Get less snowed under with AXA’s guide to making your life as a courier easier this Christmas.

Transport and logistics

12 December 2018

He’s written his lists and checked them twice, so Santa is well aware of who has been naughty and nice. Now all Mr Claus has left to do is deliver a mountain of must-have presents to expectant kids around the globe.

In fact, with just over 526,000,000 kids under the age of 14 celebrating on December 25th, it’s been estimated that Old Saint Nick delivers to a staggering 22 million kids an hour, which equates to 365,000 kids a minute, or 6100 per second – a feat that cements his status as the most prolific delivery man in existence.

However, with retailers sending out more than 860 million parcels to British homes in 2015, couriers are becoming as busy as the man in red in the run up to the big day. That’s why AXA has rounded up some top tips to prevent couriers from being too snowed under in the run up to the Christmas countdown, so they have more time to add some extra sparkle to the most wonderful time of the year. 

Be organised

Get ahead of the Christmas road rush by being as organised as you can. If you know you’re going to hit traffic hotspots, spend some time planning the most effective delivery routes beforehand so that you don’t keep your customers waiting longer than they must. When it comes to organising your workload, try to ensure that the bulk of your deliveries are stored at the back of your van so you can unload them speedily and get on to dropping off your next delivery as quickly as you can.

Check your lists twice

When you’ve got a tonne of deliveries to drop off, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to get the job at hand completed quickly. However, haste makes waste. And in the role of a courier, small mistakes could result in disgruntled customers, leading to big damage to your reputation. The devil is in the details, so take a leaf out of Santa’s book and factor in some extra time to double check that all customer details, such as names, addresses and what to do with their goods if they’re not at home, are as they should be before you drop off deliveries.

Don’t get left in the dark

As the Christmas countdown gets shorter, the dark Christmas days continue to get longer, which can make finding your delivery destination in streets you’re unsure of that bit more difficult. Don’t get left out in the dark when it comes to Christmas deliveries, make sure that you leave a torch in your vehicle or have a strong light on your phone to help illuminate a merry and bright path to your customers’ homes.

Invest in a guiding light

It might seem like a no-brainer, but couriers need a good sense of direction to decipher unfamiliar roads and neighbourhoods. But you don’t need to rely on Rudolph’s red nose to be your shining guiding light. If you can’t tell your North Pole from your South Pole, why not try investing in a portable GPS? This could keep you on the right track and help you avoid traffic build-ups and accidents as they happen.

Service with a smile

With such a heavy workload, it could be easy for couriers across the country to cry humbug at the thought of keeping up with their Christmas to-do lists. However, your service reflects your business, so always try to be friendly, polite and punctual when you come face-to-face with your customers. Plus, given that it’s the season of good cheer, showcasing exceptional customer service skills can help add that extra sprinkle of festive spirit to you and your customers’ yuletide – and potentially yield new customers and increase retention in the New Year.

Honesty is the best policy

No matter how many preventative steps you put in place, some problems are completely unavoidable. You may have come up against a traffic jam, or worse, ended up with a flat tyre, so if something does go wrong, be transparent with your customers. Honesty is the best policy and by keeping clear communication with your customers, you can detail how you’ll remedy problems to keep everyone happy.

Keep on top of your accounts

Just because business is (hopefully) booming throughout the festive period, there’s no excuse for not keeping tabs on your finances. It may be tiring after a long day, but try to set aside some time to file invoices and carry out other necessary admin. If numbers aren’t your thing, why not invest in bookkeeping software to help keep things ticking along nicely? By getting ahead of the game you could help beat the blues and stress that goes hand in hand with submitting your tax return in January.

Get kitted out

Life as a courier isn’t always 9-to-5, so whether you use a van or a bicycle, it’s important that you have the right kit in place to help make your job easier and safer. It’s a good idea to wear reflective clothing to stand out against the dark days and nights as you go about your deliveries, and a waterproof messenger bag could help prevent your customers’ goods from getting soaked by Britain’s reliably damp weather. If a set of two wheels is your vehicle of choice, invest in a sturdy bike lock to keep it safe against thieves and use a waterproof handlebar phone mount so that you can use your GPS while you’re on the move. Wearing a safety helmet at all times goes without saying of course!

Fuel up and stay alert

With the festive season in full swing, the roads and streets will be bustling with throngs of shoppers hunting for must-have gifts, meaning you’ll need to pay extra attention when you head out on the highway. But if you’ve had a taxing day, it can be tricky to keep your focus – which could lead to accidents and mistakes. Even if you’re busy, remember to take a break by fuelling up on food and coffee to boost your lulling energy levels. Speaking of fuelling up, keep a close eye on your van’s fuel levels when you’re out – you don’t want to end up stranded and letting your customers down.

Weatherproof your van for winter

From black ice to heavy rain, the roads can be woeful at the most wonderful time of the year. To prevent your van – and your business – grinding to an unexpected halt in winter weather, it’s a good idea to ensure your vehicle is ticking along in tip top condition. Stay safe as the mercury begins to plummet by reading AXA’s guides on how to drive in wintry conditions and how to season-proof your van.

Top up your festive spirit

Seeing as it’s the season when Santa Claus comes to town, why not help keep your brain engaged – and top up your festive spirit – by blaring Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas is you’ or your other favourite cheesy Christmas hits to help your shift go quicker? Sing-a-longs optional.

So here it is, merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun, by looking to the future you can better keep prepare your business for the shopping frenzy that’s begun. So, whether you’re driving home for Christmas or simply looking forward to getting together with your friends and family as one, AXA hopes you have yourselves a merry little Christmas, each and every one.

Get your business protection needs all wrapped up with AXA Business Van Insurance

Don’t let the unexpected put your festive plans on ho-ho-hold, tailor the cover you need with AXA Business Insurance. So even if the worst happens, you can rest easy knowing you’re protected and focus on making your Christmas a cracker.