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Consumer Delivery - Part 11 - Contract Carriers

Furniture World Magazine


It pays to mind your own business.

Stores that handle their own deliveries often ask at what volume it pays to go with a contract carrier.

The answer isn't as simple as a specific number. Of course, if volume is limited and deliveries are primarily local, it will probably be logical to run your own show with a leased truck and a hired hand or two.

But once you're operating three or more trucks, and if you're covering a lot of geography-especially in suburban areas where deliveries are far apart-you start running into headaches and costs you're better off without.

Under these circumstances it pays to mind your own business-to focus on selling-and let a reputable specialized carrier carry the load.

While it isn't too difficult to operate one or two trucks-68% of the stores that handle their own deliveries do- once you're into a fleet operation you're also into personnel and maintenance situations that can be as time-consuming as they are costly.

You have to factor in training and supervisory costs as well as salaries, overtime, pensions, medical and other benefits, employment taxes, fleet depreciation (if you're the owner), insurance, licenses, uniforms, special equipment and a long list of etceteras.

When you finally get to the bottom line, you'll most likely find your own costs and a contract carrier's estimates fairly close.

Important as cost is, expertise is an even more important criterion in choosing a furniture delivery service. In a recent store management survey, for example, 32% of the respondents ranked carrier carefulness as the prime factor; only 22% cited cost.

When evaluating carriers, query stores for whom they deliver. A carrier that delivers on its promises -that consistently makes prompt pickups, has and holds to a fixed schedule, knows how different pieces 'handle," has a good on-time record, sets up quickly and efficiently, has careful, courteous crews and evokes customer praise-always costs less in the long run.

Delivery is your last shot at favorably impressing customers. When a furniture delivery service that knows its business and minds yours, every, sale gets closed with a smile. Knowing all's well on the delivery end, you're really free to mind the store-to mind your own business more productively.