Every business has its challenges, but delivery companies have some very specific and often difficult challenges to meet. If you’re running a delivery company, or if you’re thinking about starting one, here are the top four challenges you can expect to face, along with some tips for getting through each one.
1. Costly repairs and maintenance
It’s never cheap to maintain vehicles, and if you own a fleet, you can expect to pay good money to keep your delivery vehicles in good repair. Whether you’re managing one, three, or even twenty vehicles, you’ll need regular maintenance like oil changes, headlight replacements, and general tune-ups. You’ll also encounter unexpected repairs as parts wear down and/or fail.
One thing to consider is that most of your vehicles will probably come with a manufacturer’s warranty if you buy them new. Also, when you have certain parts replaced by a professional shop, those parts should come with a basic warranty.
Start tracking your warranties
Are you tracking your warranties to make sure you can get reimbursed for repairs and replacements? If not, you should start. Every warranty you ignore or miss is money lost. Over time, you’ll end up losing out on thousands of dollars that you would have recovered if you had filed all of your warranty claims.
Begin tracking every warranty you obtain by using warranty tracking software, like Cetaris. Once your warranties are entered into the system, you’ll be alerted each time a repair is a warrantable opportunity. Taking advantage of your warranties – no matter how small – will save you money, and your savings will add up over time.
2. Last-mile high costs
Last-mile delivery is always the most expensive part of the entire delivery process. Depending on what you deliver, and for whom, you might have some high fees you’ll need to pass on to your customers or other businesses that use your shipping services. For example, you might have to deal with the following:
· Failed deliveries
· Additional stops along a regular route
· Complicated delivery routes
· High driver salaries
· Fleet maintenance and operational costs
· Rescheduled deliveries after a failed attempt
All of these situations are only predictable to a point. You know they’re going to happen, but you can’t always know ahead of time when they’ll happen. For this reason, you probably charge high shipping costs to those you serve.
Unfortunately, high shipping costs can lead to abandoned shopping carts, which means lost sales. This can cause people to choose a different business with lower shipping costs.
Increase shipping efficiency and decrease your costs
The best thing you can do is try to find ways to increase your shipping efficiency to lower your costs. When your shipping costs are lower, you won’t have customers choosing to do business with your competitors just to avoid paying your costs.
Having a strategic last-mile delivery plan will help you make deliveries on time while ensuring your drivers take the most efficient routes possible.
3. Vehicle breakdowns
Having a delivery vehicle break down is the absolute worst. Nothing will slow down your business like delayed deliveries, especially when customers cancel their orders and buy from a competitor.
As discussed in the first point, it’s important to track your warranties to make sure you take advantage of repair reimbursements. However, it’s also important to stay on top of regular maintenance needs to prevent breakdowns that can be avoided.
If you don’t already have a tracking system for regular maintenance and tune-ups, create one as soon as possible. Make a list of all the regular services you need to keep your vehicles in great shape. Then, schedule them ahead of time according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. You won’t avoid all vehicle breakdowns this way, but you will avert many preventable issues.
4. New drivers getting lost and confused
In a city where GPS can get you just about anywhere, your drivers shouldn’t have an issue finding homes. However, there will be exceptions in rural areas with dirt and gravel roads, roads with no signs, and unmarked homes.
It’s inevitable that new drivers will get lost and confused at some point while they’re learning their routes. To help them, try to get critical information from your other drivers as soon as they encounter an area that needs extra direction. Enter the additional information into your computer system to make sure new drivers are alerted when they’re asked to deliver to an area known to be confusing.
Challenges are inevitable
If you run a delivery company, use these tips to tackle some of the more common challenges you’ll face. You can’t avoid all challenges, but you can avoid many and make others easier to manage.