7 Problems Faced by Couriers, and How to Solve Them

There’s plenty of work for quality delivery drivers, and it’s a good job if you do it right.

Instead of spending your days stuck behind a desk, you get to be out and about, moving around, with variety to each day. You have the chance to be your own boss. And there are other benefits that make courier work a good option.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to be a courier. What about when you have to pee? It’s going to happen. What about the dog in the yard, nipping at your heels? And then there’s the frustration of driving around in circles, trying to find the right location for a delivery. These are part of the everyday life of a driver.

There will always be daily challenges to face, some bigger than others, but don’t worry! We’re here to help you prepare and tackle those issues. Here are 7 problems faced by couriers, and how to solve them.

1. Vehicle Breakdown

There’s nothing worse than getting a flat tire on an Interstate or busy city street. Or finishing a delivery only to get back to your truck and find out it won’t start. 

To avoid these awkward situations as a driver, you need a reliable vehicle. Even if you start with a new or relatively new vehicle, or one that you know is good quality and in good shape, you need to take care of that vehicle to prevent breakdown.

Here are the top vehicle maintenance tips for couriers:

  • Look after your tires, including checking the pressure at least once a month, rotating them every 10,000 miles or less, and inspecting them on a regular basis. Be sure you have a spare tire just in case, and inspect it, too.
  • Monitor your vehicle’s fluids every 5000 miles, including changing the oil and checking brake fluid, coolants or antifreeze, and power steering and transmission fluids. If you can’t do this yourself, pay to get it done. And check your wiper washer fluids regularly. 
  • Test your lights, including interior and exterior lights. 
  • Look after your battery by checking it regularly with a battery tester.
  • Schedule an annual tune-up and inspection with a professional mechanic, who can check the brake pads, spark plugs, fuel filters, radiator fluid and more.

If you’re able to, invest in a membership with an automobile service like the American Automobile Association, or relevant service in your country, which can provide service if your vehicle does break down. 

2. Bathroom Breaks

Let’s be honest. Nobody really likes to talk about going to the bathroom, but it’s a fact of life. And if you’re in your vehicle all day long, drinking coffee or water, then you’re going to need bathroom breaks.

To prevent embarrassing accidents or emergency stops, it’s possible to be somewhat prepared when it comes to bathroom breaks.  

Here are a few ideas:

  • Find a fast food restaurant, mall, or public washroom on your route, if you have a common delivery route.
  • Plan a stop at home into your route if possible.
  • Use an app that finds bathrooms, like Flush, Where to Wee, or SitorSquat, which even allows users to rate public washrooms. There are also public resources like the Crohn’s and Colitis GoHere Washroom Access Program, which provides information on publicly accessible washroom locations, including a washroom locator app.

It shouldn’t be embarrassing to talk about. Everybody needs to go to the bathroom, so it’s best to have a plan.

3. Running Low, or Running Out of Fuel

Speaking of embarrassing, running low on fuel or completely running out is awkward and inconvenient for a courier. Your success depends on completing deliveries on time, so you don’t need the extra hassle, delay (and shame) of walking to a gas station to buy a can of gas. 

Consider adding a fuel stop to your schedule each day, or fill with fuel at the start and/or end of each workday. Keeping more than half a tank of gas in your vehicle is a good way to make sure you don’t run low or run out when your day gets busy. Use an app like GasBuddy to find gas station locations and the lowest price available in the area.

4. Taking Too Long To Make Deliveries

Time is a priority for every delivery driver. You want to make deliveries on time, to keep customers happy. You also want to get your work day done quickly and efficiently, and reduce the amount of time on the road while still completing all your pickups and deliveries. 

Having an effective route will minimize your time on the road, and prevent other problems, like running low on fuel, or getting lost. And time is money for a driver, since more time on the road leads to higher fuel costs and more vehicle maintenance needs. 

Investing in a quality route-planning tool will minimize your time on the road and optimize your driving route. A tool like the Circuit app can help you reach all your destinations in the minimum amount of time, using the shortest path. It also reduces the headache you get when planning a route yourself at the start of each day. 

5. Traffic Jams and Accidents

Any well-planned schedule can be hijacked by an accident or traffic jam. This is when you’ll appreciate using a route-planning app. If you end up delayed, you can move a stop to later in the day, allowing the traffic to clear up. Your schedule can then be modified and you can carry on, instead of being stuck at a standstill. This helps minimize your time on the road while making your deliveries and pickups on time, without unpredictable delays.

6. Unfamiliar Destinations

Whether you’re a rookie courier or a seasoned delivery driver, you’re going to encounter unfamiliar destinations. Don’t take the chance that you can’t find your location and you won’t make your delivery on time. Be sure you have an accurate way to find those uncommon stops.

Some possible solutions:

  • Make sure any mapping app you use is up to date in your location.
  • Spend a few minutes every morning reviewing your route, and looking up uncommon stops before you leave with your deliveries. 
  • Carry an up-to-date paper map of your locale, in case your phone app or vehicle GPS doesn’t have the unfamiliar location in its database.

7. Getting Lost

Another exasperating situation is being a lost courier. Prevent this most common of driver problems by making your route as familiar as possible before you even head out for the day. Knowing that you have a high quality route-planning app will ensure you don’t get lost.

Driving It Home

Life as a driver is a great way to make a living, and demand will only continue with the increase in trends like online shopping and work-from-home scenarios. 

But there are challenges to being a delivery driver, like getting lost, finding unfamiliar destinations, and needing a bathroom break. Navigate your best route with our guide to the 7 problems faced by couriers, and how to solve them.

  • Ardith Stephanson

    Freelancer Writer

Ardith Stephanson is a freelance writer and journalist who writes on a variety of topic areas and has some fun with her personal blog theardizan.com

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