7 August 20234 minute read

Ask the Expert: 5 Sneaky Parking Tips for Faster Delivery

5 Sneaky Parking Tips for Courier Drivers

Let's face it, parking is one of the things in this job that we probably face the most. But, it can also be one of the most frustrating things to do.

Even as an experienced delivery driver, there’s always a possibility that you might struggle to park—and, with the best will in the world, your delivery will fail unless you find somewhere to stop.

Now, don't get me wrong, sometimes you might be in a lovely scenic location. You might rock up to somewhere like a farm or distribution centre with a nice large bit of concrete to park on. But a lot of the time, it's not like that.

The trick is learning how to identify opportunities to park and knowing what to do when you find them.

If you're doing multi-stop delivery like Amazon Flex, Hermes, or parcelforce, you’re going to be working mostly residential addresses—houses, towns, cities, and all that kind of stuff.

Sometimes, if you're working during the day, you’ll find that a lot of people are out. So their cars aren't there and you can pull in because no one's going to mind.

On the flip side, suppose that it’s six o'clock at night and there are cars on either side of the road. Suddenly, you got nowhere to stop. And time is money in this game.

So what do you do then?

Don’t panic. In this post, I’ll give you the five sneaky things you can do to get quickly parked, and then keep moving.

Let’s get to it!

This is part of a series of posts from Pete the Courier Driver with hints and tips for other delivery drivers. If you want to make more money, check out this guide

Parking tip #1: Use your hazards

Notepad with checklist for delivery vehicles

Hazards are your friend.

Hazard lights are supposed to be used if you've broken down or if you're going down a freeway and all the traffic starts slowing down without warning. So, when you’re struggling to park, pop your hazards on and tell everybody you're slowing down.

If you can’t park and only going to be a couple of minutes, put your hazards on. Not only does it warn other drivers you’re slowing down, but it also let’s traffic officers know that you don’t intend to hang around either.

But what if you've got a drop at a house in a row that’s hard to get to? Should you just stop in the street?

Well, yes.

Sometimes, you can't park four or five streets away, run the package, and then run it back when you’re on the clock. You've got to get the load off fast.

In this case, just stop in the middle of the road and put your hazards on. Then just get the package off as quickly as possible. Sometimes you don’t have a choice.

Parking tip #2: Make a laminated sign

Sometimes, you just need to let people know your intent.

I've got a laminated piece of A4 with, "Driver on delivery" and my phone number. I do a lot of hospital deliveries, so on the flip side "On urgent medical delivery."

Depending on what you deliver, there are several reasons people will let you off for parking.

For example, say you’re a delivery driver with life-saving equipment to drop to a busy city hospital. However, you have to take them up to the eighth floor.

You wonder how you’re ever going to get close enough to deliver the equipment on time?

A laminated sign explaining the circumstances with something like “On urgent medical delivery." may be enough to help people realize you have to park

In cases like this, using the ambulance bay with your sign clearly showing your cell phone number may be the only option you have.

Parking tip #3: Call ahead

Sometimes you know ahead of time that you won’t be able to park.

Suppose you’re asked to deliver a pallet of goods to a shop. In this case, you might already know that the shops you’ll be delivering them to are inaccessible due to the area you need to go to. Or that you simply can’t park because it’s not allowed at that location.

Your best bet is to phone the customer ahead of time and explain the situation.

They might even agree to pay your parking fine for parking outside their premises so that you can stop out the front for a few minutes.

The problem with this is that although one phone call can take five minutes if you've got to drop ten pallets in a day, every phone call can add up. So you've got to be clever about that.

Parking tip #4: Make friends with regular customers

If you're doing a regular multi-drop route, like Amazon or FedEx, you’ll probably meet one regular person in the street that doesn't always have many others to talk to.

So spend time getting to know them, just to make the world a better place and make both of your days brighter. What you might find as a bonus is that they’re happy to take the packages in for their neighbors, too

And you never know, they might even have a driveway they don’t mind you parking on to get the whole street done.

Parking tip #5 Use Circuit Route Planner

Nothing beats a smooth workday – when your delivery drops go to plan and you even get done driving a little early.

The truth is, however, that you will have some long and stressful days especially if you can’t get parked to get your loads off.

Optimize your delivery route and get home earlier with Circuit Route Planner. Click here to download now.

The trick is to know that although you can’t control whether there are gaps in the parked cars for you to use, or if you have to go two streets over to get the package off, there are ways to make the job a little easier.

With Circuit Route Planner you can set time windows and priority deliveries to make sure you get to an address at the best time to park. Plus, they have a nifty Fast Package Finder so you can find your loads fast and won’t waste precious minutes hunting around at your stop.

Conclusion: 5 sneaky parking tips

Being unable to park your delivery vehicle is frustrating and can lose you valuable time and the potential revenue you would earn from delivering more packages.

To avoid this:

  1. Use your hazards to let others know that you’re only stopping briefly.
  2. Make a laminated card to let people know why you’re there..
  3. Call ahead and reduce stress by knowing where to park before you leave.
  4. Make time to chat with friendly neighbors.
  5. Use Circuit Route Planner to time your day.

Using these methods, you should be able to park more easily and get your packages off faster.

Take care and take money.

About the author

Peter CoathContributor

Pete is a courier driver throughout the U.K. He posts videos about where he has been, what he is delivering, and what he has learnt to help you make money. You can find Pete on YouTube.