Peak season is now upon all FedEx drivers and Contractors. And hiring FedEx Ground Route help for the holidays is essential for many. If you have not hired for this year yet, now is the time. If you have, or you are thinking ahead to next year, this guide is for you.
Whether you are already a contractor, a contractor looking to expand your FedEx Ground business, or are still considering buying a FedEx Ground route, these tips are a valuable resource that can get you well on your way to peak success.
Hire FedEx Ground Route help Early if You Can
Whenever possible, hire FedEx Ground route help early. What is early? Well, if you are hiring new or inexperienced drivers, you should hire and train drivers in October, so they are ready for the peak season. If they are new to FedEx, they will need to go through their background checks and driver’s training, which means that you’ll need extra time.
However, there are often qualified FedEx Drivers looking for extra work during the peak season, and hiring them is easy and painless, as they can be brought on without additional paperwork. Many of these experienced drivers will also still have their own uniforms, jackets, and other equipment. They’ll already be familiar with the logistics of running a route.
However, contractors often snag these drivers quickly due to their expertise, so you will need to act fast once you see that a driver is looking for work. Some of these drivers come on specifically for peak season and work part-time for several contractors at once. To ensure you are one of them, you’ll have to pay competitive rates and get them learning and running your routes before the rush arrives.
Sometimes, you just can’t get drivers early enough. But there are still options for you.
Use Temporary Drivers from FedEx
Nearly every terminal hires temporary drivers just for peak season, sometimes to take stops that would be otherwise difficult to deliver (sometimes using four-wheel drive specialty vehicles to do so) and others to take stops from contractors and drivers who are overloaded. Often, they are tasked with signature stops that are time-consuming and may require more than one attempt.
The downside to using these drivers is that since FedEx is paying them, you don’t get paid for the stops they take from you and your drivers. However, the plus side is that you don’t have to attempt those stops, which can be a significant time savings. Offloading this work can often save you money as well, and takes away the risk of drivers getting stuck, having to double back for additional stops, and more.
Another upside is that you don’t have to manage these temporary workers. The terminal manages them and their payroll for you, which is another load off your shoulders. The terminal provides them with trucks and equipment and pays their vehicle insurance.
The key is to check in early with your terminal. See if there will be temps in your area, and get on the list to offload rural stops, signature stops, and other work that can actually slow your drivers and your business down. Of course, do this carefully: don’t take money away from yourself and your routes, but use these drivers to increase your profits and efficiency.
Cooperate with other Contractors
When it comes to drivers and even driver shortages during peak, a common solution is to partner with other contractors. You can share drivers, and routes, and even split stops between drivers. You can coordinate with others to fill the schedules of FedEx temporary drivers. The key is to find common ground in ways that benefit both of you.
This can include splitting pick-ups and stops, sharing residential deliveries, and more. The key is to remember the mission of your FedEx Ground route: to deliver packages to customers in a safe, timely, and efficient manner. At the same time, working with other contractors, especially those who border or deliver in your area, can increase profits for both of you.
For example, if you hire a temp driver for FedEx Ground route help at 20 hours a week or a certain number of stops, another contractor can fill their schedule to offer them full-time work. If the routes border each other, the driver can continue deliveries without ever returning to the terminal. You and the other contractor can split expenses, benefiting you both.
If you are new to route ownership, understand that this cooperation between route owners and drivers is quite common, especially during peak, and can pay big dividends later on when you are expanding your business or purchasing new routes and other contractors can be a big help in the process.
FedEx Ground contractors are very much team players, and the ability to collaborate during peak is crucial to your success.
Hire Alternative FedEx Ground Route Help
Besides drivers, contractors often hire helpers or runners to assist their drivers. These helpers simply run packages to the door, sometimes organize stops, and assist your driver in being more efficient. This enables them to do more stops in a day, sometimes using fewer hours.
While runners still have to pass a simple background check, they do not have to pass driver’s training. At times, loaders at the terminal will want to earn extra money during peak by running packages for you or your drivers. Since they are already employed by FedEx, they don’t need a background check either.
This can be a simple way to improve route efficiency without hiring an additional driver or putting another vehicle on the road. You can even share helpers with other contractors to ensure they get the hours and the money they are looking for.
This alternative FedEx Ground route help is one of the simplest ways to improve your peak season.
Equip Your Team
With peak season comes a larger volume. As you hire extra help, ensure they have the equipment they need to succeed. Additional hand trucks, rental vehicles if you don’t have extras in your fleet, package protection for inclement weather, snow chains if your area may require them, and more can set your team up for success.
Keep in mind that your new hires may need uniforms, jackets, and could also need tips on the best shoes to wear, other clothing options, and an idea of what a peak day on a route will be like.
Your biggest strength as a route owner is your people, so be sure they are equipped and prepared for the rigors of this time of year.
Stay Flexible in Your Budget
All of these things cost money, but it is money well spent in the hectic peak period. This is where many route owners make their year. But this also means staying flexible. You may be tempted to let extra help go if the season starts slowly, but there is a risk if things pick up later, you need them, but they are no longer available.
You must stay flexible in your budget, but also be conscious of when it is time to scale back, and when bringing on more help makes sense. Only you can see your bottom line and monitor your cashflow to ensure peaks is profitable for you and your employees or subcontractors.
At the same time, don’t be afraid to spend money to keep trucks on the road. If repairs happen, be prepared to handle them, rent equipment as needed, and maintain the high stop counts which make up your profit.
Budget can be one of the most challenging parts of peak, especially making time to go over your numbers, but don’t skip this step. Pay close attention and have a plan to adjust if things change along the way.
Set Early Expectations
Finally, set expectations from the start. Let your FedEx Ground route help know what the season may look like. Give them the busiest scenarios but also an idea of how you will handle things if the package volume is lower than expected. Many drivers and helpers will stick with you, as long as you are transparent about your policies and procedures.
At the same time, set realistic expectations for yourself of what you will make in those same scenarios, and how your profits might be impacted. This can be the most profitable time of the year for FedEx Route owners, but planning ahead and being agile are both important.
Finally, set expectations for your family and friends, and encourage your FedEx Ground route help to do the same. You will work long hours, when you get home may be unpredictable, and you may not have your normal days and times off for the duration of the peak season. The better your support system understands that the more likely they are to give you leeway during the Holiday season.
If you are a route owner, we know this can be a tough time of year for you, and we appreciate everything you do for FedEx and this industry. If you are a new route owner or considering buying a route or even expanding your existing FedEx Route business, at Route Advisors, we’d love to be your route broker. We’ll help you through the process of buying or selling your route every step of the way. Contact us today!
Happy Holidays, and be safe out there.