Delivery drivers are an essential part of the supply chain. From food deliveries to commercial shipments, delivery drivers transport various goods, products and materials. They also handle various types of deliveries, from cross-country shipments to final mile deliveries. If you’re interested in becoming a delivery driver, there are a few things you need to know. Find out what a delivery driver’s responsibilities are, the job requirements, how much money you could make and what qualities are ideal for a person in this position.
What Does a Delivery Driver Do?
Delivery drivers, sometimes referred to as carriers, are professional transporters that deliver various goods and materials over long and short distances. Delivery drivers are typically employed by corporations, warehouses, delivery service companies, food service companies and more. Their primary job duties include loading, unloading and transporting cargo loads. Carriers transport anything that can be delivered via vehicle — food, packages, materials, supplies and more — depending on the company you’re driving for.
Like what you’re delivering, delivery driver duties can vary depending on the company. In addition to loading and unloading cargo, carriers are typically expected to:
Make on-time deliveries to the correct locations
Know how to safely handle the materials being transported
Get signatures upon delivery
Communicate with dispatchers and other drivers
Delivery driver positions can look significantly different depending on the company and industry you’re in. For example, food delivery drivers may only transport one or two orders at a time, trying to make the delivery as efficiently as possible. Warehouse delivery drivers may transport box trucks full of materials on pallets from various clients. In other words, the specifics of what a delivery driver does can vary significantly, ultimately depending on the company the driver works for.
How Do You Become a Delivery Driver?
Becoming a delivery driver is straightforward for most positions. Most delivery driver positions only require a high school diploma or a GED certificate. All delivery drivers need a clean driving record and a valid driver’s license.
Depending on the company and cargo being hauled, some drivers may need a commercial driver’s license (CDL), which requires additional training before being hired. Otherwise, most companies will provide unique training depending on their policies and what you’ll be transporting. For example, some cargo, like food and chemicals, have certain safety requirements that must be followed during transportation.
Some companies may require you to have prior delivery experience, especially if their carriers are hauling cargo that requires certain knowledge, like hazardous chemicals or other sensitive products. However, many standard delivery driver positions don’t require prior experience and are willing to provide you with the necessary training to succeed.
When applying for a delivery driver position, consider whether you’ll need to use your own vehicle or will be given a company vehicle. Some companies use their own fleet of trucks and vans to haul cargo, while others may hire independent contractor delivery drivers that must use their own vehicles. Remember this when searching for positions, especially if you’re against using your personal vehicle or need a certain size van or truck for the company’s needs.
Additional Delivery Driver FAQs
If you’re interested in becoming a delivery driver, you may have some other questions related to these positions. Here are the answers to a few other frequently asked questions about becoming a delivery driver.
Is Being a Delivery Driver Worth It?
While being a delivery driver isn’t for everyone, these positions may be worth it for you. While you may spend a lot of time on the road or long periods away from home, many delivery driver positions offer more flexibility and freedom than traditional jobs. For example, contractor delivery drivers can pick up work around their schedule. As a carrier, you can interact with various types of people and businesses.
Most delivery companies typically allow for career growth. This opportunity means if you complete trainings or earn certificates, you can advance your career as a delivery driver and potentially earn more money.
Do Delivery Drivers Make Good Money?
Delivery driver compensation depends on various factors like experience level, cargo, location, company and more. A driver with several years of experience will likely make more money than a new delivery driver. Drivers with more certifications or positions that require a CDL are also more likely to earn more money. You’ll also likely make more money working for a courier or delivery service than a food delivery service like pizza delivery.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Work as a Delivery Driver?
Most companies look for drivers that are at least 18-21 years old. Some food delivery drivers can be as young as 16, but in most cases, you have to be at least 18. Age requirements are typically at the discretion of the hiring company and will be listed in the job requirements.
What’s the Difference Between a Delivery Driver and a Courier?
Delivery drivers and couriers are similar, both delivering various goods and materials. However, this is all a delivery driver typically does. Couriers can deliver loads and pick them up. For example, a courier may deliver a shipment to a business and pick up an outgoing shipment to be delivered to another location. The courier may then make that second delivery. In contrast, delivery drivers only handle deliveries. As a result, couriers typically have more responsibilities or job duties and may work exclusively with businesses.
What Are Good Qualities for a Delivery Driver?
A good delivery driver should value safety and customer service. When driving between locations, you should prioritize safe driving and abide by state driving laws. This ensures your and other drivers’ safety and the safety of your load. Customer service is another important characteristic of a quality delivery driver. Customers want to deal with friendly, efficient drivers, which means you need to be able to prioritize the customers’ needs.
Become a Delivery Driver for Street Fleet
Delivery drivers are always in demand, as the supply chain would fail without them, which means you can find a position nearly anywhere. If you’re looking for a rewarding position as a delivery driver, consider driving for Street Fleet. We use contracted on-demand delivery drivers like you to provide several different delivery services, including courier and freight delivery. Whether you drive your own car or lease a cargo van from us, there are numerous options and ways to deliver.
As a business, you have numerous options for how you ship your goods. Companies that ship out large quantities of cargo may fill entire truckloads regularly. Others may have different shipping needs that require smaller loads or pallets full of cargo. In these situations, you may want to consider shipping options like less-than-truckload shipping.
Read on to learn more about less-than-truckload shipping, how it works and how it can benefit your company.
What Is Less-Than-Truckload Shipping?
Less-than-truckload shipping, also known as less-than-load (LTL) shipping, refers to small cargo shipments that are less than a full truckload. LTL shipments only fill a portion of a trailer rather than the entire thing. Smaller shippers often prefer LTL services, as they allow them to move smaller loads more frequently at a more cost-effective price.
Shippers typically only pay for the amount of trailer space their freight occupies. Since you’re only paying for a portion of the trailer, this shipping method can help you reduce shipping costs. A truck carrying LTL freight often contains several shipments from different shippers — since the shipments are all going to similar destinations, shipping companies use several of them to fill up the trailer.
LTL shipping also lets companies prevent wholesalers from running out of their products. When companies wait for a store to have room to restock their inventory with a full truckload of goods, they risk the store running out of stock. Without products on the shelves, they face a potential loss of sales. Companies can send frequent LTL shipments to avoid this by ensuring a more dependable and available inventory.
What Is Considered Less Than a Truckload?
LTL is a specific service trucking companies can offer to help you get each shipment out, even if it takes up minimal space on the truck. Here are a few common types of shipments that can benefit from LTL shipping:
Smaller shipments: A load is considered an LTL shipment if it’s smaller and doesn’t require a full trailer. For example, companies may send out smaller inventory shipments more often, as mentioned above. Small businesses may also regularly send out smaller loads.
Palletized or crated items: Many palletized or crated shipments are considered LTL. These packing methods help optimize the space you use on a trailer, allowing you to ship high quantities of goods in minimal space. Pallets and crates are typically covered in shrink wrap to protect the goods and ensure the efficient use of space.
Large, bulky items: Large or bulky items are often best shipped LTL. Since they take up a lot of space or have awkward shapes, LTL shipping tends to be more cost-efficient for these items.
How Does Less-Than-Truckload Shipping Work?
LTL shipping typically uses a spoke and hub distribution model. Local trucking companies or terminals are the spokes that all connect to the main distribution centers, which serve as central hubs. Like a wooden wheel, the outer spokes connect to the central hub to provide structure and support.
LTL shipping involves transporting goods using several different trucks and legs of shipment, ultimately depending on route efficiency and where a driver is going. After a courier picks up a shipment, it goes to a local terminal. There, the logistics company will sort, consolidate and load it on an LTL truck with other shipments that are going to a similar destination. For example, multiple shipments going to a particular city or state may be loaded on the same truck.
From there, shipments travel to the main distribution centers, where they can sort the shipments again. Those that have reached their final destination will transfer to last-mile delivery trucks that handle the last stretch for local deliveries. The rest of the shipments will transfer to trucks that will take them to the next hub.
Because numerous factors can affect how a shipment moves, delivery can take longer with LTL shipping. For example, the shipment may take an indirect route to its final destination. Alternatively, a truck may face a delay at a distribution center as it waits for enough shipments to fill its trailer before it leaves.
Less-Than-Truckload Shipping Pros and Cons
Less-than-truckload shipping is a unique trucking service requiring high coordination and logistics to ensure maximum cost-efficiency and profitability. As with any shipping method, it has its pros and cons.
Depending on your shipment needs, these LTL benefits may outweigh the potential downfalls:
Cost-efficiency: The most significant benefit of LTL shipping is cost-efficiency. Since you only pay for the space your cargo occupies, and other businesses cover the rest of the shipping space and cost, you can reduce your overall shipping costs.
Shipment tracking: Complicated shipping requires a firm grasp of the logistics involved. One benefit of those logistics is that LTL services often include the ability to track your cargo. With ongoing tracking, you and your recipient can monitor the shipment as it makes its way through distribution.
NMFTA regulation: The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) sets and regulates industry standards for LTL pricing, packaging and more. These standards help to control rates for LTL shipments rather than leaving it up to market conditions.
If you’re considering LTL shipping as an option for your company, you should also be sure to weigh the possibilities of:
Longer shipping times: As mentioned above, LTL shipping times can be longer depending on where a truck is going. While LTL services are typically reliable, they may not be the best choice if you’re trying to get an urgent shipment to its destination as quickly as possible. However, in cases where shipping time is more flexible, LTL shipping may be ideal.
Increased handling: The likelihood of increased handling is another potential downside to LTL shipping. This factor depends on how many transfers your shipment needs to reach its destination. Workers will need to handle your shipment each time it transfers to a new truck or goes through a distribution center. Increased handling can raise the risk of a shipment being damaged or lost.
Trust Street Fleet Courier and Logistics for Your LTL Shipping Needs
Looking for less-than-truckload shipping in Minneapolis and the surrounding area? Trust Street Fleet to properly handle and deliver your LTL and freight shipments. At Street Fleet, we offer customized solutions, competitive rates and professional, efficient performance. For more information or to start shipping with us, call us at 612-623-9999 or submit a request online.
While an unavailable workforce or lack of capital are common motivations for outsourcing, there’s more to it than that. If you’ve been handling your own warehouse operations for a while, you may already have many reasons you want to outsource them.
Outsourcing your warehouse operations can improve your processes and create more satisfied customers. You’ll also benefit from new technologies, legal compliance and cost savings. Below, you’ll learn more about what outsourcing warehousing operations mean and the benefits your business can receive from working with a third party.
What Is Outsourced Warehousing and Distribution?
Outsourcing warehouse operations means utilizing the help of third-party warehousing and distribution companies. These companies handle logistics, supply chain coordination, inventory supply and other aspects of your business. Rather than building or coordinating the distribution of goods in-house, you can trust a third party to handle these operations with unrivaled expertise.
Many of these companies provide fulfillment processes and warehousing to help their clients efficiently manage their inventory. A third-party warehouse outsourcing company can give your business the tools it needs to improve and streamlines its processes. You can utilize the outsourcing company’s inventory management software, storage space and distribution services to meet your business’s needs and improve customer satisfaction.
Three Common Third-Party Warehouse Operations
There are three warehouse operations you should consider when looking for a warehouse partner:
Inventory management and storage: Warehouse operations help keep track of inventory stock, store products and sort out what is ready for shipment.
Fulfillment and shipping: Warehouse operations also handle fulfilling orders by shipping inventory to customers. These operations also provide tracking so you can monitor deliveries and ensure your products reach their destination.
Reporting: Warehouse operations also use inventory reporting, which can include fulfillment accuracy, order fulfillment, staff efficiency and more. This information is essential to improving warehouse operations and customer satisfaction.
Each of these operations is essential for a successful business. A warehouse partner can help you find success using their expertise and experience in the industry.
8 Benefits of Outsourcing Warehousing Operations
Choosing warehouse partners allows you to benefit from the skills of experts in the industry. Consider the following reasons to outsource distribution, supply chain and inventory management and other warehousing operations your business might partake in.
1. Simplified Workflow
When you outsource your warehouse operations, you hand coordination and other responsibilities over to the company you hire. Outsourcing operations between carriers, shippers, transloaders and other providers allows other companies to handle logistics, scheduling and regulations. Passing on these responsibilities simplifies your workflow and gives you more time to focus on other aspects of your business, like customer service. Outsourcing makes your customers happy, and you can rest assured that your cargo will make it to its destination successfully.
2. Better Service and Expertise
Outsourcing allows you to put some of your essential business operations into expert hands. These experts have the experience to navigate problems and solve them as they arise. Swifter resolution helps reduce downtime, bringing happiness to your customers and increasing your success.
3. Reduced Risk
Outsourcing your warehouse operations also reduces your overall risk, as it falls on the outsourcing company rather than yours. Your outsourcing company is responsible for maintaining your processes, supporting your people and supplying your workforce during periods of lower demand. You won’t have to worry about incurring any risk, allowing you to continue your business operation with reduced stress.
4. Access to Updated Technology
Warehousing operations and their associated technology are constantly improving. Trying to keep up with the latest advancements can significantly increase your operating costs. However, outsourcing your warehouse operations lets you partner with industry experts focused on adapting and adjusting to evolving technologies.
A quality outsourcing company can help you keep pace with emerging technologies. With their assistance, you’ll benefit from these industry changes without having to keep up with the evolutions on your own.
5. Improved Insight
Gathering business insight and intelligence can help streamline logistics and supply chain consolidation. However, collecting all this data requires detailed reporting. That reporting takes time and a deep understanding of your logistics and supply chain, making it challenging for busy business owners and workers.
Instead of collecting this data yourself, you can trust information and data gathering to warehouse outsourcing companies that understand logistics and supply chains. A quality warehouse operations company will work with you to track factors like inventory, fulfillment and supply. They’ll also have the business intelligence software and tools to assemble thorough reports. Having this information organized will improve your understanding of both minor details and the big picture, allowing you to make better decisions for your company.
6. More Time for Expertise
When you run a business, you excel at specific parts of your operation. However, that doesn’t always include managing your warehouse and logistics. Outsourcing your warehouse operations helps you free up your time and resources for the things you do best. You can eliminate distractions, sharpen your budget and focus on other resources to increase the quality of your services and improve customer satisfaction.
7. Reduced Overhead
One of the most significant benefits of outsourcing your warehouse operations is reduced overhead costs. Outsourcing a workforce and sharing third-party facilities allow you to see instant savings to your bottom line.
Sharing facilities also lets you shift your warehouse operations from a fixed to variable expense. You may only need to pay for the space, equipment and labor you need based on your current market, helping reduce your overhead even more.
8. Compliance With Guidelines
Current laws, including the Customs Modernization Act, require strict and specific compliance under current standards. Businesses that don’t comply could incur expensive costs and increased stress.
Instead of trying to work through these complex and changing guidelines yourself, you can trust a qualified outsourcing company to handle compliance. The company will take responsibility for complying with all regulations, ensuring you’re always in compliance.
Outsource Your Warehouse Operations With Street Fleet Courier and Logistics
If you’re looking for a trusted, high-quality third party to outsource your warehouse operations, Street Fleet is here to help.
At Fleet Street, we pride ourselves on our unparalleled customer service and high-quality work. We’ll help you revolutionize your warehouse operations to streamline your business processes and improve your bottom line. We offer numerous services, including warehousing and fulfillment, distribution and dedicated delivery. We can track and store your inventory and handle distribution to your customers, helping improve your bottom line and customer satisfaction.
Contact us today to learn more about how you can benefit from our warehouse operations and delivery services!
Forward or traditional logistics refers to moving products up the supply chain from the manufacturer to the consumer. Comparatively, reverse logistics work in the opposite direction, allowing the consumer to send the product back up the supply chain.
Reverse logistics can help your business, the consumer and the environment. Companies can benefit in numerous ways by utilizing reverse logistics processes and gain an edge over their competition that can help them foster growth.
What Is Reverse Logistics?
Reverse logistics is a type of supply chain management. Reverse logistics refers to moving goods from customers back to the manufacturer or seller. For example, a customer who receives a product may want to return the item or recycle it after use, requiring reverse logistics.
Reverse logistics always starts with the end consumer, moving backward from the traditional supply chain to the consumer and back to the manufacturer. Reverse logistics occurs when the end consumer is responsible for the disposal of the product, which can include recycling, reselling and refurbishing.
Reverse Logistics vs. Traditional Logistics
Traditional logistics begins when suppliers or manufacturers create a product and move it to a factory or distributor. The goods then go to the retailers, which sell them to consumers. The difference between traditional and reverse logistics is that reverse logistics starts with the consumer and works backward. Traditional logistics usually occurs first, while reverse logistics follows after the first supply chain is complete.
An adequately designed supply chain can handle at least some reverse logistics requirements. Consumers can return products up one step of the supply chain, or they can return to the supplier. Reverse logistics can also involve sending returned products to sales or discount channels.
How Reverse Logistics Works
Reverse logistics works by sending products from the traditional end of the supply chain one or more steps backward. The reverse logistics process usually involves managing returns, buying additional supplies, managing leases and handling refurbishments.
Reverse logistics will look different across various industries. However, there is some general overlap with the components of reverse logistics. There are five main parts of reverse logistics:
Repairing: Reverse logistics often handles item repairs, returning them to inventory for redistribution and resale.
Refurbishing: Manufacturers can use reused, repaired or new parts to rebuild a product to meet the original specifications. Components that are no longer useful or worn out are repaired or replaced.
Recycling: Manufacturers can use materials from an older product returned by the consumer to refurbish other products or create something new.
Remanufacturing: Reused, repaired or new parts can help rebuild products to meet their original specifications. Remanufacturing can also replace or repair worn-out or outdated products.
Cannibalization: Manufacturers can recover parts from returned products to start refurbishing and remanufacturing.
Utilizing these components, there are four steps to quality reverse logistics operations that companies can apply to their own goods and services:
Processing the return: The customer will indicate they want to make a return on a product. The first step is to authorize the return and assess the used product’s condition. This process involves scheduling return shipments, replacing faulty items and handling customer refunds.
Handling the returns: Once the returned product arrives, it’s time to inspect it to determine where it’ll fall in one of the components of reverse logistics. Return products can be repaired, refurbished, recycled, remanufactured or scrapped for parts.
Repairing the goods: Once you’ve determined you can repair an item, move it properly to the repair location. If it’s impossible to repair items, sell any parts you can.
Recycling the goods: Send parts you can’t use for repairs or resale to recycling.
While the steps may vary based on your industry, they generally remain the same across the board. You can use the steps above to start your reverse logistics process and tweak it to make it your own.
The Importance of Reverse Logistics
Reverse logistics is essential in supply chain management because it maintains an efficient flow of goods between the consumer and manufacturer. Another reason for reverse logistics is to improve customer satisfaction. The process helps businesses reduce costs, increase value, limit risk and complete the lifecycle of each product.
Reverse logistics helps create value because it turns what would usually be waste into profit. Reusing old materials also increases trust between the manufacturer and the customer. While you might not be able to sell returned items for their total price, you can find the best potential for returned products to maximize their value. You can use them for parts, refurbish them or repair them and put them back on the market.
Optimizing your reverse logistics processes increases supply chain visibility, resulting in various benefits, including:
Improved customer satisfaction
Improved service speeds and service
Increased brand sentiment among consumers
High sustainability and waste reduction
Improved customer retention
For reverse logistics to be effective, managers need to set up the correct infrastructure, allowing for the bi-directional flow of products. In many cases, this process requires software that keeps track of each reverse logistics process step. Once they’ve implemented the proper infrastructure, managers must consistently monitor the processes and evaluate how efficiently the process works.
Facilitating reverse logistics within your business helps the consumer, manufacturer, economy and planet. You can boost your sales, improve customer satisfaction, encourage supply chain flow and reduce waste. Ultimately, reverse logistics can help your business stand out against the competition, increasing the likelihood of your success.
Trust Street Fleet as a Step in Your Reverse Logistics Processes
Reverse logistics can benefit your business and help you stand out against the competition. Street Fleet is here to help you facilitate these processes with our delivery services. We can help you deliver goods back up the supply chain from the consumer as far back as the manufacturer. We have numerous services available, including same-day delivery, recurring deliveries, overnight distribution and warehousing.
We vary our service levels to meet your delivery needs. You can choose a customized shipping solution that helps meet your needs. You can track your order in real time to know when and where to expect your delivery. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help in your reverse logistics processes!
If you are looking for third-party logistics (3PL) services, you might want to know the main differences between asset-based and non-asset-based offerings so that you can choose the best option. This guide will cover the basics and pros and cons of these services to help you make the right decision.
What Is an Asset-Based 3PL?
An asset-based 3PL is a provider that owns a part, or all, of the resources necessary to manage a supply chain. They usually have warehouses, distribution centers, trucks and carriers.
Their services often include warehousing, transportation and distribution. An asset-based 3PL will use its own team and resources to deliver your products.
Advantages of Asset-Based 3PLs
Asset-based 3PLs can provide several benefits to businesses. They are their own carrier, meaning they likely have specific lanes and services for a hyperlocal area. An asset-based 3PL can be a reliable choice if you are delivering locally.
Generally, asset-based 3PLs also have more control over their supply chain because they own it. These providers set their prices because there is no negotiation with outside partners.
In addition, they can more readily handle issues with carriers and easily make changes to fix other errors. Asset-based 3PLs can be more secure and less likely to shut down without warning. You should also see consistency in the quality of your services when you choose an asset-based 3PL.
Disadvantages of Asset-Based 3PLs
While asset-based 3PLs offer several benefits, they also have their shortcomings. Potential disadvantages include:
Fixed rates: The asset-based 3PL decides the cost of services, so there will be little room for negotiation.
Capacity limits: Depending on how many businesses they work with, an asset-based 3PL may have all of their fleets already occupied when you need to ship products. These providers are more limited in how much service they can provide, so you should ensure they have a good strategy.
Smaller offerings: An asset-based 3PL may offer fewer services depending on the vehicles, warehouses and other available resources.
What Is a Non-Asset-Based 3PL?
Non-asset-based 3PLs do not own any part of their supply chain. These providers form partnerships with other companies to help move your freight. A non-asset-based 3PL focuses on developing personalized solutions using their expertise.
Since they negotiate with outside trucking and warehousing companies, non-asset-based 3PLs can offer low-cost services.
Advantages of Non-Asset-Based 3PLs
These providers often have connections to an extensive network, allowing them to choose what will work for you. Non-asset-based 3PLs are highly flexible and knowledgeable. Their team will help you determine what portions of your supply chain to fix and suggest how to enhance your operations. They work to find suitable carriers, warehouses and other distribution elements for your needs.
Your supply chain network becomes a part of the non-asset-based 3PL’s overall network, increasing optimization. In this situation, your provider has multiple fleets available instead of a single supply chain network.
Disadvantages of Non-Asset-Based 3PLs
Working with non-asset-based 3PLs has several disadvantages, including:
Less control: A non-asset-based 3PL does not have much control over its supply chain. It works with several partners, meaning it is not fully controlling what happens throughout the delivery process. If something goes wrong, there is little the company can do to fix it because it is entirely outsourced.
Lack of familiarity: Working with multiple partners can prohibit the 3PL’s teams from building expertise with your products and requirements.
More trust necessary: You have to ensure you can trust a non-asset-based 3PL. Since they do not own any part of the supply chain, you are relying on them to make the right call for your company so you can get the services you need. The provider may or may not have the foundation to do this — it’s your responsibility to check and ensure they are transparent with you.
What Are the Benefits of Using a 3PL From Street Fleet?
If you need 3PL services in Minnesota or Western Wisconsin, we are here to help. At Street Fleet, we are a full-service delivery company. We provide same-day courier delivery, overnight distribution, cross-docking and warehousing.
Street Fleet has over 300 drivers and vehicles, ranging from bikes to cars and trucks, enabling us to provide customized solutions. Our popular services include:
We at Street Fleet like to think of ourselves as an extension of your company. Our delivery services make it easier for you to focus on other aspects of your business. We also have IT services and online account management.
Whether you need medical couriers, airport recovery or scheduled deliveries, our team is here to help. We operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The time between clicking the buy button and receiving a package at the door is always narrowing. Today, people are expecting their packages to arrive within a few days — or sooner. The recent boom of customer demand has created the need for companies to find innovative ways to quickly get packages where they’re supposed to go.
One critical aspect of the process is last-mile delivery. As a central cog in the supply chain, last-mile delivery is swiftly becoming one of the major focuses of supply chain managers. In this article, we’ll look at what last-mile delivery is, how it works, what its challenges are and more.
What Is Last-Mile Delivery?
The shipping and delivery process consists of a series of intricate parts. First-mile delivery is when a product is first introduced into the supply chain. From there, it goes on a journey, trading hands and getting closer to the customer.
Last-mile delivery is the final step in the shipping process. It includes the time from when a package arrives at a warehouse near the customer’s location to when it’s delivered to their doorstep. Though this might seem simple, it’s actually one of the most challenging and complex parts of the delivery journey.
How Does Last-Mile Delivery Work?
A customer will shop on a company’s site, find the product they want, choose an adequate shipping option and press buy. From there, the company fulfills the order, and the product takes off through the shipping journey, eventually getting to the final leg — last-mile delivery. Here is where things get interesting — companies typically have to hire an independent business to be their last-mile carrier. Because of this, many factors fall out of the main company’s hands.
If you’ve ever ordered a package and seen the “out for delivery” update pop up and stay there for a while, you’ve likely felt the challenges of last-mile delivery. Although you would think that your location’s proximity to the local warehouse would make the delivery process quick and easy, many additional factors are in play.
What Are the Challenges of Last-Mile Delivery?
The reason last-mile delivery is such a focus of the supply chain is that it holds some of the greatest challenges. From location to route design, companies have to consider many factors while planning for last-mile delivery.
Delivery location is one of the most important aspects of last-mile delivery. Rural areas have greater distances between delivery locations, and companies may have to cover vast distances just to deliver a few packages.
With cities, locations are close together, but traffic will inevitably slow the process down. A challenge will likely present itself in every location, emphasizing the need for advanced technology and thorough planning to increase efficiency and prepare for those challenges.
The company’s size will also present unique challenges. With big companies taking in tremendous order volumes each day, they’ll have to juggle routes and orders to get packages to their destinations as soon as possible. On the other hand, smaller companies have to weigh the cost-benefits of delivering fewer packages against total profits.
Companies that use last-mile delivery come in many sizes, but they’re all looking for relatively the same thing — optimizing their deliveries for maximum efficiency.
You might be seeing a trend with these last-mile delivery challenges. From the vast areas covered in rural areas to the heavy traffic of cities to the order volume, there’s one central theme with each of these aspects — route design. Designing and optimizing routes for the best possible efficiency is a key part of last-mile delivery. With the best delivery routes, companies can reap profits while satisfying customers.
Although companies can try to plan ahead as much as they can, there is always a certain level of unpredictability with last-mile delivery, such as:
Bad weather: A sudden rainstorm or blizzard can pose an issue for last-mile deliveries — drivers might have to pull over and wait until the weather passes.
Traffic surges: Accidents happen, causing sudden surges in traffic and gridlocked streets. In cities, this can be a particularly costly issue.
Vehicle issues: Flat tires and an assortment of other vehicle issues could cause a truck to stop dead in its tracks, lengthening travel time.
That final leg of the shipment journey is filled with these kinds of unpredictable factors. Some, however, can be mitigated with optimized strategies.
Companies that outsource last-mile delivery to a reliable delivery business, for instance, will probably be in a better spot to absorb this unpredictability. When you have a flexible partner taking care of the last leg, you can trust they’ll adapt to the situation quickly and handle sudden changes with experienced hands.
Last-mile delivery is one of the most costly parts of the shipping process. Free shipping has become the new normal for customers everywhere, sometimes causing companies to eat the bill. With this increasingly common phenomenon and previously mentioned challenges, the need for innovation and better efficiency in this last segment of the shipment journey is becoming clear.
The Latest Trends in Last-Mile Delivery
To save money and improve efficiency, companies are looking at many ways to make last-mile delivery effective. Some of these ideas focus on promoting customer loyalty, while others seek to make distribution itself easier.
Here are some recent last-mile delivery trends.
Customers want to know where their package is at all times. With smart technology, the entire delivery process has become transparent, allowing customers to follow their package along its whole journey. Soon, innovative sensors inside packages may even let customers know their product’s temperature and humidity — important for deliveries such as food or medicine.
During the complex process of last-mile delivery, this smart technology can give the customer comfort. With a transparent look into the delivery, individuals may feel more inclined to order from that company again.
Companies have also started building new warehouses to ease the delivery process. The more warehouses a company has, the more easily it can stock up on inventory and be ready when an order is placed. This approach will reduce wasted time and improve efficiency when last-mile delivery comes into play. Amazon has taken full advantage of this strategy, building thousands of new warehouses across the country.
Many companies are specifically targeting urban warehouses as well so that they have easier access to a huge volume of customers. With major warehouses in a heavily populated area, businesses can offer one-day or even same-day shipping to thousands.
Some companies have started using artificial intelligence to examine trends and see when there might be a spike in demand for a particular product. During national sports events, for example, a company might decide to stock up on certain products in a specific location to get ready for those shipments. Having a supply at the ready could smooth out multiple areas of the shipping process and make that last-mile delivery get there in time.
Artificial intelligence can predict those trends and help companies make educated decisions about the demand for certain products.
With the intricate details involved in the last-mile delivery process, it usually just isn’t cost-effective for companies to execute these deliveries on their own. They often find an independent company that can take care of that stage of the journey.
The challenging part might be finding a business you can trust. Many delivery companies are using advanced technology and intricate route planning to improve efficiency. For enterprises looking to get a leg up on their competition and satisfy customers, those types of logistics partners could offer the perfect fit.
The Benefits of Optimizing Last-Mile Delivery Services
The latest trends in last-mile delivery services can be effective, and with the right execution, they can help boost productivity and make a delivery process more efficient. It’s important to look at the reasons why many businesses are spending massive amounts of time and energy to find innovative ways to solve last-mile delivery issues.
With the right optimization techniques, you can reap the many benefits of efficient last-mile delivery.
Enhanced Customer Satisfaction
Customer experience is key with shipments. In that last stretch of the delivery service, you could make or break a customer’s experience. With optimized, efficient last-mile shipping, you can get packages to your customers swiftly. In turn, your consumers will be satisfied, and you can boost their loyalty.
Last-mile delivery services can be costly. With all the various factors in play, the line of profit could start to grow thin. With an optimized delivery process, you’ll have more control and be confident in the strategy you’ve crafted. You can face challenges more effectively, decreasing wasted time and high costs.
Overall, last-mile optimization will increase your company’s overall efficiency. Since that last stretch from warehouse to doorstep is so complex and integral to the entire shipping process, an optimized plan will do wonders for your company’s effectiveness at delivering goods. Increase customer satisfaction, reduce costs and boost productivity with optimization.
Talking about these benefits is one thing, but you might be wondering about some actionable steps you can take to make them become a reality.
How to Plan a Successful Last-Mile Delivery
Though last-mile delivery is complex, there are ways to simplify the process. With advanced technology, route planning and help from a great delivery company, you can craft an effective, optimized last-mile delivery strategy.
Communication within an organization is important, and with deliveries, communication with the customer is becoming even more essential. Texts, emails and shipping updates are all ways to communicate with a customer. This transparent access to the delivery process ensures a customer isn’t left in the dark and lets them know exactly where their package is at all times.
With packages containing valuable items, providing clarity and an easy connection becomes even more important to delivery.
Route planning is integral to the success of any last-mile delivery. Planning and designing the ideal route will ensure you’ve optimized your drivers’ journey for the most efficient experience possible. Optimized routes prevent prolonged journeys in rural areas and defend against traffic in urban sprawls. By focusing on delivery planning factors like time of day, vehicle capacity and the distance between stops, you can craft a cost-effective route.
Innovative technology can assist you with the last-mile delivery process. Software and AI can now help optimize deliveries and predict a variety of different factors while drivers are on the road. From providing streamlined communication to shipping logistics that can help you effectively plan routes, it’s clear that these types of technology will only continue to become more relevant in the shipping world.
Quality Delivery Companies
Outsourcing your last-mile deliveries is one of the best ways to protect against high costs and stay efficient. Even with all of the above strategies, you’ll likely need some help with execution.
An experienced, reliable delivery company can use advanced technology to plan routes and help you satisfy your customers. The last leg of delivery can be challenging, but enlisting some help from a quality courier will take some pressure off your shoulders.
Work With Street Fleet for Last-Mile Delivery
Street Fleet is the perfect company for your last-mile delivery needs. As an industry leader, we know what it takes to do a quality job for our clients. When you work with us, you’ll receive many benefits, including:
Reliability: Our team is full of courteous professionals who understand that they’ll be representing our clients. Our drivers have the specialized qualifications for all your delivery needs, and our expert team is ready to answer any lingering questions you may have.
Cost-effectiveness: We have the flexibility to adapt our fleet size to your specific needs. Whether you’re looking at a large volume of orders or something smaller, we can fit your scale and reduce any overhead costs you might otherwise have to absorb.
Innovative technology: Our fully-integrated IT solutions give us unique abilities to optimize our deliveries. We also have tracking capabilities that allow you to transparently see where your packages are in during delivery. Our process is fully transparent, giving you comforting visibility from beginning to end.
Customization: Our team is ready at all times. From urgent deliveries on-demand to recurring shipments, we are ready to answer the call and satisfy your customers. You can customize your delivery process exactly as you want, and we’ll follow through with the execution.
With these benefits, you can gain some confidence in last-mile delivery. Reduce costs, improve efficiency and gain control over your orders by working with Street Fleet.
Contact Street Fleet Today
Location, volume, route planning and more — there’s a lot to consider with last-mile delivery. Thankfully, you can make that process easier and get help from an experienced industry leader to ensure orders get to all your customers safely and on time.
Street Fleet is here to offer you our unique experience in the courier industry. Using advanced technology, a professional team and effective route planning, we can fulfill your requests and help you build customer loyalty. Create your account and start optimizing your last-mile delivery strategy today!
As the shipping process becomes more complex, managers are looking for innovative ways to minimize costs and make operations as efficient as possible. One key aspect of the delivery process is warehouse storage. Storing inventory before shipping presents a challenge for many companies.
While renting an entire warehouse can be beneficial to have control over your operations, it usually isn’t cost-effective for a majority of companies. Instead, businesses can lease warehouses from an individual service, leading to the rise of contract warehousing.
In this article, we’ll break down what contract warehousing is, the various types and its benefits and disadvantages.
What Is a Contract Warehouse?
When a company agrees to contract lease warehousing, they lease a storage warehouse from an independent company that lets them use their space. This independent company handles storage operations and sometimes offers additional specialized services like fulfillment.
The agreed-upon contract outlines a specific period of storage, which usually lasts a couple of years or more. As companies look to reduce costs and use convenience to their advantage, contract warehousing is becoming more popular and attractive to companies.
What Is the Difference Between Contract Warehousing and 3PL?
Contract warehousing often gets confused with third-party logistics (3PL). Though similar, there are some key differences.
While contract warehousing focuses primarily on storage, 3PL delves into fulfillment. Companies use contract warehousing to house supplies — these are facilities used for merchandise that will be stored for an extended period of time. On the other hand, fulfillment centers briefly house merchandise before being sent to the customer. 3PL services usually involve fulfillment centers to make sure shipments operate efficiently.
In basic terms, contract warehousing is different from 3PL warehousing because of its functions — contract warehousing is for storage while 3PL is meant for fulfillment.
Types of Warehousing
Warehousing can be split up into three main types — private, public and contract. Each has unique characteristics:
Private: A company rents and uses the entirety of a warehouse building for a select amount of time. The company is responsible for all operations and inventory management. While this gives control to a company, it is also highly expensive and an extremely involved undertaking.
Public: In this scenario, the warehouse is shared among various companies. Instead of paying for a set amount of time or space, a company usually pays a monthly bill based on the amount of volume the company gets. This is more cost-effective than private warehouses but usually only used for brief periods like seasonal inventory.
Contract: This type’s function is reflected in its name. Contract or dedicated warehousing is just that — a warehouse dedicated to one client. While an independent company runs and operates the warehouse, they’re devoted to one company for a contractual amount of time.
Although each type has pros and cons, contract warehousing is an attractive option for many companies because of its convenience and cost-efficiency.
Benefits of Contract Warehousing
Companies see contract warehousing as a legitimate way to help their operations. Here are some of the benefits of contract warehousing:
Cost-Efficiency: Concerning price, the benefits of contract warehousing compared to private warehousing are clear. You usually have to pay per square foot for warehouse space, and when dealing with the sheer space of a facility, that price could easily rise high. Much of that cost per square foot depends on geography, but you’ll likely still be looking at a high price tag. Contract warehouses are the perfect option for midsize companies looking to increase profits without sacrificing efficiency.
Convenience: Contract warehousing is also very convenient. Instead of expending time putting together a team and figuring out the complex details of storing inventory, you can turn it over to an experienced team who knows exactly what they’re doing.
Specialization: The independent company controlling warehouse operations is solely dedicated to one company, meaning they can specialize to your unique inventory and make sure it’s getting the proper care it needs. You get the convenience of having an independent company to oversee operations while still retaining that specialization.
Reliability: When you find the right company to care for your inventory, you also get a sense of reliability. An experienced, specialized team oversees your merchandise at all times — that’s something that will give you confidence in your operations.
Disadvantages of Contract Warehousing
From cost-efficiency to reliability, it’s clear that contract warehousing offers many benefits. When it comes to shipping and deliveries, it’s important to look at all the pros and cons to see how it will affect the company.
While contract warehousing offers many benefits, there are also a couple of disadvantages to know.
Lack of Total Control
The main drawback of contract warehousing is that you won’t have total control over the facility. Instead of completely taking over operations, you’re putting trust into the hands of an independent company to oversee and store your inventory.
While this means you’ll sacrifice some level of control over your operations, it also means you’ll spend less time, energy and money assembling a team to operate the facility.
Finding the Right Company
When you decide to contract a warehouse, the most challenging part might be trusting the independent company to oversee your operations. You haven’t trained them, after all, so you’ll want to find a reliable, experienced team you can trust to do quality work.
The cons of contract warehousing are something to consider. When stacked against their many benefits, those disadvantages look very manageable. If you know where to look to find the right company, you can entirely eliminate one of these disadvantages.
Work With Street Fleet
When you need a company to handle your warehouse needs, you should work with Street Fleet. Street Fleet offers an experienced, professional team who can solve your storage needs and more, including:
Warehousing: Small and midsize businesses need a cost-efficient way to store merchandise. Street Fleet offers a 30,000 warehouse facility complete with cameras and alarms to ensure your inventory is protected at all times.
Fulfillment: Street Fleet also offers fulfillment services, ensuring timely and professional orders. We handle your external orders and give you convenience and reliability during the shipping process.
Cross-Dock: Many companies utilize cross-docking to improve efficiency. It reduces surplus inventory and shortens delivery times. It also requires a lot of planning — that’s where Street Fleet comes in. We’ll plan and maintain cross-docking tactics, so you can spend time on other pursuits.
Street Fleet is the comprehensive, reliable company with the services you need. Create an account and start improving efficiency today!
While last-mile delivery has always been an essential aspect of the product delivery process, it’s grown even more important in the wake of COVID-19. The last mile in a supply chain describes the final leg of the delivery journey, moving goods from their transportation hub to their final destination. Strategic organization of the last mile contributes to overall customer satisfaction and successful deliveries.
Last-mile delivery during COVID-19 became more complicated than it was in years past. Social distancing efforts and safety concerns caused delivery demands to skyrocket. Consumer behavioral changes resulting from the pandemic may be long-lasting, so businesses have to respond proactively.
Top 4 Challenges Caused by COVID-19
COVID-19 resulted in unique last-mile delivery challenges. Businesses have had to find ways to meet increased demands with long-term solutions. Additionally, the landscape is different than it was when last-mile deliveries first became popular. Companies that already had last-mile delivery services in place needed to focus on scaling up, while those without worked toward creating workable solutions.
Here are a few of the challenges facing last-mile deliveries due to COVID-19.
1. Safety Concerns
COVID-19 raised new safety concerns regarding dining, travel and leisure. For example, some consumers became wary about going to their local grocery store, so delivery services for groceries expanded. In addition, travel restrictions and essential-only travel mandates encouraged consumers to opt for delivery rather than product pickup.
At the same time, companies needed to prioritize employee safety and put measures in place to protect last-mile delivery personnel.
2. Shifts in Behaviors and Trends
Consumer behaviors and attitudes changed during COVID-19 due to safety precautions and fears. Shoppers became more likely to request product delivery within a reasonable driving distance, increasing last-mile deliveries numbers.
For example, many restaurant patrons are now more likely to order from home and in-person dining has been inconsistently available due to lockdowns in many locations throughout the country. Even with in-person dining permitted, restaurants had to prepare for increased delivery requests and to-go orders.
3. Customer Service
Maintaining high-quality customer service has been a challenge during the pandemic. Businesses have had to focus on providing timely and positive delivery experiences, including businesses that have never had to do so before. Even those with last-mile delivery familiarity needed to adjust to higher volumes while maintaining reputable customer service.
Meeting the demands of these changing consumer behaviors, safety concerns and customer service challenges contributed to a major logistical challenge. Such massive shifts in last-mile deliveries are a significant factor for supply chains — the final mile of the supply chain accounts for about 40% of total global logistic costs. A careful and critical approach to these changes is necessary for any business.
Last-mile delivery logistics solutions are vital to a business’s bottom line since the final leg is the most logistically challenging and expensive. For some companies, the concern is a new one.
4 Industries Seeing Shifts in the Last Mile
The most significant final mile delivery change after COVID-19 is the sheer number of industries affected. Some impacted industries have never had to consider the question of final-mile delivery before. Minimal delivery opportunities were available for these businesses in the past, so they’re approaching new territory.
1. Food Delivery
Since everyone needs access to food every day, the food delivery industry has seen some of the most dramatic shifts. While some restaurants have always offered delivery services, others have had to adjust. For many, a personnel shortage meant partnerships with third-party delivery services were necessary.
In addition to restaurant meals, consumers also need delivery for everyday grocery items. COVID-19 has kept many people homebound at some point during the pandemic. As of August 2019, only 52% of grocery stores in the U.S. offered home delivery or store pickup. By May of 2020, online grocery delivery web searches increased by 202%. During that time, grocery delivery and pickup sales grew from $1.2 billion to $7.2 billion.
Grocery delivery and store pickup have become staple offerings across the board. While the pandemic may temporarily shift some demands, stores that can offer delivery or pickup may still have a competitive advantage in the future.
2. Home Care
COVID-19 also increased the demand for in-home medical care. Hospitals, nursing homes and care facilities became overpopulated due to COVID-19 cases, and many remain overwhelmed beyond the height of the pandemic. Even if a lack of beds was not a concern, some individuals sought to avoid medical care facilities to protect themselves from potential exposure in a busy facility.
E-commerce for care, medicine and other medical necessities grew during the pandemic. Last-mile delivery opportunities for pharmacies and similar businesses have grown in scope and significance, and those able to adapt may be able to take advantage of a niche market in the future.
COVID-19 restricted the availability of many out-of-home entertainment options, such as movie theaters. With entertainment options limited, e-commerce for entertainment-related products has also grown. Consumers are now more likely to seek home delivery of entertainment products.
4. Household and Personal Care Items
The pandemic also saw a surge in deliveries of household essentials and personal care items — the kind of small, inexpensive products consumers used to pick up from local convenience and grocery stores.
Businesses have had to make careful choices regarding delivery expenses for such items. Since they’re inexpensive on their own, delivery fees are more noticeable. Companies have had to balance their goals to earn profits with their need to satisfy customers.
Structural Changes to Last Mile After COVID-19
COVID-19-driven changes in e-commerce and delivery have generated massive structural shifts in last-mile deliveries. Here are some of the ways last-mile delivery technology has changed:
Increased demand: The increase in demand for delivered products has impacted countless businesses across various industries. Companies built for delivery service have had to meet the logistical challenge of swelling demand.
Expanded demand variety: In addition, COVID-19 has led to a greater range of product types requiring delivery. Consumers are purchasing a wider array of products online, including small, inexpensive products available nearby.
Emphasis on environmentalism: As you can imagine, a massive increase in product demand could have serious environmental consequences. As a result, numerous companies have committed to decreasing delivery-related carbon emissions. One way to do so is to use a bicycle delivery service for short-distance final-mile deliveries. Doing so can cut back on unnecessary emissions.
Emphasis on logistics: The shifting consumer trends have caused businesses to put more emphasis on last-mile logistics. Reliance on third-party logistics or 3PL companies with first- to final-mile expertise has grown. These companies can help simplify deliveries with valuable insights and services.
Last Mile for Safely Transporting Vaccines
While last-mile delivery has grown more popular for things like sandwiches and bottles of soap, it has also served a more important purpose — last-mile delivery has become an essential aspect of secure vaccine transport. Equitable and timely accessibility to COVID-19 vaccines is a global concern. Vaccine transport presents a few unique challenges, such as:
Cold storage: Vaccines require temperature-regulated storage. For instance, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine calls for ultra-cold storage. It must be so cold — minus 130 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit — that dry ice is necessary. The need for reliable cold storage complicates delivery efforts.
Second doses: Patients who receive Pfizer or Moderna vaccines must get a second dose to strengthen their immunity. However, simultaneous delivery of both doses is not an option, as a three- to four-week interval must occur between doses. Ensuring everyone gets a second dose in the right time frame is another logistical challenge.
Booster doses: Another issue is the need for booster doses after initial vaccinations. A booster dose should occur six months after the first two doses.
Future of Last Mile
Last-mile deliveries were subject to many changes in the wake of COVID-19. Some changes may persist in years to come. Adaptability and technological advances will be future priorities for any business offering last-mile deliveries. Maintaining the long-standing status quo will no longer be a viable option — instead, companies will have to develop innovative solutions to address last-mile delivery concerns.
Use Street Fleet for Your Last Mile Needs
COVID-19 has made last-mile deliveries more significant than ever before. Companies are facing new challenges and massive structural changes. How companies respond to these shifts could impact future success and growth. If you’re looking for a solution to address last-mile delivery needs, consider Street Fleet.
Street Fleet is a full-service delivery company with over 300 drivers and vehicles to meet your unique needs. We offer everything from dock trucks to bicycles, and we’re sure to have the most cost-effective and reliable solution for your delivery needs. Learn more about Street Fleet’s final-mile delivery capabilities when you contact us for additional information or create an account today.
When a customer orders a product from your business, the relationship between you and that customer hinges on a seamless delivery. You put a lot of trust in the hands of the delivery service you hire to transport your customer’s order, so it’s important to choose the right one.
Choosing a courier service with the right qualities will strengthen your relationship with your clientele and boost your business short- and long-term. But do you know how to choose the best courier service for your business?
What to Look for in a Courier Service
Before hiring a courier service, you should compare different companies for how they’ll meet your business and customers’ needs. Keep the following factors in mind.
Considering price is essential when investigating different courier services. Do they offer rates that make sense for your business? Do they offer different pricing options for customers who need same-day delivery? Look for a delivery team that gives your customers options and saves you money down the road.
Is the courier service available to pick up and deliver your package as you need on an on-demand or recurring delivery basis? Many companies will work with you for delayed delivery, but if you need something picked up as soon as possible, you want to be sure the courier is prepared to accommodate that.
Your time is valuable. As you browse courier services, pay attention to the ones with the most intuitive websites that make it easy to set up an account and talk with customer representatives if necessary. A good delivery team will make it as natural as possible for you to start using their services.
4. Size or Material Limitations
Not every fleet is built the same. Can the courier service adjust for the size of your products? Your larger orders may call for a whole dock truck, but if you’re selling smaller products, it may make more sense to use a smaller vehicle to skip traffic or a lengthy delivery list. Look for a fleet that can handle a wide range of deliveries.
Material limitations can also come into play. If you have occasional or regular shipping that requires the company to follow certain HAZMAT regulations, it’s important to make sure they have those clearances. Shipping lab specimens and other medical equipment is one example.
5. Tracking and Proof of Delivery
Your customers will appreciate the ability to monitor their orders, so choose a courier service with tracking capabilities. This added perk goes a long way toward strengthening the relationship between your and your customers. For added security, look for a courier that will notify you when they’ve completed your customer’s delivery.
Do a deep dive into each courier service’s reputation with the public. Are they known for making speedy deliveries? Do they have a courteous, professional team? Hire a courier service that will best represent your company.
7. Delivery Radius
Does the courier service deliver to your entire customer base? Some businesses may need national or global delivery services, while other local businesses may be better off with a local courier. Look into the areas different delivery teams cover to ensure they’ll reach as many of your customers as possible.
Street Fleet: The Best Courier Service in Minnesota
For reliable delivery services in the Twin Cities, trust Street Fleet Courier and Logistics to deliver your customer’s order on time any day of the week. Our fleet of dock trucks, vans, cars and bikes can handle orders of any size for a speedy delivery anywhere in Minneapolis or St. Paul. Give us a call at 612-623-9999 or create an account to connect your business with Street Fleet today!
As a small business owner, you’re bound to have a roll-up-your-sleeves and do-it-yourself attitude. When it comes to shipping products, however, it’s a good idea to outsource to a dedicated shipping company. Buyers today expect quick delivery of undamaged goods — this is the only way to ensure first-time customers become repeat customers.
With so many third-party shipping options, it can seem overwhelming to decide on the best way to ship for a small business. Think about your business’s geographic scope, the speed at which you need products to ship, and the nature of your products. Then compare the different shipping methods for small businesses.
How to Ship Products: What Is the Best Way to Ship Products for Small Businesses?
If you’re wondering how to ship products to customers, here are a few popular methods. Each has its pros and cons, so consider several options for your business. Different methods are best depending on the size of products, the frequency of delivery needs and the shipping distance. For most local businesses with limited shipping-distance needs, a local courier will be the best choice.
United States Postal Service (USPS)
The USPS is an obvious option for domestic product shipping. They have direct access to mailboxes and post office boxes and offer decent pricing. This is a good option for a small business with only occasional shipping needs and lightweight products.
However, the USPS is not the best option if your business ships products regularly, if you sell bulky or heavy products or if you want to offer expedited shipping. Priority Mail envelopes and boxes can take several days to arrive, and the USPS can take over a week to complete a delivery.
National Delivery Companies
A national carrier such as the United Parcel Service (UPS) or FedEx is likely less expensive than USPS for larger products. Keep in mind that UPS does not offer flat rate shipping, which would be a great benefit if your products vary in weight. However, UPS can also take a full week to deliver products, only transporting parcels on business days. FedEx offers flat rate shipping and slightly faster shipping speeds.
If your products tend to be small, flat rates can actually inflate your shipping costs, so consider the sizes of your average products.
Local Courier: Street Fleet
For local shipping, a local courier is the best choice. With a local shipping company like Street Fleet, you’ll have your own account for placing delivery orders, which will take much of the stress of shipping out of your hands. In addition to on-demand delivery, you can order a scheduled delivery service to occur weekly, monthly or even hourly.
You can also choose the right vehicle and shipping speed to fit your company’s needs. Only use a national delivery company if you need to ship overseas or across multiple state lines. Otherwise, a local courier is one of the best shipping options for small businesses.
Which Shipping Carrier Is Best for You?
When deciding how to ship for your small business, consider several factors. You should think about:
The dimensions and weight of your products: Do you sell dainty handmade jewelry or full-sized vacuum cleaners? The size of your products should make a difference in the shipping method you choose. Using a third-party shipping company can decrease expenses compared to completing deliveries with your own vehicles and employees — expenses like employee wages and vehicle maintenance will be out of your hands. However, shipping companies charge based on parcel size and weight, so heavier, bulkier products will be more expensive to ship.
The speed you want products delivered: In the era of same-day shipping, some shoppers have become less patient. Of course, the speed of your delivery will depend on the distance and method of transport, but you should think about how fast you want your products to ship when deciding on a carrier. The most economic, environmentally friendly and prompt delivery option for hyper-local shipping is a delivery service by bicycle.
The nature of your products: Think about the products you need to deliver. Are they hazardous or perishable? If so, this may increase the price of delivery. Since food items require insulated and secure packaging, you may face premium charges. For drugs and other sensitive medical supplies, you’ll need a delivery company with a dedicated medical services division.
The frequency of your shipping needs: If you have a storefront and only plan on shipping occasionally, you’ll probably prefer an on-demand delivery service. For an e-commerce business with regular shipping needs, it’s best to pair with a carrier that offers dedicated delivery services to act as a delivery branch for your business.
The required distance for deliveries: Think about where your customers can order from and how far you’re willing to deliver. The farther the delivery, the more expensive and time-consuming it will be. If you plan to ship internationally, you may not be able to promise extremely fast shipping. If you choose to ship overseas, keep in mind that shipping by air is much faster than shipping by water. Provide an honest estimated arrival date and time at checkout so customers will know when to expect their products.
Best Shipping Service for Small Business: Street Fleet in Minnesota
For businesses in Minnesota and surrounding states, there is no option better than Street Fleet. If you’re wondering how to ship products from your home business or local storefront, Street Fleet offers a wide variety of options tailored to your specifications.
You can choose from several different shipping methods to ensure you get exactly what your business needs — the level of customization is much higher than what you’d find with a national chain. You can choose from delivery by bicycle, small car or truck. Whether you’re delivering an envelope or an entire pallet, Street Fleet has options for you.
For the delivery of time-sensitive products like food items, our bicycle messengers are a uniquely effective option. When it comes to quick, local delivery, no method is faster than a bicycle. Or, if you need pharmaceuticals sent to a patient’s home, choose our specialized medical delivery service, which features certified HAZMAT handlers.
No matter what you need to be delivered or where you need it to be, Street Fleet drivers are all professional, friendly and uniformed and excel at representing private labels. When you use a national delivery chain, you have no idea who your delivery driver will be or what kind of experience they will create for your customers.
As you probably know if you’ve ever purchased something online, an irresponsible or unfriendly delivery driver can ruin the purchase experience for a customer. Meanwhile, a knowledgeable, courteous driver will elevate your customer’s impression of your brand by treating products with care. This will build your credibility and memorability.
Additionally, when it comes to urgent deliveries, Street Fleet is the best choice. With over 300 drivers, we can accommodate urgency requests of under one hour, 90 minutes, two to three hours or same-day. Unlike most national delivery chains, our services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Use Street Fleet for Your Small Business Product Shipping
If you run a small, local business, delivery is likely a necessity at one point or another. Whether your business is primarily e-commerce or you’re just beginning to offer delivery, choose a service tailored to your specific needs. Only Street Fleet offers product shipping with so many customizable options, from vehicle type to urgency level to material expertise. Set up an account with Street Fleet today and start tracking your orders!