Peak season is just around the corner, and preparing your Amazon Delivery Service Partner business is essential whether you are new to the game or you are considering purchasing one of these businesses or expanding your existing one.
But what does preparing your Amazon Delivery Service Partner business look like? What are the practical steps you need to take? Even though this season is right around the corner, it’s not to late to take care of some key elements to ensure both your safety and your success.
Prepare Your Fleet for Peak Season
The first thing you will want to do is to prepare your fleet for peak season. This involves several steps, but most can be done quickly if needed.
- Perform vehicle inspections on every van and ensure everything is working properly.
- Perform any upcoming vehicle maintenance, even if it is a little early. It is better to be ahead than scrambling during peak.
- Have spare vehicles ready and a plan for possible breakdowns.
- Be sure drivers have all winter equipment they might need, including chains in some areas and weather protective bags when needed.
Be sure you have a plan in place for cleaning vans and inspecting them often during peak to ensure you can continue operations as seamlessly as possible.
Prepare your People
Of course, your Amazon Delivery Service Partner Business relies heavily on your people. Your drivers need to be prepared for peak season as well.
- Ensure they have the proper attire for colder temperatures and slick surfaces, including proper footwear, gloves, and outerwear.
- Encourage them to hydrate and stay fueled with healthy snacks. Provide these for your drivers and helpers as needed.
- Prepare them and their families for working longer days. Start as early as possible and offer help from backup or spare drivers if it is needed.
- Prevent illness. Encourage drivers to be vaccinated, to take preventative vitamin supplements, and to wear a mask if they are feeling ill in order to protect others.
- Take breaks and lunches. Fatigue is common during peak season, so be sure that breaks and scheduled lunches are mandatory.
- Encourage drivers to avoid alcohol during the week. This enhances exhaustion, can lead to illness, and can make health issues worse.
- Recommend at least eight hours of sleep each night. Make sure each driver is able to adequately rest to prepare for higher volumes.
Of course, drivers are also responsible for self-care, but providing them with the materials they need and helping them prepare mentally for the busiest season of the year will certainly pay off for you and for them.
But there are other things you can do to help them as well.
Hire Extra Help
Often it is wise to hire extra help to handle the volume to prepare your Amazon Delivery Service Partner Business for peak season. This can come in the form of spare drivers who can run extra stops should things get really busy to “runners” who ride with your drivers and help them by running packages to the door while the driver preps the next stop.
Loading help is another option some contractors explore, allowing their drivers extra time by getting them on the road faster. Some drivers prefer not to have this help, and others prefer that help to come from their “runner” if they have one.
Essentially the extra help is to set your drivers and other employees up for success. Stop and package counts can be quite high, and with longer days, any help along the way can make a huge difference.
Optimize Your Routes
Amazon has great routing software that does a good job of making your routes run smoothly, but that does not mean it is perfect. You can use other tools to optimize your routes, and drivers can even share or swap stops to make it happen.
Your drivers will know their routes better than anyone, and it is best practice to trust their judgment. Mapping software and other tools can also help you save fuel, driver downtime, and more if used properly. Never depend entirely on the Amazon systems, but instead, use a variety of methods to ensure your routes are optimized the best they can be.
At the same time, educate drivers on best practices. Avoiding speeding, hard braking, and unnecessary idling time will not only help save money and avoid accidents but also help minimize your costs.
Explore Best Delivery Practices
There is more than one way to load a truck and to move bags and overflow around the truck during the day. Experienced drivers have come up with formulas that work well and improve workflow.
These, of course, can be adapted as needed for each driver and their needs. But they consist of some similar ideas:
- Unload bags from the side door first, starting with three, and when those are empty, fold down the shelf behind the passenger seat, giving yourself a surface to work from.
- Load overflow packages with the highest closest to the sliding door and work them through the back doors, moving packages and stops closer to them as needed.
- Arrange next stops as soon as bags are empty or while helpers run packages to the door of the residence or business.
- Keep conversation to a minimum. Customers understand peak season and will be understanding of drivers’ need to hustle.
- Double-check deliveries. It is easy to get in a hurry and deliver a package to the wrong address. This can mean doubling back, wasted time, and unhappy customers. Train drivers to put accuracy over speed every time.
There are other best practices as well. Watching for “porch pirates”, ensuring packages are out of plain sight, taking photos every time, and hand delivering or getting customer signatures whenever possible are just a few security practices.
It’s important that drivers remember there are cameras everywhere, and any error can go viral with disastrous results. Doing things like locating bathrooms for breaks and acting professionally at all times is vital.
Prepare Your Amazon Delivery Service Partner Business Cashflow
Cashflow can be an issue during peak season. Expenses can be high and come at you quickly before you get paid from Amazon. Be ready with extra savings, a cushion, and a line of credit if you need it. From fuel to vehicle issues to higher payroll, peak can drain your accounts quickly before they are refilled by your contractor pay.
Also, be sure to use rewards cards, loyalty programs, and other methods to earn free perks and fuel discounts that can go a long way toward easing cashflow issues while increasing long-term profits. Peak is a perfect time to explore and use these programs.
At the same time, tracking expenses is vital. It’s the end of the year, and any final tax deductions can come out of peak expenses. It is also helpful to understand profit and loss, bonus opportunities, and more when planning for the following year.
When preparing your Amazon Delivery Service Partner Business for peak season, it is helpful to understand the many steps you need to take. From preparing your fleet and vehicles for the heaviest use of the year to making sure your people are ready for what will be the most challenging season for them as drivers and delivery help, every aspect of your business should be optimized.
This includes using the latest technology, the best driver loading and delivery practices, and ensuring you have adequate cashflow for the season. All of these steps apply no matter how large or small your Amazon Delivery Service Partner Business is. Whether you are just starting out, considering purchasing a new Amazon Delivery Service partner business or expanding your existing one, the principles are the same.
And if you are ready now or will be soon to purchase your own Amazon Delivery Service Partner route, contact us here at Route Advisors. We can help you find the right business at the right time and at the right price. From a mature business to a small one, we can discover something that will meet your needs. And we’ll be with you every step of the way. We’d love to be your route broker no matter what your needs.