Delivery drivers have a really important and growing role in the transport world. Plus, there are ample opportunities for rewards and career progression. However, the key to success in most ventures is efficiency, and if you make the most of intelligent strategies, you can make your delivery driving experience even better. From picking the right vehicle for the job, to planning your route logically, these suggestions can help you make the most of your job by increasing your earnings, speeding up your deliveries and letting you enjoy your time on the road more.
Possibly the most important choice you will make is which vehicle to use. As we all know, smaller, lighter vehicles tend to be cheaper to buy and operate than larger, heavier vehicles, particularly in these days of high fuel costs. However, the question you have to ask yourself is: which would be the most appropriate one for the work that I will be doing? For example, large vans or SUVs should, in theory, be better for carrying larger or heavier items, whilst smaller vehicles may be better for fairly local deliveries. you should always bear in mind, though, that the larger the vehicle the more difficult it may be to park, reverse, and manoeuvre in tight spaces; and smaller vehicles may be uneconomic if they are not big enough to carry a full load.
So: when choosing the right vehicle for your deliveries, you should consider several factors, including vehicle type, cost, fuel efficiency, and appropriateness for the type of work you will be doing, as well as just the basics of size and price. Make sure that the vehicle you choose is one that is right for the job, so that you can get the most out of your investment.
You may also want to consider hybrid or electric vehicles, which get great fuel mileage, are cost-effective, and help reduce carbon emissions. These may in fact be madatory in some clean air zones. However the short range of an electric vehicle on a single charge, and re-charging times, may be considerable drawbacks. Hybrid systems may solve this issue but there are very few genuine hybrid vans in production at present.
When you use a decent system to plan your route, you can be far more accurate in estimating your arrival times, reduce the distance you trave overall, and save both time and, perhaps more importantly,fuel. Route planning is an essential part of every delivery driver's job, and it can have a big impact on your success.
There are any number of tools available to help you do this. some of these are easily available online, such as Google Maps or Waze, or you could use specialised route planning apps, such as a Delivery Planner, to help you get your head around the most efficient ways of carrying out multiple drops.
It's absolutely imperative that you plan your route before you start your day, and load your vehicle effectively, with the deliveries for the first drop nearer to the rear of the vehicle and the later ones at the front. This is the ideal situation, but as usual some compromises may have to be made; you have to make sure that you have good weight distribution, particularly if you had a number of heavier items on board, so that your steering is not badly effected. It is important that as you unload items during the day you bear this weight balance issue in mind.
When I first started driving the most technical tools I had were a map and a compass. Times have changed however and technology is essential in the modern delivery driver's toolkit. Investing in the right kit can help you save time, energy, and money.
Most delivery drivers use navigation systems, either built into their vehicles or on their smartphones, to help them with route planning and to follow their route more efficiently. Other technologies, such as real-time traffic information, can help you avoid traffic jams and find quicker routes.
Delivery driver apps can help you manage your deliveries, track your miles, calculate fuel costs, and more, making your work more efficient, and communication equipment can help you keep in touch with both your depot and your customers, which may be invaluable if delays or other problems occur.
There are few things worse than searching for something that is not where it should be, when you have a busy schedule to keep to. If you have many drops to do, you need to deliver the right goods to the right people quickly so you need an efficient labelling system; so all the items can be clearly marked before they are loaded into your vehicle. it can be very frustrating to have to turn back to replace an item that you have delivered to the wrong person, and it could completely wreck your schedules for the day.
If you're already a self employed delivery driverand finding yourself, too often, driving around with an almost empty van, you may want to partner with a delivery aggregator. So what are they? Delivery aggregators, such as Deliv, Postmates, and Uber Eats, partner with businesses to provide on-demand delivery services. They can help businesses with sudden delivery challenges, and they can also help drivers find additional delivery work.
Most aggregators have an app that you may be able to use to find deliveries to complete. They can help drivers make more efficient use of their vehicles (driving a large van with a few small parcels in the back is hardly economical), but do bear in mind that they will want their cut of the action as well, which could reduce your income somewhat.
In short, working with a delivery aggregator can help you find additional work, and it can also help you build your reputation as a reliable delivery driver. However many drivers feel that it is far better to have agreements of their own with a number of companies to make sure that they are always working to full capacity, rather than be reliant on aggregators, whose priorities may not match with theirs.
Whilst you're out there, happily delivering goods, you'll naturally want to monitor your progress to make sure you're staying on schedule. So how do you do that? Easy. Use a delivery tracking app, such as Deliverable, to keep track of where you are and ensure that you're meeting the delivery times that your clients are expecting. By monitoring your movements, you can, hopefully, avoid being late and ensure that you're conveying goods quickly and efficiently.
Then again; if you're still running behind, you can use the tracking app to find out just went wrong. Perhaps you spent too much time chatting to a customer, or perhaps you simply overestimated the number of drops that you could fit in during the day. Tracking your deliveries will help you in the future to have a better idea of likely delays, and so help you allocate sufficient time to complete your deliveries on time.
You can never have too much data. Keeping a computerised record of your day's work can help you stay organised, track your progress, and fit in more deliveries. These are not necessarily the only benefits either; with careful analysis you could see which areas were generating the most profit. And let's face it, you're in business to make money, not to keep Britain's wheels of industry turning.
Your app could also keep track of customer details. Despite the huge increases in the usefulness of technology, human to human interaction is still a vital part of business, and this can help you make the best use of communication, avoid making mistakes (you wouldn't want to get an important customer's name wrong would you) and ensure that each delivery goes as smoothly as possible.
If you're driving for a local business, and you are familiar with the area you are working in, then great! You can use your knowledge of the area to find quicker routes, and you also have a good idea of the best places to find shortcuts, find parking spots that you can load or unload from easily, and avoid traffic. You would have an advantage over drivers who have to travel farther to complete deliveries because you can use your knowledge of the area to help you complete deliveries more quickly than they can, which will again allow you to earn more money.
The moral? Try and work locally (or at least in an area that you are very familiar with) if possible.
You don't need reminding of the impact that fuel efficiency can have on your bottom line. To help you save money you'll want to drive as efficiently as you can.Try driving at a slightly slower speed (yes that can be frustrating but think of the money you are saving), avoid hard acceleration and braking, and drive as much as you can during off-peak hours when there are fewer other vehicles on the road (at all costs avoid school leaving times). Properly inflated tyres can improve your vehicle's fuel efficiency, too, especially on long trips.
There are clever fuel efficiency apps, too, which can check your fuel consumption in real time, as well as lots of others that can tell you where the cheapest petrol stations are, and how far they are away from your route. after all, whilst it is important to complete deliveries as quickly as possible, you are also there to make money. By driving more efficiently, and being careful about where you buy your fuel from, you can save money and complete your deliveries more economically.
Finally, if you look after your vehicle, it will return the compliment. You should always remember that breakdowns can not only prove extremely expensive, but can also upset your customers who may well go elsewhere in future. Plus who wants to be stranded with a valuable cargo miles from civilisation (or worse still in the centre of a busy town or city)? Speaking of which, you should definitely have a roadside assistance policy with a company specialising in commercial vehicle recovery.
Make the most of your delivery driving experience. With the right strategies, delivery drivers can get more work done, make more money, and even enjoy their jobs a bit more! From the right vehicle choices to proper route planning and more, these strategies can help you squeeze out a bit more profit, reduce your delivery times, and enjoy a much more stress free working life. Which can't be bad, can it.
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