One of the hardest aspects of setting up as an owner driveris the responsibility of securing work for yourself. Although you gain freedom and the opportunity to make more money if you venture out on your own, you also accept the struggle and frustration of searching for and closing on jobs that suit you. Let’s talk about what you need to consider before accepting a job, what common mistakes you should avoid and how you can prepare fully to ensure that your assignments go as smoothly as possible.
Speed: Time Frames, ‘Rush’ Jobs and ‘Stat’ Jobs
For many people using a courier service, speed is of the essence. Most clients will be interested in how quickly you can take their parcel from Point A to Point B. As an owner driver, you must be aware that it is perfectly acceptable to charge a premium for deliveries to be completed within a specific time frame and outside of your normal schedule. Many drivers add an extra fee if a parcel has to be delivered within the hour or on the same day. These jobs, known as ‘rush’ jobs, might be charged at an extra 10%. ‘Stat’ jobs similarly require owner driversto deliver within a few hours and could cost a client 25% more. However, consider pricing yourself competitively if you are contending with others for a contract.
Keeping an Eye on the Profit: Load and Mileage
New owner driversmust always keep their eyes on their profit margin. Though it can be tempting to charge a client a low price for a service in order to secure their custom, this can backfire, leaving you with little or no profit. Set standard rates for loads and mileage and add on extra fees if you are asked to transport a particularly heavy load or cover a longer distance than usual.
If you are new to an area, check out the rates of a rival to see what clients are willing to pay. You can then design delivery packages that will appeal to clients in your region. I suggest having a standard rate for a medium-weight package and charging extra for each pound over that weight. Equally, though most couriers charge by the job, you may want to charge by mileage – or distance travelled over a certain limit – on a long job.
One of the worst things owner driverscan do is forget to account for unforeseen delays and disruptions. Often these are caused by unprepared clients, who make you wait to pick up or deliver your load. Paired with unpredictable traffic, this then causes holdups throughout your delivery schedule, leading to disgruntled customers. As a result, you should make it very clear what the consequences are for clients who cause delays when you’re offering your services. Rather than scaring off potential clients, transparency will encourage them to trust you and help avoid unpleasant confrontations later down the line.
If you remember these simple pointers, you will have a greater chance of securing profitable contracts with reliable clients. All the best for your future endeavours!
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day owner driver courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 5,000 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.