It’s the most common surname in Wales, the second most popular in England, and the fourth most widespread family name in the USA, yet Andrew Jones, one of Courier Exchange’s newest members, is clearly one of a kind. Why? Well, if you took a look at Mr Jones’s CV you’d see that before turning to logistics, he was an international pool player, representing his country dozens of times over a four-year period.
Andrew recalls, “I toured the UK, but playing for Wales will always remain one of my proudest moments.Sadly, unlike snooker, the prize money from pool couldn’t pay the bills and I had a young family to take care of. Now that I am a Courier Exchange member, logistics, on the other hand, is providing me with a great living. And what’s more -strangely the skills needed to succeed at both pool and the logistics business overlap.
“How so? Andrew explains, “To be the best in pool, you need to out-think your opponent. Therefore, strategy, tactics and the ability to improvise, are all qualities which separate a good player from a top one.”
Continues Andrew, “When I moved into same day logistics, I found that my skillset was transferable. For in this field too, there is a need to think several steps ahead when planning routes, and to change tack at short notice when a driver is ill or busy. But, like anything -commitment to the job and enthusiasm always shine through in the end.”
From pool table to four wheels…
Once on the logistics ladder, Andrew rose quickly up the ranks. It wasn’t long before he was promoted to operations supervisor, managing the account of a large logistics company.
“I was managing 25 people and working 12 hour days. It was a fantastic experience and one that came with lots of responsibility, which I loved. But then things changed. It became mentally draining and monotonous at times as I felt I was constantly fighting a losing battle covering routes when couriers were ill, and re-routing drivers when their usual routes were blocked. In the end, I decided to hand in my notice as I was missing out on important family time and also, career-wise, while I was in the right profession, I felt that I hadn’t quite found my niche.”
With a talent for same day logistics, and for sniffing out new opportunities, it wasn’t long, however, before Andrew found it in collaborative logistics. And little did he know at the time, it was a career move that was to change his life.
“I had heard a little about freight exchange platforms, but I wanted to find out more. Suddenly, I had the time to sit down and take a closer look, which led me to CX.
He continues, “I was absolutely amazed by the number of available loads in my local area. But what impressed me more, was the quality of loads, and the number of world-class companies operating on the platform.
The great thing about the Exchange is that my van -or rather the CX Mobile App -is now my office. As soon as I finish a job, I use the mobile app to scan my invoice and POD and email them to the client directly.
“Finally, I loved the fact that CX checks and verifies the credentials of everyone before they’re allowed to join. Therefore, signing up to the platform really wasn’t a difficult decision to make.”
In April, Andrew, who is a sole trader, set up a courier business, which he named Guvs 24/7 and he says he hasn’t looked back since. But why Guvs 24/7?
He explains, “‘Guvs 24/7’ because before I joined CX, my delivery range was limited to south Wales, while there was zero flexibility in the hours that I could work. CX, however, has given me the freedom to work where I want, when I want, and also to choose my hours.
Continues Andrew, “Furthermore, with CX there are no limits. So as well finding work for me in my home town of Newport, it allows me to cast the net far and wide. For instance, I make regular journeys to Scotland, Flint in north Wales, Liverpool, and Manchester. I also ferry a lot of goods to south-east England, and many of my customers have started calling me ‘Guv 24/7’ because they know that I will take on any job, no matter what time it is.”
Since becoming a member in mid-April, Mr Jones, who is an owner driver, has used the mobile app, plus oodles of old school charm, to win load after load.
He says of the app, “It is the single biggest reason behind my success. I particularly like the status update feature, which tracks my position in real-time and let’s my customers know when and where I am available. Receiving load alerts by text message is very useful too, as they provide instant updates of new loads in my local area the second they go live.”
But, Andrew, who has won dozens of loads since joining in April, says that knowing how to talk to contractors when quoting for loads, has also been crucial to his success.
“…Some couriers underplay the value of good manners when negotiating. Maybe I am bit old fashioned in this respect, but I think a good phone manner goes a very long way. Secondly, I always keep the customer fully informed from start to finish on a job which is always appreciated. Thirdly when I have completed a drop-off, I’ll always go back to the contractor and thank them personally for giving me the work. I’ll ask for feedback too, as a set of excellent recommendations can often give you an edge over your rivals.”
But with Andrew spending his entire day delivering goods in his two-litre Nissan Primastar short wheelbase van, how does he find the time to issue invoices and POD’s to his clients?
“The great thing about the Exchange is that my van -or rather the CX Mobile App -is now my office. As soon as I finish a job, I use the mobile app to scan my invoice and POD and email them to the client directly. The system is very intuitive and the whole process takes me a minute or so. Therefore, when I get home, I can spend more time with my family instead of preparing invoices, which is very time consuming.”
And like any family man, spending time with his wife and children is what Andrew values most in life.
He says, “CX gives me the flexibility to take my daughter down to London, where she recently performed in a West End show. She loves musical theatre, drama and singing and is a member of the Pauline Quirke Academy, where she has her heart set on a stage career. My son is a talented footballer, and working through an exchange platform gives me the flexibility to take him to training and to matches, where he can hone and develop his skills.
He adds, “I would also personally like to mention my wife who isone in a million. Without her, I would not be able to carry out my day-to-day runs on CX, or help our children realise their dreams. I’m just so pleased that my wife and I can help them on their journey, just as CX is helping me with mine.”
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