Your next step could be to work for more than one courier company. The benefits of doing this, are that you are more free to set your own prices, your times of work and availability, and your payment terms.
The difference is, that instead of being one of the regular daily couriers used by a courier company, you offer yourself as being available as and when they need you. This helps the courier company cover their busy times. In return, the courier company accepts that occasionally you may not be available, as someone else may have booked you.
Experience shows that although it’s worth speaking to every courier company you can find, in every town and city you find yourself in, the reality is that people usually settle down to working for no more than ten courier companies. If you take on too many, there are just too many times when you have to say “no sorry”, so they just stop calling you.
You can add to your list of customers, and help fill your van in your own quiet times by using a courier work exchange such as www.mtvan.com.
You have to be quite organised, as the admin starts getting more complicated, as you have to fit in with different systems for different companies, such as invoicing and payment terms.
You may suddenly want to call yourself something, such as “John Smith Courier Services”, now that you are offering your services to several customers. Make sure it doesn’t make you seem too much like a competitor to your courier company customers, or you risk putting them off. This also applies to whether you get your van sign-written. Best to leave it blank, or if you really want to put your name on it, at least keep it very low key.
The next step is to look at getting some end-user customers of your own.
Up to now, courier companies you have worked for have protected you from most of the risks of courier work. The risk of having high overheads, of not being paid by the customers, of paying out to the customers for damaged or lost parcels, of paying compensation for negligence etc, all fall mainly on the courier company, not on the individual courier. As longs as you have the right insurance, as long as you get paid quickly by the courier company, and as long as you have enough work, being an owner-driver can be a relatively risk-free business.
Taking on the extra risks of working for end-users, together with the workload of the invoicing and collecting the money, is the part they play in the courier market. In return they charge their “end user” customers higher prices than they pay you for your services.
So if you want to make even more money, that’s where you have to go.
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