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How To Beat The Competition In The Courier Industry.

November 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Money/Business, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.comIn the good old days of buying things from shops, you had one big delivery to the store and then the customers did the rest of the legwork. But people don’t want to do that anymore. Now we want to order our products from the comfort of our own home and have them delivered to our front door, without us having to move at all. As well as commercial online shopping, the number of business to business online transactions is rising, meaning that more of our products are being delivered rather than purchased in person. That spells bad news for high street retailers as the unstoppable tide of online shops is starting to take over, but it’s not all doom and gloom.

There are thousands of products that need shipping every single day, and somebody needs to do it. Courier companies have seen a huge spike in business since the increases in online shopping and it doesn’t look set to slow down anytime soon. High street retailers are also moving towards setting up their own delivery services to meet increasing demand.

New technologies like drone delivery could upset the balance and take work away from traditional courier services but they are still in the early testing phases and they won’t be widespread enough to cover all of those deliveries for a good few years yet. Some courier companies have expressed concerns about driverless car technology as well, but similarly, it still has a long way to go before we’re using it for all of our deliveries.

That means there’s a huge amount of work out there for anybody that starts their own courier company. But don’t think that means you can just get a couple of vans and start earning cash straightaway. There’s a huge amount of competition out there so if you’re going to start your own successful courier company, you need to make your service stand out and avoid some of the common mistakes that couriers often make.

Think Small

You’re probably thinking that’s the opposite of what you should be doing. Thinking big is the way to get ahead in business, surely? Not when it comes to courier services. The big online retailers have already got well established couriers that they have a long history with so you aren’t likely to land those contracts. However, smaller businesses often prefer to work with smaller companies that can dedicate more time to them and offer a more personal service. Find small local businesses and advertise yourself to them, trying to get a contract from Amazon is going to be a waste of your resources.

Pay Your Drivers Well

You can save a bit of money if you get cheap, inexperienced drivers, but it’ll cause you more problems in the future. The first issue you’ll run into is accidents. Driving a big van or a truck is a lot different to a car and if they aren’t experienced, they’re more likely to crash. You’ll be liable for any crashes involving company vehicles, which means you’ll have to pay for a truck accident lawyer to make sure that you don’t get sued. An inexperienced driver is also not going to know their way around very well. That means they’re more likely to get lost and delay deliveries. That’s going to get back to the retailer that you’re driving for very quickly and they’re not likely to use you again. Word spreads fast and you’ll soon start to lose your customers if your drivers are late, or they damage packages through reckless driving. It’s much better to pay a higher wage for somebody experienced that can deliver the service that you need.

Don’t Overestimate

If you think that you can make a delivery by 3.00pm at the latest, don’t give the customer that time. You don’t leave any room for maneuver if there are any unforeseen problems. Even if factors outside of your control stop you from making a delivery on time, your customers won’t have any sympathy for you. If you think you can get there by 3.00pm, tell the customer 5.00pm. That way, you won’t be late if anything slows you down and if you get there in good time, you’re going to be a couple of hours early which is always going to keep the customers happy.

Lack Of Communication

Communication is key when it comes to deliveries. Some are going to be straightforward and your drivers will have no trouble finding the place, but if it’s in an apartment building or a location that’s hard to find, you might end up being late. Even if it isn’t your fault, you’ll still lose business. Good communication with the customer in the lead up to the delivery is the easiest way to stop that from happening. Always have a special information section when people are placing orders so if their place is difficult to find they can give you detailed instructions on how to get there. Also, make sure that your drivers check their delivery lists ahead of time and call the customer if they have any concerns. That way they aren’t waiting until they’re already late before they start finding the place.

Don’t Cut Corners With Packaging

It doesn’t matter how quickly you deliver a package if it’s damaged when it gets there. You’ll get a bad review from the customer and you’ll have to do the second delivery of the replacement free of charge, which is just eating into your profits. If you try to save money by cutting corners on your packaging you’ll just see a huge increase in the number of damaged packages and you’re going to lose money on it. One way that companies often try to cut packaging costs is just to use standardized sizes but that means some of the smaller items are going to come with way too much packaging. With environmental concerns playing an increasingly big role in consumer decisions, that can seriously put people off.

There’s a lot of money to be made in the courier business but competition is stiff, so make sure you avoid these mistakes.

Staff Writer; Greg Barker

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