Latest Partner On-board! Save on MOTs and servicing

Start saving on your servicing and MOT bills

One of our major goals at Courier Club has always been to try and help you save money on your day-to-day costs - from mobile phones and fuel to insurance and everything in between. And that reflects in the partners we choose to work with.

However, we’ve been wanting to partner with a truly national company that can help you save money on your van servicing and MOT. A partner that could offer you, the Courier Club member, exceptional value for money and quality customer service.

Today we’re very excited to unveil our latest Exclusive Gold Partner…

With 36 locations nationwide, welcome to Ford Retail

Offering low cost servicing and MOTs to all makes and models of van throughout the country (that’s right - you don’t have to own a Ford van to take up these offers). They also provide discounted genuine Ford parts and will price match like-for-like tyres within a 5 mile radius.

All servicing, MOT and repair work is carried out by Ford trained technicians but at prices you’d expect to see from local, independent garages. Not only that, but they will provide a free courtesy vehicle* while yours is in for work so you’ll never be off the road!

Go over to their profile page for more information and book your MOT/service today!

All the best,

David and the Courier Club team.

* Advance booking required, subject to availability.

Big Announcement Coming This Monday

A new, national partner is arriving at Courier Club on Monday 13th August 2012. Keep your eyes peeled….

Updated Members Dashboard

One of our pet hates in the members area of Courier Club has always been the menu navigation. It’s done us proud over the last 8-9 months but with the plans we have it was time to make a concerted effort and update it now before it became a massive job.

You’ll see when you log in that we’ve changed the menu from being on the left side of the screen to a horizontal one just below the red title bar. Not only does this give us extra room to build new parts to the site but it also looks pretty snazzy too!

We hope you like the update.

David & the Courier Club team

(Source: courierclub.co.uk)

Courier Club Directory: Update your profile

The web is an unforgiving place. A lawless savannah where Google and Bing rule the roost with their search engine algorithms and SEO black magic. A place where nothing stays still for long.

At Courier Club we’re no different. The site is continually being updated and refined with feedback from our members and new services from our development team.

This week sees the enhancement of the courier club directory.

To make it easier for the hundreds of people using our search engine we’ve enhanced our search results to allow your courier club directory entry to be as effective as possible. The more your profile is filled in the more exposure you’ll get. As a famous meerkat would say, “simples”.

The enhanced search results now include your:

  • Company logo
  • Company name
  • Location
  • Telephone number
  • Service specialities
  • Website URL
  • Social media links (Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn)
  • Link to your Courier Club Profile

Members Profile page:

  • Company logo
  • Company name
  • Location
  • Telephone number
  • Website URL
  • Service description
  • Service specialities
  • Social media links
  • Location map

The more detail you add the better your directory entry will be. The better your entry is the more chance your entry will be seen.

www.courierclub.co.uk

Courier mistake sends corpse to the wrong place

We just happened to find this little gem of a mix-up!

A freight forwarding company in the US made a slight mix up by diverting a woman’s torso addressed to a research facility in Florida to a wholesale shopping club in Massachusetts instead.

The rather large parcel was marked “perishable” but staff at BJ’s Wholesales Club’s head office didn’t think anything was out of the ordinary - after all they receive large, perishable items quite often - check out the 12 - 14oz Lobster Gram ($119.99)

Luckily an eagle-eyed member of staff realised the delivery was 1,500 miles away from where it should be. They started opening the package but saw the packaging list and realised it wasn’t a gourmet lobster but something more unsavoury.

Sgt. Jonathan Kalagher told WBZ NewsRadio 1030, “They started opening the package and they saw the description of what they were opening, that it was a torso of a female. They never saw the torso. They saw there was packaging and some type of gel. They immediately notified their supervisor”.

Staff contacted the research facility, who arranged for the torso to be picked up and delivered to the correct address.

(Source: theregister.co.uk)

VOSA Driving Regulations for Couriers

We’ve created a poll over on our Facebook page asking whether, as an owner driver (or even a courier company), you think their should be similar legislation in place for sameday couriers (max hours driving, breaks, etc.) as with HGVs.

We’d be interested in your views. The link to the poll is here: VOSA Poll

www.courierclub.co.uk

Subbies: What Colour is Your Van?

We know, like the rest of you, business is getting harder to come by as the effects of the Euro crash are beginning to hit our shores. The industry appears quite flat at the moment and there are no signs of recovery just yet.

It seems that the “rapid response” sameday couriers can give customers is becoming more of a luxury than a necessity these days. No doubt cost is an implication here and something that cannot be addressed with the fragmented nature of the courier industry. Plus some customers are happier to take the risk and save themselves a few quid with parcel networks in the vain hope that their delivery doesn’t become damaged/misrouted through a mainly automated system.

These are issues that courier companies have and are dealing with on a day-to-day basis. But as a subbie, the man in a van, what can you do to ensure that you’re getting all the business you can from these courier companies?

You’ll be surprised to know it’s not always down to price!

Here’s a quick checklist to ensure your name and number is at the top of the pile when a courier company needs a subbie:

  • Cleanliness - remember, you’ll be the courier company’s face to their customer so they’ll want someone who portrays their image correctly. That means clean shaven (neat beard/moustache), clean clothes & shoes/boots, it can be hot in the cab so make sure you’ve got a can of deodorant at hand and make sure your hands are clean too!
  • Reliability - don’t just make sure your van is in top nick, but never turn n a job down you can cover (see stay safe below) just because you fancy a lie in, or it’s friday and the football is on. The on-call traffic coordinator won’t want to ring around a load of subbies to get the job covered. If they know that you are more likely to accept a job - you’ll be the first person they’ll probably call. Bare in mind that you shouldn’t risk burnout (or your family life) just to take a job though!
  • Stay Safe - this goes hand-in-hand with reliability. While you aren’t required to carry a tacho, take regular breaks and keep within driving rules. An accident could take you off the road for a long period of time, a more serious accident could make you liable for prosecution.
  • Look after your van - keep it clean and well serviced at all times. Some courier companies will want your van to be a maximum of 5 years old, anything older and they may look elsewhere. Older vans are still ok though - just make sure they’re well maintained and looked after.
  • White - sadly the cliché is true. Make sure your van is plain white with no markings or signage. If you want to have your name on your van then use a magnetic sign that can be taken off when doing subbie work.
  • Price - Don’t sell yourself short or price yourself out of the market - easier said than done I know. Agree a pence per mile (PPM) when you sign up to be a subbie with them. OK, so I said it’s not always down to price and it isn’t but you can probably ask for a higher PPM if you can prove you’ll be better than other subbies on their books.
  • Customer Service - Always be friendly to the traffic coordinator. Try and be as helpful as possible. The same goes when collecting and delivering your consignment. “People buy from people”, so if a traffic coordinator has a choice of 2 subbies to choose from they’re more likely to choose you.
  • In the cab - The cab is your office. Always make sure you’ve got enough working pens and pencils, your phone is fully charged, your Bluetooth is working properly, a packet of mints and/or chewing gum. Oh, and never smoke in your cab - there’s nothing worse than the smell of stale smoke wafting in through the door when you’re delivering.

If you can think of anything else to add/ammend to the list let us know and we’ll amend the article accordingly. 

www.courierclub.co.uk

Thanks to Steven Harrison from Gator Couriers for his updates.

O2 Updated Offers

O2 have just updated their profile page with their latest business tariff, “On and On”.

  • Unlimited calls
  • Unlimited texts
  • Massive 1Gb of data

From £21.67 per month (ex VAT)

You can call their business team on 01744 780062 or use the contact form on their profile page to get more information.

Greener Driving Saves You Money

As this blog is being written there appears to be a small fuel war erupting - with Sainsbury’s leading the pack on supermarket prices (cutting petrol prices by 3p per litre, as well as offering customers an additional 5p off per litre if they spend £50 in store).

However, when you consider other European countries, the prices we pay for fuel in the UK is rising and rising. Planned government taxations are due to hit in August to force the price up even more.

There are steps you can take as an courier to reduce your fuel costs and become greener in the process:

  • Drive with calm and serenity
    Aggressive driving eats up fuel. Sometimes you need to put your foot down to get out of a sticky situation or to overtake that damned tractor, but by driving with more finesse will help you lower your fuel bills.
  • Be gentle on your brakes
    As with the above point, try and plan ahead with your breaking. Breaking uses up kinetic energy and this is bad for your fuel economy and also bad for your brakes! After all the less you use your brakes the less you need to get them replaced.
  • Save your clutch
    Don’t use your engine to slow you down. Using your engine to break (gearing down) is really bad for fuel consumption and adds strain on your clutch. Break pads/discs are cheaper to replace that clutches.
  • Effective gear changes
    In most vehicles it’s best to change gear around 1,500 - 2,000 RPM. Anything above this and you start to lose fuel economy.
  • Switch off your engine
    Not while you’re moving obviously. But when stationary, idling is effectively 0mpg. If you think you’re going to be stationary for some time think about turning off your engine. This stops burning fuel and reduces pollution.
  • Keep left
    Let all the other fuel guzzlers overtake you. The only winner is you when you don’t have to visit the pumps as often!
  • Use cruise control
    If you’re lucky enough to have cruise control, use it. Especially on those motorway miles - the on-board computer is much more effective than us humans at maintaining a constant speed.
  • Slow down
    Sometimes the goods you’re carrying need to be at the destination in a rush. Sadly tearing up the tarmac won’t get you there much quicker than keeping to the speed limits. Have a look at your vehicle’s handbook, it should tell you the most economical driving speed. This is usually around 50 - 60mph.
  • Lose weight
    The less you carry in your van the less strain there is on your engine. So the trick is, only transport what you need. Dump those old copies of auto-trader, newspapers, pens, pads, maybe even go on a diet if you’re carrying a bit of extra timber. As a famous supermarket says, “Every little helps”.
  • Gadgets cost money
    Not only to buy but if you plug them in to your 12v adaptor then they’re also having an effect on your fuel consumption. Charge up your SatNav, phone, PDA, etc the night before using the mains electricity.
  • Monitor your Miles Per Gallon
    On every fill up - zero your odometer. You can then gauge how well you’re doing on your fuel economy.
  • Keeping cool
    Try to use air conditioning sparingly it can increase your fuel consumption by around 10%. Also only open the windows when you really need to. Keeping your windows open increases drag and therefore it has a negative impact to your wallet!
  • Shop around
    As stated early, there’s a forecourt fuel war on at the moment so it pays to keep an eye on local fuel prices. Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrissons and Tesco are really trying to get your business. 

As you can see it really does “pay to be green”. Improving your van’s efficiency not only helps your wallet but also reduces your impact on the environment too. Some companies are already using this as a marketing tool to differentiate themselves from the market.

(Source: courierclub.co.uk)

EU Cookie Law: Are you compliant?

The EU’s Privacy and Communications Directive comes into force on 26 May - also know as the “Cookie Law”.

Most (if not all) websites drop a small text file on to your computer to help organise and store browsing information for example: shopping carts, your preferences, Google Analytics…. Cookies in themselves are inert and can’t harm your computer like a virus can. However, they can be used to gather browsing habits, most visited sites, search terms etc to provide more targeted (and possibly useful) advertising to the end user. 

Sadly the legislation appears to be rather vague and poses more questions than the Leveson Inquiry. There are a number of ways to inform users that a site uses cookies and how it uses them. From the outright “you can’t use this site unless you agree to accept cookies” approach to the more subtle, “here’s some information about the cookies we use” way:

Some sites are adopting a let’s wait and see approach - risky but non the less an effective approach for smaller sites with limited budgets. 

The issue everyone has with this legislation is that there is no single accepted approach to dealing with it. Government have approached browser manufacturers (Google, Firefox, Microsoft, etc) to provide a cohesive solution but the newswires appear to be quiet on this front.

Get ready for a quagmire of different approaches and get ready for a decrease in traffic as we users come to terms with these cookies that they didn’t really know anything about.

For myself, I hope all the browsers incorporate a unified approach.