starting a delivery service?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by steampro, Dec 11, 2007.

  1. steampro

    steampro LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    business is slow so ive decided to start a (light/med) delivery service, i need a good add for my local paper,, here are some ideas i will be the only delivery service so in the paper above my add will read ..''delivery service'' ,, here are my ideas..#1,Wont fit in your car?want it delivered today? call j's (light/med) delivery!free quotes #555-5555, or #2, J's Delivery Service, light/med,delivery anywhere in town, call for a free quote.#555-5555, which is better? any suggestions,,,, what i offer is basically myself, and my 1 ton extended length cargo van,,,,, and..should i post a price??:confused:
  2. backtobasicslawncare

    backtobasicslawncare LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 126

    i dont know but i thought about starting me another business to because its slow for me. i thought of doing cleaning houses.
  3. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    I guess I like #2. More generic. My only thoughts on this is be sure you price the jobs to make some money. You could put a price in the paper. Maybe charge per mile and say prices start as low as $$$....I would price them something like 1-10 total miles is $$. 11-20 miles total trip is $$ and so on. I don't know if your cargo van gets very good mileage, but I doubt it. With fuel prices so high you will need to charge some major $$$. Will you need insurance for this work? If you scratch up or drop someones new stuff, you will have to pay. I just don't know if can charge enough at this to make a good profit. Good luck though. What kind of prices are you thinking about for this? I'm just curious because I would have no idea what this service is worth.
  4. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,510

    There was someone here who was running an ad for "man and a pickup truck for rent, $200 a day" but have not seen the ad lately. With fuel prices so high that seems risky to offer a flat rate.

    Quoting by the job using Mapquest for mileage makes a lot more sense. Insurance might be a barrier or the delivery man could just pay for the load if one is lost.
  5. steampro

    steampro LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    well i really appreciate all the feed back! i hope i can answer your questions, first off, i guess its not a good idea to advertise a flat rate, as some items are heavier/larger/more expensive,etc..but as for mileage is concerned my town is not very large, and i would be comfortable delivering any where in town for say a 10-15$ MINIMUM, (YOU LOAD/UNLOAD) ,as for other items i plan on charging basically what i want, id say between $20-$30 for a washer or dryer, i help load i unload, no stairs,etc, depending on distance,weight,etc,,,,as for insurance i plan on just having liabilty on my van, and being extra carefull or even turning down jobs if i feel its to heavy or risky,etc...i plan on placing a 5 line add in my paper, and printing out business cards with a picture or image of the van model i will use, maybe place out some flyers etc...any more input would be greatly appreciated! and i hope this also helps some of you other guys out!:waving:
  6. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    That sounds good. Yeah it would be better to charge by the job. Then you wouldn't be held to a certain price just based on distance. I would still be a little uneasy about damage. Accidents do happen. But that is just how I think. Just be careful and good luck with your venture. Let us know how it works out.
  7. shane mapes

    shane mapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 537

    # 2 is better and no flat rate .. make sure you do it by the job so you don;t get locked into something off the wall. please keep us up dated and good luck. maybe it will blow up so you won't have to be a grass monkey.....
  8. exmark22

    exmark22 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    I drove courier/messenger for most of the 90's. Follow this link for a good idea of current delivery fees.

    Right now, I deliver Pizza evenings and weekends, and after the first of the new year, I will return to delivery for the weekdays.

    You might have better luck contracting with a service. They sell the jobs, and pay you commission on each delivery. Currently, 1 ton cargo vans in Houston make $800 a week. You probably already have commercial insurance, so that won't be an unexpected expense, but you will have to pay for your own fuel. Count on 1000 miles a week.

    Have you considered delivering pizza. I make a couple of thousand a month part-time. Gratuity is really, really good in my area though.

    Anyway, best of luck. Post again if you need feedback.
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    On the delivery service you'll want to be more specific, but I do agree, the Courier Industry is far more crowded than this one, if you thought cutting grass was cut throat... Of course if you have a trailer this widens your options, most couriers are limited to small-midsize vans as their biggest vehicles.

    But one idea I had some years ago, of course this takes 700-900 dollars and a 3/4 ton truck but...
    And you have to find out, roughly how much the junk yard gives you for a car.
    Then ...
    Buy a car dolly, one of those 2-wheel hitch things you can hook to your hitch and then strap cars to.
    Then offer 'free and low cost vehicle disposal tows'
    (Which, the cost will depend on the condition of the vehicle, such as if it has an engine / tranny / etc).

    Keep in mind you'll want to make sure it at least has some tires and wheels, also you'll likely need some kind of a winch as most are likely to not want to run.

    And it is a bit risky due to liability, you're not a tow truck but I'd think for an on the side thing for just a little bit here and there it should be ok. I just never got it off the ground, likely never will, thought I'd pass it on.

    As for worrying about tow truck drivers getting on your case, so long you stick to disposals you'll likely get very little in the way of static from those guys, now I wouldn't go towing working vehicles like this but that's just me.
  10. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,955

    Great question. When I worked for ChemLawn (San Antonio) in the eighties, two of us would go door to door selling firewood in the evenings when people were at home. We did this 'on the side' (personal income), and it was easy to net $200 or more each evening during winter months. We also offered chunks of Mesquite (easy to find) for grilling.

    In the north, TruGreen sells ice melt.


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