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How to start a logistics company

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logistics companylogistics company

 

How to start a logistics company

Everything needs to get from point A to point B. The computer or cellphone you’re reading this on, the snack you’re eating, and the clothes you’re wearing have all been transported from somewhere else. It doesn’t matter if these items were flown or freighted in, everything needs to be transported. This means that logistics is a big game both locally and internationally. How do you go about starting your own logistics company?

It’s not just about buying a van and getting a few orders to transport. In fact, there are a lot of steps in the process of not just setting up a logistics company, but a profitable one at that. Besides acquiring funding and having a good business plan, there are a few additional steps you’ll need to take note of.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when starting your logistics company.

 

Trucks and drivers

At the heart of all deliveries are the trucks and their drivers. That means you’re going to need to invest in some excellent hardware and personnel. Depending on how small your operation is in the beginning, you can get away with buying a second hand van or two and driving them around yourself. Though if you want to expand from a courier to a logistics freighter, you’ll need much larger vehicles.

Another option is to purchase a few motorbikes of short haul deliveries. With these you’ll be able to deliver in a faster timeframe than traditional methods and save on costs. In India, motorbike couriers are a massive market.

For larger cargo and longer trips, think about investing in a long haul truck. These can be bought from a number of places, such as Babcock International, and will set you back a bit financially. But buying brand new means you’ll receive a full warranty and service plans.

When it comes to staff members, don’t assume that just anyone can drive a van and deliver parcels and they’ll need the right driver’s licences for different trucks. You’ll need to invest in your staff members, make sure they can handle driving in hazardous situations (such as storms), know how to deal with staff, and understand all of the shortcuts in the areas they’ll be delivering to. They will also require excellent communication skills to relay messages about their whereabouts.

 

Planning your routes

You will need to figure out which and routes you’ll be covering. When starting off, you cannot cover the whole of South Africa or even an entire province, even if you want to. That’s a lot of ground to cover and even if you have enough vehicles on hand, you’ll need quite a few orders to make the trips affordable.

Instead, plan out a few very select routes and do research on how busy they will be. For example, you could have one that just travels between the Cape Town CBD and Worcester, or another between Pretoria and Four Ways, Johannesburg. There are a lot of opportunities for a logistics company working a very specific route to offer their services to all the companies along the way and in the two destination towns.

 

Embrace technology

Technology centred around cargo has advanced dramatically over the years, and as have the expectations of customers. Most large companies allow clients to book and track all of their parcels or deliveries online. And while this may seem like an expensive process, it’s often easier than it looks.

In the beginning, you don’t need to have a fancy website, but you will need to have way for customers to stay in touch with their deliveries. Think about adopting an SMS plan to notify the client every step of the way, including estimated delivery time, delivery stages, or if there are problems. This will give them peace of mind about using your service.

Your service needs to be as easy to use as possible.

 

Branding

There are a lot of logistics and courier companies in South Africa. And there are quite a few that stand out, such as FedEx, DHL, and Aramex. You’re going to need to stand out from the crowd and be as visible as possible. Choose a name that’s catchy and easy to say. Try not to go with a long string of text, such as your name, surname, and then the word “couriers”.

 

If you follow a concrete business plan, don’t undercut your own expenses, and maintain good practices then you’re bound to do well.
 

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