Interview questions for a courier company

So sounds like you’re open to the idea of hiring a courier for your next delivery. That’s great – we’re sure you’ll enjoy the experience. But where do you start? What do you ask? How do you tell if one courier company is better than another?

Today, we’re going to talk about some of the things you should ask your courier service provider when you’re ‘interviewing’ them. This way, your decision will come into a little bit clearer focus as you go through the process. While we all generally do the same thing, we don’t all specifically offer the same services or specialties, so it’s important you know which company will fit best with you. Let’s jump right in!

What makes you better than your competitors?

A classic, but important question to ask! A company that has a reputation, a story and track record shouldn’t have any issue answering this question easily. For some companies – it’ll be the scope of services offered. For others, it’ll be guarantees, service or perhaps even pricing. Whatever answers they give, listen to your gut. 

Do you guarantee deliveries?

There are a lot of companies out there that’ll only provide you with a general window of when something will be delivered. While that’s fine for many kinds of deliveries, that’s not the case in others. Time-sensitive deliveries should all have guarantees from those services that they’ll be on time. Whether it’s sam-day or routine; a company’s word is their bond and you’ll want to make sure you select a company that stands behind theirs. 

What’s the size of your fleet?

To most, this is the kind of question that falls into the ‘who cares’ category, but it shouldn’t. Long story, short – the larger the fleet – the higher the odds your goods will get to where they need to get to when they need to get there. If the truck that was supposed to deliver your medical supplies breaks down out of nowhere – can your package be scooped up into another truck? How can companies be on time if they only have a small margin for error (only a few delivery trucks out there)? Companies can tell you a lot of things, but the size of their fleet can tell you a lot of things about the company. 

What kinds of technology do you use?

One of the primary advantages of using courier services is the degree of control you’re awarded through technology. Quite literally, you can have your package at your fingertips at all times. And to be sure – technology isn’t about what a company offers so much as what it says about the company – which is that they care enough about your experience to take on expense to make their service better for you. 

How do you train your couriers?

You’d be stunned if you knew how many unqualified drivers there are in our world. Imagine leaving medical supplies in the hands of someone not trained in HIPPA, who doesn’t know what they’re handling or how to handle it? You wouldn’t feel good about that, would you? Not everything is as simple as tossing a package in the back of a truck and driving it somewhere. It’s a responsibility and an obligation and in certain scenarios, timeliness, punctuality and professionalism can mean a lot more than whether you’re happy your package go there on time or not. 

Second, just like we said above; not only will it paint a clearer picture of what companies do well, but it will also give you a window into just how seriously they take customer service. Yeah, the price might be high, but in most cases, that can be a good thing. Go with the companies that care always. 

If you’re looking for a courier service in the Tampa Bay, FL area, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to give you a full run-down of what we offer and how we might be of help. Until then, we hope these tips help and good luck in your search!

Common package delivery issues

Just like any business, you’re more than likely to experience some sort of issue when it comes to the delivery of your packages at some point in your life. While some of those companies with big, national names bring with them a sense of comfort and familiarity, not all of them always live up to the billing. 

Today, we’re going to talk about some of the most common issues we hear about from our customer when it comes to some of their experiences with larger providers, and some of the ways courier services like ours mitigate these risks. Let’s jump right in!

Delayed order

It’s always important to plan when you order something – particularly if the parcel is important. But sometimes, life can throw you a curveball. When the unexpected occurs and time sensitive delivery deadlines aren’t met, it can cause an awful lot of trouble for you or your business. 

Courier services depend on being on time and making sure things get exactly where they need to be. In many cases, there are courier companies that specialize in certain areas like say, high-value deliveries or medical delivery. Many times, you’ll find that same-day services are available as well, which means you can get what you need almost as soon as you need it.

Damaged orders

There’s nothing worse than anxiously waiting for a package to arrive only for it to show up damaged. Not only is this damaging, but it’s a huge waste of money – not only for you, but also the vendor who sent you the package. You won’t get what you want, they’ll have to refund you and everyone’s walking away unhappy. And let’s make no mistake about it – calling the company to explain the situation, provide proof of damage and then having to wait for a replacement is an experience no one enjoys going through. 

With courier services, our drivers are accountable for their packages being delivered responsibly. Not only are they extensively trained, but you’ll also have lots of control from afar, as you’ll be able to track and monitor the progress of your package -so you’ll know exactly where it is from point A to point B. 

Inaccurate tracking

We’re big believers that you should know where your package will be and when. When it comes to bigger companies, you’re usually dealing with a ‘loosely’ accurate delivery timetable; which could mean it’ll be there ‘around’ a certain time. To put it mildly, there are many instances where that’s not good enough. 

We mentioned it above, but with courier services, you’ll get to track your package in real time. Not just a checkbox of the latest sorting center it passed through; but actual, real-time, “your package is sitting at the light at the corner or Williams and Riverdale St” tracking. It’ll help you better plan when to be available to receive your delivery and even more important, it’ll give you the peace of mind knowing where your package is at all times – especially when that delivery is valuable. 

Here at Affordable Courier, we’re happy to help you with any of your delivery needs. To learn more about our services, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Good luck!

All about expedited shipping

People ship millions of packages through the mail every day here in the United States. But not all deliveries are created equal and there’s lots of options to choose from depending on what your specific needs are. 

Today, we’re going to break down the ins and outs of expedited shipping – which is an increasingly popular service in today’s courier service world. We’ll tell you what it is, how fast it is, what it costs and how it can work to your benefit. Let’s jump right in. 

What is it?

Expedited shipping is a mail service that delivers your package to its destination faster than the standard shipment process. When your package gets picked up, it gets put on a truck that make little to no stops on the way to its destination and then of course-  your home. So when you need something quickly – expedited shipping is for you. 

How fast is it, really?

Expedited shipping doesn’t necessarily have a set speed like say – overnight or next day shipping would have; but it’s also significantly faster than standard shipping. What might take you 5 to 10 business days to get, now takes between 2 and 3. That can stretch to 4 days depending on what you ordered and from where it’s coming from. 

Is it expensive?

Expedited shipping – because it’s faster and fairly labor intensive – is more expensive than standard shipping costs. And unfortunately, we’re not talking a few bucks. Expedited shipping usually ranges from $10-$20 more than the normal cost of shipping. But again, that depends on the company you’re dealing with too. Some companies charge more than others; some charge less. But generally speaking, expect to pay in that range. Still, that cost is well worth it depending on the delivery.

What’s in it for me?

Outside of speed, you can track your package with expedited shipping. You’ll know exactly where it is every step of the delivery process. This is particularly handy when your order something on the pricier or something that’s more fragile. Knowing where your goods are can offer tremendous peace of mind. 

Is it worth it?

Again, this all depends and unfortunately there’s no outright answer. That being said – there are times where it might just be necessary. We recommend using expedited shipping when you’re getting things like perishable food, fragile items, expensive items, or have ordered something you need to get on a time limit – as the best times to use expedited shipping. 

Expedited shipping is a great service to use if you’re in between not wanting to pay full boat for overnight shipping and not wanting to wait forever for an important package to arrive. It’s not cheap, but it’s well worth it in certain situations. If you’re looking for a reputable company to help handle your important deliveries, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help. Good luck!

Four hidden ways you can save on shipping costs

When you’re growing a business, it’s important to understand how to manage your resources responsibly. No one wants to waste money on things that don’t offer a return – or overpay for things that do. If you’re looking to save a buck or two, hiring a courier service is a great way to go. Not only can you save money – but hiring a courier service comes with a lot of other perks as well like saving time, more control over your delivery and the like. 

That being said, there’s ways to dig a little deeper and get even a little bit more bang for your buck. Today, we’re going to discuss some of the under-the-radar ways that you can save even more money the next time you hire a courier service like ours. Let’s jump right in!

Save those packing peanuts!

We’re always tossing packing materials these days and truth be told, if you do have a way to store them; you probably should. Especially if you’re in the business of transporting and delivering fragile items, there’s zero reason for you to have to go out to the store and purchase more packing items. Reduce, reuse and recycle those materials and stretch your money just a little bit more. 

Go with pros

While there’s certainly some truth to ‘you get what you pay for’ – people would be surprised that going higher end can actually save them some money – particularly with courier services. Companies that have been around a long time have been around for a reason – and it’s not just that they are dependable. In many cases, it’s that they are flexible and are good at working with their customers and meeting them where they’re at. Maybe a few jobs will be at a premium price, but maybe some others won’t be. 

Additionally, these sorts of companies have been around the block and know lots of tricks to saving money here and there and are only too willing to work with you to do that. Choose real pros, and go with experience. It almost always pays off. 

Learn lots about backhauls

Backhauls are return trips that drivers have to take back from the initial load they were hired to transport. There are TONS of deals that can be had here. Backhaul trips usually cost companies more and if they can add in a run (your delivery) to make it more worth their time – they’re almost always willing to work with you to help you save some money and help them maximize a vehicle having to be off the grid for longer than desired. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Less is more

People frequently pack too many things in separate boxes. This leads to a massive overspend in some situations. Yes, some things DO need to be in their own packaging, but most things don’t. If you have an order for multiple items going to the same place – consolidate. Just by virtue of being one less package, you’re bound to save a pretty penny once these cost savings get added up over time. If you can pack it tight, do it. 

Stop wasting money on unnecessary shipping costs! Hopefully these tips will help you do just that. If you’re in need of a courier service in the Tampa Bay area, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Good luck!

Who uses courier services?

For many years, businesses tried to keep product distribution in-house and courier services weren’t considered to be a necessary ingredient to improving their business. Eventually, established businesses began to use courier services as a way to both lower the burden on internal staff and save a boatload of money and stress as well. 

Especially with tight deadlines compelling companies to outsource their shipping for more frequently, courier services have evolved into a foundational element of many different kinds of businesses in today’s go-go economy. But what are those that are the most common? How could they help your business? Those are the questions that we’re going to help answer today. 

Here are some of the most common businesses that courier services work with and why they’re so valuable to them. Let’s jump right in. 

Healthcare

This one is probably the biggest no-brainer on the list. If there is any industry where urgency and accuracy is the most important – it’s the healthcare industry. Being one of the most critical services in the world, they can’t afford for things to go wrong. Things like non-availability of medicines, late delivery of machines and kits simply can’t happen. So to avoid the hassle and worry – these companies frequently outsource delivery to couriers- many of whom are specially trained to handle healthcare-related deliveries. 

Manufacturing companies

In the manufacturing world it’s always about doing things faster, more precisely and doing both as cheaply as possible. Many manufacturers have learned to channel their limited resources into the production chain rather than worrying about the logistics of getting what they’re making from point-A to point-B. Without the hassle of deliveries – they’re able to focus entirely on what they do best and what’s most important for them to drive a profit. 

E-commerce

E-Commerce businesses have benefited immensely from hiring courier services. Without having to worry about stocking their warehouses, maintaining records of their products and tracking supply all falls to dedicated couriers and a more efficient staff. 

Taking your business to the next level means understanding that you can’t control and do everything on your own. You need help from a wide range of people and services to reach your goals. If you have important deliveries that need to be made quickly, consider adding a courier service to your quiver and focus on what you do best. Good luck!

Emerging trends in the courier service industry

Every industry has all sorts of crazy things happening these days – from technological advances to the total re-thinking of entire services that they currently offer. And truth be told, our industry is no different. 

Today, we’re going to talk about a few of the trends and tech that are emerging in the courier service world and how you’ll be able to take advantage of them in the not-too-distant future! Let’s jump right in!

Sustainable logistics systems

Sustainable fleets are becoming a real thing in today’s world. Everyone’s thinking about how they can reduce their impact on the environment and of course, we’re no different. Sustainable logistics consumes less energy and saves us a lot of money in terms of the cost to operate our fleet. We’re seeing an overall increase in the use of electric vehicles, bikes and scooters for individual parcels. 

Real-time visibility

Many courier companies now offer their customers the ability to keep an eye on their packages in real-time. Using GPS, customers can see precisely where their package is at and when – almost to the minute – their package will be delivered. Especially when it comes to high-priority deliveries, this gives customers a great deal of peace of mind. 

Last-mile transparency

The last mile is obviously the final step in the delivery process. Whenever you talk to a distributor or retailer – they’re usually the most nervous about the last mile of the trip – making sure the package gets to the correct person, the correct address and the like. Now courier companies are helping them solve those concerns by providing logistics, cross docking and other, efficient management software that ensures that there aren’t mistakes in the delivery process. 

Drone delivery

Drone delivery is nuts. We usually don’t get that casual around here, but it’s some pretty wild technology. Courier companies used to struggle to deliver goods to remote locations and city outskirts, meaning that their customer base would miss out on potential sales by not being able to deliver goods to those customers. Now with drones, all that is becoming possible and companies like Amazon are already testing models. Be on the look out for a drone delivery near you!

Delivery on-demand

In today’s ‘give me what I want now’ world – courier services are expanding past same-day delivery and are now moving to full-on hot shot, on-demand edelivery. This way, customers can be served almost instantly and things can get to where they need to go as quickly as possible. 

Courier companies are rapidly changing to meet the increasing demands of the global economy. Look for many of the things we discussed today to dominate the retail delivery industry in the years.

Why choosing the right courier service is so important

We all work under pressure, especially in such unique times such as these. What was that line from the movie Any Given Sunday? “Life’s a game of inches. An inch over here or over there, you don’t quite make it.” And in our business – and perhaps even yours – those inches are all around you. And they count. 

A delay or a missed delivery can cause lasting consequences for your company. We work under that pressure every day and today, that’s what we’re going to discuss. When you’re on a deadline for that make or break project or even someone’s life is on the line – are you prepared? Do you trust your courier service to deliver? Because not doing your homework can have consequences. We’re not usually this dark, but depending on your business, this is a significant decision and a lot is at stake. 

Here are some of the consequences of not doing your homework and ending up with an unreliable courier service. 

Healthcare

Pharmacies provide essential medications – both in emergency situations and long-term care situations. They supply hospitals as well as individual patients. Pharmacies can’t afford delays when someone’s health is on the line. If the courier service is late – or even wrong – it becomes impossible for the doctors to do their job. At best, that’s an inconvenience – at worst, possibly life-threatening. 

Laboratories

Whether it’s blood work for a patient or soil tests for an ecosystem, lab samples remain accurate for only a short period of time. They need to be rushed to the lab before the sample quality deteriorates. Delays because of poor courier service can degrade samples, produce inaccurate lab results – the consequences of which could be far-reaching; whether that’s exposing a community to toxins, illnesses or something worse. 

Business

Not everyone lives in a world where courier services can save lives, but they sure can help you save business. Say you’ve spent hours on a bid for a project that could sustain your business for months – even years. Bids have cut-off times and dates. If you don’t get it there before the deadline, you’re out of luck and all that work means nothing. Why put something like that at risk – perhaps even the survival of your company – with a courier service that doesn’t get results?

At the end of the day – companies like ours have multi-check systems that guarantee on-time delivery with accuracy. We’re trusted by businesses of all shapes and sizes. Be sure that before you choose someone, you’re doing your homework – because not doing so as you can see above – can be indescribably costly. Be safe and choose wisely. Good luck!

How courier services can save the day

Same-day courier services are used for a variety of must-have parcel transportation needs. When you need something quickly, the transaction can be completed on time or a drop off can be made before a deadline. 

Some people like using this service simply because of its overall convenience, but in many situations, same-day courier services can literally save your bacon and bail you out of an immense jam. Here are just some of the ways same-day courier service can save the day.

Buying a house or property

It’s hard to imagine anything that quite resembles the quick start/hard-stop nature of real estate transactions. One minute you’re rushing to get signatures to paper and enter into contracts and the next minute, you’re waiting days and weeks for someone to put a stamp on one, single, solitary sheet of paper. 

That being said – the times when you’re on the go can be some of the most stressful. There might be a time when you need to sign a document and get it to a bank within hours. You might be at work, the dentist or a doctor and you don’t have the time to do it yourself. Perhaps you’re the attorney or real estate agent and you need a signature now, but you’re in court or have other matters to attend to.

Couriers can make sure these important documents get to where they need to be at the time they need to be there; and at least make an already stressful process a little less so. 

Legal documents

People need documents signed and notarized all the time. Could be divorce papers, terms of an employment contract or maybe something as straight-forward as setting up a partnership for a business. Especially if they’re time-sensitive documents, you can’t afford to have any delays. 

Couriers can meet you where you’re at in a given day and make sure that those documents are delivered on time and safely so that you can spend your precious time attending to other things without the worry of having to rush documents across town yourself. 

Registration and membership forms

Maybe you’ve moved to a new city. Maybe you’re working on a tight deadline to get your and your family hooked into a normal life. You;’re rushing parking permits, registering kids for school. You’re probably at a new job and don’t have the time off to be doing all the things that need to happen in order for you to transition into your new life as smoothly as possible. Couriers can help you more easily manage your busy life and get things to where they need to go. You can’t be everywhere, after all!

Courier services can’t solve all of your problems – but we can sure take the edge off. If you’re finding yourself in a pinch or in a place where you need something to get somewhere fast, give us a call and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Good luck!

How to always know where your package is

Without a doubt – the biggest fear businesses face when shipping a package is that it’ll get lost. It’s one thing when it’s odds and ends and supplies – but when what’s being delivered is crucial to your businesses’ success – that in-between time between drop off and delivery can be stressful.

Fortunately – when you use a courier service, there are several services and benefits that will help give you some peace of mind. Here are some of those features and benefits and how they can help your business. Let’s jump right in!

Package tracking

Similar to the post office, we do offer standard-issue package tracking. You can see when a package gets to and from a certain drop off point and when it’s in transit. From the moment you place your order – we’ll assign a tracking number that gives you all the information you’ll need on the package and any special notes included (who signed for it, whether it was left at a front desk, etc).

Client notification

In addition to keeping you up to speed on where your package is, did you know couriers also give the recipients the heads up that it’s coming? When you drop off your package, we email the client, letting them know a package is en route. Particularly in the case of time-sensitive deliveries, we will stay in constant contact with the recipient until the package is in their hands. Once it is, you’ll both receive a proof of delivery via email.

Delivery driver tracker

Where courier services really differ from the post office – is that we allow you to track our driver. Yes – you’ll know where they are on the road, and have every detail of where they are in the process of delivering your package. Whether it’s cross-town or across state lines – you’ll be able to track them using your smart phone. Need something to get from Tampa Bay to Atlanta? You can pull up an app and see where they are on the highway.

At the end of the day – getting your goods to where they need to go is any courier’s first priority. If you’re looking to have more control over your deliveries give us a call and we’ll work you through our process. Good luck!

How to ship fragile packages

Not everything we ship in the mail is as easy as flopping something in an envelope or box and dropping it off or having it picked up. In fact, much of what we ship is fragile and breakable; and in many cases is quite valuable.

Fortunately, we have the good, old ‘fragile’ tag to warn delivery drivers that the contents of a particular package are delicate, right? Well, yes – and truth be told most delivery drivers will take utmost care in handling packages. Sometimes though – mistakes are made and simply trusting that your package will be handled correctly isn’t enough.

Here are some things that you can do to pack your fragile packages better – and as a result – further ensure that they’ll get to where they need to get to safe and sound. Let’s jump right in.

Do your research 

If you have a fragile package, be careful about who you choose to ship your package. The advantage a courier service will give you over traditional postal services is that you can track your package down to the minute; so particularly if your goods are fragile, you might benefit from the peace of mind of knowing you’ll be in the know.

Also – some courier companies specialize in hard-to-deliver, challenging or enhanced goods. While they may cost a little bit more (depending on what you’re shipping) – sometimes the extra few bucks for the extra piece of mind can go a long way.

Packaging

There’s the old saying ‘you can control what you can control’ and you can control how well your package is packed. Choose quality shipping materials to make sure that your package is delivered safely. If you’re re-using a box, make sure it’s clean and strong. Don’t use boxes that are flimsy or weak. Take advantage of things like packaging peanuts, bubble wrap and packing paper. And of course – packing tape is a must. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t use the right adhesive when shipping a package. And of course – label which side is ‘up’ on your package.

If you have a fragile package and you’re looking to get it shipped, then give us a call today and we’ll walk you through the process. Hopefully following this advice will ensure happier, healthier and safer deliveries! Good luck!