Not All Delivery Services Are Created Equal…How Do You Choose A Delivery Company You Can Truly Count On?

Do you know what the difference is between UPS, Federal Express, the Post Office, and local courier services? If you answered no, not really, you’re not alone.

When most people think of package or parcel delivery, the first thing comes to mind is the large national and international carriers like Fed Ex, UPS and even the Post Office … these are the companies that spend millions, even billions on advertising every year. But what is the difference between those companies and a local delivery or courier services?

The differences between a local courier service and a national service, although they may seem subtle, are huge for a small business owner!

What are the different types of delivery services available for your company?

There are many different types of delivery companies, and you’ll get the best service available if you understand the differences between them.

The large national and international parcel delivery companies like the United States Postal service, Federal Express, DHL and UPS handle general envelope and small package service. They offer next day, two day, and up to two week general delivery times.

Freight deliveries are for extra large or extra heavy deliveries … anything from large tires, to concrete building blocks, to decking lumber etc. Most freight is delivered on pallets, so when the truck pulls up you better have a pallet jack handy or you will be unloading by hand. Most freight drivers are union based and won’t hand unload.

Specialty deliveries–Flowers, medical supplies, legal deliveries and hazardous materials … you don’t want UPS delivering flowers. Use a delivery service that specializes in handling and delivering flowers, and companies that specialize in medical products, legal deliveries or other specialty items to make those types of deliveries.

Courier services generally operate within city limits (usually) and specialize in fast deliveries of any size package or parcel and are at their best if the package has to be there the same day.

Couriers are distinguished from ordinary mail services by features such as speed, security, tracking, signature, specialization and individualization of services, and committed delivery times.

A place where a courier service is quicker and cheaper than large national carriers, is for local same day deliveries, are you looking for local, same or next day service?

When considering your shipment, consider where you need your products shipped and how quickly you need that shipment to arrive. Typically, if your shipment is not time sensitive, and not being shipped locally, a courier service may not be for you and you may be better off choosing a national delivery service.

But when you are looking for a delivery company to get your product in the hands of your customers, or important paper work, legal documents or medical supplies to the end user, especially the same day, a courier service will be your best answer.

But aren’t all delivery services pretty much the same?

When it comes to on demand, and especially same day service, the answer to that is no, not really! A same day delivery service, better known as a courier services provides direct shipping from your door to the recipient’s door. A courier service may deliver a small document that needs a signature, to a pallet of critical parts. Most reputable courier services will offer a full range of delivery services, from small package delivery service all the way up to a full 24 foot transport truck.

Why not just use one of the main national carriers like Fed Ex, UPS or even the Post Office?

This may surprise you, but the national well-known delivery companies don’t typically offer same day service … if they do, it’s very expensive. Take Federal Express; if you have a package that needs to go from Phoenix, to say, Chandler, with Fed Express your package first goes to Memphis.

Along with not being very efficient, the “chain of custody,” meaning how many people handle your package is huge. (More about that in a minute) Does it make sense to have your valuable packages actually leave the state before it arrives back at its destination?

Try calling one of the national delivery companies and have a package delivered today. They are great if you want to get a package from Phoenix to New York by tomorrow or the next day…but not good at local same day deliveries. The big national delivery companies are expensive and not your best option when delivering a package from Phoenix to Scottsdale or from one business to another within the same city.

Do you use overnight couriers for local deliveries?

Many businesses do, and they mistakenly assume that they will receive a lower price than sending the same package via a same-day courier. You might be surprised to learn that same-day courier services like Mercury Delivery Services deliver to most Phoenix, Chandler, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe areas at lower than the national companies charge for next day service.

“But I schedule my overnight deliveries at the end of the day and drop them in a drop-box,” Here’s how you make it easy for yourself … you place your delivery orders as you normally would, either by phone or online at any time. If you place your orders at the end of the day, your local packages simply remain on your desk until your office opens the following day, and are picked up and delivered the same business day.

Compare that to the national carriers who will take your package all over the country so it can land at one of their hubs and then be redistributed to the final location. This increases the “chain of custody” for your package by 10 times, making it more likely that there could be a problem.

The 6 critical questions to ask before you hire a delivery service

1. What types of services does the company specialize in?
2. How long have they been in business?
3. Are their employees bonded?
4. Does the delivery company subcontract business to independent drivers?
5. Does the company have office and warehouse space, or does it run its business from a cell phone?
6. Are the drivers dispatched via two-way data terminals?