Not All Delivery Services Are Created
Equal…How Do You Choose A Delivery Company You Can Truly Count On?

Do you know what the difference is between UPS, Federal Express, the Post Office, and local courier services? If you answered no, not really, you’re not alone.

When most people think of package or parcel delivery, the first thing comes to mind is the large national and international carriers like Fed Ex, UPS and even the Post Office … these are the companies that spend millions, even billions on advertising every year. But what is the difference between those companies and a local delivery or courier services?

 

delivery truck with question marks

The differences between a local courier service and a national service, although they may seem subtle, are huge for a small business owner!


What are the different types of delivery services available for your company?

There are many different types of delivery companies, and you’ll get the best service available if you understand the differences between them.

The large national and international parcel delivery companies like the United States Postal service, Federal Express, DHL and UPS handle general envelope and small package service. They offer next day, two day, and up to two week general delivery times.

Freight deliveries are for extra large or extra heavy deliveries … anything from large tires, to concrete building blocks, to decking lumber etc. Most freight is delivered on pallets, so when the truck pulls up you better have a pallet jack handy or you will be unloading by hand. Most freight drivers are union based and won’t hand unload.

Specialty deliveries–Flowers, medical supplies, legal deliveries and hazardous materials … you don’t want UPS delivering flowers. Use a delivery service that specializes in handling and delivering flowers, and companies that specialize in medical products, legal deliveries or other specialty items to make those types of deliveries.

Courier services generally operate within city limits (usually) and specialize in fast deliveries of any size package or parcel and are at their best if the package has to be there the same day.

Couriers are distinguished from ordinary mail services by features such as speed, security, tracking, signature, specialization and individualization of services, and committed delivery times.

 

A place where a courier service is quicker and cheaper than
large national carriers, is for local same day deliveries

 

 

Are you looking for local, same or next day service?

When considering your shipment, consider where you need your products shipped and how quickly you need that shipment to arrive. Typically, if your shipment is not time sensitive, and not being shipped locally, a courier service may not be for you and you may be better off choosing a national delivery service.

But when you are looking for a delivery company to get your product in the hands of your customers, or important paper work, legal documents or medical supplies to the end user, especially the same day, a courier service will be your best answer.

But aren’t all delivery services pretty much the same?

When it comes to on demand, and especially same day service, the answer to that is no, not really! A same day delivery service, better known as a courier services provides direct shipping from your door to the recipient’s door. A courier service may deliver a small document that needs a signature, to a pallet of critical parts. Most reputable courier services will offer a full range of delivery services, from bike delivery service in cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul, all the way up to a full 24 foot transport truck.

Why not just use one of the main national carriers
like Fed Ex, UPS or even the Post Office?

This may surprise you, but the national well-known delivery companies don’t typically offer same day service … if they do, it’s very expensive. Take Federal Express; if you have a package that needs to go from St. Paul, to say, Duluth, with Fed Express your package first goes to Memphis, then to Duluth.

Along with not being very efficient, the “chain of custody,” meaning how many people handle your package is huge. (More about that in a minute) Does it make sense to have your valuable packages actually leave the state before it arrives back at its destination?

Try calling one of the national delivery companies and have a package delivered today.  They are great if you want to get a package from Minneapolis to Florida by tomorrow or the next day…but not good at local same day deliveries. The big national delivery companies are expensive and not your best option when delivering a package from St. Paul to Minneapolis or from one business to another within the same city.

Do you use overnight couriers for local deliveries?

Many businesses do, and they mistakenly assume that they will receive a lower price than sending the same package via a same-day courier. You might be surprised to learn that same-day courier services like Edina Courier deliver to most Twin Cities areas at lower than the national companies charge for next day service.

“But I schedule my overnight deliveries at the end of the day and drop them in a drop-box,”  Here’s how you make it easy for yourself … you place your delivery orders as you normally would, either by phone or online at any time. If you place your orders at the end of the day, your local packages simply remain on your desk until your office opens the following day, and are picked up and delivered the same business day.

Compare that to the national carriers who will take your package all over the country so it can land at one of their hubs and then be redistributed to the final location. This increases the “chain of custody” for your package by 10 times, making it more likely that there could be a problem.


What is “The Chain of Custody” and why it is so critical to the success of any delivery service

The “chain of custody” is simply the number of people and organizations that will handle or touch your package or parcel from the time it leaves your hands, until its final destination. And as you can imagine, the smaller the “chain of custody” the less likely you’ll experience a problem with your delivery.


Example:  The “chain of custody” for a national delivery company like Fed Ex looks something like this:

    1. Pick-up driver—picks up your package or envelope
    2. The  handler or manager who inspects the packages at the local hub
    3. Part-time worker that unloads the truck
    4. Worker that sorts packages
    5. Worker that puts package on a bigger truck
    6. Driver who takes packages to the airport
    7. Person puts package on plane–plane then flies to Memphis
    8. Worker takes package off of plane
    9. Driver takes package to Memphis hub
    10. Worker unloads package
    11. Worker sorts packages
    12. Worker loads package onto correct truck
    13. Driver takes package to airport
    14. Worker places package on plane
    15. Worker takes package off of plane when it lands at its destination
    16. Driver takes package to local hub
    17. Worker takes package off of truck
    18. Sorter puts package in proper area
    19. Worker loads package onto Fed Ex truck
    20. Driver takes package to your door

Total chain of custody:  20 …don’t you wonder how any packages get to their destinations, intact and on time?

 

What is the “chain of custody” for a local delivery company like Edina Courier?

 

          1. Pickup driver picks up package at your company

          2. Same driver and same truck delivers package to final destination.

          3. That’s it—Done!

    Total chain of custody:  2


Which of these two scenarios do you think you’d prefer – how about if we told you that in most cases the second scenario is less expensive, especially for local same day delivery?

 

What the big national and international shippers don’t necessarily want you to know …

They don’t like 3 things

  1. Weight
  2. Size
  3. Multiple packages to one location

When any of these happens … it can get real expensive for your business!


Things to consider when choosing a Delivery Service

  • Do they have clean, well identified vehicles
  • Clean and well identified drivers
  • Do you understand all costs?
  • Are there hidden costs, like fuel surcharges, vehicle charges, unloading charges, weight charges etc?
  • The final cost can often times be 30-40% higher than the original base price you were quoted!

 

The 10 critical questions to ask
before you hire a delivery service


1. What types of services does the company specialize in?

2. How long have they been in business?

3. Are their employees bonded?

4. Does the delivery company subcontract business to independent drivers?

5. Is the company licensed to do business in the Twin Cities 7 county area?

6. Do the company’s employees wear uniforms? Do their drivers provide an image you want associated with your company?

7. Does the company have office and warehouse space, or does it run its business from a cell phone?

8.Can you place your order directly via the Internet? Does the company have state-of-the-art package tracking? Is there a signature for proof of every delivery?

9. Will you receive detailed invoices that are easy to read and understand?

10. Are the drivers dispatched via two-way data terminals?