Key factors to consider before starting a Home Delivery service.
The first thing to establish is whether there is a need for a service within the area. There are a number of ways you could go about this:
1. Talk to your customers who regularly visit your shop.
2. Call on potential customers at their home to see whether they would be interested in having a newspaper and/or magazine delivered.
3. Place an advert in your shop window.
4. Consider potential business supplies. Are there offices or hotels in your area that may be interested?
5. What about local schools /colleges?
6. Target show homes on new housing estates.
7. Call in to the warden’s office of sheltered accommodation.
8. If you sell groceries in-store, consider delivering these as an option. If delivery of these items is not an option, use your delivery route to distribute promotion flyers if you have them.
9. To help grow your initial customer base consider self canvassing. Many national and some regional papers will gladly give support to proactive retailers who are looking to grow their home delivery business.
You should also consider whether there are school children (aged 13 or over) or adults in the area who would be prepared to carry out home delivery for you.
It is important to note that there is specific legislation surrounding the employment of children of school age.
Don’t over promise. It is better to start with a compact area with households falling outside this initial area picked up as you develop further rounds. A customer will appreciate your honesty. Ensure that from the outset your customers are aware of how to notify of changes/holidays/when to pay and are aware at what time there delivery should arrive.
Once you have established there is need for a home delivery service in your area, you will need to cost out the start up and running costs. You will need bags/trolleys/transport for your deliverers.
In addition you will need an accounting solution. There are a host of electronic solutions ranging from windows compatible disks for approx £400 up to complete software solutions. To start with you may well be better off with a manual paper solution.
The most commonly used system is the Huggler book that can be ordered directly on 01534 735581.
These are expensive at over £80 and for those who are merely dipping their toe into the home delivery market, a much cheaper alternative can be purchased through Acorn supplies on 01254 388755.
Your customers, if they agree to taking Store2Door from you, will expect a regular and reliable service everyday with delivery being made at the time you have agreed with them. Failure to provide this level of service will quickly lead to customer dissatisfaction and cancellation of orders.