As an owner driver, jobs are easy to pick up wherever you happen to be in the country with the Courier Exchange app. If you happen to take on a load in London when you’re not a native to the Capital, the idea of finding your way around its notoriously fiendish road network can be intimidating to say the least. But don’t let it dissuade you from accepting the work – here are five of our top tips for safely navigating London like a native on your next delivery job.
You may be surprised to learn that many drivers who have always lived and worked in the Capital are lost as soon as they leave their own borough. For them, and you, it pays to follow these simple steps before you negotiate the delivery schedule for your London load.
1. Do Your Research
London is a vibrant capital city where no two days are the same. One very handy piece of advice for couriers is to check online for any possible disruptions before you start planning your journey. It’s entirely possible that your route could be affected by one of the following:
It would be foolish, for example, to agree to a quick delivery in West London on the weekend of the Notting Hill Carnival. Of course there will always be the chance of last-minute traffic problems or road closures, but it is worth checking online beforehand to save time (and patience) later.
2. Give a Generous Time Estimate
Don’t be tempted to accept multiple cross-London deliveries in a single day as an owner driver. Jobs may come in thick and fast, but customer satisfaction and a delivery schedule you can stick to are more important than completing multiple jobs in a short space of time.
You can be sure that the traffic in the Capital will move at an agonisingly slow pace, no matter the hour of your delivery. It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re sat at a standstill in a queue, but don’t add to the pressure by giving yourself a schedule you can’t hope to meet.
3. Map Out Your Route Ahead of Time
It may sound obvious, but a wing and a prayer just don’t cut it when it comes to navigating London. We would always recommend checking your route options on both a conventional map and a Sat Nav before you set out on your journey. That way you can gain an understanding of the lay of the land and identify two or three routes that would get you to your destination, before picking the most sensible one.
4. Stick to Your Plans
Once you have chosen your route, take the advice of the London Hackney Club (otherwise known as black cabbies, to you and me): even if you have years of navigation under your belt and know the streets of London like the back of your hand, a lot of the time traffic jams simply can’t be avoided. Try not to stray from your chosen route – attempting to “get around the traffic” will only lead to frustration and potentially add precious minutes to your delivery time.
5. Two Pairs of Eyes are Better Than One
It can really help to have a second pair of eyes in the cab with you when you’re driving in an inner city with multiple lanes and exits. We’ve all been in that situation when your Sat Nav gives you an unclear instruction and you’re craning around to find the correct turning. A mate on the seat beside you can keep a look out for road signs and man the phone while you’re driving, allowing you to focus all of your efforts on the road. Of course, a second pair of hands also comes in useful when it’s time to unload at your destination.
Follow these simple steps, keep a cool head and you’ll be planning your London routes like a true Londoner in no time!
Are you looking for courier work in the Capital? Find owner driver jobs on our live freight exchange, which connects drivers with companies and freight forwarders looking to subcontract their loads. Go online today to discover what business opportunities you could gain with Courier Exchange.
Stay ‘in-the-loop’ with the latest news, products and services from Courier Exchange.
Well, it appears I may have to eat a small serving of my words this week. Why am I embarrassed, you might ask? Well, if you were paying attention you'll know that last week I published a post about how I was glad owner driver jobs were becoming more popular in order to offer some healthy competition to Royal Mail. I was saying I think it's a lesson for the Post Office not to get smug and to actually update their prices.Read the full article
I hope everyone is having a fab summer and not being too put off by the crazy succession of heat waves and rainy spells. Although I really don't think you will be - after all, we ARE British!Read the full article
You’re a fairly experienced driver for a delivery company. You know the score. You’re used to spending your working days in relative solitude. Is it time to take the leap to become a self-employed courier driver?Read the full article
Hello, all! Steven here!
Yes, you're seeing it right – we're kicking things off with a post by yours truly again. Don't worry, though - I won't be taking this blog away from Auntie Gertie anytime soon. I couldn't possibly do that to her! This is her baby and she needs to be the one to write most of the stuff in it. So this is not a takeover, just a friendly guest post.Read the full article
Talk to us! On the phone, online or in person… we’re here to help.