Start a white glove delivery service by following these 9 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your white glove delivery service. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your Business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a white glove delivery service?
Fortunately, the overhead for a white glove business is, initially, reasonable. You will need a vehicle, preferably a van, uniforms and insurance for your business and employees, and a marketing and advertising budget. You may not need a building to start, but the storage of customer valuables will improve delivery logistics and allow for growth and expansion of business and revenue. It’s wise to factor in building rentals and purchase costs, from the onset. Have a clear understanding of your business’ earning potential, as well as anticipated costs.
What are the ongoing expenses for a white glove delivery service?
A majority of the costs to continue this business are in the maintenance and upkeep of the delivery fleet. Additionally, employee salaries and insurance, as well as business operating insurance and rent or mortgage costs, will be monthly factors.
Who is the target market?
Primarily, white glove delivery customers are those in need of specific care and handling of their valuables. These customers don’t mind paying more for the service, as long as their needs are met. Upper-middle-class customers would be considered your base.
How does a white glove delivery service make money?
Clients pay for a specialized delivery service tailored to their specific needs. Because of specificity, white glove deliveries cost more than standard delivery services.
How much can you charge customers?
Because of the specialized nature of white glove deliveries, these services can charge quite a bit more. Some price increases can double the cost of a standard delivery. Compare other regional delivery services and price yours accordingly.
How much profit can a white glove delivery service make?
With specialized delivery services increasing in popularity, profit margins will more than likely increase. The potential for earning in this type of delivery service often depends on the median income of an area, but many services are making six-figure annual earnings. As a delivery associate, hourly wages can vary from $11-$18, depending on experience and delivery volume.
How can you make your business more profitable?
White glove deliveries specialize in customer satisfaction. Allowing customers to stay in contact via chat allows a constant flow of info without phone conversations. Look into maximizing your use of tech tools which streamline your delivery processes.
Also, look into special add-ons you can attach to your deliveries. When customers have the opportunity to pay for convenience services, many often will.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Business Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your white glove delivery service is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate an aerial art studio business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
STEP 7: Get Business Insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
How to promote & market a white glove delivery service
As mentioned above, creating online marketing and blog content can lead to greater customer engagement. Pictures of satisfied customers and professional employee appearances go a long way to attracting customers, too.
A good marketing campaign should also recognize and capitalize on what your business specializes in compared to other services. How do you stand out?
It is also important to emphasize your ability to be discreet and even available as on-call for certain customers. Ingratiating yourself via your service is recognized and appreciated.
How to keep customers coming back
Go above and beyond expectations regularly and follow-up to establish a personable business connection. And, as your business grows, reward your loyal clients for helping you achieve your success.
STEP 9: Establish your Web Presence
A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Start A White Glove Delivery Service In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
Wealthy or eccentric clients often request white glove deliveries. Understanding how to properly lift and handle customers’ valuables while also professionally conversing with clients are both important traits for this career.
Prior work in moving and deliveries, as well as the hospitality or service industry, can prove beneficial.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a white glove delivery service?
Day to day activities for a white glove delivery service include
- Securing client merchandise and scheduling deliveries
- Contacting clients for delivery times and special instructions
- Delivery and placement/installation of client merchandise
- Follow-up with clients for satisfaction upon completion
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful white glove delivery service?
This type of delivery service is specifically designed to cater to the client’s every delivery-related request. Excellent customer service and an ability to politely and professionally converse with your customers will significantly improve your chances of being hired again or recommended to friends and colleagues.
Additionally, a decent set of handyman skills is necessary to tackle the assemblies and installs. Electrical and audio/video experience may also be called upon. Finally, some basic business and marketing skills are needed to help get your startup off the ground.
What is the growth potential for a white glove delivery service?
With exponentially higher numbers of consumers purchasing online, delivery services are in high demand. White glove services are specifically gaining popularity, as more clients are looking to outfit their home and office or business life, via online shopping. Assembly, installation, and specific placement are, increasingly, being left to the pros.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a white glove delivery service?
With the popularity of these services increasing, so will competition. Do your business a favor and perform some market research to start. How many white glove services already exist in your area. Market saturation will strangle out good companies.
Look for a need for deliveries. If you live in a city with a large medical community or tech commerce, for instance, focus on deliveries that benefit these industry professionals in their personal lives.
Create a marketing splash with online and print advertising, as well as an online social media presence. Online photos let customers see your professional attire and attitude and understand what they can expect prior to your arrival. Target your print marketing to higher-end shopping and commerce centers, as well.
How and when to build a team
Many small white glove services often start out as a two or three-person outfit. Deliveries can be handled by a few employees, which keeps salary overheads low. As you grow, though, reliable delivery personnel become invaluable for success. Being able to rely on employees to follow through and match your same level of quality and attention to detail is critical, so choose wisely.