Delivery services of all sorts have taken off recently. Everything from groceries to dog walking can be ordered online, and weed is no exception. As more and more places allow marijuana to be sold recreationally, the door for cannabis delivery is opening around the country. In fact, there’s never been a better time than today to start your own cannabis delivery service.
There are some things to keep in mind before you start. No matter what, starting a business involves some bureaucracy. Since cannabis is still subject to restrictions in many places, you need to do your research. Starting your marijuana delivery service will be rewarding, but it will go much more smoothly once you understand the process.
Familiarize Yourself with Local Laws
The precise laws regarding marijuana are different from state to state, county to county, and even town to town. The same goes for laws regarding delivery services. If you plan on hiring people to make deliveries for you, you need to take labor laws into account. Nothing will kill a fledgling business quicker than legal trouble. Do your research, and do lots of it.
The internet can be helpful when you’re first starting out. However, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the information. Plus, some municipal websites are poorly designed, or simply don’t include the relevant info. If you need more in-depth knowledge, reach out to other local resources.
There are three places you can ask: your local Chamber of Commerce, your City Hall, and your local library. At least one of these organizations will be able to help you find the laws you need to know. They can also point you in the right direction for future legal hurdles, like licenses and permits.
Develop a Business Model Based on Industry Trends and Consumer Needs
There are already several successful marijuana delivery services around the nation. Check up on what these companies are doing. What seems like a good idea? What seems unusual? If a company seems to be expanding, they’re probably doing something right.
Make sure to keep your situation in mind, though. The delivery model that works in Los Angeles probably won’t work perfectly in a small town in Oregon, for example. A great business responds to the community it’s in. Taking things into account like your city’s demographics and current cannabis culture will help you design a business model that will work in the long term.
Some common business models include:
- If you live in a state or a town with multiple dispensaries, you can connect multiple together into a delivery marketplace. Just like a grocery delivery service, you can collect each of these stores into a single easy-to-use platform. From there, customers can choose the store and the product that they want, and you provide the delivery service.
- Delivery from an existing dispensary. If you already run a dispensary, you can add your own delivery service. A dedicated employee can gather product orders from your store and make a few delivery runs a day. You can scale up from there are demand requires.
- Mobile-app delivery service. If you don’t have a dispensary and you don’t want to connect with other stores, you can try a mobile, delivery-only service. This cuts the expenses of a storefront. In fact, you can run a mobile app delivery service out of your home as long as you have the appropriate licenses and permits.
Create a Business Plan and Get a License
Once you know what kind of business you’re starting, you need to make a business plan. This is different from a business model. A business model is the general shape of the company. It’s whether you hire external delivery workers or not, whether you provide subscriptions or one-off orders, and who your company generally targets.
On the other hand, a business plan is a roadmap for how you want to grow your company. When you first start your business, it will likely be much smaller than your ultimate goal. A business plan explains how you’re going to get from A to B. This outline helps you keep moving forward over time. It keeps you from coasting without a clear idea of your next step.
There are plenty of online services that are designed to help you build a business plan. If you don’t have a serious business background, they will help walk you through the whole process. You’ll be surprised by the things your business plan brings up that you never even considered that your business plan.
When you’re serious about starting a business, you should also get your business license sooner rather than later. Having a proper business license allows you to get things like business bank accounts and credit cards. It also paves the ways for officially hiring people and starting professional relationships with suppliers. Finally, depending on what kind of business structure you choose, it can also help protect your assets.
Finally, check and see what kind of permit is required to sell cannabis. Every state has their own guidelines. You may need to take some training or pay some permit fees to be legally allowed to sell cannabis.
Explore How to Get Products
In order to have something to deliver, you need to get your product from somewhere. There are a few ways to get your supply, and each have their own pros and cons.
Grow Your Product
If you grow your own cannabis, you have complete control over the whole supply chain. You know exactly what goes into your product. That way, you can ensure your marijuana is organic or otherwise up to your standards.
The downside is that growing cannabis may require additional licenses, and it definitely takes a lot of time and effort. While you may have a higher profit margin from a purely financial standpoint, you’ll also put a lot more time and effort in. Sometimes your crops will fail. In that case, you eat the time and cost of production. It’s a high-risk, high-reward option.
Work with a Supplier
A much simpler option is to get your product from a wholesaler. With a wholesale purchase, you save money by buying in bulk. From there, you divide the product into individual orders at market rates.
This requires some money up front, because you need to purchase product before you can sell it for delivery. If you already have your own dispensary, this becomes the simplest option by far. You are your own supplier. You can also connect with other dispensaries, to give consumers the widest variety of product all in one place.
Business Policies to Set Up
You’re running a business that involves a valuable product. That means you need certain policies in place from the jump.
- Hiring policies: What do you need out of an employee? For a delivery service, a valid driver’s license and a working vehicle are common requirements. Your drivers may also need permits to carry marijuana with them in large quantities. You should also consider screening for drug charges and other crimes.
- Storage policies: Keeping your supply secure isn’t just about keeping it safe from theft. It’s all too easy for weed and related products to go bad if it’s stored incorrectly. Write down your storage and handling procedures right away, so there’s never any doubt about the right way to do things.
- Cash handling policies: If you accept cash at the delivery point, your drivers will be handling large sums of money regularly. Decide how you want that to be handles. You should consider things like how much cash a driver should have on them, how money is deposited, and how locking and unlocking your safe should be done.
- Delivery policies: Where do you deliver? Do you have contact-free delivery? How do you verify customers’ ages? These guidelines will help keep things legal and confusion-free.
How to Promote To Customers
Once you have your business ready to go, it’s time to promote it to your customers. There are several common ways to do this. The trick is getting your company in front of the people who will actually use it. The more often your potential customers see you name, the more likely they are to eventually make a purchase.
Paid Advertising On Cannabis Platforms
Getting yourself on an established cannabis web platform will get you in front of lots of eyes. It’s also a good way to gain legitimacy. If you’re listed on a platform people trust, that trust will transfer in part to you. Simple banner ads can work, but full profiles are even better.
Social Media Influencers
Having a local influencer rep your service will show people that you’re something people really use. An influencer ad seems much more natural than banner ads. It’s a friendlier, more casual way of getting your name out there.
Social Media Account Development
Finally, you should absolutely have social media accounts. People won’t check your site of a cannabis platform every day, but they will go on Twitter regularly. Having helpful and interesting stuff on your social media pages will get people to follow you. From there, they’ll see your name more often, and they’re more likely to buy in the long run.
Starting your own marijuana delivery service might seem intimidating, but it’s worth it. Do your research and put in the work at the beginning, and you can build your own long-term business. There’s never been a better time to start a delivery service – why not get out there and start your own now?