Contract Drivers: 5 Tips to Minimize Risks for Your Business
March 29, 2022
If you want something done right, do it yourself' is decent life advice that can be applied to last mile delivery.
In-house (DIY) delivery is always best because you get to build and optimize the perfect workflow with the resources that you have. You can also monitor every step of the way and work to provide a truly 5-star customer experience.
However, an in-house fleet and full-time drivers is not always realistic, especially if you're a small or part-time delivery operation.
Hence the eternal dilemma: self-delivery vs third-party delivery.
But what if outsourcing logistics is not optimal either? 3PLs can be expensive, hard to monitor, and even harder to build a smooth delivery experience with.
In that case, you might want to consider contract drivers. This article has everything you need to know about managing contract drivers with minimum risks for your business.
Contract delivery drivers: worth it or not?
As a business owner scaling their delivery operation, you're likely to have doubts about hiring contract drivers.
- How to deal with driver shortage and no-shows?
- How to minimize inconsistent performance?
- How to speed up onboarding with a high driver turnover?
- How to make sure contract drivers are easy to track and reach?
- How to avoid miscommunication and customer disputes?
All of these questions are valid because they entail risks for your business' long-term success.
The good news is, there are things you can do today to minimize these risks and build a scalable delivery workflow. Let's review 5 tips on making contractors the drivers of your business growth.
5 tips for managing contract drivers
First things first: even if the best you can offer to drivers is a zero-hour contract, there are ways to make it work. As long as you give your contract delivery drivers the tools to help you succeed and be rewarded for it, it'll all be worth it.
Now, let's take it one tip at a time.
1. Invest in last-minute routing
The only sure-fire way to overcome driver shortage when you're working with contractors is to make sure you have good routing software.
Why? Because with good routing software you can add last-minute delivery orders to existing routes.
That way, if one of your contract drivers is absent you can easily re-optimize a preplanned route and assign the job to another driver.
Pro tip: look for routing software with advanced routing features such as Priorities. This way you can add high-priority delivery jobs at the last minute and reassign a route to another driver.
2. Dive into driver stats
Inconsistent contract driver performance is a costly issue. That's why you need a reliable delivery management system with built-in driver analytics.
Driver analytics is how you can measure each of your independent contractor's performance on any given day. Below are some of the metrics you can assess driver performance by.
- Actual working hours.
- Actual mileage.
- Start time.
- Close time.
Pro tip: use Track-POD's geofencing feature to prohibit the driver to complete a delivery job if they're not in the specified radius of the customer's home location.
3. Deploy a straightforward driver app
When you work with contract delivery drivers, onboarding can be an issue because of high turnover. If you train new contractors often, you need to make sure your workflow is very easy to understand.
One way to make it happen is by deploying an easy-to-use delivery driver app synced to your web dispatcher dashboard. Take the Track-POD delivery driver app as an example.
“Training drivers on the mobile app was seamless. Track-POD is simple enough just to visually go through a video and you know how to do it.”- Steve Del Fatti, Senior Manager, Supply Chain Solutions for Veritiv Canada
The app is available for iOS and Android alike. It picks up delivery routes as soon as they've been optimized and dispatched, which means your contract drivers can instantly see their orders for the day.
Pro tip: Track-POD driver app works online and offline, which means you get the full picture of your contractors' performance.
4. Explore live tracking
Any comprehensive delivery management system comes with real-time tracking features.
This is great both for customers - as they can track orders and see estimated time of arrival (ETA) - and managers who can check all drivers' locations on the map.
Working with contract delivery drivers, you need tools for full visibility and instant communication. Track-POD web dispatcher dashboard + mobile driver app is all you need to nail contract driver tracking and management.
Pro tip: use Track-POD's in-app live chat to get in touch with the driver at any point in their route.
5. Automate customer service
Your delivery drivers - be that in-house or contract drivers - are the ones interacting with your customers. Therefore, it's crucial that they behave professionally and always leave a good impression.
At the same time, there are many things you can automate in logistics management to build an efficient self-service workflow and leave no room for miscommunication and disputes.
Delivery notifications and live tracking are both excellent ways to minimize interactions with customers and give them the tools to check the status of their orders independently.
Pro tip: delivery during specific time slots and contactless delivery are two more examples of how to leave no room for disputes.
Working with contract delivery drivers might not be the easiest and most efficient way to build an excellent delivery experience.
However, with the right workflow and tools in place, you can minimize risks and scale deliveries to eventually build an in-house logistics operation.
If you're curious about Track-POD features for contract delivery driver management, start your 7-day free trial today and see our solutions in action.