25 October 20217 minute read

Ask the Expert: The 7 Greatest Habits to Adopt on Your First Multi-drop Delivery

Ask the Expert: The 7 Greatest Habits to Adopt on Your First Multi-drop Delivery

Behind every profitable multi-drop delivery route is a prepared driver. When you’re new to delivery driving, there are some habits that the seasoned pros adopt that make them faster.

So what do they do? What tips and tricks can you learn from them? And how can you make the most money?

Most importantly, what do you need to think about to start your day out right?

Well, there’s no particular hard and fast way about it, but I’ll give you a breakdown of the things that I have learnt after years on the road.

Here are the seven habits that you can adopt on your first multi-drop delivery route. Whether it’s one drop or a million drops.

This is part of a series of regular posts from Pete the Courier Driver with hints and tips for delivery drivers. If you’re new to delivery driving, make sure to also check out How Much You Need to Start as an independent Courier.

Multi-drop delivery habit #1: Get the right load on board

When you get to the depot, make sure that you get the right load on board.

Go into the transport office, give them your number, give them your notes, tell them where your route is and give them your postcodes.

I used to deliver fridges out of Milton Keynes. I’d get there at five o’clock in the morning and they’d load me. Once, I had two loads going to Coventry (CV) postcodes. They loaded me and they loaded another guy. I went in and I said “Right, I’m on run 512” – and they went “No, the other guys got 512. We’ve loaded you with 511.” I’m like “Don’t worry, then” I said, “He’ll do 512, I’ll do 511”.

They went “We can’t do that.” So they take us all back, take my load off, take his load off (despite the fact that we’re both going to Coventry), swap them over, and put them back on the other vehicles.

By the time that’s all done and out of the yard, I’m half an hour late, I’ve hit all the morning traffic. It’s just cost me.

All that could have been avoided if we’d have gone in and specified at the beginning that “He’s 511, I’m 512” – and then the right load would have gone on the right vehicle.

So, make sure you get your right load at the depo.

Multi-drop delivery habit #2: Make sure all of your manifest is there

Now, if you got a scanning gun, then you’ll know that you have the right load because you have to scan as you go – but it doesn’t always work that way.

It’s worth five minutes just to go through the back to make sure that everything you’ve been loaded with is what you needed to have been loaded with. I’ve had nightmares before when I used to do Argos deliveries and you get out there – and you’re looking for a drop that’s not there.

So you ring them and you go “I can’t find this laptop. It’s not here.” To be told that “It’s still on the shelf – you’ll have to just come back and get it.” This is fine if all of your drops are within a two-mile radius of the hub.

But if they’re not, you’ve either got to go back and get it (you can be 20 minutes away to then carry on your run), or – when you finish – you get back and drop it off on your way home. At the end of the day, it is painful and it can be avoided.

Again, less haste and more speed. Just take five minutes at the beginning of the day to make sure that everything is on board. It will save you time in the long run.

Multi-drop delivery habit #3: Know where your packages are in your vehicle

This is where Circuit does come in very handy because it’s got a new feature called Place in Vehicle.

It means that when you’ve got to load over 40 parcels, rather than just throwing them all in the back and thinking “Where is it?”, then using this dead handy feature will tell you whether they’re in the top, middle or bottom left or right of your vehicle.

That way, when you get to the drop, rather than have to look through a whole van, you can focus on a small part of it and know where to pick the package up from.

I’ve had it before, where the manifest says “Nintendo”, and I’m looking for this great big box as a “Nintendo” – when it turns out to be a tiny Nintendo DS game. So it would have been more useful if I didn’t have to comb through all of the packages – I could know exactly what and where it was.

Load them in a clever manner. The Circuit Place in Vehicle feature is a very clever tool to have there.

Multi-drop delivery habit #4: Check your route

You’ll get a list given to you of where to go and their route finders are not always the best.

In my experience, I had one once that was three stops (for XPO as well). It was to Lincoln, then Sheffield, then Lincoln. And I looked at it and I thought “I’m not doing it in that order. That’s just mental.” So I took it upon myself and went to Lincoln.

I did the first and third stops in Lincoln. And then I’m heading away to stop number two in Sheffield, and a guy rings me up and he goes “You haven’t dropped Sheffield yet.” And I went “No, I haven’t.” He said “Why not?” I said “Because it’s Lincoln to Sheffield to Lincoln. That’s just crazy. I’ve done the two Lincoln’s, I’m on my way now.” And he says “Fair enough”.

I mean, admittedly, it was a timed drop and I knew that I had to have it away by a certain time. Sometimes you get a certain time. I knew I had to have it away by this time and that I had plenty of time.

And that is another thing where Circuit is dead handy. It does this thing for timed drops. For example, if a parcel has to be there at a certain time, you can put it in.

Also, if a place is shut.

For example, if you can’t drop between 1 pm and 2 pm, it’s not going to stick you there so that you arrive at five past one and then have to sit there for three-quarters of an hour waiting for them to reopen. It’s a handy little tool to have.

To recap, make sure that you:

  • Optimize your route
  • Have the right manifest
  • Put the right load on board
  • Check that it’s all there
  • Load your vehicle in the right order

All of these things are going to save you time on your day.

Multi-drop delivery habit #5: Deliver to the right address

Make sure you deliver to the right address. I’ve had a delivery before where I dropped off a deckchair, done the next few drops, and then I looked two or three stops down – and it said “deliver deckchair” – and three stops back was supposed to have been delivered five bags of children’s play sand. So I had to go all the way back to swap the deck chair for the play sand. It takes time out of your day and time is money.

If I just spent a little bit of time where I dropped it off, checked the postcode, checked the address, checked it on the side. It will save you time in the long run.

Multi-drop delivery habit #6: Make sure that you don’t have more than one parcel

You always get that sinking feeling when you get near the end of the run and you think there are more boxes left here than there should be.

I used to get patio sets when I did Argos deliveries. They say on the box that it’s one of four – because you’ve got the table, four chairs, the umbrella, and then you’ve got the umbrella base. All of which has to go there. So again, just a minute or so when you’re dropping off, just double-checking: Is everything there – and also make sure there are no parcels left on – because lots of times they might have two or three jobs at the same, same location.

Just take a little bit of time to make sure when you get to your drop that you dropped everything that needs to be there before you go to the next one, it will save you time in the long run.

Multi-drop delivery habit #7: Know when to give up

I take pride in trying to get everything off, but sometimes you just can’t do it

I had a pub delivery once – I’ve got around the front and you couldn’t park. So I finally managed to get in the car park and knocked on the door (no answer). I’ve then had to walk around the front, knocked on the door – it’s all locked. I’ve walked around the back – it’s all locked. It’s deserted.

Then there was a metal staircase. I thought I’d run up to the metal staircase, nothing on the floor, one, nothing on floor two. I was there for 10-15 minutes trying to get this parcel off. It was never going to happen.

Sometimes it just doesn’t happen. It’s a fail. Do the best you can: Knock on the door, ring the doorbell if there are neighbors then talk to the neighbors, or ring the phone number. If there’s a number on there, and no one answers, stick it in the back of the van and take it back to base. They will throw it in the container – someone will deliver it tomorrow.

Multi-drop delivery: Driving it home

So that’s it. There are seven habits that you can adopt on your first delivery route that will make your life easier and more lucrative in the long run.

  1. Get the right load on board
  2. Make sure all of your manifest is there
  3. Know where your packages are in your vehicle
  4. Check your route
  5. Deliver to the right address
  6. Make sure that you don’t have more than one parcel
  7. Don’t hang around for too long

If you want to learn any more about multi-drop or courier delivery. subscribe to the Circuit YouTube channel.

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.