The world might be communicating electronically but we're still quite keen on sending things to each other. The business world daily continues to trust important documents and parcels to the hands of parcel courier companies - many of which are franchises.
Which means that buying opportunities are plentiful but also that the market is crowded. The challenge will be encouraging the consumer that your service is preferable to the competition.
Franchisors tend to offer either same day or overnight services and international services. The former is still more of a niche market but there is money to be made in both - if you have the power to deliver.
What is it?
Parcel delivery franchises fall broadly into two categories. There is a depot-based franchise where you are responsible for vans, drivers and liasing with the network; and a courier franchise where you operate with a van and your own territory, usually from home.
ANC Business Services Group is perhaps the best known of the featured franchisors in the UK. Established in 1981, the ANC network divides the UK up into 75 territories, of which 60 are franchised. Those who buy a franchise take on an existing territory either from a company run operation or that of a departing franchisee.
The local depot deals with parcels that come via the national network 'hubs' (centralised sorting depots - ANC has nine in the UK) for delivery in the region. It also sorts and barcodes outgoing parcels to be picked up at the end of the day for national or international delivery. All of which must be co-ordinated with your drivers, who are employees rather than franchisees.
Sameday UK franchisees are actual couriers. You usually operate from home and on your own until there is the opportunity to expand. Franchisees generally make their own work within an area strictly designated by postcode.
Mail shots, local advertising and simply knocking on doors are all ways to bring your services to the attention of local businesses. But they must then be followed up with repeated phone calls.
Fastway Couriers is a big name in Australia and New Zealand - and it intends to become as well known in the UK with 48 regional UK territories planned. The national master franchise has been set up and it expects to have around 10 regional franchisees by the early summer.
Each regional franchise will then go on to recruit, train and mentor courier franchisees. In the larger territories such as the West Midlands, as many as 32 courier franchisees might be needed. Though for most, the number is in the mid to late teens.
As a courier franchisee you get an exclusive territory within the region where all pick ups and deliveries are made. The regional franchisee provides depot and administration support.