David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Published on May 27, 2022 Updated on November 30, 2023
Time to build
Hospitals and clinics depend on medical couriers to reliably transport test samples, drugs, equipment and more. Medical couriers may also provide pick up and delivery for patients who need medical devices at home, such as oxygen tanks or an IV drip.
But this is not like delivering pizza: medical couriers must be certified in the proper handling of medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and samples. The medical courier industry expects strong growth for at least the next five years, which means this is a great time to take advantage of this market expansion.
But before you start learning how to handle medical equipment, you’ll need to learn what it takes to start a business. Fortunately, this step-by-step guide has the insight and tools you need to launch and build a profitable medical courier business.
Looking to register your business? A limited liability company (LLC) is the best legal structure for new businesses because it is fast and simple.
Trends within the medical courier industry include:
Tech advancements have enabled medical couriers to provide customers with real-time tracking information. Many courier services have their own mobile apps, making the delivery process smooth and seamless.
Traditional delivery companies are often expensive and have longer delivery times than local medical couriers. Today’s most successful courier businesses offer same-day and express delivery at affordable prices.
Challenges within the medical courier industry include:
The shipping and handling of prescription drugs, blood samples, and medical devices is highly regulated. For example, some medications need to be kept at a certain temperature, which means the courier must be properly equipped.
Unlike traditional courier and delivery services, medical couriers need to be certified, have a clean driving record, and maintain a level of professionalism. This could make finding additional drivers difficult.
Average level of education –The average medical courier holds a bachelor’s degree.
Average age – The average medical courier in the US is 43 years old.
How much does it cost to start a medical courier business?
Startup costs for a medical courier business range from $4,000 to $10,000. Costs include obtaining proper certification, software, website, and marketing expenses. One of the advantages of starting a courier business is the ability to use your own vehicle, which keeps costs low.
Visit Integrity Medical Courier Training for more details on online medical courier certification. Courses cost between $20 and $100 and each can be completed in three hours or less.
You’ll need a handful of items to successfully launch your medical courier business, including:
Licenses and permits
Marketing and advertising
How much can you earn from a medical courier business?
The average cost of medical courier services is $35 per hour. If you use your own vehicle, your main costs will include certification, a website, and marketing expenses. Expect a profit margin of around 85%.
In your first year or two, you could deliver for eight hours a day, five days a week at $35 per hour, bringing in $73,000 in annual revenue. Assuming that 85% profit margin, you’d make $62,000 in profit. As your client base increases, you could hire another driver to double your business, reducing your profit margin to around 65%. With annual revenue of $146,000, you’d make a handsome profit of $95,000.
What barriers to entry are there?
There are a few barriers to entry when starting a medical courier business. Your biggest hurdles will be:
Obtaining OSHA and Department of Transportation certification
Building a solid pipeline of clients
Related Business Ideas
If you’re still not sure whether this business idea is the right choice for you, here are some related business opportunities to help you on your path to entrepreneurial success.
Now that you know what’s involved in starting a medical courier business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market.
Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.
Why? Identify an opportunity
Research medical courier businesses in your area to examine their services, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a medical courier that makes after-hours deliveries.
You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, such as nursing homes or private medical practices.
This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away.
What? Determine your products or services
You’ll be providing pickup and delivery services for doctor’s offices, laboratories, and medical facilities. Because you’ll be handling medication, specimen samples, and medical equipment, safety and reliability is a must.
How much should you charge for medical courier services?
Costs for medical courier services range from $25 to $45 per hour. You may charge higher rates for rush deliveries or after-hours requests.
Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.
Who? Identify your target market
Your target market will be medical facilities that need pick up and delivery services for prescription drugs, medical equipment, blood samples, and more. Potential clients include hospitals, labs, doctor’s offices, and nursing homes.
Consider attending medical industry trade shows to build your network and generate leads. You can also connect with medical professionals on LinkedIn and advertise your services on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Where? Choose your business premises
In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out an office. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.
When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:
Central location accessible via public transport
Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
Step 3: Brainstorm a Medical Courier Company Name
Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.
Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:
Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better
Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
Including keywords, such as “medical courier” or “medical delivery”, boosts SEO
Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “LifeLine Logistics” over “Tissue Transit”
Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these.
Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.
Step 4: Create a Medical Courier Business Plan
Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:
Executive Summary: A concise overview of your medical courier business, highlighting its key aspects and objectives.
Business Overview: A brief description of your medical courier service, including its mission, vision, and the problem it aims to solve.
Product and Services: Details about the specific medical courier services you offer, such as transporting medical supplies, lab samples, or pharmaceuticals.
Market Analysis: An examination of the healthcare industry and the demand for medical courier services in your target market.
Competitive Analysis: Evaluation of your competitors in the medical courier industry, identifying strengths and weaknesses.
Sales and Marketing: Strategies for promoting your medical courier services and acquiring clients in the healthcare sector.
Management Team: Information about the key individuals responsible for running the business, their roles, and qualifications.
Operations Plan: A plan outlining the day-to-day operations of your medical courier business, including logistics, equipment, and staffing.
Financial Plan: Projections and estimates of your business’s financial performance, including income, expenses, and profitability.
Appendix: Supplementary information, such as resumes, permits, licenses, and other relevant documents, to support your business plan.
If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.
Step 5: Register Your Business
Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.
Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business!
Choose where to register your company
Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to medical couriers.
If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state.
Choose your business structure
Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your medical courier business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely.
Here are the main options:
Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)– Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have.
The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN.
Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.
It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.
Step 7: Fund your Business
Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:
Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.
Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a medical courier business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept.
Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits.
You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more.
Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your medical courier business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.
Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account.
Step 10: Get Business Insurance
Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.
Here are some types of insurance to consider:
General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.
As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business.
Essential software and tools
Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.
You may want to use industry-specific software, such as MCE, CXT Software, or OptimoRoute to manage routes, track pickups and deliveries, and track performance metrics.
If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.
Develop your website
Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.
You can create your own website using website builders. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.
They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google.
For your medical courier business, the marketing strategy should focus on showcasing your reliability, speed, and the special care you take in handling medical deliveries. Emphasize your compliance with healthcare regulations, your ability to handle sensitive and urgent deliveries, and your commitment to confidentiality and security.
Professional Branding: Your branding should convey trustworthiness, professionalism, and expertise in medical logistics. This includes a well-designed logo, branded vehicles, and professional uniforms for your couriers.
Direct Outreach: Network with local hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and pharmacies to introduce your services. Offering a trial period or discounted rates can help in establishing initial contracts.
Digital Presence and Online Marketing
Professional Website and SEO: Develop a website that clearly outlines your services, adherence to health and safety protocols, and customer testimonials. Optimize with SEO best practices to rank for searches related to medical courier services, urgent medical deliveries, and healthcare logistics.
Social Media Engagement: Utilize platforms like LinkedIn for professional networking and Facebook to share company updates, industry news, and testimonials from satisfied healthcare clients.
Content Marketing and Engagement
Healthcare Logistics Blog: Share informative blog posts about the importance of timely medical deliveries, updates in healthcare logistics, and tips for healthcare providers on managing supply chains.
Email Newsletters: Regular newsletters can inform clients about any changes in regulations, new services, or improvements in your delivery processes.
Video Content: Create videos that highlight the care and precision involved in your delivery process, showcasing your team’s expertise and dedication.
Experiential and In-Person Engagements
Healthcare Industry Events: Attend and participate in healthcare expos, medical conferences, and local business events to network with potential clients and promote your services.
Training Seminars: Offer seminars or webinars on best practices in medical logistics and the safe handling of medical goods.
Collaborations and Community
Partnerships with Healthcare Providers: Build relationships with local healthcare providers for steady contracts and referrals.
Collaborations with Pharmaceutical Companies: Engage with pharmaceutical companies for distributing their products, enhancing your client base.
Customer Relationship and Loyalty Programs
Long-term Contract Incentives: Provide incentives for long-term contracts, such as discounted rates or value-added services.
Referral Programs: Implement a referral program that rewards current clients for referring new business to your courier service.
Promotions and Advertising
Targeted B2B Advertising: Use industry-specific publications, medical directories, and online platforms to advertise your services to healthcare professionals.
Participation in Medical and Pharma Expos: Regularly participate in medical and pharmaceutical expos to stay connected with industry trends and potential clients.
Focus on USPs
Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your medical courier business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire.
Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your medical courier business could be:
Same-day delivery for busy medical clinics and professionals
Safe, reliable pickup and delivery of all variety of medical samples
Prompt courier services for pharmaceuticals and medical devices
You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a courier business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in medical delivery for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections.
The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in medical couriers. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership.
Step 12: Build Your Team
If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a medical business include:
Couriers – Make deliveries, develop rapport with clients
Marketing Lead – Manage advertising campaigns, generate leads
At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need.
Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent.
Step 13: Run a Medical Courier Business – Start Making Money!
Medical couriers are in high demand as part of a growing industry. Making sure medical devices and samples get where they need to go is rewarding work, and potentially quite lucrative. With your own medical courier service, you might make a good living and occasionally play a key role in saving someone’s life!
Now that you’ve done your entrepreneurial homework, it’s time to start building your area’s most popular and successful medical courier business.
Medical Courier Business FAQs
Is a medical courier business profitable?
Yes, medical courier services are profitable businesses. You’ll need to develop a pipeline of clients and adhere to strict regulatory guidelines to be successful.
How much should I charge for medical courier services?
Rates for medical courier services range from $25 to $45 per hour. You can charge more for after-hours deliveries or rush requests.
How can I recruit and train drivers and staff for my medical courier business?
To recruit and train drivers and staff for your medical courier business, advertise job openings, screen applications, conduct interviews, perform background checks, and develop a comprehensive training program to ensure they meet the required qualifications and possess the necessary skills for medical courier services.
How can I differentiate my medical courier business from competitors in the market?
To differentiate your medical courier business from competitors, focus on specialized services such as temperature-controlled deliveries, secure and confidential handling of sensitive medical items, efficient delivery tracking systems, exceptional customer service, partnerships with healthcare providers, and highlighting your company’s reliability and professionalism.
How to find clients for my medical courier business?
To find clients for your medical courier business, establish relationships with local healthcare facilities, hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and pharmacies. Network with healthcare professionals, attend industry events and conferences, create an online presence through a professional website and social media platforms, and consider joining healthcare and medical associations to gain visibility and referrals.
What types of vehicles are suitable for a medical courier business?
Suitable vehicles for a medical courier business include compact cars, vans, and larger vehicles like cargo vans or small trucks. The choice of vehicle depends on the volume and size of medical packages you’ll be delivering.
How to Start a Medical Courier Business
Decide if the Business Is Right for You
Hone Your Idea
Brainstorm a Medical Courier Company Name
Create a Medical Courier Business Plan
Register Your Business
Register for Taxes
Fund your Business
Apply for Medical Courier Business Licenses and Permits
Open a Business Bank Account
Get Business Insurance
Prepare to Launch
Build Your Team
Run a Medical Courier Business - Start Making Money!
Medical Courier Business FAQs
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Join our exclusive community! Subscribe to our newsletter and gain insider access to cutting-edge business insights and trends.
Thank you for subscribing! We can't wait to share our latest news and updates with you. Get ready for exciting content in your inbox.