Grocery-shopping may be a regular, almost effortless activity for most of us but for some people, it can be a chore that requires time management and strategy if it is to be accomplished at all. They may be the elderly who are physically challenged or the busy moms who spend more time keeping their little kids from reaching for the grocery shelves, than actually choosing their groceries.
They can also be those who are swamped with work and get home very late, too tired to shop for food and their household goods. Or they can be those who are up at the crack of dawn to attend to their own business, and are too exhausted to attend to their household needs. These people are most likely willing to have someone else do the grocery-shopping for them even if they have to pay for the service.
If you find a lot of these kinds of people in your own community and you have a lot of time on your hands—and could do with the extra cash—then why don’t you start a local grocery delivery service? You will only need a few things which you most probably already have and you are good to go.
It is advisable to start out small, especially for first time entrepreneurs, targeting households or senior homes in your immediate community. This not only keeps your cost and risk at a minimum but also enables you to personally attend to your customers and develop a good relationship with them. It also allows you to polish your services and people skills, making you more prepared to handle more clients as you expand your customer base.
Even if you intend to start a local grocery delivery service only on a small scale, a simple but effective business plan is a must. A business plan gives you an overall picture of your business targets and the methods you will do to achieve them. Check out your target market and how likely these people are going to avail of your service.
Include pricing in your planning. Determine if you are going to charge a fixed rate per job order or a percentage of the total amount of groceries purchased. Check out how other grocery delivery services in your community charge and price yours competitively. Make sure your price will cover the cost of gas plus, of course, a decent profit.
First, you will need a reliable, fuel-efficient vehicle in good condition. To optimize gas, you will probably need to do two or more orders in one trip, so a bigger vehicle is an advantage. Nevertheless if you are just starting your local grocery delivery service, you may use a smaller vehicle if that is what you already have and just plan your grocery-shopping properly so you can maximize each trip to the grocery store.
Equip your vehicle with some coolers to protect the perishables and keep frozen food from thawing. Keep some extra grocery bags and boxes handy if you need to repack some items before delivery.
Make sure that your vehicle is insured. As you expand your business and your fleet, you might need to get extra insurance for your vehicles especially if you have employees to drive them.
Second, secure the necessary business license to start your local grocery delivery service from your county offices. Apply for an Employee Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service to be used for your business and tax documents. Secure a sales tax number from the Department of Revenue so that you may be able to collect tax from the sales of groceries. Having a duly registered business gives you more credibility and customers are usually more at ease dealing with legitimate businesses.
Promotions and Marketing
The easiest way to market as you start your local grocery delivery service is to distribute fliers within your immediate community. It helps a lot if you do it yourself initially so you can market your service firsthand. Word of mouth can easily do the rest of the marketing once you have established your service as quick and reliable.
Design your fliers showing essential information about your business such as business name, services offered and price list. Include all your possible contact information such as phone number or email address so you won’t miss any opportunity to sell. Also, post your fliers or promotional materials in as many places as you can, preferably those with high foot traffic such as restaurants, Laundromats, public bulletin boards and grocery stores.
Affiliating your delivery service with your local grocery store is another option. Though this arrangement ensures a captured market, it can also limit your customer base since the grocery owner will most likely want your grocery delivery service exclusively.
You can take your grocery delivery service business a step further by creating a website where your customers can create shopping lists, make payments and complete transactions with you online. This is definitely more convenient and could very well be the key to make your business big in no time. Just make sure that you are already capable and fully equipped to handle numerous orders once you decide to go online.
Successful businesses can indeed come from the simplest ideas.
Starting a local grocery delivery service which caters to the basic and simplest needs of people will never leave any aspiring entrepreneur empty-handed. When your customers realize that your type of service makes their life a lot easier without necessarily hurting their pockets, then you will have happy, regular customers in your hands who will keep you in the business for the long haul.
Are you making money with your own local grocery delivery service or thinking about doing so? Be sure to share your comments, thoughts, ideas below…