Retreading: good for your wallet and the environment

There’s not a courier driver on the planet that hasn’t been involved in some kind of chat about the environment and the need for all of us in the industry to “go green”. It’s probably only fair that we’re targeted more than anyone else because let’s face it, our industry does contribute to the emissions problem more than most.

But guess what? While sometimes it all seems a bit hard to do the right thing, there’s actually a way that you can be kind to the environment and save yourself some cash! Which is not something that happens too often…

Reduce, reuse, recycle… retread!

Now that I’ve got your attention, let me turn it to your tyres – usually a word that strikes dread into the hearts and wallets of every courier driver. Because we all know how many we go through and how expensive they are to replace. But whether you’re a lone wolf owner-driver or a manager in charge of a large fleet, retreading instead of replacing is a really effective way of doing your bit for the environment. Oh, and saving yourself some dosh along the way.

Stats don’t lie

Just like Shakira’s hips, the stats don’t lie. Here they come:

Cost vs. quality

Of course, not all tyres are ideal to retread and you’ll find that the low-cost ones fall into that category. It’s a whole different argument (now there’s an idea for the next blog post), but did you know that if you use cheap ‘single life’ tyres on your van you’ll use up to four times the number than if you invest in ‘premium’ branded ones and have them retreaded? Well now you know.   

So if you do the sums, a courier driver (or fleet manager) who invests in premium tyres that are designed to be retreaded will not only save money, they will save the environment so much more.

If you’re a courier driver, fleet manager or freight forwarder, it’s a no-brainer that your business will benefit from membership to Courier Exchange. As part of the UK’s fastest growing freight exchange, you’ll be able subcontract work, find available loads and expand your reach nationwide.

We need to talk about tailgating. You might already be shaking your head and thinking “no, not me, I always keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of me. Honest guv’nor.” But the thing is, we can’t all be saying that truthfully, because the stats show that a whopping 23% of all motor vehicle accidents are due to rear-end collisions…

The stats don’t lie

Quite a shocking figure isn’t it? And for those of us out there doing courier work on the roads every day, the need for speed in order to get everything done in the hours we’ve got can make us even more likely to slip up. While your personal driving record might well be as clean as a whistle, consider these facts:

The clash of close and personal

The research also shows that being followed too closely has a negative affect on many road users (do I hear an amen to that?). It’s clearly one of the most annoying behaviours on the road, yet it still happens. Accidents can cause major delays (a big problem for those doing courier work) and, in more serious cases, personal injury or fatality.

It’s simple: back off and you’ll save time, costly downtime expenses and maybe even your life.

Tips to keep your distance

We’re all in the same boat (or van) when it comes to the time pressures of courier work. But it’s important that we all do our bit to reduce the agro and accidents on the road. Keep calm, keep your distance and we’ll all get to carry on. Honest guv’nor!

If you’re not already a member of the Courier Exchange platform it’s time to join the UK’s fastest growing freight exchange. Membership will give you access to real-time information to help you subcontract courier work, find available drivers, expand your routes and watch your business grow!

Newsflash! Even though there were a few hints earlier in the year, we think Ford’s latest release of hybrid van models is absolutely electrifying news. So much so, that we make no apologies for the pun…

New models, new breed

It was a pretty telling step when Ford announced in early 2019 that every one of their models rolling off the production line from now on will include at least one electrified option – including hybrid versions. For anyone making a living from courier work and considering an upgrade, the news would probably be enough to tip the scales in Ford’s favour; the fact that two of its most popular models used for courier work are among the first of the ‘new breed’ might seal quite a few deals.

Focus and Fiesta given the hybrid treatment

As part of the manufacturer’s widespread electrification plans, the Fiesta and Focus EcoBoost Hybrid models were unveiled in Amsterdam in early April. The vehicles feature a ‘mild hybrid’ version of the standard EcoBoost – which is a three-cylinder, one-litre petrol engine. So how are they different? Glad you asked.

But what does all that mean?

Glad you asked… If you’re into the facts and figures it’s actually pretty impressive when you break down what these hybrid engines can achieve in terms of efficiency and emissions reductions.

Focus EcoBoost

Fuel efficiency 4.71/100km
CO2 emissions – from 106g/km

Fiesta EcoBoost

Fuel efficiency – 4.91/100km
CO2 emissions – from 112g/km

If you’re going to be using your vehicle for courier work, not only do these stats represent a potentially significant saving on fuel/running costs, they’ll deliver you smoothly into EU compliancy without a care in the world – and that kind of assurance is priceless.

Not only, but also…

If you’re in the market for a larger capacity vehicle than those two above, you might want to hold off until a little later in the year when Ford releases new hybrid models of the two-litre TDCi diesel Transit and Torneo. Here are some more stats to get your motor running.

Transit Two-Tonne EcoBlue

Fuel efficiency – 7.61/100km
CO2 emissions – from 144g/km

Transit Custom EcoBlue

Fuel efficiency – 6.71/100km
CO2 emissions – from 139g/km

Torneo Custom EcoBlue

Fuel efficiency – 7.01/100km
CO2 emissions – from 137g/km

Ford: delivering for the delivery drivers

Ford has always stressed their commitment to producing more environmentally sustainable vehicles for their customers. They’ve certainly proved they’re capable of delivering on that, by developing green engines for their most popular models. So, if you’re planning on upgrading your van anytime soon, are they worth a look? We definitely think so. Glad you asked…

Do you want to get more courier work or expand your reach throughout the UK and Europe? Do you want to subcontract loads or find a reliable driver to transport your goods? If you’re not already a member of the Courier Exchange, you’re missing out on the opportunity to do all that and more. Become part of this vital industry network and take your business to new heights.

There are a few issues that have had more airtime recently than the impending implementation of CAZs (Clean Air Zones) as part of the strategy to reduce emissions in our UK cities. While there’s absolutely no doubt a more environmentally friendly approach to managing congested cities is urgently required, there are many who believe that charging to enter these zones will put huge pressure on the infrastructure.

If you’re a delivery driver no doubt you’ve been following the topic with interest, and you may already be aware that a growing number of local councils are rejecting the CAZ and coming up with their own alternatives to solving the problem. Following hot on the heels of Southampton, Nottingham, and Derby, Cardiff Council is the latest to do so.

Tackling emissions without a CAZ

Back in January 2018, in a well-publicised case the organisation ClientEarth challenged the Welsh Government to reduce the levels of NO2 on Castle Street, in Cardiff, which were predicted to be higher than EU permitted levels by 2021. In a nutshell, the Government and ClientEarth came to an agreement and Cardiff Council was instructed to begin work on finding ways to begin reducing emissions levels immediately.

Finding a way…

Accordingly, Cardiff Council came up with a range of measures that they believed would tackle the issue in the fastest, most effective way. They include:

…Without a CAZ

The Council says these measures will not only rectify the problem on Castle Street, but also across the entire city – negating the need for a CAZ. They’ve called for the Welsh Government to provide funding ASAP and have rejected the proposal for a CAZ in the city.

But not everyone’s happy

Even though the Council’s decision to reject the clean air zone will come as music to the ears of many a Welsh delivery driver, not everyone is happy – to put it mildly. Chair of charity organisation Healthy Air Cymru has come out very vocally to decry the rejection of a CAZ, saying that implementing these zones is recognised as “one of the most effective means of reducing transport emissions.” He went on to say that the people of the city are being poisoned and that the zone was vital to protect them from even more dangerous levels of pollution in the future.

CAZs: yay or nay?

If you’re an independent delivery driver or fleet manager in the courier industry, the side of the fence on which you stand on the CAZ issue is probably pretty clear. But there are also quite a few people who agree with the stance taken by Healthy Air Cymru. Feel free to let us know your thoughts, because our differences are what make the industry go around…

Membership to the Courier Exchange gives you fingertip access to real-time load matching if you’re a delivery driver and an entire virtual workforce of drivers if you’re a fleet manager or freight forwarder. If you’re not already enjoying the benefits, get in touch and we’ll help you to become a part of the UK’s fastest growing and most trusted online exchange.

There are a few issues that have had more airtime recently than the impending implementation of CAZs (Clean Air Zones) as part of the strategy to reduce emissions in our UK cities. While there’s absolutely no doubt a more environmentally friendly approach to managing congested cities is urgently required, there are many who believe that charging to enter these zones will put huge pressure on the infrastructure.

If you’re a delivery driver no doubt you’ve been following the topic with interest, and you may already be aware that a growing number of local councils are rejecting the CAZ and coming up with their own alternatives to solving the problem. Following hot on the heels of Southampton, Nottingham and Derby, Cardiff Council is the latest to do so.

Back in January 2018, in a well-publicised case the organisation ClientEarth challenged the Welsh Government to reduce the levels of NO2 on Castle Street, in Cardiff, which were predicted to be higher than EU permitted levels by 2021. In a nutshell, the Government and ClientEarth came to an agreement and Cardiff Council was instructed to begin work on finding ways to begin reducing emissions levels immediately.

Finding a way…

Accordingly, Cardiff Council came up with a range of measures that they believed would tackle the issue in the fastest, most effective way. They include:

…without a CAZ

The Council says these measures will not only rectify the problem on Castle Street, but also across the entire city – negating the need for a CAZ. They’ve called for the Welsh Government to provide funding ASAP and have rejected the proposal for a CAZ in the city.

But not everyone’s happy

Even though the Council’s decision to reject the clean air zone will come as music to the ears of many a Welsh delivery driver, not everyone is happy – to put it mildly. Chair of charity organisation Healthy Air Cymru has come out very vocally to decry the rejection of a CAZ, saying that implementing these zones is recognised as “one of the most effective means of reducing transport emissions.” He went on to say that the people of the city are being poisoned and that the zone was vital to protect them from even more dangerous levels of pollution in the future.

CAZs: yay or nay?

If you’re an independent delivery driver or fleet manager in the courier industry, the side of the fence on which you stand on the CAZ issue is probably pretty clear. But there are also quite a few people who agree with the stance taken by Healthy Air Cymru. Feel free to let us know your thoughts, because our differences are what make the industry go around… Membership to the Courier Exchange gives you fingertip access to real-time load matching if you’re a delivery driver and an entire virtual workforce of drivers if you’re a fleet manager or freight forwarder. If you’re not already enjoying the benefits, get in touch and we’ll help you to become a part of the UK’s fastest growing and most trusted online exchange

If you’re an owner driver, your most important asset (apart from your good self of course) is your vehicle, so protecting your work van and whatever you carry inside it is a very important consideration. An experienced owner driver might think they’ve got that area covered, but there’s always something new to be learnt.

Here are a few oldies, some goodies, and a couple you might not have thought of… 

Extras count

Nobody wants to fork out big bucks for added ‘extras’ if they don’t pay their way, but when you’re talking security, a few aftermarket modifications can go a long way. Consider any or all of the following:

Upgrade existing

If you’re constrained by budget, you can also upgrade or simply work with what you’ve got. For example, you can purchase decent steering locks without breaking the bank, and another level of security can be achieved with a handbrake lock. The general rule of thumb is to create as much of a deterrent as possible to potential thieves, so even fitting cheap fuel cap locks and locking wheel nuts can help.

Think laterally…

Another trick of the trade to apply plastic tint to all the windows of the vehicle, so if somebody does attempt to smash them the window will stay in tact rather than shatter and allow easy access. Even putting on a sticker stating that there are no valuables left in the van can be enough to deter an opportunistic thief.    

… And act sensibly

The thing about being an owner driver is that the buck (and blame) stops with you. How you conduct yourself on the job has a knock-on effect to every part of your business – and that includes vehicle security. Take a moment to reflect on your daily habits and make sure that you’re doing all you can.

If you’re an owner driver and you haven’t yet got your membership to the Courier Exchange, it’s time to get on board! You’ll have fingertip access to real time available loads in your area and you’ll also become part of one of the UK’s most trusted transport industry platforms.  

Well hello there and I hope you don’t mind a little bit of bell ringing – because we’re very proud to announce the launch of our brand new Courier Exchange website. We’re confident that those who are already a part of our online platform will be excited by its evolution, and those who are new to it will be absolutely blown away by what it offers courier drivers and freight forwarders.  

Friendly, fresh and functional

So, why are we so excited by the changes to a platform that was, quite frankly, pretty outstanding anyhow? Because we’re always evolving with technology and we listen to our community of courier drivers, fleet managers and freight forwarders. We want to make sure we offer not only the best possible user experience, but also the most innovative and relevant functionality.

What’s new

The most important thing about the site is its improved functionality and just how that’s going to benefit our members. The main difference you’ll notice is the division of the user experience into three separate groups:

What it means is that when you come to the site you can immediately see where you need to click in order to get the services that are relevant to you. Once you’ve clicked on the tab, you’ll be guided through the information tailored specifically to your group, and see exactly how you can utilise the platform in an optimal way.

You can access live demos, read testimonials and case studies, explore advanced administrational and operational features, and buy or sell capacity using real time updates.

Good looks don’t go unnoticed 

Looks aren’t everything, we know that, but there’s no doubt the new site’s use of fresh, dynamic graphics and an easy-to-navigate interface count for something. We’ve taken our own advice and made sure every mile matters – or in this case, every last bit of pixel space. Don’t worry, though, the site will still look and feel familiar to you if you’re a regular user, but it’s just a little bit more edgy and contemporary. Yes, we have been working out, thanks for asking!

We invite you to come on over and take a tour of the Courier Exchange website. Whether you’re a courier driver, freight forwarder or company, we know you’ll find the changes just as exciting as we do. The UK’s fastest growing and most trusted online exchange just got better…

The key to being a good manager is to empower your employees to manage themselves. While that may seem to be at odds with the old school style of management, the benefits of giving your workers more scope to self-manage can greatly improve the efficiency of any operation.

Nowhere is this ethos more effective than in our industry. For those of us who are fleet managers, there’s some good news. The technology to make your drivers become more autonomous while carrying out their courier jobs, without losing any visibility is already available to us. Here are some of the essentials.

Smartphone Technology Talks

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The connectivity we all take for granted nowadays is pretty incredible, and as a fleet manager you’ve probably been using vehicle tracking systems for a while now. Being able to keep an eye on what’s going on while drivers are out on the road doing courier jobs has enabled managers to have a far greater level of control over all aspects of the business, all while sitting back at their desk.

The more recent advances in telematics and smartphone technology have taken things even further, by using apps to afford drivers a way of managing themselves, in terms of their daily operational procedures and their own behaviour on the road.

While there is a vast (and ever-evolving) range of apps available, enacting three very simple areas of change via the use of apps will make a massive difference for a very small investment:

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Online Load Matching

For self employed drivers and fleet managers, membership to an online load matching platform like Courier Exchange affords instant access via a smartphone app and delivers a huge range of courier jobs to the palm of their hand. For the freight forwarder, it means having an entire fleet of vetted, peer-rated drivers at their disposal. This kind of technology facilitates a high level of autonomy and visibility, whether drivers are working for themselves, sub-contracting courier jobs or employed full-time as part of a larger company.

Joining the Courier Exchange makes good business sense for anyone in the industry. Professional management tools that come with membership make doing business with multiple partners and clients as easy as swiping a screen, and real time load matching means that you, or your drivers, will have access to a huge range of available jobs.

The first quarter of a new year is always a time to reflect on the challenges and achievements of the previous twelve months. It’s not just about giving yourself a pat on the back, though, it’s also a way of checking that you’re on track towards new goals and bigger and better challenges.

Here at Courier Exchange we pride ourselves on meeting every new challenge with a solution, and making every solution the very best it can be for our members. We’re obviously doing something right because as the UK’s most trusted courier network, we’re at the forefront of technology and our member base is growing exponentially.

If you’re already a member of the Exchange you’ll know the effect that this online platform has on your bottom line, because you’re experiencing it for yourself. And if you’re working in the courier industry and you’re not yet a member, you’re running out of reasons why not

Something to Shout About

We’re massively proud of the stellar achievements Courier Exchange notched up in 2018, so pardon us for tooting our own horns but we thought we’d take the time and screen space to give a little shout out…to us.

2018: A Year of Firsts

In the tough and challenging year that was 2018, CX racked up a whole lot of firsts. Here are a few examples from our statistics collated over the twelve months.

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Good, Better, Best

When you see those figures it’s certainly impressive, but bear in mind that for all those stats cited above, the magic milestones weren’t just passed, they were significantly exceeded. How did we do it? Simple.

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Looking Forward, Always on the Move

We’re looking to make 2019 even better for our members so we can smash those stats again. If you’re in the delivery industry, becoming a member of the Courier Exchange just makes good sense. We help facilitate the growth of your business by offering real time load matching, professional management tools and connection to a vast network of industry professionals. Make 2019 your year too!

Those of us who earn a living from self employed courier jobs need, by definition of the term, to be all things to all people – at least within the context of our own business. One of the most vital components of succeeding in the crowded delivery space is consistency. Consistency of service, of course. But consistency of work, most definitely.

If your business model involves self employed courier jobs, you’ll need to chase the work leads yourself. So, what’s one of the most accessible, regular and growing sources of work these days? Fingers at the ready with your answer…yes, it’s online shopping.

Getting a Foot In

The number of people shopping online is increasing exponentially. It’s certainly changed the face of retail and whether that’s in a good way or not is an entirely different argument. But all those shoes, handbags, books, toys, furniture and electrical goods need to get from the retailer to the consumer, so the news is good for anyone in the delivery industry. It’s opened up a wealth of opportunities for those of us who take on self employed courier jobs. but in However to keep those jobs rolling in, you have to be able to offer the retailer what their customers want.

Tracking Options

In research carried out by Royal Mail, along with free delivery, one of the definitive answers to the question “what do online shoppers want” is information. They are far more likely to shop with confidence with an assurance of when their goods are going to turn up on their doorstep and, even beyond that, 74% of them want updates on the progress and to be able to see for themselves exactly where their delivery is at any given time.

It’s a compelling statistic, so if you want to take on self employed courier jobs with a retailer, unless you can offer their customers an easy way of tracking their parcel, you’ll be behind the eight-ball from the get-go. In fact, so far behind you may as well go hide in the pocket.

With the many and varied Smartphone apps available today it’s a relatively simple matter to integrate a tracking system into your daily operations. A small investment in tech and learning will make a huge difference to the level of service you can offer a retailer. So make sure you shout about it when you’re bidding for a job.

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Express Deliveries

Delivery options are also important and online shoppers now expect to be able to choose a same day or next day delivery if they wish. The Royal Mail’s study shows that up to a third of online shoppers choose an express option and are willing to pay for it.

As a self employed courier, jobs can be costed to integrate this service and, if you’re able to offer express delivery times (and can show you’re reliable) you’re far more likely to win a regular contract with a retailer to deliver their online goods. In return for your hard work and diligence you’ll be able to charge a premium rate for the service.

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P.S I Don’t Love You

A happy little side note to the burgeoning online shopping industry is that there’s a whole other side to it: returns. Many retailers are having to offer a free returns service if the customer isn’t happy with the goods – so who do you think is going to be picking it back up and returning it to the warehouse? You are. And you’re going to be paid to do it.

If you’re looking to expand your reach and get more work, becoming a part of the Courier Exchange is one of the easiest ways to make new networks and nurture existing ones. You’ll also be able to get the benefits of knowledge from your peers working in the industry. If you’re not a member, it’s time to ask yourself why!