Unhelpfull Courier Company – wouldn’t tell me the mileage so that I could give them a price

As it was posted as a backload maybe they thought that the mileage was totally irrelevant?

If you’ve dropped in Glasgow and you’re heading back to London what difference does it make to you whether the backload you’re bidding on is going to Carlisle or to Warrington?

I’d never heard of anyone charging a mileage rate for backloads until I joined our courier ‘Network’, it’s just bizarre and illogical.

Posted under Courier and Freight Exchanges, Courier Basics

Posted by Alec at 7:16 am, May 3, 2008

7 Comments so far

  1. Alec added on  May 3rd, 2008 at 09:48

    How does the fact that you have to spend 20 minutes collecting and delivering lead you to the conclusion that it’s best to charge by the mile; surely the opposite is true?

    The way I’ve always looked at backloads is to base your price on the EXTRA miles you have to cover, the EXTRA time it’s going to take you, the EXTRA effort you’re going to have to put in and the EXTRA profit you want to make for the day.

    None of those factors are influenced in any way by the mileage between the collection and delivery points and it’s only you, not the company giving out the job, that can come up with a price based on those factors.

    If you were in Glasgow returning to Peterborough you’d presumably agree that a Liverpool to Peterborough may potentially be a suitable backload for you? Using your pence per mile pricing that Liverpool to Peterborough would be worth less to you than a Glasgow to Peterborough, even though youi’ve added 90 minutes and 45 miles onto your journey home to go and collect it. Where’s the sense in that?

  2. Alec added on  May 3rd, 2008 at 10:03

    Obviously you can’t give a fixed quotation without knowing the start and end points, but the actual distance between them isn’t really relevant if you’re pricing a backload.

    In my opinion.

  3. Alec added on  May 3rd, 2008 at 10:47

    Kev, I was actually posting based on my own experiences as an owner driver, and standard practice in the same day courier industry which pre-date online freight exchanges by many years. I’d be very surprised if anyone that’s ever dealt with us would describe us as “wanting to screw the price down as low as possible to make maximum profit off of an owner drivers graft.”

    As a matter of fact, as most people are aware, we very rarely post ANY backloads on here, probably less than ten in the last 3 years. When they’re posted as backloads they’re exactly that and they’re expected to be priced on that basis, not some made up cost per mile figure that has no relation to expenses incurred or time and effort expended.

    “The right rate for the job” is the right rate for that driver (or company), at that time, to do that particular job. Even in the case of ‘hotshots’ a pence per mile charge isn’t refined enough to price jobs to adequately reward the time and effort involved.

  4. Alec added on  May 3rd, 2008 at 11:10

    “I think your comments alec are typical of a ‘company’ wanting to screw the price down as low as possible to make maximum profit off of an owner drivers graft.”

    Seems aimed fairly squarely at me actually Kev. Fair enough if you didn’t mean it like that though.

    I can remember a time when it was virtually impossible for couriers to get backloads, even if you subbed for a company with a national network it just didn’t happen. Even if you managed to get one it was invariably a Friday afternoon flyer and you’d be lucky to get £40 for a London to Manchester. That £40 would DOUBLE your daily profit for the day though, so it was worth doing, and to be honest I’d still be reasonably happy to do a London to Manchester for £40 or so if I was back on the road.

    Look at it this way – the average small van owner-driver is prepared to fight their way from Manchester to London and back and make less than £90 profit for a 9 hour journey – £10/hour. If a London to Manchester then comes up and he bids £40 for it, then even if it adds 2 hours onto his day he’s earned £20/hour for doing the second job. If you’re prepared to work for £10/hour then why would you turn down the chance to earn £20/hour?

  5. Alec added on  May 3rd, 2008 at 11:19

    But in your scenario Peter it’s STILL not the job mileage you need, it’s how far out of your way the collection and delivery points are. The two things aren’t related to each other at all. If you’re in central London ready to return home and I’ve got a Croydon to Lincoln at 175 miles, would you really bid the same as a central London to Barnsley at 175 miles?

  6. Alec added on  May 3rd, 2008 at 11:47

    “l would say 175mles multiple by 35p or so which will be £52”

    So from central London you’d crawl an hour south to the collection point and then add 70 miles onto your journey home (returning to home in Yorkshire via Croydon & Lincoln) and you’d only want paying the same as if you’d picked up from next door to where you were delivering and delivered to a hotel just off a motorway junction that you were passing anyway?

  7. Alec added on  May 7th, 2008 at 13:57

    Isn’t “getting your fuel paid” taking it off at a bit of a tangent if you take it too literally?

    It’s extra PROFIT at the end of the day. What does it matter if the other guy’s making a killing out of it or not, it’s whether it fills YOUR pocket that counts.

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