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Delivery Logistics

How to Start a Medical Delivery Service in 2024 (Step-by-Step)

Learn to launch & expand a medical delivery service in 2024. Optimize routes & enhance customer satisfaction with eLogii's tools.


The global market for delivering medical supplies was worth more than $69 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow by about 9.3% from 2021 to 2028. This means there's a big chance for people who want to start their medical delivery services.

Getting into this business can make you money, and it doesn't need a lot of upfront cash. You can get by with a small storage area and don't need a huge fancy office either.

But remember, delivering stuff like oxygen tanks and X-rays isn't the same as dropping off pizza.

If you're using your vehicle, you'll need to take care of maintenance, pay your delivery drivers, and find clients.

In medical delivery, you'll be moving important stuff like healthcare equipment, medical records, samples, medications, and more.

They usually partner with clinics, pharmacies, hospitals, and labs to safely transport medical supplies. Also, they need to follow legal rules like HIPAA. That is about keeping medical information private when moving medical stuff around.

As a manager of a medical delivery service, you have to follow strict rules to keep everyone safe, including your employees and customers. These rules cover everything from workplace safety to transportation laws.

But just following the rules isn't enough to attract and keep clients and good delivery drivers. You also need to offer fast, safe, and affordable service. It helps to stand out from the competition while ensuring fair pay for yourself and your team.

In this guide, we'll give you the basics to start your own medical delivery company. We'll also share tips, drawing from our experience in route management software, on how to improve your delivery process and make each delivery more profitable.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

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Getting Your Medical Delivery Service Up and Running in 5 Simple Steps

Starting any new business involves certain steps. You'll have to choose a business name, make business cards, get active on social media, and draft a business plan.

Yet, in this post, we want to shift our attention away from these general tasks. Instead, we'll concentrate on the specific steps you need to take in the medical courier field.

Now, let's dive straight into the specific steps you need to launch your medical delivery business:

Step 1: Understand Local and National Laws and Regulations

law-and-regulations

When you're running a medical delivery service, you're dealing with important medical stuff. That includes oxygen tanks, samples like blood vials, needles, and other delicate items.

What if one of your drivers accidentally drops something? Or if the cargo isn't kept at the right temperature?

You also need to know how often to check oxygen levels and how to handle private medical info in documents.

The good thing is, that there are solutions to all these challenges. It's your job to make sure your medical delivery business follows all the rules.

If your business operates in the United States, the rules you need to follow are mainly set by organizations like HIPAA, OSHA, and the FMCSA. These cover things like privacy, workplace safety, and transportation safety.

But remember, each state might have its own extra rules from the Department of Transportation (DOT) that you'll need to follow.

You can discover online certification programs that prepare you to deliver medical supplies. Even if you intend to hire drivers, it's valuable because you'll establish and enforce company policies.

Acquiring certifications in biohazard containment, HIPAA Compliant Patient Confidentiality, OSHA Blood Borne Pathogen Handling, and similar areas. These can significantly reassure clients of your team's competency and your business's dedication to adhering to regulations.

Step 2: Get the Necessary Medical Delivery Equipment

Medical delivery businesses need specific materials and equipment. Depending on the type of medical items you're transporting, you might need more than just standard cargo vehicles and trucks.

For instance, if you're delivering electric wheelchairs, you'll need to ensure your vehicles have enough space and the necessary equipment, such as special wheelchair lifts and ramps.

Refrigeration may be necessary for temperature-sensitive items. These could be blood samples or other biological materials.

Certain samples, such as some vaccines, may need protection from light. That necessitates investment in insulated trucks and coverings.

Undoubtedly, one of your most significant expenses will be the purchase of delivery vehicles.

The Mercedez-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van, starting at $43,500, is a favored choice among many delivery companies.

How can you secure the funds to launch your business? Here are several methods to raise capital for your new business endeavor:

  • Bank loans: Banks might extend a loan to support your business, contingent on a robust credit history and a well-crafted business plan.
  • Personal savings: Utilize any accumulated savings as a source of initial capital for your business.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans. Explore loan options provided by the US Small Business Administration (SBA), specifically designed for small businesses.
  • Crowdfunding. Leverage platforms like Kickstarter or GoFundMe to gather financial support from a wide range of contributors, including family, friends, and the public.
  • Soft loans from family and friends. Seek financial help from acquaintances without interest charges, potentially providing a less formalized borrowing arrangement.
  • Angel investors. Attract investment from affluent individuals or organizations willing to invest in your business in exchange for equity or future profits.

Step 3: Get Licenses and Insurance

Nearly all businesses operating in the United States need a federal business license, including medical delivery services. 

Additionally, depending on your location, you may need to get state and local licenses, as each state has its own set of business regulations. 

To begin this process, consider reaching out to your mayor's office, county administrator, and the secretary of state for your state.

To maintain your business license, you may need to follow industry regulations and get extra certifications.

For instance, your vehicles might need safety inspections for roadworthiness.

You could also need certifications from OSHA and HIPAA.

Your staff might also have to undergo hazardous materials training.

Integrity Medical Courier Training offers valuable on-site and live webinar training resources.

Here are some extra essentials you'll need to launch your medical delivery business:

  • Insurance. Ensure you have appropriate insurance coverage for your business, such as a general liability policy, commercial auto insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Vehicle registration. Register your vehicles with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
  • Tax ID number. Get an employer identification number (EIN) to fulfill federal tax requirements for your business and to hire employees. Additionally, for state tax purposes, get a state tax ID.
  • Valid driver’s license. Confirm that all drivers possess a valid driver’s license. You may also consider stipulating that they maintain a clean driving record.

If your medical courier service transports prescription drugs legally, your drivers must hold medical professional licenses.

Delivering incorrect prescription medications could lead to legal consequences.

Step 4: Recruit and Train Delivery Drivers

hiring-delivery-drivers

If you're looking to hire delivery drivers for your business, consider posting a job advertisement on well-known job search platforms such as Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor.

Ensure your ad is thorough, providing clear details on what qualities and qualifications make a candidate successful.

We've provided a sample job ad below for a medical courier/drier tasked with transporting medical specimens and lab supplies:

medical-courier-job-post

Make sure your job ad is clear about pay and expenses, so applicants know what to expect for total compensation. Include requirements like a driver's license, a clean driving record, and car insurance (if they're using their vehicle, as well as any background checks you'll conduct before making an offer. 

It's crucial to hire drivers who understand the importance of their role, as they'll be handling sensitive medical materials. They need to be reliable and trustworthy.

Provide thorough training to ensure your drivers are happy and productive in their role on your team.

Never assume that a courier with experience will know your procedures automatically.

Training new delivery drivers is important. Teaching the technical aspects of the job is usually straightforward.

This is even easier if you use a delivery platform like eLogii, which is user-friendly and compatible with major GPS navigation tools such as Google Maps and Waze.

Training your new delivery driver to treat their route as their own small business can be more challenging.

Yet, your courier's conduct leaves a lasting impression. From their attire to how they handle customer inquiries to the appearance of their vehicle.

Often, they're the sole representation of your business that customers encounter.

By fostering a culture where couriers grasp that they represent your business with each delivery, you set them and your business up for success.

Step 5: Get Clients for Medical Deliveries

medical-delivery-client

Here are the types of potential clients your medical delivery service can partner with:

  • Hospitals
  • Labs
  • Nursing homes
  • Patients (residential addresses)
  • Private practices (e.g., dentist's offices, surgeons)

When you're ready to attract clients for your medical delivery service, consider the following approaches:

  • Establish an online presence, like a company website, optimized to appear in Google searches for medical couriers in your region.
  • Learn to make cold calls to relevant businesses.
  • Network with healthcare professionals.

Expanding Your Medical Delivery Service Through Efficient Route Planning

delivering-medicine-to-customer

As a medical courier with a packed schedule, maximizing your time on the road is crucial. That's where a high-quality route optimization tool comes in handy.

Route optimization involves planning the most efficient way to visit many delivery points.

Elogii is a user-friendly route optimization tool built specifically for delivery drivers.

By crafting the quickest and most effective routes, drivers can save on time and expenses.

For instance, Ananas utilizing our routing software managed to achieve double-digit operational savings within months.

Elogii was born out of the recognition of a comprehensive delivery management solution that streamlines all facets of the delivery process.

With eLogii, dispatchers, planners, and business owners can effortlessly oversee many drivers and their daily routes. They can use our mobile app, compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

Here are some of the tasks eLogii can assist your new medical delivery service with:

  • Streamline delivery routes for efficiency
  • Track and manage ongoing deliveries
  • Provide customers with live updates on their orders
  • Gather proof of delivery for documentation

Let's explore how each feature can benefit your business:

Optimizing Routes for Medical Deliveries

route-tracking-on-delivery

With eLogii, you can generate the quickest routes for your delivery service, leading to time savings for you or your drivers.

Our routing software has enabled delivery teams and drivers to trim down their labor by up to an hour per day. The actual savings could exceed this.

Using eLogii, you save time in two key ways:

  • Streamlining route planning
  • Reducing the time it takes for drivers to complete their routes once an efficient system is established using the software.

One of our customers - an innovative, advanced supply chain management company - saved 50% in route planning time when they started using eLogii.

Before eLogii, the team at Unimasters needed a solution to improve planning efficiency. The reality is, that when you plan routes manually, it's not just time-consuming. there's no guarantee that you're creating the most efficient route available.

With eLogii, our route planning algorithm swiftly generates the quickest route possible within seconds.

In our web application, you can easily upload addresses by importing a data file.

Additionally, you have the option to manually input addresses, offering your drivers the flexibility to add addresses to their routes as their day progresses.

eLogii will seamlessly update the route accordingly.

Once the addresses are imported into eLogii, you can tailor your settings to suit your needs.

Here are some of the features you can customize with eLogii:

  • Task priority: When setting up a task, you can specify its priority level within the Advanced section of the task form.
  • Time windows: Establishing time windows ensures deliveries coincide with the operating hours of doctor's offices or labs.
  • Service duration: Service duration indicates the typical time required for a Task state to reach completion.

Once you've tailored and optimized your route, you can assign it to your drivers. They will then log into the eLogii mobile app and begin their delivery rounds.

Driver Tracking (Route Monitoring)

driver-tracking

With eLogii, you can oversee your drivers in real time as they handle sensitive and valuable medical materials. That includes medical equipment and potentially prescription medication.

Our real-time tracking functionality enables you to track your drivers' locations and their routes. You'll have visibility into the stops they've completed, their next destination, and an estimated arrival time (ETA).

Having insight into your drivers' locations provides peace of mind and facilitates customer inquiries. Instead of interrupting your drivers' work to get updates, you can simply refer to your route monitoring dashboard.

Additionally, you can address customer inquiries by sending out order tracking updates, which we'll discuss next.

Tracking Orders

customer-tracking-an-order

Whether delivering to residential or commercial addresses, individuals seek to stay informed about their delivery's arrival time. This allows them to plan their day accordingly and ensure someone is available to receive the package.

With eLogii, you can configure delivery updates to be sent to your customers, providing them with the necessary information.

Enabling customers/recipients to track their ongoing deliveries is possible by including the tracking link of the order in your communications with them. Or you can do that by configuring their notifications.

The tracking link displays details such as the driver's present location, status, estimated time of arrival (ETA), and the customer's address.

On the tracking page, customers can track the various stages of their order (referred to as the Task). For instance, they can see if their order has been created, picked up, and more.

These small gestures can distinguish your courier business, enhancing positive word-of-mouth and potentially generating referrals to aid in your business expansion.

Proof of delivery

With eLogii, your medical delivery service can use electronic proof of delivery (POD) features.

This POD can be obtained through a signature (where the customer signs your driver’s smartphone screen with their finger) or a photo.

Yet, for medical specimens, it's improbable that your courier will leave a package at the door and take a photo.

However, it's not entirely uncommon — certain customers may prefer contact-free delivery. In such cases, leaving the package at the door and taking a photo is the optimal method to confirm delivery.

Regardless of how proof of delivery is obtained (via signature or photo), a copy of the POD is sent to your customer.

By integrating these fundamental elements of last-mile delivery into a single mobile and web application, we've supported various courier and delivery companies in expanding and streamlining their operations.

FAQ about Medical Delivery Services

Are medical delivery businesses profitable?

The answer isn't straightforward.

In all honesty, your earnings are contingent upon the number of clients or contracts you secure.

However, if you manage your business effectively, the medical courier industry can indeed be lucrative.

In 2023, the average annual income for an independent medical courier in the US was $48,673.

Furthermore, some independent medical couriers earned up to $105,500

Starting Capital for a Medical Courier Business

Initial expenses for launching a medical courier business typically vary in the thousands. Here are several costs to take into account:

  • Fees for business registration
  • Licensing and training expenses
  • Marketing and advertising outlays
  • Insurance premiums
  • Costs associated with acquiring or leasing vehicles
  • Staff salaries
  • Fuel expenditures

Depending on local regulations and the types of deliveries involved, you may be able to utilize your vehicle. Nevertheless, if you anticipate handling a larger volume of deliveries, investing in a vehicle capable of accommodating the workload is advisable.

Create a successful medical delivery service with eLogii

Like any business try, launching your medical delivery service entails a myriad of tasks.

These include administrative duties (such as naming your business and selecting a tax filing status), marketing activities (establishing a social media presence, advertising, and networking), and overseeing the last-mile delivery operations of your enterprise — ensuring the product reaches its ultimate destination.

Without leveraging a delivery and route management platform like eLogii, you risk diminishing your profit margins due to excessive expenditure on each delivery.

With eLogii, you'll not only expedite deliveries but also enhance customer satisfaction. Providing order status updates and furnishing proof of delivery ensures peace of mind for both you and your customers.

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