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Courier Role Changes

The Changing Role of Couriers


The recession has brought changes to the Courier industry, some good some bad. Recessions have always been a challenge and an opportunity to companies, depending on the attitude of the company management.


In the Courier industry, over manning by courier companies has largely not been a problem, with most companies employing their own vehicles and staff for prestige customers, and the excess workload has traditionally been covered by smaller self employed couriers. As the industry has been shrinking, this has hit the small one man courier hardest, with loss of business through their customers folding, or going through ‘pre-pack administration’ [ the company goes bankrupt on Friday, and is bought back by it’s directors on Monday free of debt], or the bigger courier companies giving less work out.


It isn’t all doom and gloom for the small courier, with so many going out of business, there must be customers out there, waiting for you to contact them. The traditional model for a small business was, to have a maximum of 25% of your turnover from any one source; I have always said that for a small business this should be 10% at the most. The advantages to this are obvious, if your biggest customer ceases to trade with you for whatever reason, you can still survive, secondly if you get a contract which is higher than your 10% maximum, you have the incentive to get out and chase more business in order to maintain your percentage ratio. Couriers tend to fail to plan, or even produce a business model, and rarely refer back to it if they do have a plan or business model. The other main downfall of the small courier is non payment of invoices.

The larger companies will delay payment as long as possible, and then start using these standard tricks to avoid payment, and give you the run around. The 1st sign of this is after you have put in an invoice, you are told the invoice address has changed. The 2nd sign is they will change the invoice codes you have to use in order for accounts to pay you, the 3rd sign is when they change the job numbers. This is apart from the standard ‘ the system has gone down’


The recession has also forced companies to look at ways of saving costs; one alternative to cutting costs has been the M1 shuttle. Another way has been to send more pallets on overnight pallet networks. The principal objections to this method, has been the need to move pallets on and off vehicles usually at least 5 times during transit, resulting in possible loss or damage, and the very low insurance cover compared to what courier firms offer.


Another way companies are cutting costs is described on our cost comparison page . We have found that once companies are made aware of the cost of running their own vehicles, against that of a courier company, as the vehicles are due for changing, companies are looking to reduce costs by using couriers. The main drawback to this is they no longer have their company name on their vehicles. RFT Express provides a solution by supplying vehicles for free or a very much reduced cost to customers wanting a vehicle in their livery ....for more information read Our van Your Name.
European companies look hard to save costs. RFT Express has seen an increase in European work fuelled by the fall in the pound against the euro. British companies tend to rely on staff lay offs to cut costs, and usually don’t look towards management for cost saving alternatives, or ways to increase market share.


The recession is a challenge or an opportunity, the choice is up to the individual person or company.


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