Do you want to own a courier behemoth like DHL, UPS or FedEx?
Alternatively, would you like to still be in the same position in 10 years’ time?
Well, we have seen both types of courier companies. Some want to grow by increasing their courier sales, while others are skeptical about growth. This is because they experienced several setbacks while trying to grow.
And, the following common dilemma still exists for both types of businesses:
“Shall I grow by acquiring more customers and hiring drivers and buying vehicles accordingly?”
OR “Shall I get a good number of drivers and vehicles ready beforehand and then go all out for sales?”
But, you can increase your sales without being overwhelmed with clients, vehicles and drivers. Also, you can make this happen by efficiently using your existing resources.
Do this by following the 80/20 rule, aka the Pareto Principle.
In this way, 20% of your resources must be able to generate 80% of the results. And this will help you grow your business.
So, if you’re not growing enough or finding it difficult, you might be doing it the other way around. You might be using 80% of your people to generate only 20% of the results.
Can you afford that?
Yet, that’s not the only way out. There are some other ways to grow your business, without you getting a lot of clients.
Are you curious what those ways are?
Well, then read on. Here we will discuss some tools and processes to skyrocket your courier business.
#1 Manage Your Drivers Efficiently
Your drivers can build or destroy your brand, as they visit your clients on a regular basis. But, you should drive the business and your drivers should not.
Luckily, there are several tools that you can explore to manage your drivers efficiently. Below are a few of these:
GPS Tracking Software
GPS tracking is your best bet if you want to manage your drivers well.
How does GPS tracking work?
GPS tracking helps you visualize your drivers’ activities on a map in real time so that you can immediately know if a field rep or driver makes an unauthorized stop or takes longer than planned at a specific destination.
Also, it helps you:
- Check on their fuel usage,
- Ensure driver security,
- Save on insurance premiums, and more.
Following is a related article about how GPS tracking can help you and why should you embrace it.
Vehicle Route Planning Software
How do you plan your routes?
If you do it with pen and paper, then you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Are my drivers getting 100% accurate and optimized routes?
- Can I plan a route within minutes?
- Can I specify areas that the drivers must avoid during sunset and sunrise to get rid of road mishaps?
- Can I easily inform my drivers in real time about any sudden route changes without calling them?
- Can I easily plan routes for my drivers operating across different states or countries?
- Can I find specific information about a vehicle or driver in seconds?
- Is it easy to select a driver from the team of drivers to send for a same day delivery?
If the majority or your answers are no, then you’re on the wrong track.
So, you’ll be glad to learn that routing optimization software can help you perform all these functions easily. It can optimize and re-optimize your routes with almost zero effort.
Following is a related article about how route optimization software can be immensely useful. It also shows why it is a must for every courier business.
Here is another related article to learn how to select the right route scheduling software.
eSignature Capturing App
How do you ensure proof of delivery?
Many use paper forms that the drivers need to carry with them. But, what if any of those forms get lost? Would it be easy to locate the same?
A signature capturing device is not the solution either, as it is very expensive.
But, there’s a simple, affordable and easy solution to the problem: proof through eSignatures.
Ideally, it comes with a mobile-enabled vehicle route planning software. This will make it easier to plan and get proof of delivery.
Your customers just need to sign with their fingertips on the driver’s smartphone screen. That’s it.
Watch the following video to learn more about how it works.
Moreover, you will no longer need to worry about data loss. And, it will eliminate client fraud with irrefutable evidence.
Auto Check-ins and Checkouts
We have previously talked about how tracking can help you manage your drivers efficiently.
But, you may not be able to track your drivers every time. This is because you might already have a lot on your plate and some of these tasks must take priority. Yet, you cannot leave tracking either.
The solution to this problem is geofencing technology.
With this, drivers will not need to check in and out at clients’ locations with their phones. That is because it will all be done automatically.
This is useful, especially if you have multiple drivers visiting multiple locations each day.
It also helps you log when drivers deviate from the routes assigned to them. This gives you the power to detect whether the drivers are freestyling.
Geofencing thus helps you with the following:
- Cutting down on expenses,
- Saving time,
- Improving the safety on the road, and
- Accelerating productivity.
Can you afford not to adopt this technology?
#2 Make Your Training Process Compact to Increase Courier Sales
Training is the key to success of every business. So, you need to build an efficient and compact training plan to bring the best out of your drivers.
Ideally, you should divide your training program into three parts, such as:
Make sure the initial training consists of the following fundamental items:
- Drivers expectations – This helps drivers know what is expected from them. It also ensures that everyone is on the same page.
- Review vehicle operation – New drivers may be inexperienced in driving your company’s vehicles. So, make sure that you don’t leave this part out of your training program.
- Review fueling – Your company may use different types of fuel cards. So, make sure that you explain how drivers should use the cards. Also, indicate the most ideal fuel stations and find the best deals on fuel.
- Discipline and reward policies – Having a reward program can motivate your drivers. This will make them productive contributors to the company culture. Also, ensure that you have a well-defined discipline policy and share it during training. You have to inform them about specific consequences for non-compliance.
Safety training will mean that your drivers have fewer issues and accidents on the road. Such training will also help your drivers consider the safety protocol seriously.
That will have the following benefits for you:
- You’ll save more on insurance premiums.
- There will be zero traffic inspections and legal hassles.
- Most importantly, there will be zero expenses on damage repairs and maintenance.
Ongoing training is just as important as orientation training for continued success.
It could be used to:
- Make drivers aware of sudden policy changes,
- Discuss the repeated issues caused by multiple drivers, or
- Let them know of their flaws and help them improve and close the gaps.
It will also help your drivers excel at their work and improve their productivity. So, eventually, they’ll become valuable employees of your organization.
These training programs will also ensure your drivers stay safe, efficient, and successful.
#3 Focus on the Profits per Driver
Many courier businesses make the mistake of not comparing the following:
- How much each driver and vehicle costs per day
- How much each driver is actually generating because of his or her work
They only consider the big picture: The total revenue and expenses incurred. This includes all the drivers and vehicles.
That’s a wrong approach.
When you know how much you spend and gain from each driver, you’ll know how many sales you need. It will also show you whether you’re losing money here or just breaking even.
Let us understand this in numbers.
The average cost of car insurance is $75 to $200 each month, depending on your state. For the calculations, we’ll only use the minimum $75.
The gas prices revolve around $2 to $2.9 per gallon, again depending on your state. Here, we’ll use $2 per gallon. So, if a single vehicle needs 100 gallons, it will cost $200 per month per vehicle.
If you have bought the vehicle with a car loan, then it is an additional expense. Car loan amounts vary based on the car type, down payment and interest. But, it costs around $1,000 per month for 60 months.
Now comes the driver costs. The average driver is paid around $15 per hour. And, as per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA), every driver can only work for eight hours a day.
So, that means around $2,400 per month. When you add overtime costs, it could be anywhere between $20 and $35 per hour. If they work five overtime hours a week, you’ll pay then an additional $400 per month for uptime fees.
Also, the vehicle’s maintenance costs are around $1,000 per month. This will be more if the vehicle met any accidents earlier.
Now, let’s take a look at the total cost:
- Car insurance: $75
- Fuel cost: $200
- Car loan: $1,000
- Driver cost: $2,800 ($2400 and $400 overtime)
- Maintenance costs: $1,000
The total monthly costs per vehicle and driver is $6,875.
And, we did not even add the permits, license fees or toll fees.
So, you need to earn more than $6,875 per driver and increase your courier sales in line with your profit target.
If you don’t accomplish this, you will lose money and that doesn’t make sense, does it?
#4 Only Hire Skilled Drivers
Many courier businesses lose money by staffing up in anticipation of increased sales. And, when the sales do not increase, they start laying off their drivers.
This is not a viable solution and it does not always guarantee a positive cash flow.
Also, the sales often stagnate or decrease because inexperienced drivers are hired. So, it is frequently not simply due to staffing up.
Thus, it’s important to make an in-depth checklist of what skillsets you expect from a driver. It should also cover all angles and should be followed so you don’t hire the wrong driver.
Here are some skills you should look for:
- Knowledge of local driving regulations
- Knowledge of the local geographical area of your business
- A driving license with zero or minimal penalty points
- Ability to clearly follow instructions
- Flexible and helpful
- Basic IT competence
- Map reading abilities
- Safe lifting and loading techniques
- A positive attitude, even in an adverse environment
- A team player
- Self-motivated and requiring minimal supervision
- Customer service skills
- Execution and results-focused, with an emphasis on on-time delivery
#5 Maintain Great Relationships to Encourage Referrals
Referral courier sales are the most cost-effective way to increase sales. This is because it requires almost no sales or marketing on your end. In fact, referral sales can be more beneficial for your business than existing clients.
According to a report, a referred client is 18% more loyal than a customer won by other means. Also, the lifetime value of new referrals is 16% higher than the average customer. This was indicated by the Wharton School of Business.
Referred customers even have a 37% higher retention rate than other customers. Moreover, a referred customer spends 200% more than the average customer. And, a referred customer can bring you a 25% higher profit margin!
So, can you leave out referral marketing from your courier sales plan?
Yet, referrals only happen when you have a great relationship with your customers. They must have a reason to take the risk of referring your services to others.
Below are some ways you can build a strong and fruitful relationship with your customers:
Foster Open Communication
Be honest and open with your clients from the start of your business relationship.
Ask about their expectations and seek feedback about your services. Quite obviously, you can’t get a referral if they’re unhappy with your services. So, you need to take the initiative to figure out what they think so you can fix it if needed.
This will also show them that you’re professional and care about your clients. And, it shows that you’re committed to offering a superior experience.
Deliver on Expectations
Another way of building great relationships is by delivering on your clients’ expectations.
They would all prefer on-time delivery. So, you should always focus on delivering on time, without a fail.
Also, respond to their queries quickly and ask them to share their expectations with you. This will give you a better picture and help you plan to meet their expectations.
Deliver Exceptional Service
Always stay focused on delivering the best customer service. This will eventually make your client relationship stronger!
For example, look for loopholes in the process. If your procedures and processes are cumbersome, focus on making it easier and smoother.
Also, let your clients know how to approach you in case of any problems or issues.
Trust is the basis of any good relationship and it can be built in many ways. One of these ways is to start showing that you are dependable.
For example, if one of your customers wants a same day delivery, then deliver it. If you plan routes manually, it could be difficult. But, as mentioned before, fleet route planning software could be helpful here.
When you deliver for clients when they have an emergency, they’ll find you trustworthy. This will build the stepping stones for a long-term relationship.
However, before committing to do the job, make sure that you have the capabilities to deliver. Overpromising can be fatal and work against you.
So, how do you plan to increase your courier sales, without worrying about employees and clients?