Whether you have years of experience in courier work or are just starting out, it’s crucial you know what you’re getting into when you contract with a company. While the fundamentals might stay the same – delivering goods to clients on time and in good condition – the details can be vastly different from one firm to the next. And one of the most important factors affecting this is the size of the company.
In this article, we’ll explore how the size of a business can change what it’s like to work there. Read on to learn some of the pros and cons of different size companies.
A major benefit to using small companies for courier work is the flexible and personal service they can provide. Smaller firms have fewer clients and fewer workers, meaning that it’s easier for individuals to develop working relationships.
As a driver, you’ll likely enjoy a less rigid, more hands-off approach to managing your work. Smaller firms have less money to spend on management, so individuals are often allowed much more freedom to direct their own efforts and communicate with clients. Where workers are organised into teams, those teams tend to be smaller and more equal, again allowing more leeway to adjust and adapt.
Of course, less management also means increased responsibility at the individual level, and drivers should be ready to deal with problems themselves as and when they arise. A small business can also be less stable than a bigger one, as there’s less money around to isolate and ameliorate the effects of any problems.
At their best, mid-sized courier work firms can offer the best of both worlds. They’re usually willing to adapt to the needs of a smaller pool of clients, for instance, but also have enough resources to respond quickly to changes and keep up to date with technology. They’re capable of accommodating changes in driver schedules and business needs, but not so big that they lose sight of the individual.
Having said that, medium companies also risk spreading themselves too thin – becoming jacks of many trades and masters of none. While small firms often have clear limits on what they can take on, ambitious mid-sized ones sometimes promise over what they can deliver. This can leave clients unsatisfied and workers stressed.
As in most industries, larger companies can benefit from economies of scale and are able to draw on extensive resources and experience to provide more and better courier work to a larger number of customers. Stronger and stricter processes also mean there’s less pressure on drivers to track data and report to clients.
At the same time, these benefits can lead to an impersonal and inflexible service for customers and too strict a working environment for drivers. Crucially, you’re less likely to know any quirks your client might have, and so more likely to unwittingly disappoint.
Firms of every size have their strengths and weaknesses, then, and there’s no single ‘best’ approach to doing courier work. Good management is of course crucial, and drivers will be best off if they examine their own preferences before working with any particular company.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier work in the express freight exchange industry. Numerous transport exchange businesses are networked together on their website, trading jobs and capacity through what is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.
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