Every year, FedEx issues guidelines for holiday shipping deadlines for FedEx Ground and other FedEx services so shippers can be assured their packages will arrive in time for Christmas eve. These are based on shipping lane speed, current package volume, and the capability of every station to handle a certain volume of packages.
Those holiday shipping deadlines, and the last minute pressures of the peak season, have an impact on FedEx Ground route owners, along with some other factors it is important to consider. As the season winds down, here are some things to keep in mind.
Holiday Shipping Deadlines for Customers
First, this year’s holiday shipping deadlines are pretty standard: December 14th for FedEx Ground, and December 20 for FedEx Express Saver. It’s important to let your shippers know these deadlines. Although FedEx makes announcements annually, it doesn’t hurt to remind your shippers of them, and to offer them services that fit their needs.
It’s also important for you to keep in mind when doing route planning, Customers tend to wait until the last minute to ship things, so the ten days between the FedEx Ground deadline and Christmas will likely be the busiest of your peak season.
Being ready both mentally and physically will help you power through these last high-pressure days.
Watching for Those Holiday Packages
The key with the holidays is that you can often tell which packages contain gifts, and which ones are simply normal shipping. You may also have more “signature required” packages than you do the rest of the year, and those packages often contain gifts. A big part of customer service on your route is to attempt to ensure that those packages are delivered in a timely way if at all possible.
We have talked before on this blog about getting signatures for packages, but here are a few tips as a reminder:
- Be observant of when your customers are normally home.
- Schedule residential deliveries for the beginning or end of your route, and always attempt signature packages on weekends or as late as you can in the evening.
- Get alternate delivery instructions, like a neighbor, delivering where the customer works, or other arrangements to ensure delivery of their package.
This is also a common time of year for package theft, and it is important that you are cognizant of this especially when it comes to packages that someone might be missing under a tree. Here are some tips to deal with and prevent theft.
Porch Pirate Safety
Package thieves, or porch pirates, are a common problem around the holidays, but there are things you as a driver can do to prevent some of that theft.
- Watch for suspicious people hanging around neighborhoods as you deliver who don’t belong. If you have suspicions, report them.
- For larger or valuable packages, get a signature even if it is not required.
- Deliver close to when customers are likely to be home, similar to signature package guidelines: early, late, or on the weekends when possible.
If you see a theft being committed, don’t confront the perpetrator. Call the authorities and let them deal with the issue, but do note as many details as possible, like license plate numbers, detailed descriptions, and more. Many customers will have video doorbells and cameras now, so don’t try to record events unless you can easily do so without being seen.
Finally, keep yourself and your truck safe above all. No package is worth the risk of injury or worse.
Along with porch pirates, thieves know that delivery trucks are loaded with goods and that drivers and owners are stressed this time of year. They will attempt to take advantage of this situation. Take steps to protect yourself:
- Have a runner/helper for deliveries so someone is always with your truck.
- Lock doors when you are not in your truck and even if you are inside, but sitting still or sorting packages in the back.
- Keep your phone handy just in case you need to call authorities and you can do so safely if you are held up.
- Cooperate with any armed thief but try to gather any details you can about them, vehicles they might be driving, and any clues that might lead authorities to apprehend them.
Security is a year round concern, but it is especially important during the holiday and peak season. Be careful out there.
Holiday Shipping Deadlines and Last-Minute Deliveries
We all know how frustrating it can be to not get a package we are expecting for the holidays. That’s why it’s important to keep your customers in mind first, even at this busiest of times of the year for you.
FedEx contractors and drivers will often prioritize residential deliveries and even work extra days or hours to ensure on time or even early delivery. This is a way to impress both your shippers and your customers with your dedication to customer service and making sure they are taken care of.
Peak season is winding down. If you are thinking of selling your FedEx Ground route in the new year, or if you are a buyer looking to join the delivery industry by purchasing a FedEx Ground route, give yourself the gift of a good Route Broker. We’ll help you find the best route at the best price and the best time. Contact us at Route Advisors today. We’ll be with you every step of the way.