Online stores selling different categories of goods must provide fast, low-cost and safe delivery. You can opt for transport companies or pickup points, but today’s customers need door-to-door courier services. There are several ways to organize courier services: outsourcing with the involvement of a contractor and your own service. We consider the pros and cons, the cost of each option, organizational issues and the best services with which to cooperate in 2022.
Own delivery service
Own courier service is associated with hiring additional staff and costs due to the format of work:
- daily delivery, requiring the constant presence of employees;
- delivery by day, for example, on Tuesday and Friday, in this case we are talking about part-time work;
- seasonal courier delivery, the need for which arises under the pressure of fluctuations in demand.
To start the service you need:
- determine the geography of work. If a company delivers finished products in 1-2 districts of the city, then foot couriers are enough. With a wide geography of work, it is necessary to involve specialists who have their own transport (bicycle, electric scooter, moped, car) or buy it for staff. Employees with their own transport is a cost-effective solution, but you will have to pay for fuel, parking and depreciation. However, these costs are lower when compared to buying and maintaining your own vehicles;
- create requirements for employees. An entrepreneur can hire students or older people who do not have the necessary experience. This approach allows savings, but is associated with risks. The courier is the last point of contact with the client, the lack of experience can have a negative impact on the overall impression of cooperation with the company;
- volume of orders. If a company ships 5-10 parcels per day, then one person can be hired, with large volumes, staff expansion will be required. It is important to calculate how delivery is carried out (on foot or by transport), how long it takes to process one order, what force majeure may occur, which will help determine the required number of employees.
When working with full-time staff, the business owner has the ability to directly monitor the productivity of couriers. Logistics issues are resolved with the involvement of mobile applications and navigation systems that allow you to plan routes and prevent delays in shipping orders.
When you need to create your own courier service
Own courier service is suitable for online stores and companies that are confidently “stand on their feet”. It is indispensable if an entrepreneur sells products with a limited delivery time, where urgency is important: products, flowers, gift sets. At the first stages, in order to test and save money, it is recommended to introduce courier services in the most profitable cities in terms of sales and orders. High demand will provide a quick payback, help free up funds for scaling supply in other localities. A combined format is possible: priority cities are served by their own couriers, the rest by an outsourcing company.
Own service – is it worth the game is the game worth the candle
Attracting full-time couriers is profitable only if the online store has stable sales. A large volume of orders or high-priced items offset the cost of maintaining your own service. The latter has a number of advantages:
- effective management of shipping costs with the ability to raise and lower prices depending on seasonality;
- use of delivery as a bonus: free to the door when the minimum order amount is reached, for example;
- continuous monitoring of the quality of customer service;
- different ways of paying for services: permanent employment with a fixed salary, payments for each delivered order at a set rate, rate and bonuses for productivity.
Of the minuses, it is worth highlighting the high costs of maintaining the state: wages, taxes, mobile cash registers, the provision of transport and uniforms for the season.
Outsourcing of couriers
Outsourcing service – delegation of tasks for the delivery of orders in a particular city or region to a contractor. The company does not provide 1-2 couriers, but a comprehensive service, within which delivery will be carried out systematically and to the extent that the online store needs. However, a temporary contract is also possible, for example, during periods of high demand, when the in-house service cannot cope with volumes. Courier outsourcing may include additional features:
- outsourced cash services (under a commission agreement or an agency agreement);
- transparency of all issued documents;
- delivery both during the day and at night;
- flexible reporting at the request of the customer;
- guarantee of safety of all cargoes with compensation for damage in case of force majeure;
- packaging of goods with marking;
- short-term storage of parcels and organization of warehouse processes (available in a small number of companies).
The contractor ensures the development of logistics routes, which allows the courier to reach the customer on time without delays and force majeure. Several forms of delivery are available:
- standard, performed within 1-2 days after receiving the order or on the date specified by the client;
- express, carried out within 3-4 hours after placing the order;
- international – quite expensive, suitable for companies that provide services and sell goods abroad.
The contractor can work in a certain region or throughout Russia, which depends on the presence of an extensive network of representative offices. Delivery to all regions is the best solution for an online store. Most often, entrepreneurs launch a service in megacities: in small towns and villages, it is not very relevant for customers due to the high final price.
Forms of payment are different, the contractor may charge a commission on each order , for example, 5-10%, charge the work by the hour or set a fixed rate for the shipment of one parcel. The more deliveries, the lower the price for the entrepreneur. Attracting additional services, such as service through the online cash desk of an outsourcing company or storage in a warehouse, increases the base rate.
What kind of business is courier outsourcing services suitable for?
At the first stages of entering the market, entrepreneurs face a high financial burden: they need to create a website, purchase goods, hire staff – there are not enough resources to attract full-time couriers. Own service is a risk, in the first months of operation, an online store will pay off, so it’s better to try to avoid additional costs. Outsourcing should be chosen in the following cases:
- the business is young, there is no clear understanding of commercial prospects yet;
- it is planned to launch its own service: outsourcing will help test demand and efficiency, determine the volume of orders using this delivery method;
- the company is scaling, so you need to assess the needs of customers in a new region.
Outsourcing of courier services is relevant for all types of businesses, especially for ready-made food and flower delivery services, as well as online stores selling consumer goods (clothes, shoes, household chemicals, groceries, toys, and others).
Pros and cons of outsourcing couriers
The main plus is the prevention of additional expenses, the ability to move the business to other regions while maintaining the usual quality of service for customers and staff reduction, which is important for individual entrepreneurs. Let’s highlight other advantages:
- the contracting company is engaged in communication with customers during delivery, can take care of cash services and some accounting issues;
- ensuring the delivery of parcels with any urgency and to any point in the city, both at home and at the airport or hospital;
- the availability of cargo insurance, so you don’t have to worry about the fact that the parcel will be lost, broken or stolen. If such a situation occurs, the contractor will pay compensation (you need to make sure that these obligations are fixed in the contract);
- The outsourcer not only provides couriers, but also trains them. Specialists are polite, dressed in uniform in the same style and equipped with the necessary transport;
- the possibility of fulfillment: the contracting company will take care of the storage, packaging and timely shipment;
- savings: outsourcing is cheaper than maintaining your own staff. The entrepreneur saves money, which he must use to pay wages to couriers and packers. The difference is especially noticeable during the seasonal recession: there are few orders, but the staff must be paid in the prescribed amount.
The main disadvantages include problems with control at the “last mile”: the entrepreneur learns about customer complaints from reviews and by contacting managers directly. Some clients will not express dissatisfaction, but simply stop cooperating: it is difficult to monitor poor-quality service when working with a contractor. There may be problems with document flow, incorrect picking of orders or delays of couriers, interaction with a responsible company helps to level them. The latter should operate for at least 5-10 years, provide guarantees and implement automation tools to prevent the “human factor”.
TOP-3 companies for ordering outsourcing of courier services
1. “Your Human Resource”
The agency “Your personnel resource” provides couriers for both permanent service and on a temporary basis. The quality control of each employee is carried out, as well as:
- it is possible to attract 10 or more couriers: the company will satisfy the requirements of small, medium and large businesses;
- completion of assigned tasks on time;
- a personal curator is attached to the entrepreneur to resolve any current issues;
- the outsourcer bears 100% responsibility for all specialists;
- reserve staff in case the courier could not go to work;
- the company controls the execution of all documentation;
- mandatory signing of a contract that protects the interests of the customer and allows him to save up to 30% on courier delivery, and personnel.
Available foot couriers and experts on cars. The company has extensive experience, and can provide an online store with other staff.
2. Courier service “Contact”
The company “Contact” , which has been operating since 2007, provides outsourcing services for courier delivery in Russia and the CIS countries. Not only couriers are available to clients, but also fulfillment, express delivery, terminal and cash register services and other additional features that optimize workflows. Representatives of the company exercise control over the personnel at all stages of the fulfillment of the tasks set, a flexible pricing policy has been introduced, and the service is provided on the basis of an official contract. There is a cost calculator for online stores, cargo insurance and cash on delivery.
3. FastZila Company
A large company FastZila offers services for marketplaces, online stores, restaurants and other types of businesses. Cooperation with FastZila helps to save up to 29% on courier delivery, the geography of work is over 100 cities, but the list is constantly expanding. More than 11 thousand couriers work in the state, with experience – of 10 years. Entrepreneurs can order standard services or urgent staff expansion, for example, during a season of high customer demand. The company provides:
- liability for couriers;
- allocation of personnel who deliver only for one company and are not involved in other orders;
- replacement of employees in case of force majeure;
- shipment and delivery is carried out from the customer’s warehouses;
- the client pays only for those deliveries that have been made;
- quality control of the work of couriers, taking into account the percentage of delivery.
A personal manager is assigned to each customer, employees adjust to the business processes of the company they work for.
Outsourcing of couriers and your own service have both pros and cons, however, hiring staff from a third-party company allows you to save money in the early stages of promotion. When choosing a priority direction, it is necessary to evaluate the financial potential of the business, sales volumes and profitability. If there are a lot of orders and they are stable, and the company has an established circle of customers, then you can think about your own delivery service. For a young business that is at the stage of primary development, outsourcing is preferable due to a significant reduction in the financial burden. To ensure the comfort of customers, new companies can attract not only couriers, but also carry out delivery through points of issue, dispersed both in large cities and on the periphery.
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