Often it’s the small steps that we take that are the key to realising big ambitions. But if you don’t believe me, then just ask Andrew Hough, an Aberdeen-based owner operator, who joined Courier Exchange in August last year.
Andrew Hough, founder of Aberdeen Light Haulage
When Hough, a retired public servant, founded Aberdeen Light Haulage in May last year, he took a conscious decision to grow his business gradually, and he says that Courier Exchange’s safe and secure trading platform has really helped him to find his feet. But it wasn’t always that way. He has vivid memories of the difficulties he faced before he became a member.
Hough recounts, “I have always loved logistics and I spent many happy years in Manchester working for a large Haulier in Trafford Park before I began my career in local government. When I left Aberdeen City Council last year, I decided to start my own dispatch company. But a lot had changed since I last drove for a living. I bought a small van – a 1.8 litre Ford Transit Connect – but found the courier same day drop-off landscape to be crowded and at times cut-throat. Sure – there was no shortage of work, but the marketplace seemed to be dominated by large consumer delivery companies, which were paying very little. To cover my overheads and support my wife, the money they were offering simply wasn’t enough.”
But perhaps most importantly, Hough says CX taught him the value of “learning to walk before he could run”.
“The Exchange runs an Academy programme for those, like me, who aren’t new to the freight sector, but have been out of the game for a long time, or for people new to the industry. It teaches the basics from accepting a job to post-delivery reporting when you have completed one. I also invested quite a lot of time in familiarising myself with the CX Mobile App, which is the source of all my work helping me to regulate and dictate the pattern of my day. Laying these important foundations was vital before I decided to hit the roads.”
With the basics under his belt, Hough says that he has recorded “consistent and constant growth month on month” with CX now accounting for 95 per cent of all his work.
“Many of my core clients are in the Oil & Gas industry and the agricultural and fishing sectors. The beauty of the Exchange is that once you have built up a network of customers, it is reputation, and not name, that wins you the most profitable loads. Over the last nine months, I have worked hard to deliver a professional and timely service to every client that I have worked for, and this is reflected in the online feedback I’ve received. The CX feedback system is perhaps the most useful tool available to operators when they are subcontracting loads, as they ensure that drivers maintain services levels 24/7, 365 days a year.”
But the Exchange has also helped Hough to cultivate and nurture a brand new client base further afield too.
Says Hough, “CX has increased my earning opportunities tenfold and as a result the scale and scope of my work has widened considerably. While I operate in Scotland’s main cities, there is also increased demand for our services in Manchester, Birmingham and Southampton. The Exchange also generates a plentiful stream of backloads which more than covers my mileage home to Aberdeen.
Continues Hough, “Most of all though, the Exchange has given me the freedom to earn a good living on my terms, which allows me to spend more time in the garden and go on regular caravan holidays with my wife. That, for me, is the greatest benefit.”
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