10 Tricks and Tips for New FedEx Ground Route Owners

Are you considering joining the ranks of New FedEx Ground Route Owners? Or have you recently purchased a FedEx Ground route of your own? When you are just starting out, the process can seem a little overwhelming, and it can even seem insurmountable. But running a FedEx Ground Route is not that complicated, and there are some things you can do to make the process easier.

Other Contractors have been running these routes for years, and there are proven techniques to make your business the most efficient and successful it can be.

Here are ten tips for new FedEx Ground Route owners that you can put into practice today.

1. Start Early

Begin your day early to ensure timely deliveries. Almost every driver and contractor starts their day as early as possible. An early start leaves time for errors or unforeseen delays and can leave room for breaks and meals throughout the day in most cases.

This becomes especially important when peak season comes around, so having good habits already in place will ensure a more successful season. Consider all the things that can potentially interfere with your delivery day:

  • Weather: hot or cold, rain or shine, a change in temperature or precipitation can make a difference in how quickly you can deliver packages.
  • Traffic: from school zones to rush hour, from accidents to slowdowns, traffic can impact your route in many ways, and an early start can help mitigate the impact.
  • Customer Issues: you may have to wait for a customer, need a dock at a business delivery, or have to return to a business or residence for a pickup or another issue. This can delay your route a little or a lot, so an early start can make all the difference
  • Simple errors: forgetting a delivery to leaving something behind at a customer stop can happen to the best of drivers. Be prepared by having a time cushion in place.
  • Loading delays: sometimes trucks or packages are delayed, or personnel issues will make the morning load take longer than expected, so be prepared for this unlikely circumstance.

No matter what the reason for delays, an early start makes them easier to deal with. And if you don’t have any issues in your day, you have time for self-care or can even finish your route sooner.

Efficiency is something you will learn and continue to perfect over time.

2. Plan Routes Efficiently

There are all kinds of ways to do this, from routing software to GPS to using other maps to plan the most efficient way to deliver packages in a timely manner and at the lowest cost. Think of it this way: returning to a neighborhood or business twice costs you twice as much fuel.

It also takes more time, and as you expand your route business and pay drivers to run other routes for you, extra driver time costs more money. On top of that, backtracking can cause frustration for you and your drivers, so try to avoid it whenever possible.

3. Organize Packages for Quick Retrieval

The way you sort your packages matters as well. The closer the next package on your list is to the front of the vehicle (or the back for some large items), the less time it takes to unload it.

But more importantly, you need to be able to find each package as you need it. Sorting them in delivery order or at least by delivery neighborhood at the start of your day will make the rest of your day much easier.

Stop frequently and move packages around as needed to ensure they are close at hand and in the best order. A few moments spent organizing things can save you time and frustration later. You’ll get better at this over time, but start with best practices from the start.

4. New FedEx Ground Route Owners Should Communicate with Customers

This is especially true of business customers or customers who have deliveries that require signatures. You can spend a lot of time going back and forth or waiting when you don’t need to. Communication with customers when you are delayed or even ahead of schedule can often work to your benefit.

For example, if you have a pickup window at a business and they are ready for you early, you can save later backtracking and time by calling ahead and taking care of that task on the way to your next set of stops. Customers want to help you as well, and developing a relationship with them always pays off.

5. Practice Safe Driving Habits

Your quickest path to efficiency is safety. Nothing wastes more time than accidents, tickets, or unnecessary DOT inspections. You can avoid all those things with a few simple steps:

  • Adhere to speed limits. Time saved by speeding will never compare to the cost and time wasted by a ticket, not to mention the impact on your insurance.
  • Avoid distractions like texting and driving or using your phone at all. Not only is this illegal in many states, but it is also dangerous and a horrible public image to portray. If you must call or text, pull over and do so safely, or do so at your next stop.
  • Maintain a safe following distance. Following to close is dangerous in a large truck and can also get you into trouble from customer complaints.
  • Watch yourself backing up. Reverse accidents are the number one type of FedEx accident and most are preventable.
  • Regularly inspect your vehicle for any maintenance issues, especially lights, tires, and your brakes. Address any issues right away.

Safety is always first, and an effortless path to efficiency.

6. Prepare for Various Weather Conditions

Prepare both your vehicle and yourself. In the winter, have chains and snow gear, shovels, and more. For you, have the right jackets and boots for good traction and warmth.

In the summer, have extra water, cool clothing, and supplies for your truck in case of overheating or a breakdown. Year-round, be sure you have extra jackets, clothing, and the right footwear. Prepare your vehicle, including your air conditioning and heating systems.

Weather, good and bad, will impact you. Be prepared, and you’ll be able to navigate it smoothly.

7. Stay Organized with Delivery Paperwork

There isn’t a lot of paperwork that goes with most deliveries, but when you do have it, keep it organized. From door tags and signature cards to invoices and special instructions, keeps things in the proper order and where you can find them. Organizing paperwork helps prevent errors and delays.

8. Utilize Technology for Tracking and Communication

Take advantage of the technology provided by FedEx Ground for tracking deliveries and communicating with dispatch. Utilize handheld devices or mobile apps to update delivery statuses in real time. Use your cell phone, GPS, or other routing technology as needed.

Use this tech to keep track of weather and traffic as well. This will save you both time and effort.

9. New FedEx Ground Route Owners Manage Time Wisely

Time management is crucial for maximizing efficiency, and much of the advice in this article concerns this. Set realistic delivery time goals for each stop and prioritize tasks accordingly. Minimize idle time between deliveries and even plan restroom and meal stops to optimize productivity while still taking care of yourself.

From traffic delays to weather or that one chatty customer you can’t seem to get away from, you’ll face time challenges on a daily basis. How you handle them will make all the difference.

10. Handle Packages with Care

New FedEx Ground route owners will quickly learn to treat packages with care to prevent damage during transit. A damaged package can result in a complaint against you and you can be forced to pay for damaged items.

Don’t accept damaged packages onto your load. If the loader tries to load it anyway, refuls. If a package is damaged in transit or at the terminal, you, as a driver and owner, are not liable, but once it is on your truck, you can be.

Use proper lifting techniques to avoid injuries and ensure that packages are securely loaded and unloaded from your vehicle. Use dollies when needed, and get help if you need it.

If a package is damaged, do not deliver it. Return it to the terminal and ensure the contents are intact before you make any delivery.

Bonus: Maintain Professionalism

Present yourself professionally when interacting with customers and members of the public. Wear a clean and neat uniform, maintain a friendly and courteous demeanor, and handle customer inquiries and concerns promptly and professionally. Don’t ever lose your temper, and if you have an issue you cannot resolve, refer customers to FedEx support.

Your primary asset is you and how you react to negative situations. Be the best person you can be to avoid trouble.

Whether you are a new FedEx Ground Route owner or are just considering a route, take these tips to heart. By incorporating these tips and tricks into your daily operations, you can improve the efficiency, safety, and professionalism of your FedEx Ground route business. Consistently striving for excellence in service delivery will help you build a positive reputation and foster customer loyalty over time.

Not a route owner yet, but want to be? Contact us here at Route Advisors. We’re happy to help and will be with you every step of the way to make sure you have the best buying experience possible.

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