As a HGV or van delivery driver, it’s important to take into account the time and cost of your deliveries to ensure you are meeting your expectations. This will help you to maximise your profits and stay competitive in the home delivery industry in comparison to other delivery drivers.
In a world where up to 62% of shoppers expect their free shipping to be delivered within 3 days (RetailDive), the pressure is on for drivers to deliver parcels efficiently and successfully, with the burden often on you, the delivery driver, as well as the business selling the product.
These tips and tricks can also be used for reducing the costs of leisure driving too. Keep on reading to learn tips and tricks to help reduce the time and cost of your deliveries.
Reducing time and costs tips and tricks
Plan your routes
It’s important to plan your routes to ensure that you can make the delivery on time. By setting a suitable route, you can avoid traffic. Delivery drivers in particular can travel long distances and may not be aware of where the build-up of traffic occurs, putting more time into the journey.
The official UK road statistics lets road users know where the traffic tends to build up, which can be helpful for HGV and van delivery drivers. The busiest roads tend to build up near some of the UK’s busiest cities, with one of the busiest roads for congestion being the M1 between J1 and J8, prior to joining the M25. Knowing this information can also help you avoid these roads, saving time.
Roadwork announcements can be found online too, prior to setting off for deliveries. One.network map is useful for you to check for traffic disruptions and road works, which would knock off hours from your journey. It also tells you about future planned roadworks you might have missed.
Building on this, if you drive often, it would be a beneficial idea to encourage simple habits that help you drive more efficiently. These will also help to increase driver safety on the road. For example, this could include:
- Obeying the speed limit.
- Accelerating and slowing down gently gradually.
- Reading the road ahead.
- Turn off your engine whilst stuck in traffic.
Over a long journey, this will help you save fuel, reducing the costs of your deliveries. The reduced emissions from your lorry will also benefit the environment.
Using a GPS system helps you to find the quickest route to your destination, which can in hand help you avoid traffic, and unplanned traffic. Unplanned traffic (perhaps due to road traffic accident or emergency incident) is something you may not be able to avoid if you are manually planning your route or relying on prior knowledge, therefore, a GPS system will help mitigate this risk.
Similar to planning your route, the use of GPS will help reduce your journey time and fuel intake.
Optimise your load
If you are carrying a heavier workload, then this will make your lorry slower, costing you more fuel. It will also lead to an increased time frame on your journey, increasing costs for your business as well as vehicle wear and tear. To work around this, you could deliver lighter items, which in hand will increase vehicle efficiency.
The lighter lorry will be able to travel up hills quicker, as well as becoming more fuel efficient. A recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy Vehicle Technology Office mentions that ‘a 10 percent reduction in vehicle weight can result in a 6 to 8 percent improvement in fuel economy’. This will only reduce the time having to refill your delivery van or lorry, further increasing the speed of deliveries.
Negotiate with your suppliers
Talking to all your suppliers to help negotiate better rates and conditions for your deliveries could help to minimise day-to-day stress and improve profitability. With a well publicised driver shortage, self-employed drivers will be in a better position to negotiate.
Questions to ask the supplier could be to justify the initial price and any variables. For example, a reduced cost could be agreed upon if the journey is a lot shorter. Over a few years, this could lead to a significant reduction in costs increasing profits.
Considering the above tips when setting out on your delivery will help you reduce costs and keep your trucking profitable. Whilst it’s critical to get the fundamentals right, it’s important to look into additional services like route optimisation software and wider telematics solutions to maximise profitability and ROI.