Categories
Delivery Driver Tips

5 Quick Ways to Finish Your Delivery Routes (Even at Peak Times)

You can’t control traffic jams, but there are ways to get home earlier more often. Here’s how.

Nothing beats a smooth workday as a professional driver – when your delivery routes go to plan and you even get done driving a little early.

The truth is, however, that you will have some long and stressful days (that put you at a greater risk of health issues like hypertension), especially during peak holidays, such as Mothers Day and Christmas.

The trick is to know that although you can’t control traffic jams or how slow customers are at answering their door, that there are ways to get finish your delivery routes more often, or at least be sure when you will finish.

Thankfully, with just a little planning, you can ease stress and leave some “me time” at the end of your day. Here’s how:

1. Optimize Your Delivery Routes

The biggest way to make your driving day less stressful is by following the fastest delivery route. That means planning an itinerary that makes sense, taking you from one stop to the next in an orderly fashion.

Delivery Schedule

You might think that’s as simple as using a GPS to make sure you can find the address of your next drop. But to really finish your deliveries on time and be as efficient as possible, you need to optimize your route.    

What is route optimization?

Route optimization helps to reduce multiple stop delivery times. It takes into consideration your live traffic conditions, customer time windows, estimated times of arrival, and more – allowing you to easily plot a route for your deliveries that is the most cost-effective in terms of both time and distance.

It’s not always the shortest distance or fastest time between each stop, either. 

A good route planning app should help you to build a plan for hundreds of stops in just a couple of minutes. Some of them (like Circuit) also offer integration with your preferred navigation tools, such as Google Maps or Waze.

Add your stops, let the app do the route planning, and then simply drive the directions given to you. You’ll save the stress of figuring out where to go next, and your days should be shorter (or at least you’ll finish on time.) 

If you want Circuit Route Planner to help you optimize your delivery times, get your 14-day free trial now.

2. Set Time Windows and Priority Deliveries

Another vacuum when it comes to finishing your delivery routes on time is having to change your schedule, or backtrack to make a drop when the customer isn’t in.

The best delivery route planner will help avoid or fix these situations. Be sure to choose a tool that lets you change your schedule. Find one that lets you add, delete or re-optimize multiple stops whilst you are on the road.

Some will also let you set a specific time window for package delivery, and then get a plan to get the priority package to its destination at the correct time.

Using a route planner alongside a navigation GPS tool will also help avoid backtracking. That’s particularly true if you don’t know the area, can’t find the address, or get lost. Those are all instances where you may find yourself backtracking, which adds time to your workday.

It’s also good to look for a route planner that gives an estimated time of arrival (ETA) for your route. If you’re behind schedule, your route planner should re-plan your course to avoid traffic and delays, and then your arrival times will be up to date.

By having the right tool to help you plan and navigate, you can also avoid dangerous situations, like speeding to make a deadline, or to get done your workday early. Don’t risk your safety or that of others on the road. 

If you want Circuit Route Planner to help you optimize your delivery times, get your 14-day free trial now.

3. Organize Packages in Your Vehicle

Getting lost is one frustration and a sure-fire way to slow down your day. 

But there’s another time-wasting frustration ready once you actually find the destination:  being unable to find the package you need to deliver.

Man packing vehicle for multi-drop delivery

Searching for packages in the back of your vehicle will extend the time spent at each delivery stop. Over the course of a full day, with the many drops you have to make, that adds up to a lot of extra wasted time (we estimate at least an hour).

One of the best tips for saving time and earning more as a delivery driver is to organize your packages after you’ve optimized your route. By having the packages organized in your vehicle, you can cut time off your workday, and avoid the headache of searching at every destination. 

How do you organize packages in your vehicle?

Experienced drivers strategically organize packages in their vehicle depending on the address and drop-off order.

Why? Because it speeds up the delivery process and saves time in their day.

For this reason, Circuit has developed “Fast Package Finder”. Simply tell the app where the packages are in your vehicle, and, when you stop, the app will remind you exactly where to look to make a speedy drop.

If you have a hundred stops, and you take 30 seconds or more to search the vehicle each time you stop, you could save up to an hour a day

The Circuit app will build an optimized plan for up to 500 stops in just a few minutes, and make it easy to find your package at each drop. Which is perfect for a spike in demand at peak times, too.

If you want Circuit Route Planner to help you optimize your delivery times, get your 14-day free trial now.

4. Build Breaks into Your Plan

It might sound counterintuitive, but when you’re consistently planning your day and still not getting deliveries done on time, or even slightly ahead of schedule, it could be because you’re neglecting to build breaks into your daily plan. 

You do need to take breaks, but if you don’t build them into your schedule, you’re not getting a true picture of what your workday should look like. You also don’t get a good sense of how long it should take to finish your route.

Besides driving time and time at each delivery location, you need to make sure you take time for rest stops. For one, taking even short breaks during the day will help prevent chronic fatigue and other side effects that can happen when you’re feeling stress on your delivery route. Take a few minutes to stop at lunch and other points in the day, get out of the vehicle, stretch and get some fresh air. 

It’s also important to include stops for fuel and vehicle maintenance when you’re looking at your work day. Nothing will delay your day more than running out of fuel on a busy expressway, or suffering vehicle breakdown because you haven’t taken time for important maintenance stops. 

By planning each day as much as possible, and including breaks for you and your vehicle, you’ll have a better sense of when your day will be done.

5. Don’t Turn Left

This one might sound kind of strange, but whenever possible, avoid making left turns. 

5 Quick Ways to Finish Your Delivery Routes – Don't turn left, Zoolander

That’s because when you turn left, particularly at peak traffic times, you’re going against the flow of everyone else on the road. You can find yourself sitting in traffic for long periods of time. 

That means extra minutes spent idling, wasting time and fuel, and the frustration of sitting through several red lights before finally making a safe left turn. By making a right-hand loop whenever possible, you’ll cut down the time it takes to reach your destination. 

Right-hand turns are also safer since you aren’t turning into oncoming traffic. If you’re in a rush to meet a delivery window, that can spell disaster. Your health and safety is important, for you and for others on the road. 

Driving It Home

Delivery driving can mean long hours and be stressful. Random interruptions can also mean that it’s difficult to finish your routes on time every day.

You have to be organized, and know how to navigate in traffic with multiple and often unfamiliar addresses to be found.

But it can also be a rewarding job. You can be your own boss. You don’t have to sit behind a desk all day. With the right tips and tools, you can plan your day to get your work done quickly and efficiently. You can minimize stress and enjoy your work day. And you can even get done on time or a little early, allowing for “me time” or time spent with family. 

After you’ve optimized your journey, added and organized priority stops, ordered your deliveries, planned rest breaks, and considered your turns, you can simply follow your plan to finish your routes more often.

What do you think? What other tips do you have to save time on your deliveries?

By Ardith Stephanson

Ardith Stephanson is a freelance writer and journalist who writes on a variety of topic areas and has some fun with her personal blog theardizan.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *