What opportunities can 2023 bring for owner-drivers and small courier businesses?

With the new year just around the corner, we wanted to pull over and take a look at what's up ahead in 2023.
2023 calendar on a chair

Let’s start with the current issues the industry is facing.

Highest ever fuel costs, inflation and the non-stop increase in overheads

2022 has basically kicked everyone in the face when it comes to costs. Fuel shot up at the beginning of the year and has never come back down. Off the back of those fuel increases came price increases in all other products and services.

For an industry that lives and breathes almost entirely on diesel (at the present time), it’s hit everyone hard.

With that in mind the world will probably go one of two ways in 2023 – either prices will stay as they are for some time, or they’ll steadily return to something closer to ‘normal’. Let’s hope the 3rd option (that it gets even more expensive) doesn’t happen.

If prices stay as they are now, then you need to;

  • Make sure you’re setting your rates to match. We’ve noticed some companies are STILL expecting small van deliveries for as little as £20 for up to 30 miles. Not only is that an insult, but with diesel at £1.80 per litre you’re barely going to make any money. Unless you’re co-loading and that £20 just covers your fuel.
  • Consider a fuel card. We use them ourselves and we’ve partnered with UK Fuels to provide you with access to their leading products. The first 20 customers that apply through Couriers TV get ZERO ACCOUNT FEES for the life your account.

    You can choose either a locked-price card that gives you a set 3p discount on the pump price, or a commercial price card that has a variable price set every week.

    Most of the time this option can give you a discount of UP TO 10p per litre, but there are occasions the discount will be 1p per litre or less (this is rare though).

Control your cashflow

If inflation continues to hit hard, then your cashflow is the way you can protect your business. You need to make sure you have access to funds at the right time.

If you source the majority of your loads through services like Courier Exchange or the Same Day Courier Network then you’re probably waiting 30-60 days for most of your invoices to be paid.

This is where something like an invoice finance account can help. If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s basically a way to access the money tied up in the invoices you’ve raised before they get paid.

We’ve been approved by Lloyds Bank – Commercial Finance division to introduce couriers to their most suitable invoice finance products. Contact us for more information

If recession hits in 2023, what will it mean for your courier business?

Recession’s are always seen as a bad thing. And that’s fair. We know that people tend to hold onto their money more, spend less. But somethings have to go on. Goods will ALWAYS have to move from A-to-B.

The one thing you should take advantage of if we enter a recession (if not already there) is that smaller businesses usually offer cheaper prices than our bigger competitors.

Huge transport operators have bigger costs to deal with. When their customers tighten the purse-strings, they struggle far quicker than the independent small-time couriers.

Take advantage of this. It’s not nice, but it IS business.

Win business by letting people know you don’t cost as much but offer the same, if not better, service.

Try out new ways of sourcing work

We all know about CX. And thousands of driver also know about SDCN now too. But what other channels might be worth trying in 2023?

We’re always keeping an eye out to see who’s making new apps and trying to make waves in the courier-load-exchange marketplace. The big one that’s landed on our phones this year is DeliveryApp. It’s still got some way to go till it become a real thorn in the side of the big two, but it’s getting there.

The real benefits are that;

  • You’re not subbing for other couriers
  • You get paid MUCH faster in many cases
  • It’s FREE.

You can also list your business in our new business directory. It helps get your details out to more places on the internet. The more often you can be found, the more you’re likely to get enquiries.

Speaking of which, we also have our Delivery Quote Request Form for customers now. Anyone registered on our directory will get these enquiries forwarded through to them to quote on.

Is there anything you want to discuss about the future of your courier business?

One of the biggest things arriving in 2023 is an extension of Couriers TV and what services we offer. We’re going to be speaking to as many owner-drivers, courier companies and logistics operators as we can. We want to know what everyone has to say about this industry. Tips, tricks, the good and the bad.

Get in touch and share your opinions!

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