, and operational plan. Make sure you have a comprehensive and realistic business plan before you start your business.

Step 4: Register Your Business

Register your business and obtain all necessary licenses and permits from the relevant government agencies. Failure to do so could lead to legal issues and hefty fines.

Step 5: Secure Funding

You need to have enough capital to start and run your business for at least six months. Consider taking a loan or looking for investors to finance your business if you don't have enough savings.

Step 6: Find a Location

Look for a location that is accessible to your target customers. It should also be affordable and have adequate parking space for your vehicles.

Step 7: Choose Your Delivery Platform

You need to choose a delivery platform that suits your business needs. You can use a mobile app or a website to receive orders from customers.

Step 8: Buy Your Vehicles and Equipment

Purchase vehicles and equipment that are suitable for your business needs. For instance, if you are providing food delivery services, you might need refrigerated trucks or motorbikes.

Step 9: Hire Employees

You need a team of reliable and competent employees to run your business successfully. Hire drivers, dispatchers, and customer care representatives to help you deliver exceptional services.

Step 10: Launch and Market Your Business

Finally, it's time to launch your business and start marketing your services to potential customers. Use social media, local advertising, and other marketing strategies to create awareness about your brand and services.

Top Tips & Tricks

  • Offer Promo Codes: Offer your customers promo codes and discounts to encourage them to use your services frequently.
  • Provide Excellent Customer Service: Train your employees on how to handle customers with respect and provide them with exceptional customer service. Happy customers are likely to recommend your services to others.
  • Focus on Building Your Brand: A strong brand creates brand loyalty. Invest in building your brand identity, including creating a catchy logo, slogan, and website design that reflects your business values and culture.

In conclusion, starting a delivery service business can be a profitable venture for entrepreneurs looking to leverage the growing e-commerce industry. With the pandemic accelerating the shift towards online shopping, the demand for delivery services is projected to soar even further. As highlighted in this 10-step checklist, starting a successful delivery business requires proper planning, market research, financial modeling, network building, obtaining necessary permits and licenses, choosing a strategic location, investing in quality management, and effective marketing. By following these actionable steps, you can take your delivery business from ideation to launch and position it for long-term success in a thriving market. So, take that first step and get started on your delivery business journey today!

Excel financial model

Delivery Service Financial Model
  • 5-Year Financial Projection
  • 40+ Charts & Metrics
  • DCF & Multiple Valuation
  • Free Email Support