Shipping tips for the holidays

December is coming up and that means the holiday season is upon us! That means presents – and when we’re talking presents – we’re talking shipping. In fact, there’s as much mail in December as there is in every other month of the year combined. It’s safe to say – shipping concerns are a big part of the holiday season.

And when it comes to making sure those who matter the most get their gifts on time, you need the peace of mind to know that those items will get there. Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about the holiday season, courier services and how you can leverage both to make your holiday season run a little more smoothly this year. Let’s jump right in.

Send out your gifts early

Make sure you get on your holiday shopping early – particularly if you’re looking to get gifts shipped. Even though we can accommodate some later dates – workload is often high and anything out past December 20th is going to be a push to arrive on time – no matter if you’re dealing with us, the USPS or anyone simply due to the sheer volume of jobs. Get your shopping done early and plan ahead.

Make a list of what you’re planning on sending

Plan ahead and try to figure out what you know you’ll need to ship. Once you’ve done that, prioritize purchasing those items first and make sure you’ve got a plan to get them to where they need to go. That will also make arranging collection of the packages that much easier as well, will assist you in finding a courier who would be best fit to ship that package and of course – the always reassuring calm feeling of knowing that your package will get to where it needs to go worry-free.

Look for deals

Courier services like ours are always running shipping deals during the holiday season, so keep your eyes peeled for what’s out there. For some, the holiday season can be a real budget buster, so if companies like ours offer a deal that can take the edge off, you should absolutely take advantage of it.

Yeah, you might want to consider insurance

Particularly if your gift is valuable – you’ll want to make sure you purchase insurance. We’re not perfect. The USPS isn’t perfect. Santa isn’t either. And with all of the traffic that all three are bound to get, it’s best to give yourself the little added reassurance that if the worst does go wrong, you’re covered. During other times of the year, you can absolutely get away with ignoring insurance options – but not during December.

All the little things

As is the case with anything in life, be sure you remember all the little things. Know your shipping deadlines in advance. Don’t cheap on packing materials and make sure your gift is secure and packed for safety. Pay attention to the box. Don’t send it in something that’s falling apart. It might all seem rudimentary, but all these things add up and increase your chances of a very worry-free holiday shipping season.

We hope these tips help as you look to send your gifts off this holiday season. Enjoy your loved ones and the time off! You earned it! And if you’re looking to get your gifts to where they need to go – give us a call! Happy holidays!

Courier services vs. the Postal Service – what’s the difference?

If there’s a question that we get perhaps more than any other one – it’s ‘what’s the difference between you guys and the postal service?’ And hey – it’s a good question. To Joe Everybody, they look at our services and theirs and for them it’s hard to see the difference.

But there are differences and they’re important to point out and that’s what we’re here to do today. Here are the key differences between the postal service and courier services. Let’s jump right in!

Service quality

While the postal service is – on the whole – a more affordable option in terms of shipping rates, you run the risk of running into the old ‘getting what you pay for’ trap. That means longer delivery times, poor tracking and mostly poor customer service. To boot – some countries have more reliable services than others.

With courier services, you might pay a little bit more – but they provide you with a lot of value for your money. You’ll have the ability to track your packages more accurately, ensure that information is kept confidential and that your parcel or package will get to its destination faster than it normally would via USPS. Especially if you’re rushing a package, this is indispensable.

International shipping

With the US postal service – if you want to send a package to say – Germany, this is how it works. The USPS will handle the package until it gets to customs in Germany. Once it goes through customs, then the new country’s postal service takes things from there.

Not only are there inconsistencies from national postal service to national postal service; but it’s also incredibly difficult to get assistance. Tracking isn’t consistent across services and it can be challenging to find out where your package ended up if something gets lost. Duties and taxes also factor into the equation.

With courier services, we’ll handle delivery from end to end. There’s no hand-offs, no go-betweens and things like duties and taxes are paid up front to ensure a quick delivery.

Specific needs

The US postal service is basically a national service. They serve everyone, deliver everything – and do so at an affordable rate.

Courier services on the other hand – are private firms that ship parcels and important documents- many of whom specialize in specific kinds of shipping. They also emphasize speed, control, transparency and time sensitive services. Yes- on the whole, you’ll pay more than you would at the post office – but you get a much wider breadth of services and especially in the case of specific industries – get a certain level of required dependability you wouldn’t get with the postal service.

 

If you’re thinking of using a courier service for your business, give us a call today and we’re happy to give you a free consultation. Until then, good luck!

Qualities every courier service should have

Using a courier service is something entirely new to most of our customers. As such, we’re assuming that’s why you’re here today, too – to learn more about what you should be looking for and what to expect when you decide to hire a courier service.

After all – as a business owner you know that not getting what you expected can mean more than a minor annoyance – sometimes it can cost you a significant amount of money. In addition – knowing that your goods are safe, secure and show up where they’re supposed to show up and when they’re supposed to be there – says a lot about your business. Dependability trumps almost anything.

In this week’s blog, we’re going to get into just that – the kinds of qualities you should be looking for in a courier service. Let’s jump right in!

Dependability
Without a doubt, any courier service you hire needs to be dependable. If you can’t depend on someone to get the job done, then nothing else really matters, does it? Make sure you read up on Google reviews and ask their clients what they think about the prospective company’s service. Knowing who you’re teaming up with is important and we’re willing to bet that if it came down to the best possible rate vs. the company that has the best track record, that you’d probably choose the later. Make sure your courier is dependable.

Flexible
One of the primary benefits of a courier service is the transparency and flexibility that the USPS or UPS won’t give you. You have precision package tracking, the ability to reroute packages and a whole mess of other freedoms that allows you to get your packages to where they need to be 100% of the time. Always ask courier services about what kind of oversight tools they have and what your parameters are for delivery.

Convenience
Chances are if you’re a business owner looking at a courier service, that things like convenience are always top of mind. In any situation, you should always be pursuing relationships with companies that are trying to make your job easier. From scheduling to tracking – to on call couriers – always be on the lookout for those companies that appear to be the most helpful. Courier companies also allow a number of expanded services that can be used to transport a variety of specialized items. Don’t be afraid to use them!

Efficiency
Especially when it comes to courier services, the only thing as important as dependability is efficiency. Ask companies about their delivery systems, how they manage things like traffic and the like. Courier services – in addition to being dependable – are also supposed to be faster, so make sure they can deliver.

If you’ve spent hours searching for the right courier service and aren’t sure how to differentiate one from the other – then hopefully these tips will help. If you need advice on what to do or have questions on what services we can provide your company, then give us a call today! Good luck!

Choosing a medical courier

When people need medicine, they need it fast. As anyone who’s spent time in the medical field will tell you though – that doesn’t always happen! If you’re at a hospital, pharmacy or doctor’s office – logistics doesn’t always move as smoothly as you’d like them to.

When medicine is getting transported from one place to another, you need to know that the courier you’re sending is professional and that the things being transported will arrive at their destination safely and on time. Choosing the right courier is essential and that’s what we’re here to discuss today.

Here are some things you should look for in the event that you should elect to use a courier to deliver your medical goods. Let’s jump right in.

Experience counts

Make sure that whomever you choose has experience in the field. While credentials are important – how many times a client gets used and the frequency with which they’re chosen will tell you everything you need to know about whether they’re equipped to do a good job.

Certifications and training

While we put credentials in the proverbial back seat in our previous point a little bit – they are still important and it’s vital that you ask your potential provider what kinds of certifications and training their drivers possess. This is important as they’ll be handling incredibly sensitive and sometimes confidential information. Make sure this is in place before signing on the dotted line.

Things can’t wait

When patients are sick, waiting a few days isn’t an option. Make sure your courier provides same-day, night and weekend delivery options. That way you can rest assured that things will get to where they need to get to as quickly and as safely as possible.

How transparent are they?

Does the courier have the ability for you or your customers to track deliveries or add instructions mid-route? There are so many forms of technology that can make such a significant difference in the customer experience that there’s no reason you should settle for less.

Affordable Courier knows that medical deliveries need to be done with certain standards in mind. Hopefully, these tips will help make it a little easier for you to choose a medical courier service that you can trust. If you’re still searching and are in the Tampa area, give us a call and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Good luck!

Four reasons small retailers should use same-day delivery services

Being able to provide same-day delivery services to clients can help small, local retailers gain a significant advantage over their competition. Today, we’re going to discuss some of the ways that same-day delivery services can make a difference in your business and why you should consider taking the plunge.

Let’s jump right in!

More convenient for customers

Same day delivery makes things easier on your customers. In an economy where everything is about speed and convenience, being able to get their hands on something that same day can make a big difference between whether they choose to do business with one company or the other.

Shipping is actually cheaper

When you use a local courier service it’s significantly less expensive than hiring shipping companies from out of state. It’s also a small fee that can be passed along to customers for the sake of convenience. For local retailers – it’s an incredible service.

Keeping you competitive

Customers will choose to do business with someone else if it’s more convenient to do so. A big part of the reason Amazon exploded is because people don’t have to deal with the enormous crowds at shopping malls and centers. While asking you to be Amazon might be asking a little too much, the simple act of being able to get your goods from one place to the other quickly will give you competitive advantage over your peer competition locally.

Building trust and loyalty

Success in business comes down to two fundamental things. Your customers grow to trust you – and when they trust you, they almost always stay loyal. When customers are happy with your ability to get them what they want, when they want – and do so reliably and dependably – and doing so in a way that your competition can’t – that’s going to build a loyal following. That’ll bring more business your way and of course that’s good for the bottom line.

Hopefully these tips convince you of how valuable same-day delivery can be you’re your business. When you need the convenience of same day delivery in the Tampa area, give Affordable Courier a call and we’ll give you a free consultation. Good luck!

Emerging trends in the courier industry

Like any industry, the courier industry has experienced a significant technological shift in the past 10 years or so. Technology has become the key to keeping pace in a world where speed means everything.

Today, we’re going to talk about some of the changes we’re seeing and some of the latest and greatest trends in our industry. This is important, because it’ll give you keen insight into what services you can take advantage of today and what’s going to be coming tomorrow.

Here are some trends that you should know about that will not only impact our industry – but could potentially have a significant impact on you. Let’s jump right in!

Same Day Courier Services

Most every courier service offers some sort of same-day courier delivery service. What used to be a luxury to most businesses, most retailers have become aware of the benefits that offering a seamless, unlimited shopping experience can bring to its customers. Couriers have adapted to this and in many ways – are teaming up with retailers to help meet the demand.

Drone deliveries

Yep, you read that right. Drone deliveries are something else and have become more or less the talk of the town of late. People’s fascination with drones from our industry’s perspective is mainly centered on delivering small items to multiple locations while avoiding traffic and workforce expenses. Not only that, but it provides a faster, more efficient way to get these small items from one place to another. While this hasn’t been fully instituted yet, it’s being worked on and you should expect to see it sooner rather than later.

Business intelligence

One of the more interesting developments in our industry has been our ability to leverage business intelligence. What we mean by ‘business intelligence’ is how we’ve been able to use data and technology to enhance services. You can track your packages in real time, have them re-routed, track all of your shipping records online and even measure your shipping efficiency using basic, out of the box online portals that some courier services use. You’ve never been able to supervise your delivery in this way and manner and you’ve never had this kind of control.

All of these trends have transformed the courier business by making it a more flexible, customer-friendly service. IN the process, it’s saving it’s customers a lot of money and making it more ROI focused. If you’re interested in how courier services can make a difference in your business, give us a call today!

What makes a courier service ‘best for business’

Every business owner knows that their lifeline to success largely depends on the quality of their reputation. Everything they do in a given day makes an impression on either a customer or a potential customer.

Two of the most important impressions a business can make is that they’re on-time and dependable; that things are going to be there or completed on time, just the way they were supposed to be completed. One of the ways a business shows that is in how they deliver goods and items to their customers and vendors.

Here are some of the reasons a courier service makes the most sense for a business or organization looking to give customers the best possible impression. Let’s jump right in.

A focus on customer service – If your package isn’t on time and delivered quickly and in a way that offers service exactly the way it was intended to be delivered, then we’ve failed. Our business thrives on making sure you look good.

Reliability – Couriers can deliver your packages any time, anywhere safely and on time. Their drivers are dependable, well trained and give you a generous degree of control and transparency when it comes to delivering something from point A to point B.

Transparency – Barrel rolling off our last point; success in business is usually dependent on the transfer of information and communication from one place to the next in all facets of the company. That should include your delivery services. Courier companies have technology platforms that do everything – from allowing you to track packages, reroute them and stay with your delivery at every stage of the process.

Fair value – Courier services offer you a fair service at a fair price. Most even have quotes and estimate forms so you know how things will be priced before you get to the counter. That means no guesswork or surprises as to how expensive something will be.

Ease of use – Couriers are as easy to use as any business you’ll encounter. They’ll provide online ordering and in many cases, can offer these services via your mobile device. This makes every delivery simple and seamless.

If you’re interested in employing a courier service in the Tampa area for either consumer or business deliveries, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to provide a free quote.

Finding a reliable overnight courier service

Today’s culture is very much rooted in the ‘here and now’. People know what they want and they want it immediately. When it comes to shipping their belongings or goods, the same thing holds true. Whether you’re a business looking to provide immaculate service for a client or an individual who just wants to get their iPad a day early – overnight shipping is important and now becoming a staple of doing business.

That being said – choosing who, precisely – will be delivering your package can be a challenge. That’s what we’re here to help explain today. Here is what you should be considering when you’re deciding on which overnight courier service to use. Let’s jump right in!

Capabilities

In general, courier services offer a premium service relative to your standard-issue national mail service. They have capabilities to track parcels, deliver them faster and have vehicles specifically designed to handle special and unique deliveries.

That being said – if they don’t have what you need, they won’t be of much value to you. You need to make sure you do your homework and find the right service for you. Certain couriers do certain things far better than their peers and part of choosing who to go with will entail learning who does what and what fits your specific needs. Courier services are NOT one size fits all.

Insurance

Seems a little silly – but the chances are that if you’re using us – you really care a lot about whatever it is you’re getting delivered. What would happen if it got lost? What if it got damaged? What then

Good, reliable courier services should be insured to the teeth. If they don’t offer insurance or don’t offer a whole suite of protection assurances – then it’s time to go with someone else.

Tracking

Part of delivering great service is a willingness to share in information and provide transparency. At the end of the day – that’s what tracking packages does for you. Especially when it’s something of extreme value, you need to know that you can check in on something when you need to. Any reputable courier service can and should offer this.

Making sure that you’re getting the efficiency you’re paying for should be a minimum requirement for any courier.

Reviews

What people have to say matters and while we get it that online reviews can range from silly to ridiculous, there at least may be some reoccurring trends that you notice that can provide you with valuable insights as to how to work with that business. Again – not every business is for everyone, so learning through people’s bad experiences can be helpful.

While we wouldn’t advise your to base the entirety of your decision on reviews, they can certainly help bring into clearer focus the kinds of things that are important to you.

Cost

Kind of a big one, right? We know you probably know this but low cost doesn’t always mean the best value. Their low costs might be as a result of their cutting corners in certain aspects of their business – corners that profoundly impact the services they offer and the quality of service that they give to clients.

Take in all of these factors and then look for a fair price. Not a lower one.

Following this list should help you find the right courier service for you. If you are interested in using us or have questions about how Affordable Courier can help you, give us a call and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Good luck!

How nonprofits benefit from courier services

While everyone knows that businesses like grocery stores and retail are on the cutting edge of the delivery business, there is an industry that benefits from evolving methods of delivery just as much if not more – and that’s non-profits.

From relief supplies to direct mail and advocacy – a non-profit’s ability to communicate is essential to its day-to-day function. They also depend on mail more than just about anyone – as nonprofits make up 10% of mail volume with the USPS alone. Nonprofits are constantly delivering good, provisions and services to the communities they serve. United Way along works with almost 1,800 communities across the country and serves nearly 61 million people *per year.*

A pain point

When delivery isn’t running smoothly – it can be a monstrous pain point for non-profits. Not only to non-profits feel the pressure from donors and those they serve; they also face intense public scrutiny in terms of how they go about their business. With better and more reliable delivery – comes more efficient outreach to existing and potential donors and most importantly – more efficient use of precious, sometimes strained resources. For non-profit- every dollar counts.

Red Tape

Like we just mentioned – nonprofits are low on cash these days. In fact – according to recent reports, as few as 3 in 10 nonprofits have enough in their cash reserves to cover a month of expenses.

With this in mind – nonprofits usually find themselves dealing with complex deliveries that take time and cost a lot of money to deliver accurately. While eligible nonprofits enjoy reduced fees from the Post Office, not all nonprofits qualify and find themselves having to go through a multitude of time-consuming steps just to save a few bucks.

What nonprofits can do when delivery is seamless

When partnering with an affordable courier service, nonprofits can get to the communities they need to reach by focusing more on serving rather than dealing with detailed deliveries and penny-pinching. And speaking of pennies, it also means that the money saved can go to other initiatives in the organization where those resources could be better utilized. Especially when it comes to disaster and emergency relief nonprofits – they can achieve same day delivery and increase their response time when their help is needed the most.

To learn more about how Affordable Courier can help your nonprofit, give us a call today in order to set up a free consultation. We’ll help you spend less time managing delivery and more time delivering your services to the people who matter the most – your constituents. Good luck!

How courier services save you money

Every business owner knows that money is time and time is money. Also – the overhead for running a business isn’t cheap! You have to hire people, pay rent, buy office supplies – everything that happens in that business is built, bought and paid for by you! Making matters even more complicated, business and technology is moving faster than ever – meaning every second counts and falling behind could result in serious losses.

One of the ways businesses are saving money and time is by using courier services. Here are some of the ways they’re using companies like ours and the ways in which you can leverage our services to add value to your business. Let’s jump right in!

Daily routes

From bank runs to mail drop offs – couriers provide customers with daily route service. That means no wondering if your employee will get from point A to B without distraction and on time. That means no more mileage, gas and toll reimbursement. That means some big time savings!

More specifically for businesses like medical companies; those with significant daily tasks can have cost-effective, personalized routes created specifically for them – catered exactly to their needs. That means daily routes that offer no surprise additional costs to you.

Guaranteed delivery

A businessman is as good as his word and making sure things get from A to B smoothly and effectively is just one of the ways we prove that. Couriers pick up and drop off without any hassle. You can track packages to their exact locations meaning that there’s no surprises about when a package is going to get from point A to B. In some cases you can even watch the package while it’s in route. And even if things get slowed down or one stop turns into two, you’ll pay what you agreed to pay at the very beginning.

Privacy is not a premium

Nearly every courier you’ll find is HIPAA, OSHA and DOT compliant. That means you won’t have to worry about confidentiality when you send correspondence or a package. Your time-sensitive, confidential information will arrive on time, safely and most importantly – confidentially.

The convenience of a courier service can save you and your company a lot of money and help you move faster than ever before. If you have a need for shipping services, give us a call today and we’ll happily put together a plan that suits your needs.