Err, actually no it isn’t.
I was reading a blog post the other day about headlines and it happened to mention that if you were in haulage you should mention haulage as a keyword in your headline. The comments were closed, which was a shame (can’t leave a comment there) and as that is often a technique to get links back to the post I have decided you will just have to take my word for it when I say there was this post about…
I wrote a post about haulage and why people search that phrase a few months back. It was after a call from an SEO expert to tell me I was missing all these qualified leads… hundreds, thousands… trillions of leads all because I was not optimised for the word haulage. I’ll excuse you for yawning because it is going to get boring now. When you want something delivered you type a few things in your search box – flower delivery, pram delivery, courier delivery, shed delivery, ebay delivery and you get more relevant search results. No one is looking to a hire a haulier and the only people who type haulage in the search box are people looking to flog me a fuel card.
Even though we have been trading 10 years people still treat couriers as idiots and incapable of changing fuel cards if they are unhappy. No, they imagine we are so busy from all those lovely haulage related phone calls that we need a phone call to change our fuel card supplier. The reality is different, we are a very proactive business. We want something we just go right out and source it from our suppliers. And we don’t optimise for a word that doesn’t bring us business. It’s a waste of energy.
As a business we are all about efficiency. Faster, sleeker delivery. Relevant business services to our market place and our delivery services have different names to capture people seeking those kinds of logistical solutions.
So in a nutshell, haulage isn’t what I do.
Think back to companies like Cadbury. Does Cadbury indicate what they do? Nope. Virgin? Amstrad? Not every company name reflects their services and products. I will be totally honest here, a lot of our suppliers are relationship based. We get to know them and they get to know us, which means they know what we do. Assumptions in all businesses are dangerous and assuming that I do haulage and should be mentioning it causes us both problems. I’ll assume that you are a fool and you’ll assume my 22 years in business were spent polishing vans.
We’re both wrong and that does neither of us any favours.
Last week was a bit tumultuous: riots and stolen, looted goods on the increase.
That makes life a little more interesting for us providers of same day courier services. We don’t deliver stolen goods and we have to do some due diligence before we take bookings to deliver high value goods. On Monday we get a phone call “hello, can you deliver a Rolex Oyster, approx value £15k?”
“Of course we can. Is it your watch?”
“well who does the watch belong to?”
“Why do you need to know?”
“We are not allowed to deliver stolen goods and therefore we need to know that you or the person we are delivering the watch to actually owns it”
“Great to see you are doing your due diligence and checking us out, this is xxx Police force and we have recovered a Rolex and as it’s a high value item so we can’t send it by a parcel courier. Yes, the item was stolen, it’s now being returned. You are the first courier company that has asked us any questions…”
Well we delivered the Rolex, the owner was thrilled to have it returned and we’re thrilled to be delivering good news. If we hadn’t of asked some questions we could have been in serious trouble. Part of the reason we are so good at what we do is we take the time to make sure our staff and business are protected.
Have you had to take extra precautions due to the riots?
There are quite a few types of courier service available, and if you don’t know the difference you can find you are wasting time and making calls to the wrong companies.
A dedicated courier is similar to a same day courier, but your goods are on a dedicated vehicle. There are no other loads or goods on the van, and the driver collects and delivers directly. The drivers are very smart and the vehicles are unmarked.
Who would use a dedicated courier?
- Solicitors / Legal firms with time sensitive documents
- Companies submitting tenders to Local Authorities
- NHS Trusts needing components and equipment moved fast
- Manufacturers and supply chain solutions looking to avoid down time of production equipment
- Clients looking for confidential deliveries
If you have purchased a fragile item, then it may be possible depending on the size and the weight of the item that you also need a dedicated courier. Fresh produce also needs this type of delivery service.
If you are not sure about the type of courier that you need, please ring around and ask some questions. Quite often you will be told by the companies you call what type of service you need.
How expensive are dedicated couriers?
How much a dedicated courier costs depends on certain variables such as distance travelled, toll roads and vehicle size. This type of service is a premium service because the items are very time sensitive. If something cost a few hundred pounds and was easily replace then sending it by Royal Mail would be the best option. If the item was irreplaceable then you send it by dedicated courier.
How does this service operate?
The driver that collects the item is the driver that delivers. There is no co-loading, no stopping, no mucking around with maps and finding directions. Everything from route planning to item security is planned prior to collection. As a customer, you would call and book the service, send email confirmation and make payment for the delivery. All the rest is handled by your delivery company. These types of couriers are best for rush jobs, time sensitive, and fragile freight.
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?
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.
is that most marketers don’t listen.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.