Whether you are a new route owner, a seasoned one, or just considering purchasing a route, you probably know by now that FedEx Ground peak season, that time from the end of October until just after the New Year, is the busiest time for FedEx drivers across the board. The goods have already been shipped from wherever they came from internationally, and they now sit in warehouses.
It’s the job of the last-mile delivery businesses, like FedEx Ground route owners, to get those goods to consumers. As lucrative as peak season can be, it can also be stressful, as we have discussed here before. But the way you can make it better is to follow these seven keys to a successful FedEx Ground peak season.
Prepare Your Team
Whether your drivers are experienced or new, now is the time to prepare them for the coming season. In part as a route owner, if you have secondary drivers or primary drivers, ensure they have all the uniforms they need, including long-sleeve and jacket options.
Also, ensure they are outfitted with gloves, boots, and all the safety equipment they need. Because peak occurs during seasons of inclement weather, this is more important than at any other time of year.
Prepare your Equipment
We often talk on the blog about maintaining your vehicles, but when it comes to peak season, there are three very important factors: tires, lighting, and heating systems.
The first is tires. No matter what part of the country your route is in, you need to be prepared for inclement weather, from snow to excess rain and cold. Tires change with temperature, so get them checked out. Encourage drivers to check tire pressures often and conduct inspections yourself at least once a week.
The second is lighting. You will be operating your vehicles more after dark during peak than at any other time of year. Not only does this time include the shortest day of the year, but you also work longer hours. Not only are working lights a DOT requirement in most states, but ensuring they are in good working order is an important safety factor.
Lastly, while your heater may not have been used most of the summer and even into fall, temperatures will fall, and you will want your drivers to stay healthy and warm. Ensure that your coolant system is operating properly, that your heater core is in good shape, and that all fans and switches are operational.
This system includes your defroster, another important safety component in the winter months.
Your health is of vital importance all the time, but peak season is no time to be sick. Stock up on vitamins and work to improve your immune system. Take reasonable precautions when in crowded areas, and get your flu shot every year. Wash and sanitize your hands often.
It’s also a good idea to meal plan for the peak season. Prep meals ahead of time, bring healthy lunches and don’t be tempted to eat out on the run. That can lead to unhealthy snacks, and you can run out of both energy and endurance when you need it most. Don’t just rely on caffeine and energy drinks, but plan for better nutrition. Your body, your customers, and your family will thank you for it.
Hire Temporary Staff for FedEx Ground Peak Season
There are two types of temporary staff you can hire for FedEx Ground peak season: runners, and drivers. Drivers need to be hired as much in advance as possible. They will need to pass the FedEx background check and the driving course to operate your vehicles.
Runners simply run packages to the door for your drivers. They must pass the background check, but they do not need to pass the driving test. Ask around your station, because loaders often want extra hours as runners during the holiday, so that can be a great source of pre-qualified labor.
Either way, be sure to hire early. Other route owners will be looking for help, too, and that can lower the number of available applicants who are already qualified. When peak ramps up, you’ll be happy you already have the help on board.
Stock Up on Supplies
Foul weather supplies like bags used to protect packages can be in short supply during peak season. Order early, and be sure to get enough to cover not only peak but the rest of the winter months as well.
Be sure you have lots of water on hand for you and your drivers, winter chains if you need them, and other protective equipment. You don’t want to run out in the middle of peak.
Prepare Your Finances
To make more during peak, you will spend more, and if an emergency happens with one of your vehicles or something else, fixing it can take an immediate priority. You’ll need to have cash on hand to handle those things, extra payroll, and extra fuel costs.
In the long run, you’ll get that money back, but you need to have it on hand, or a credit plan in place to ensure you can operate efficiently during The FedEx Ground peak season.
Include Rest in Your FedEx Ground Peak Season Planning
In order to take care of yourself, you need to schedule rest during peak season. If that means taking Sunday off or going to be early a few days a week, be sure to do it. When you are tired, you tend to make more mistakes, and those can be especially costly during peak season.
Be sure that your family and others respect your resting time. Things are going to be hectic, and you will need it.
Whether you are a new driver or route owner or just looking at purchasing a route, peak season is a key time of year to understand. If you take these seven keys to heart, you will have a better, more productive, and healthier season. And when you are ready to buy or sell your FedEx Ground route, contact us here at Route advisors. We’ll be with you through every step of the process from start to finish.