When I’m starting to write a review, I typically break down the particular categories that a product or service should be defined by, and then analyse each ones strengths and weaknesses.
For example, when I want to look at a work-exchange website I’ll look at some of the following aspects;
- Volume of work listed
- Type of work listed (trade/private)
- Competition for that work (No. of members in certain areas)
- Quality of membership (are members verified, audited and banned for rule breaking? etc)
- Price of membership
- Expected R.O.I. (Return on Investment)
When it came to Courier Compare Network though, I was stumped. Basically, because there was nothing to review.
I took up an offer of a 14-day FREE trial in order to evaluate the platform. It didn’t take that long. Within 1 day I had already figured out that there was no work being posted to the service. Or so it looked.
The ‘jobs’ feed was more like a selection of blog posts from the site owner making one-sided conversation in order to try and build some content.
I enquired and was told the free trial had ended. Even though I had only just signed up (and had done so whilst the trial was being advertised as still available).
Fair enough maybe I wasn’t seeing the full product then. But the conversation I had with the owner gave me more than enough to go on. He clearly stated there is “hardly any courier work, but lots of haulage work”.
So Are Couriers Comparing or Being Compared?
This left me feeling that something was being lost in translation. The name is ‘COURIER compare network’. Where are couriers being compared? Or should couriers be the ones doing the comparing? And if so – what is there for them to compare?
I was told that the process is that the seller lists their delivery work, it gets posted out to drivers who then call the seller back and take the job. Apparently this was “better than the way other exchange sites do it”.
From my experience, that’s the way MOST networks & exchange websites do it. Drivers receive notifications of job postings and call back to either take a fixed fee or place a bid.
As the conversation progressed, I was told about all the member benefits of the service. This left me to realise that due to its lack of work for drivers, Courier Compare Network is actually more of a members club – something in the style of Huddlebuy – than it is a work exchange website.
You probably won’t see a return on your membership fee from winning any work. At least at this stage. But you might make the occasional saving here and there on services. Stuff like fuel cards or ferry booking prices.
Are those savings enough to justify the price? Maybe if you sign up for the Bronze package at £95 you can scrape enough savings to break even. But at almost £1000 for the top package, you’re really going to have to make plenty of ferry crossings to see a return on that!
Aside from the lack of work, it’s a confusing service to use on a desktop computer. Using on the mobile app is slightly better.
The desktop version of the website seems poorly designed and throws utter confusion at the user. You click to login and register on the courier compare site, but then the user area seems to be held on a completely different domain (this could be just the free trial setup, I can’t confirm at this stage).
There seems to be a business directory, although I cannot confirm. There is a button in the app for listing your business, but each listing costs £25. I can’t find where listings are shown to know whether they are public or only for app users, which seems very restrictive.
I won’t be signing up to pay for this service any time soon. The basic idea of the service is good, because it’s not really that different from any of the others. But the simple fact is, your money should go where the work is.
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This review is the personal opinion of Stuart, written for publication on Couriers TV.