7 Successful Delivery Businesses (and How To Start Your Own)

on Apr 20, 2023

Delivery businesses have brought a new level of convenience into consumers' lives. Modern customers are used to ordering virtually anything online, from groceries to prescription meds. 

Delivery businesses help meet this growing demand for instant gratification. They provide orders to customers within a few hours or even less. A service may specialize in a specific type of delivery, such as flower delivery services, or it might deliver all kinds of packages.

If you’re thinking about starting your own delivery business, this article will help guide you. We’ll walk you through some of the most in-demand delivery businesses, how to get started, and answer the burning question — is starting a delivery business a good idea?

Are delivery businesses in demand? 

The shift in the buying trends of consumers has taken a drastic turn since the Covid-19 pandemic. As lockdowns made in-store shopping inaccessible, people turned to online ordering services out of necessity.

Online orders

During the first year of the pandemic alone, ecommerce sales increased by        $244.2 billion, or 43%. And with the rise of online orders, so did the need for efficient delivery businesses to fulfill this unprecedented demand. 

Recent data shows the delivery industry is booming. For example, food delivery has become a global market worth more than $150 billion, having tripled in the last six years. 

Even since restaurants reopened, food delivery is still going strong. Most people have become accustomed to (and prefer) online ordering. Consumers prioritize convenience, whether it’s a quick UberEats order or a grocery delivery from their nearest supermarket. 

Morgan Stanley explains that the growth of ecommerce represents a permanent change in how people shop. While economic activity has slowed down since the early days of the pandemic, digital commerce still has room to grow and could increase from $3.3 trillion today to $5.4 trillion in 2026.

If you’re thinking of starting your own delivery business, this is an ideal time. There are many in-demand delivery services to choose from, and with the right strategy, you can start a profitable business and cash in on the delivery boom. 

7 profitable delivery businesses for 2023 

From emergency snacks to alcohol delivery, there’s no shortage of straight-to-door delivery services. There are plenty of options to choose from if you want to break into the growing delivery industry.

Since many successful businesses already exist, carving out a niche within your chosen category could drive your success. 

1. Food delivery 

The US food delivery market is hugely popular and in demand, having more than doubled since the pandemic. With 70% of consumers preferring to place online orders, restaurants are rushing to offer food delivery services, while food delivery apps are raking in the profits. 

Consumers, especially Millennials and Gen Zers, prefer the convenience of ready-made meals from their favorite restaurants. While you’ll have plenty of demand, you’ll also face competition from big players such as DoorDash, UberEats, Grubhub, or Postmates. 

Customer ordering food on app
To capture potential revenue and avoid stiff competition, consider focusing on a specialized segment or a specific type of cuisine. For example, SmoothieBox solely focuses on delivering nutritious smoothies straight to your door. 

Ghost kitchens are becoming a lucrative business for aspiring restaurateurs who want to tap into the growing delivery market. Ghost kitchens are virtual restaurants that don't provide dine-in or takeaway services to customers. Instead, they accept orders online and rely on food delivery apps to fulfill orders. 

By 2030, ghost kitchens are expected to hold a 50% share of the drive-thru and takeaway food service sectors worldwide. To operate successfully and maximize profitability, your budding ghost kitchen should consider adopting an omnichannel model. 

An omnichannel platform — like the unified orchestration engine by Delivery Solutions — can help you orchestrate operations, from online orders to pickup and delivery, freeing you to focus on building your brand. 

2. Courier service 

The courier service is a lucrative business. 

FedEx vice president, Brie Carere, predicts about 100 million parcels will be delivered daily by 2026. Couriers locally transport and deliver packages quicker than traditional delivery providers like FedEx or UPS can provide. As online orders continue to grow, there will be a great need for small local couriers who can meet customers’ local delivery needs quickly and efficiently.

Businesses will need more diverse delivery solutions to solve the last mile delivery problem — and that’s where your courier delivery business comes in. Couriers can offer next-day or same-day delivery options giving customers the speed and efficiency they’re looking for. 

3. Meal kit delivery services 

Meal delivery services offer the convenience of healthy home-cooked meals without the hassle of grocery shopping and meal planning. Popular meal kit services like HelloFresh and Blue Apron deliver fresh, pre-portioned ingredients, making meal prepping a breeze for customers. 

Meal kit revenue worldwide is expected to reach over $17 billion in 2023 and is forecast to exceed $25 billion by 2027. If you’re planning to start your own meal delivery business, you’ll need to differentiate yourself from other meal kit companies. For example, you can offer eco-friendly meals or deliver ingredients for specific occasions like barbecues. 

4. Medical supplies and pharmaceuticals delivery

Starting a medical delivery service can be a very profitable and rewarding business venture with few startup costs. 

On-demand medical delivery apps allow customers to order medicine, medical supplies, and samples and specimens instantly, drastically reducing customer waiting times in long pharmacy or hospital queues. 

The global medical supply delivery service market was valued at over                       $48 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow by 9.3% from 2021 to 2028. The expansion of healthcare logistics and the growing demand for medical couriers spur market growth. An aging population and the health problems that come with it also drive demand. According to the United Nations, the global geriatric population is expected to reach 2 billion by 2050

5. Alcohol delivery

Like meal kits and medicine, delivery apps can bring wine, beer, and virtually any type of booze to your door. The US is said to be taking over China to become the world’s largest alcohol e-commerce market. If you’re in a state like California or Florida that allows you to ship alcohol directly to customers’ homes, alcohol delivery is another lucrative idea to consider.

Courier delivering alcohol parcel

From same-day deliveries for a last-minute get-together to wine subscription services, alcohol delivery services come in wide varieties. For example,                 LASH Delivery, (now acquired by grocery store H-E-B) is an alcohol delivery service that ships alcohol to your door in less than 60 minutes. 

Niche delivery markets like alcohol are profitable for new delivery companies. If you’re thinking about starting your own, partnering with Delivery Solutions can eliminate the challenges traditionally associated with alcohol delivery. For example, it can forecast whether a delivery is possible in a given area and whether or not alcohol delivery is allowed. 

6. Amazon delivery service partner 

Amazon has created the Delivery Service Partner (DSP) program to empower entrepreneurs who want to launch and operate their delivery businesses. As a Delivery Service Partner, you can deliver Amazon orders while maintaining control of your package delivery business.

Amazon DSP program duties

(Image Source)

Joining the program requires an initial investment of as low as $10,000 for five delivery vehicles — a relatively low cost for startup expenses. The DSP program is highly competitive, and the application process focuses on finding candidates that demonstrate leadership and work ethic and are passionate about building a team of delivery associates. 

7. Grocery delivery services

Like meal kits and food delivery apps, online grocery delivery is skyrocketing in popularity. Instacart, the most popular grocery delivery app, was downloaded        over eight million times in 2022. 

Grocery delivery apps make customers’ lives more convenient, allowing them to order groceries and deliver them straight to their homes without visiting a grocery store. People order groceries because they don’t have enough time to go to the store or have difficulty getting there.

If you’re considering starting your own grocery delivery business, there are several options. For example, you can partner directly with a grocery store that already has a customer base or start your delivery service and work directly with customers.

How to start a delivery business 

Starting any business takes an enormous amount of research and strategic planning to be successful. Here are some important steps to remember when starting your delivery business. 

1. Research, research, research

Doing thorough research into your market, competitors, customer needs, and everything in between can help you identify a market gap that needs to be filled. Any unmet need can be an opportunity for you to succeed in the competitive delivery business. 

2. Determine your delivery area

To figure out your delivery boundaries (aka the size of your delivery area), consider how many customers you want to reach or how long you want your customers to wait. 

Business delivery zone map

These will help you determine how big or small your delivery area will be for maximum delivery efficiency. 

3. Create a business plan

Your business plan will be the blueprint for your delivery business, helping you secure investments and guiding your next steps. 

Create a solid business plan that includes essential information about your business such as a company description, the services you offer, financial projections, marketing plans, and market analysis.

4. Obtain licenses, permits, and insurance

Depending on the delivery business you choose, you’ll need specific licenses, permits, and business insurance. 

For example, if you deliver medicine, you must follow legal regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) related to the transport of medical materials. Acquiring these ensures you comply with local licensing laws and protects your company. 

5. Create a marketing strategy. 

Investing in digital and traditional marketing is essential to attract new customers, build brand awareness, and differentiate yourself from competitors in your market. 

Whether you leverage social media platforms, build a strong website, or join a local business group, each tactic will help you reach more potential customers and grow your business. 

Fulfill orders quickly and efficiently with the help of Delivery Solutions 

Once your delivery business is up and running, you’ll need to use your time and resources efficiently, preparing your business for growth. 

Delivery Solutions is a leader in ecommerce delivery orchestration that can help your budding delivery business consolidate deliveries and streamline operations so you can focus on growing your delivery business.

For example, if you’re using multiple carriers to deliver orders, you’ll be able to manage and communicate with all your drivers in one place. Instead of randomly assigning deliveries, Delivery Solutions helps you choose the best carrier for each delivery based on their location and the types of delivered products. You’ll also have an efficient way to keep in touch with your drivers if they need to update or let you know about potential delays. 

Delivery solutions tracking page preview

Using live tracking technology, it also tracks the status of each order as it makes its way through the delivery cycle, and catches any operational issues along the way through SMS and email notifications. This way, you can fix issues quickly and optimize your deliveries in real-time. 

No matter where your delivery business is on their journey, Delivery Solutions can help you take the next step forward. 

Future proof your future delivery business

Delivery businesses offer a great opportunity to meet the demands of modern customers and enter a lucrative market. If you’re thinking about carving out a space in the delivery world, there’s never been a better time. Convenience sells, and there are many profitable delivery businesses to choose from. 

Find a niche within a popular delivery market and leverage a powerful omnichannel solution to future-proof your business. Get your omnichannel experience strategy in motion with an end-to-end SaaS solution like Delivery Solutions.                          Schedule a demo today

About the author

Abbas Merchant

Abbas Merchant is the Head of India Operations at Delivery Solutions, the leading provider of last-mile delivery and fulfillment software. With over 25+ years of Corporate and Entrepreneurial experience in leadership roles, Abbas has worked with several large Global entities such as AT&T, Global Cloud Xchange, Reliance Communications, etc., giving him a truly global perspective in areas of Business Development, Operations, People Management, Strategic Planning, Product Development, and Marketing. Prior to joining Delivery Solutions, he served as the Managing Director of Aerial Services Pvt Ltd, which he acquired in 2015 and expanded, overseeing the Sales, Business Development, and Operations activities for the company. He was instrumental in signing Distributorships with the likes of Garmin (USA), ICOM (Japan), Raymarine (UK), Alltek Marine (Taiwan) and building a robust distribution network with strategic partners to service India's Government and Defence sectors across the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force. Abbas has also worked with several start-ups including NorthPoint Communications in the US, which was later acquired by AT&T. As a core member of the M&A integration team, Abbas was involved in the sale of $135 Mn of network assets to AT&T. Abbas relocated to India in 2001 and joined Reliance Communications, where he held several Senior Management roles during his tenure of 13+ years with the company, before leaving to pursue his Entrepreneurial journey. Abbas holds an MBA from the University of San Francisco in IT and Telecommunications, and a Bachelor of Engineering in Computers from Mumbai University


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