How to Quote a Profitable Courier Job

For an owner driver just starting out, quoting a job can be challenging. There’s a fine line between underpricing to attract new customers and selling yourself short. Remember, you want to be making a profit. Building a client roster is important, but getting your pricing right at the start is paramount.

Here are some helpful tips to get you on the right track to quoting profitably.

Hourly Charge

An hourly rate is a good place to start when it comes to providing a quote. To get an average, check out what other service providers are charging for the same 20-minute delivery, and from there you can work out how much they’re charging per hour.

This figure is useful for an owner driver wanting to introduce additional charges for special circumstances, something that is advisable. For example, you can add an extra charge for waiting time incurred upon collection, multi-drop deliveries and return journeys.

Check Out the Competition

We’ve already touched upon competitors’ rates, but understanding the playing field is fundamental. A good way to arrive at your own rate is to call three different courier services and compare their rates to form an average. This gives you a good target to focus on; just be careful not to fall into the trap of charging less to get an edge. There are two outcomes with that: customers will either question why your prices are so low or they’ll jump at the offer and expect something for nothing every time.

A Question of Time

Just like any job, charging a surcharge for out-of-hours services is normal and even a new owner driver shouldn’t miss out. While the majority of deliveries are scheduled during the business week, there will be occasional rush jobs or those outside normal hours. Set a surcharge for deliveries after 5 p.m. or before 8 a.m., for example. Your time is valuable and should be priced accordingly.

Heavy Duty

Something that’s easily forgotten when starting out is the size of the delivery and it’s usual for couriers to charge more for heavy or cumbersome loads. If you charge the same price for a large piece of furniture as you do for a box of files, you’ll be doing three times the work for the same price, so it makes sense to set an overweight fee.

A Few Extras to Keep in Mind

As your business grows you’ll be able to get a sense of your ideal quoting system, but here are a couple of final points to keep in mind.

•Extraordinary costs – Don’t forget to include parking charges while waiting, or fees incurred for certain documents.
•Special deliveries – You could add a same or next day delivery rate, depending on the area.

Keep these basics in mind in order to quote a profitable courier job so, as a new owner driver, your business can start off on the right foot.

Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day owner driver courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships. 

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