If you’re like every other person on the planet, you’re ecstatic to see 2020 in your rearview or sideview mirror. After ringing in the new decade, 2020 was going to be the best year yet! Clearly, things didn’t go as planned. But that shouldn’t stop us from staying positive as we look toward 2021.
Here are five handy tips for transporters looking to ramp up business in 2021 and make more money.
Take Stock of Your Brand
You may not think of your business as a ‘brand’ like Apple, Uber, or UPS, but it is. When you pull up to a pickup or drop off location, you ARE a brand. It makes an instant impression on your customer.
So how do you want your business brand presented in 2021?
More than anything, your van, truck, and/or trailer make the biggest, most significant impression when you arrive at your pickup or delivery location. Is it dirty, scratched, dented, and full of faded bumper stickers? Or is it a clean vehicle, even if well-traveled? Ultimately your vehicle can represent to customers how you care for their goods — and more importantly, determine if they’ll use your services again.
While you may not have the time nor money to fix dents, the easiest way to spruce up your equipment is with a good wash. To find one near you, download the Blue Beacon Truck Wash app to find a place to scrub up near you.
Driving many hours and hundreds of miles every day is no easy task. You’re on constant deadlines, problem-solving on the fly, battling traffic, and trying to keep rested as best you can. So it’s no wonder you may feel and appear a bit frazzled on pickup and delivery.
Unfortunately, the customer typically doesn’t see it that way. Similar to your vehicle condition, they instantly make a judgment of your business brand based on how you present yourself.
So how do you balance the realities of the road and customer expectations?
One tip is to pack a small bag with some extra items specifically for pickup and delivery locations. For example:
- Keep a few extra clean shirts handy. “Clean” is the operative word here, and while your beloved Cleveland Browns t-shirt may display your hometown team spirit, it’s not an ideal presentation style. And your customer may be a Steelers fan (gasp!). If you can get shirts with your company name on them, that’s awesome but certainly not required.
- In the jeans/pants vs. shorts debate, pants win. When it comes to customer presentation, throw on a pair of jeans or work pants. Naturally, if it’s 120F and 85% humidity, shorts would likely be considered acceptable. Use your judgment.
- Wear close-toed footwear like boots or tennis shoes. It’s not only far safer, but nothing says “I couldn’t care less” like a pair of Jimmy Buffet flip-flops.
- Throw on an unbranded hat or run a brush across your hair. Your “You Mad, Bro?” hat is really fun and ironic but doesn’t necessarily carry the professional appeal your customers are looking for or are used to from their UPS and FedEx driver.
To be crystal clear, these are not uShip requirements. However, they are based on direct feedback from many In-Home Delivery partners such as Chairish, 1stdibs, Sotheby’s Home, and more who want their customers’ delivery experience to be top-notch. So by adopting these standards, you’ll also be elevating and building your business in 2021.
Over-Communicate and Use eBOL
Amazon Prime has created an e-commerce world where customers expect constant communication about their order status. And that trend is now bleeding into large and bulky deliveries.
To keep up with The Joneses in 2021, this means you need to over-communicate throughout the entire transaction. One important way to do this is by using Electronic Bill of Lading (eBOL) within the uShip app. It not only provides proper and better documentation, but it also enables better status tracking so customers can keep track of the latest developments.
Review and Update Your Profile
The new year is also a chance to show off a new you. uShip provides every service provider on its shipping platform with a free built-in marketing tool called a profile page.
If you’re a service provider, it’s on this profile page that you have the opportunity to post (or update) a brief writeup or biography in the About The Company section to:
- Make your company shine
- Build trust with potential customers
- Give them a reason to believe you’re the best transporter for the job
- If you’ve already written one, it’s probably time for a quick refresh. Perhaps you’ve added more equipment, categories, or capabilities. You can also add more photos of what you ship and of your trucks and trailers.
Be sure to read our post about the ingredient most commonly missing from carriers’ profile pages.
Take Advantage of Fee Reductions and Account Credits
Thousands of carriers have built their over-the-road transport business on the back of uShip. Why? Because it’s a great place to find and book new and repeat business.
To help you keep more money in your pocket, uShip offers several opportunities for booking fee reductions or uShip account credits depending on what you haul, how far you travel, and how often you book.
Keep track of reduced fee options on our Fee Reductions page, whether you haul motorcycles, household goods, vehicles, heavy equipment, or something else. Above is an example of how much more transporters can earn on longer-distance household goods shipments.
Prepare Your Equipment
No amount of presentation or profile improvements can compensate for equipment that doesn’t work. Do yourself and your customers a huge favor by winterizing your equipment if you haven’t already, everything from tires to belts to lights. A few minutes now will save time, money, and reputation down the road.
Since you’re busy, here is a list from Advance Auto Parts on winterizing your vehicle along with a short checklist below.
It’s time to say buh-bye to 2020 and welcome in 2021 with open arms. Since “luck favors the prepared,” it’s time to get moving and align yourself for success.