Every owner driver needs to follow a basic set of rules to define how they do business. These basic tips ought to help you better define those basic rules so that you will be able to make the most of your start-up delivery business.
1. Be reliable – this is the cardinal rule of any successful courier. People pay you expecting that their packages will arrive safely and on time. Do not lose this trust, whatever you do, otherwise you will quickly see your career as a courier go down the drain.
2. Learn your route – knowing all the shortcuts and the low-traffic routes during the different times of the day can be of great help. Don’t rely too heavily on GPS devices, otherwise you will never get the ‘feel’ for your routes.
3. Know your route – a traffic accident, a busted water pipe, an unexpected tourist excursion – all these and more are just a handful of possible scenarios that could get in your way. Check the Internet and local papers for any bulletins from your local government and utility providers.
4. Stay fit and healthy – never underestimate the productivity you can gain from getting enough exercise, staying on a balanced diet and pre-empting any sickness before it gets really bad. Every owner driver needs to stay as healthy as possible, especially when you interact with a lot of people on a regular basis.
5. Build your network – it is worth your time to get in touch with companies and organizations that can make use of your services. Get acquainted with lots of folks and make friends if you can. You may be surprised at how much business this simple act can bring your way.
6. Advertise – it is very easy to sign up for online courier exchanges, which is why there is no excuse for you not to do so. These online portals are excellent meeting places for any owner driver looking for work and entities with varying delivery needs.
7. Get insurance – this goes for yourself and for the goods you deliver. Figuring into a mishap on the road or getting your car jacked are just two ways that you can get hurt and/or lose your packages. Make sure you don’t forget to pay your premiums either, otherwise you may find your insurance lost when you need it the most.
8. Specialize – it helps to stand out from the competition, and specialization is one of the easiest ways to do that. Rush deliveries, handling perishables, maintaining utter confidentiality, delivering heavy loads – any way to provide special services is a good way to bring more dedicated work to your door.
9. Monitor overheads – oil, petrol, spare parts, tyre replacements, advertisement costs, insurance expenses, groceries, utility bills, taxes and all the other expenses you incur will drag down your business cash flow. Make sure to keep an up-to-date account of all expenses to understand where all the money is going.
10. Delegate and expand – once you have tasted enough success as a courier service, it is well worth your time to consider expanding into a small business. Hiring others to help out with your routes is a common evolution for many an owner driver that has done well over time.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world’s largest neutral trading hub for same day owner driver jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 2,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe ‘wholesale’ environment.