CX Membership Fees – Are They Too High?

Everyone in transport knows about the Courier Exchange. But with fees to join now being over £1,600 per year, is it just too expensive?
Courier Exchange CX Website

It’s January, and this is traditionally one of each years typical ‘quieter’ periods – the other one being the summer holidays. This is when there is often a dip in the levels of work, especially dedicated same-day delivery work. So we’re asking whether £1,600 in membership fees to join the Courier Exchange is just TOO much? Or is it worth it?

There’s no real hard-and-fast rule as to why there’s a dip at this time. Peoples shopping habits slow after Christmas, businesses start to prepare for end of years and tax returns etc and generally the focus for a lot of industries is on budget control rather than spending on goods and services that require transport. Also known as ‘Belt-tightening’.

Exchanging Work in Winter

For anyone that’s spent a lot of time being a member of services like The Courier Exchange, you see the numbers shift dramatically. Pre-Christmas you can open the app and see 20, 30… 40 live loads posted in your area (near cities, not the same for everyone). In an average January-March period you’re more likely to see 5, 10… maybe 20 on a good day.

This means the competiton:load ratio goes up significantly. There are more drivers sat around waiting for work, and fewer loads to fight over. Which in turn drags the achievable rate-per-mile down, because people start to undercut each other. It’s a load-sellers dream.

£1,600 Membership Fee – Is That Fair?

We’ve managed to get hold of an invoice for CX membership from back in 2015 showing the fee being less than £700. Today if you want to join it’s more than double at over £1,600 (including VAT and ‘accreditation’ fee).

Now I’m sure there are people that will be fine with paying that. Maybe some will justify it by saying “Oh it’s only x-pounds per day” or “Yeah I’ll earn that back in a month”. And that’s great if you see it that way. But for many people £1,400 (the annual renewal charge, without the accreditation fee) can go a long way towards other things. Could you imagine what paying yourself an extra £1,400 each year could do to change your life?

Everything Costs Money

I’m not saying CX should be free – far from it. It’s taken years to build the platform, develop the app and it is still the leading work exchange service. It’s well thought of throughout the industry. Everybody deserves to earn a living.

But the fact is, the people at the bottom of the ladder get hit the hardest. Owner-drivers are the ones that are out actually carrying the goods. We already have huge overheads having to pay for and maintain vehicles, so that last thing we need is a greedy middle-person taking a huge chunk of our earnings.

I’m fairly confident though, that Transport Exchange Group would still survive even if they only charged drivers the old £700-£800 year fees that I used to pay. I’m sure the fees paid by larger companies on the Pro and Premium accounts more than compensates CX for any minor losses made by reducing driver’s fees.

Performance Related Pay?

Why not even try out fees based on usage? That way when times are good, the platform earns more and drivers are happy because the work is there for them. A percentage charge on each load would be minimal and mean that you know you’re getting value for money.

When times are bad, the burden of the cost is not as heavy.

And that brings us to the alternative solutions…

There Are Alternatives – But Are They Any Good?

The problem with anything like this is competition. Without a valid and worthy competitor, CX has no reason to do anything to make it easier for drivers. It’s a captive market.

There are competitors. Same Day Courier Network being the one that stands out to really be making an effort to take on Goliath. And here at CTV we’re also going to be finding out more about two fairly new players: Gophr and DeliveryApp. These gig-economy type services, along with SDCN, may just be what this industry needs to really transform the way it’s done.

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