Courier Driver Tips: Protecting Your Goods in Transit
Posted: May 31, 2017
If you're a self employed driver making a living from courier jobs, the goods you transport (no matter how large or small) are what, in effect, constitutes your livelihood. So it follows that protecting those goods while they're in your possession is of the utmost importance. As well as getting the right insurance, there are other steps you can put in place as preventative measures so, as much as possible, you can ensure the goods you're moving arrive safe and sound.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
That tongue-in-cheek phrase has become a catch cry of comedians the world over – and so many people really do have the mind-set that it "won't happen to me". Well, it can, and it does – and as a self employed courier driver all you can do is endeavour to stay one step ahead. So what could go wrong on those simple, point-to-point courier jobs? Broadly, most events can come under the following issues:
- Unforeseen delays
- Damages in transit
- Lost in transit
If anything connected to any of these things occurs to other people's possessions that you're transporting, there's no doubt you'll have to wear some of the responsibility and costs – even with insurance. It's simply one of the unavoidable aspects of being self employed.
The nature of the goods you're carrying also creates its own unique set of potential problems – for example, if you're transporting time-sensitive items/paperwork, expensive electrical equipment or artworks.
Minimise the Risk
Nothing can be 100% fool proof, but you can certainly decrease the chances of mishap by taking a few pre-emptive measures.
Secure your vehicle: Make sure as the most basic habit you lock your car or van when you're away from it, even for a moment. You should also consider investing in a vehicle alarm, tracking devices, cameras and/or telematics devices. Not only will these make your insurance premiums cheaper in most cases, it will almost certainly act as a deterrent to would-be thieves.
Efficient Goods Tracking: As a self employed driver, however sophisticated or simple your operations, it's paramount that you have systems in place to log, track and record the delivery of every item you carry on every one of your courier jobs. This can be as rudimentary as a physical logbook or as complex as a hi-tech software program or app.
Safe handling of goods: While in the majority of cases (unless you’re contracted to do otherwise) the packing of the goods you transport will be down to the sender, having your own set of standards is also a wise idea. As the items are your responsibility when in transit, making sure fragile or sensitive goods are adequately protected is essential. This applies to loading, stacking and unloading at the destination as well.
The Last Word
The final word does need to be to restate the importance of goods in transit insurance. With all the best intentions in the world, life happens. And when it does, the fallout is a lot less painful if you've covered yourself for all eventualities.
As well as covering the goods against theft, damage and loss, a decent goods in transit insurance policy will cover damage from a third party (members of the public) and self employed sub-contractors you might employ to carry out an overflow of your courier jobs.
With all the aforementioned measures in place and a good insurance policy under your belt, you can get on with the business you're in the business of: getting those loads from A to B!
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day self employed courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
Writer and Online Marketing Manager in London.