Fastway Couriers:
The Fastway to becoming your own boss

Fastway Couriers has experienced rapid growth in Ireland, and its nationwide expansion is creating many more opportunities for franchisees to join its success story. Fastway's Paula Keaney explains the franchise opportunity.

FOUNDED 21 years ago in New Zealand, Fastway Couriers has expanded into the UK, France, Spain and Germany, with Belgium, Luxembourg, and Holland launching soon. The concept was launched in Ireland in March 2002 by Irish Master Franchisees Gerry Riordan and Andy Hennessy, who now support franchisees operating in 32 counties.

Fastway provides a low price, easy to use system which disposes with the cost of unnecessary extras. The concept works on a simple pre-paid label and satchel system, giving customers further savings on their freight bill, quick and easy dispatch, no accounts to reconcile and greater control over their freight. All labels and satchels are bar-coded, enabling goods to be scanned for track and trace information.

'The service we offer is extremely easy to use, as well as being economically priced,' adds Andy Hennessy. 'We still offer the essentials such as online track and trace, but overheads are kept to a minimum due to our structure. Customers come from all industries, but are essentially businesses that send goods on a regular basis. We use simple pricing with no multiple weight breaks or complicated formulas for different destinations. While large customers will enjoy our bulk user rates, small and medium size customers also benefit from our highly competitive prices. We are completely open about our prices - they are published on our website - so there is no tiresome negotiating for our customers to endure.'

Fastway is franchised at three levels: the National Master Franchisee provides guidance and support to the Regional Franchisees, who in turn recruit Courier Franchisees in their regions. Each region offers a parcel and satchel next day delivery service to most destinations throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Fastway Courier Franchisees are independent business owners, and opportunities exist to sell or split their territory once they are bringing in more work than they can handle. 'This brings them capital gain,' Andy explains, 'but leaves them with a viable territory for ongoing income and future development.' This means there are always opportunities available for Courier Franchisees in all of the Regional Franchise areas that have been granted.

Donal Carney, Courier Franchisee (West) was turning over between €1,000 and €1,200 per week just 16 months after launching his new franchise. 'There was still a huge potential for further growth when I sold the franchise,' Donal reveals. 'It just goes to show what a person with no previous experience can achieve under the Fastway umbrella. I was offered the price I wanted and so I decided to sell.' Now working in the management structure of Fastway, Donal's success is encouraging to those prepared to take up the challenge of owning their own Courier Franchise.

Similarly, John Hurley was a Courier Franchisee up until recently when he took the next step in the Fastway system to become Regional Franchisee of the SouthWest area. He sold his three Courier Territories for a generous capital gain, which he used to invest in the regional franchise opportunity covering Clare, Limerick and Kerry. 'It really isn't any more difficult than that,' continues Andy, who also oversees the Sales and Marketing for Fastway Ireland. 'The Fastway system is proven, and as long as the person is prepared to follow the system they will find success.'

Dispelling the myth that couriers spend stressful days driving all over town, Andy explains: 'Fastway operates on a hub and spoke system, meaning each Courier Franchisee has their own exclusive territory. They pick up and deliver parcels within their area, and return to the depot where the parcels destined for other areas within the region will be exchanged with the relevant couriers and parcels addressed to other regions are transferred overnight in special cages to their corresponding depots for distribution. This gives customers a next day service and there is no need for couriers to drive all the way to the parcels' destinations.

'This also means that customers always deal with their own designated Fastway courier, for both pickups and deliveries. The fact that a Courier Franchisee is a local owner operator ensures that their customers receive a professional and reliable service. Fastway Couriers is in an excellent position to offer cost effective couriers services while maintaining a high level of service and care.'

Fastway Couriers is continuing to grow in Ireland, and Courier Franchisees are actively sought in all areas. Andy concludes: 'When you consider that almost every business is a potential customer, we've got a lot of growth ahead of us yet.'