Arrow Blog

Solving future transport problems

A while back I participated in a transport survey over on LinkedIn.

The results have just come back and I thought I’d share them here, they make  interesting reading.

Encouraging public transport use is the top answer as you can see, I wonder how that will impact long haul deliveries? Some creative thought is needed here, what about long haul deliveries being able to take passengers? Would that make delivery transport become part of public transport and offset some of the high costs of delivery? This is theory, or creative thought taking place here.

What I have found particularly interesting is the demographics of the survey, all the participants are aged 30+

Has transport reached a point where it is so “unsexy” and so regulated that the younger generation doesn’t want to work in it?

What do you think? Can we solve future transport problems without the input of the generation who they will inflicted upon?


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A couriers best friend is…

their sat nav, not their dog.


It’s coming to that time of year that being based closed to Tilbury docks is a boon to our business. As soon as the sun starts to shine brightly other same day couriers start to behave crazily. The drivers start taking their clothes off, and the owner drivers start to take their dogs on their job as their companion when delivering. Yes, really.

Port rules state that dogs are not allowed along with children, so many an ad hoc courier is caught out. We are ideally situated to pic up the last-minute-last-minute work. All because other drivers think their best friend should go to work with them.

We do too. Think they should take their best friend, and any other animal they want. It’s not us who will be slowly roasting as we are turned away. Our best friend is the Tom Tom sat nav. It doesn’t restrict our entry to ports and it does make us aware of where we are meant to be going. There is something strangely reassuring about have it firmly ensconced on the dashboard.

Of course it works sunny and cloudy days unlike the dog who thinks rainy days are for hiding behind the sofa.

Knowing our industry inside and out means we can get the job done right the first time. No faffing about, freight straight on board.


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The biggest marketing lesson I have learned so far…

is that most marketers don’t listen.

It’s true.

Do you recall a few months back I blogged about the term “haulage”? and how I get a slew of calls relating to selling me something? Because when people search for the term “haulage” rather than the term same day courier (which we wish to be found for), they are looking to sell me a fuel card rather than build a relationship or even understand what our services offer!

I have found over the years I have had similar experiences with marketers; they don’t listen to what your business is about in order to market it.

For example, I recently attended a networking event and got chatting to a marketing expert. When the marketing expert heard what we did he promptly informed me I was missing a very big marketing trick.

“Go on” I asked, curious to what the response would be.

“You need to sign write your vans and advertise on them”
Why would I want to do that I replied, we do confidential deliveries” I replied
“You need to do it so you get more business” came the reply back
“But how do we keep our customers reputation, and deliver in confidence if people know who we are?”
“Oh my is that the time… I have to rush…” gulps wine and rushes off!

Each business, including a courier business has different needs. They reach different customers. We deliver, quietly and confidently for our clients. You may not notice us as we drive sedately past you on the motorway, and that’s the way our customers like it.

My biggest lesson in marketing is not just listening to customers and potential customers; but hearing what they have to say.

In many cases advertising on vehicles is the right choice for a courier service, but it’s not for all of us. We deliver time sensitive freight and commercial products, quietly and swiftly so you can get on with business. How we market ourselves doesn’t impact on our customers requirements.


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How to get your freight delivered on time

Imagine a day where you are not dealing with late delivery complaints.

For us that is every day.

As providers of courier services we know how tough it is to get your freight delivered on time. We are fortunate though – we have a process that we are going to share with you and if you follow these steps your freight will always reach it’s destination intact and when it should.  The day you cease to have customers calling about late deliveries is now a few steps closer.

1. When a customer wants a delivery double check their location details

Sometimes a customer calls from one location (that you have on your database) but they want their pallets delivered to a different destination. They don’t tell you but they do tell the warehouse. This means when you schedule the delivery their isn’t enough time for subsequent deliveries because you are routing to the wrong delivery address. A quick check at the booking stage can save your business hours.

2. Manage your clients delivery expectations from the outset

If your client calls at 8am and want their pallets in Birmingham at 10am that is not a problem providing you are also in Birmingham. However if you are in Edinburgh or London you will not be able to get the pallets to their destination in 3 hours. Not even documents using a motorbike could get delivered in that time frame. If you manage your clients expectations openly and honestly then you will have less phone calls hassling you.

A good example is when we used some Removalists in Perth. We had to liase with them to get a shipment from the UK to Fremantle. Fremantle is the main cargo port in Western Australis for Perth city. From there they took over with the delivery. It was smooth and easy. Why? becasue they communicated with us. Communication is key. The client was aware that the shipment was going to be at sea for at least 6 weeks. So the client was happy when the shipment got to to their warehouse in 5 week. Can you imagine the uproar the client would have caused if they were not told a told line and were expecting the shipment in a week and then were told their goods are on a cargo ship for another 4 weeks? It would have been madness. Communication is key. I’ll say that all day, everyday!

3. When outsourcing to a courier service check that they have all the customer details…

… and that those details are correct. Email the courier the correct delivery addresses, phone numbers and details of service areas (especially if they haven’t delivered for you before). If there are issues parking at the delivery destination tell them now. The better prepared they are the more likely they are to be on time with your consignments.

4. Named contacts

Inform your courier service of the person ordering the job at collection and delivery points. If the job is a “special” or “screamer” then sometimes the general warehouse staff are not aware of it. Make the loading and unloading process faster by providing points of contact with phone numbers. A good courier company will ask for these at the time of booking.

5. Documentation

Most hold-ups at collection points involve the documents traveling with your freight. Call the warehouse and prepare them in advance for urgent collections and make the office staff aware of that days deliveries and who is collecting them. Without the correct documents a warehouse won’t release the freight and this will make the delivery late. A few minutes here can save you an hour and you avoid paying waiting time.

If you run through the 5 steps every time you outsource a delivery you will rarely have a problem getting your freight delivered on time.


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“But I can drive it there myself, cheaper…”

Is something we often hear as same day couriers, from frustrated customers who don’t really understand the value of their own time.

For example last week we were asked to quote to deliver a passport to Bristol, urgently required for identification purposes. If the recipient failed to have sufficient identification ie the passport then they couldn’t attend an exam. Failing to attend the exam would mean no pay rise and the extra £5k a year the pass would bring was needed by the family.

So the exam attendee asked their partner to get the passport couriered down to them.

We were one of the courier companies asked to provide a quote which we did, only to get the exasperated response “But I can drive it there myself, cheaper” and the obvious answer is, yes you can but what are you not doing with that time, that you should be?

Remember what it costs you to fill up as an ordinary motorist? A commercial vehicle takes more fuel, it costs more. Then we have insurance. Sure you can send your wife/partner/personal assistant on a delivery but what happens if they have an accident? First off are they even covered by the insurance that you have? What happens if you are prosecuted for corporate manslaughter if you don’t have the right insurances?

There is more to delivery than just getting in a car or van and driving, and if as a customer you don’t understand that then you will always be thinking ”But I can drive it there myself, cheaper…”.

Start valuing your own time at the correct rate, if you can afford to take 7 hours off to drive to Bristol and back in a day and nothing gets neglected then go for it, if not; call us.


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Delivering wedding gifts

Today’s blog is rather topical – delivering wedding gifts.

First congrats to Kate and William, we hope your day goes well and that your married lives  are filled with happiness.

Second, who is going to move all the gifts after the wedding?

In the case of the Royal wedding their will be staff on hand to pack the gifts up and transport them back to their new home. Their biggest problem is loading the vehicles safely so that items are not broken.

For not so affluent newlyweds  family help out and transport items back to their home. Again careful loading needs to take place.

If you have your gifts in a room at a hotel, be careful!

It has been known for a distracted receptionist to allow the wrong people in to collect the wedding gifts and for the gifts never to bee seen again! That’s no way to start a relationship.  Collecting gifts from a room in a hotel will always be precarious for just one person, the room is open, the vehicle is in the car park and it can take time to load and reload. Be vigilant and get help!

Larger wedding gifts can always be delivered direct to the bride and groom, along with any really valuable items.

Anyone need a Tiara delivering?


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What to do if the Easter Bunny doesn’t deliver

Easter Bunnies are temperamental bunnies. They have the second most important delivery job. They know Santa has the most important delivery job but he has reindeer to help him and elves, so the Easter bunny can get a little grouchy when it comes to delivery.

Preparing the garden for your Easter egg delivery.

The Easter Bunny prefers a nice neat garden, make sure you have removed any stinging nettles so the bunny can just bounce straight up to the house. Make sure you keep your cats well fed, and your dogs in the lounge. Although the Easter bunny is bigger than your cat or dog it will be nervous around them and you don’t want their little tail twitching and breaking a chair or a sofa.

He loves Daffodils, snowdrops and crocuses so if your garden is in bloom you may see him making his deliveries – he’ll stop to smell the flowers. This gives you time to move the cat and the dog.

Sometimes the Easter bunny will be playful and deliver the eggs to the garden and you’ll have to hunt around looking for them. Trees, sheds, patios and barbeques are popular places. I’d check the barbeques first if I was you, you don’t want the eggs to melt.

Delivery times

The Easter bunny has been known to get so busy delivering eggs that sometimes they don’t arrive until after lunch. We find that egss arriving after lunch are much more enjoyable than the breakfast eggs.

He appreciates the odd carrot left on the patio.

Non arrival of the Easter Bunny

If you are a teenager or adult the Easter Bunny will no longer deliver to you. He loves seeing the little ones get their chocolate treat but he thinks once you are a teen (or older) you can get your own eggs.

It may be because last year you forgot to leave the carrot on the patio or you don’t mow the grass properly. You can find out the exact reasons from the Head Bunny, he’ll ping you an email.

Happy Easter from all of us at Arrow Light Haulage & Courier Services.

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When your drivers leave – what do you do?

Breaking up is always hard to do.

The person initiating the split has the advantage; they know what’s coming, the other party don’t.

When leaving a job it’s customary to clear your desk and walk out of the door with a box of stuff, photos, cards, stationery you have lined the box with  😉 you have left the building, your work colleagues (and some will stay in touch). Quite often if you are leaving for a role of greater value you will leave on a high.

But life goes on without you, work goes on without you.

When you leave for another reason, you don’t quite skip out of the front door. A dismissal can leave you feeling dejected as you walk through the office with your box and out of the front door, through your head you run many scenarios of how it should have been. In truth you are just feeling a little annoyed that you didn’t see it coming, or that you had not responded to the warning signals soon enough.

What’s left behind?

What’s left behind has to continue, and steps are taken to ensure that work can continue. If you have left, is that something you should be bothered about? Sometimes people make decisions and don’t think about the impact of their decision on their environment.

When I worked in the City, I had an employee resign on me. The day she left, at her finishing time her PC network access was removed. She flew into a rage, how dare we remove her PC access, who did we think we were? She was going to sue us, how dare we ruin her day. How dare we? One week 4 people resigned and the same thing happened to them and there wasn’t a word.

So why did this person over react?

I have no idea to be honest, it was standard procedure. She had seen it happen in the office before, she understood the procedures and why it was done but she thought for some reason she was different, that she would be treated differently. When you have a process in place you don’t discriminate, you follow the process for everyone, even when that someone is the perfect employee.

We employ drivers and our drivers are treated identically, they know if they resign we take the van keys back off of them. In fact they finish on the spot and their notice paid out depending on their contract. It means our vans don’t get wrecked, sugar put in the fuel tanks or a pile of speeding fines accrued.

This isn’t unique to my business, places where I have worked it’s very common. What’s not common is to see people resign and then accuse you of all sorts when you protect your business.

In fact I wonder how they are going to run their business.

I have a colleague who treats his drivers like mates, he lets them see the books, do the banking and then he frequently moans when they set up competing businesses and take his customers. He has no process in place and he likes to keep things open and transparent and he is often firefighting to keep his customers. I have said to him over the years why does he allow this, and he says he’s a nice person and he trusts his drivers not to stitch him up.

Mike Trup has a great line, he says he trusts people but he still locks his front door.

I liken the scenarios with the employees to trusting them but still locking your front door. There’s nothing wrong with that, in our case it has saved many a van. In my friends case it gives us something to talk about over beer. Neither one of us will change.

If you are leaving remember that someone will be locking the door behind you. You wouldn’t leave your door open when you leave your property why expect someone else to?

How do you react when you leave?


PS remember your digital assets need returning. I have had to set up new twitter accounts and other social media tools as I was sloppy and trusted the person to return or rename them. They did neither but they did spend 30 minutes telling what a nice person they were and how I had them all wrong. They never bothered to look at it from my point of view. Lesson learned – you still can’t trust anyone.

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5 Steps for Preparing Your Boat for Transport

With the rise in internet sales for items such as boats and jet skis, boat transport has become more commonplace in recent years. Often, the people who buy boats online live out of state or even out of the country, which means the vessel must be transported to its destination.

Selling your boat online to someone that wants it shipped to him or her can seem like a daunting task. How do you prepare a boat for transport?

In case you have found yourself in such a predicament, here are some tips to help you get started. Read these 5 steps for preparing your boat for transport:

1. Remove or stow all gear and secure it in place. If there is a cabin or storage compartment, lock or secure the door. All electronics, horns, antennas, anchors, propellers, flag masts, lights, anchor lights, outriggers, wheels, masts, windshields that protrude, etc., must be removed, packed securely and securely stored. Also, disconnect the battery and secure it in place.
2. Drain all fluids from the boat or jet ski, such as fuel from the fuel tank or water from the bilge, air conditioner, or water pumps.
3. Tie or tape hatches or cabin windows down from the outside. If there is a leak, seal it so that rainwater does not leak in during transit.
4. Remove the canvas cover so that it does not rip or tear during shipping.
5. Double-check that nothing that can be removed is protruding from the boat. The boat will normally be shrink-wrapped by the transport company for added protection, and protrusions can cause the shrink-wrap to tear.


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Delivering Furniture

This week Sarah needed to go into London (she reckons she was meeting Guy Kawasaki) so I thought I’d pop her in the van and show her what a furniture delivery entails.

Loading safely, ensuring that the straps are there to secure the items, sack trolley on hand to move it into position on the van.

As you can see the furniture is wrapped securely  for “just in case”.

The items are packed safely so if another vehicle hits us, or we have to swerve to avoid something the furniture is kept in pristine condition.

Unloading at the end destination, after checking the packaging is intact (it is) and then I drop madam off at the tube station.


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