Delivery Options For Today’s Small Business
In today’s crazy busy world, time is always the limiting factor for customers getting more done or enjoying the day with their family. People don’t want to take the time to “pick up” anything because so much can be delivered by Amazon, Walmart, and other big retailers. 3 years ago, 2-day delivery was a luxury and today is the industry standard. And now Amazon Prime Now is beginning to push the envelope for retailers once again. Same-day delivery is quickly becoming the choice for the busy, “need it now” society that is unfolding among us.
So what does the small business retailers do? Do you use your own employees to make deliveries? Do you hire a courier company? Do you outsource like the other big retailers are doing? So let’s take a look at the pros and cons of all three options so you can make the decision.
Option 1: Use your own employees for deliveries
Some businesses use their own drivers to deliver pizza places, flower shops, etc… They do a lot of deliveries and can afford to have an on-staff driver(s). If you are doing more than 150 deliveries in a month then maybe…just maybe you should have your own driver(s).
- More control over scheduling and personnel
- Lower cost per delivery (at higher delivery volumes)
- No scaling with demand
- Expensive auto insurance
- Expensive liability coverage
- Vehicle maintenance
- Safety concerns
So what do you think so far? If you have employees sitting around doing nothing, then this may work for you. But if you’re always short on good help, like most business owners, then sending an employee to go make a delivery leaves the business short-handed. Not to mention, you worry about them getting in an accident, getting hurt, hurting someone else, or worse. Is it worth the increased scheduling control?
Option 2: Hire a courier company
If you don’t want the hassle and headache then you can hire an outside courier company to make the deliveries. Many businesses and professionals use couriers to move their products and documents.
- Less headache and liability
- Doesn’t use your own human capital
- Allows scaling with demand
- Wide range of cost for deliveries
- Time-consuming process to get quotes
- No control over personnel
Option 3: Outsource using crowd-sourced drivers
These days the on-demand crowd-sourced gig economy is where the delivery industry is going. Amazon is using Flex drivers, Walmart purchased a company to use their technology and driver pool to enhance its deliveries, and Target is getting ready to do the same. So why is this the “in thing” to do?
- Scales with demand
- Lower cost than couriers, in most cases
- Less headache and liability
- Doesn’t use your human capital
- Non-uniformed delivery
- No direct control over delivery personnel
So now that you have the full picture and an understanding of the options, we hope you have the ammo to make an informed decision. The flexibility of using crowd-sourced drivers is a great opportunity for both the business and the driver. The business gets a lower-cost, flexible delivery option, and the driver gets to use their spare time to make some money. It may even keep some cars off the streets if fewer people are picking up stuff. Combining that with using less packaging, compared to shipping, makes outsourcing the way to go.
If you are still not sure, then don’t hesitate to ask any questions in the comments below.