How to Thrive in the Delivery Service Industry

The transportation industry is as old as the hills, and there is no sign that business is dissipating. The nature of society demands the movement of goods, information and cargo from place to place and, while the means of doing this has certainly transformed, there is still money to be made in the courier industry.

However, whether you intend to work as a courier or set up a small business in this field, you do need to sharpen certain skills that can determine the extent of your success. These simple skills do not require an enormous amount of expertise, but they can be the difference between feeling like you are floundering and having the edge over the considerable competition.

Financial acumen

One major aspect of initiating any business or work plan is finance. Having the acumen to start a delivery service or work in the sector involves a little more than simply being able to balance the books. You should develop skills in elementary risk management, knowing how to allocate assets, understanding of the differences between healthy and unhealthy debt, and how to make financial plans for expansion. While many people hire experts, it pays dividends to hone your own appreciation of finance.

Time and route management

Some skills are more integral to operating a delivery service than to other businesses. The combined capacity to manage time and routes is such a skill. Whether you work with bicycles, trucks, or move specialist goods like medical equipment, you need to assure your clients that their packages will arrive on time, every time. This means you need to be able to balance a variety of routes and multitask when dealing with a range of cargo.

Technological savvy

The modern nature of the transportation industry reveals the deep integration of technology into every aspect of business. If you start a delivery service, your understanding of technology may well determine the degree of your efficiency. The advent of online courier exchanges, GPS tracking, route management software and mobile logistics technology has changed the way people work in the industry – including the way clients are found, marketing is done and routes are tracked.

People skills

These changes do not obviate the basic need to deal with people. A delivery service may revolve around the mechanical movement of wheels, packages and trucks, but in the end it is people who will pay you and people you will have to face to win contracts or work. Hence it is vital to be able to communicate well, develop rapport, listen openly and be aware of the needs of the clients in your marketplace. This lies at the heart of interpersonal marketing, branding and repeat business.

How to Produce a Greener Kiosk Enclosure For Digital Signage and the Self Service Industry

Green is big business and represents a new way to do business, it has a two fold effect and helps improve the bottom line whilst helping the environment. Now digital signage kiosks and enclosures are going green.

There is a movement in the kiosk and enclosure manufacturing industry for greener products, these units will be manufactured from renewal materials and will not damage the environment as previous units did. Coupling this with cutting edge dynamic signage is a winning solution.

There are three key steps to follow:

  • Adhering to RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances)
  • Using recyclable material
  • Reducing power usage

One Major Step for a Greener Solution.

In July 2006 a policy was implemented in Europe for RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances), this policy was soon accepted within the businesses throughout Europe and into Asia.

This new policy was seen as a problem by some manufacturers, as it limits the amount of lead and mercury in a particular product as well as specifying which type of flame retardants to use.

The policy was one reason a company decided to buy back any kiosks or enclosures they were replacing and recycle them, by sending the old kiosks or enclosures to a specialised company that melted the steel and plastics then re-processed the product so it could be used again.

Another company has gone one step further by producing a green enclosure, that is made from nothing but recycled materials, Olea Kiosks Inc are leading the way in green kiosks!

This is the way forward, with greener digital signage kiosks everyone wins including the planet!

Software for Small Business Service Companies

There is a lot of software on the market currently for small businesses and if you run a retail outlet or sell a product there are kinds of software that you can buy, which will do just fine. If you run a small service type of business it may not be as easy. You see many of the accounting programs and small-business software out there has to do with inventory and the kinds of things that service businesses do not deal with as much.

Additionally service businesses have multiple customers in multiple locations and they have issues with scheduling, labor hours on the job or service fees that must be incorporated for the software to work properly and make the business more efficient. Many small companies that have maybe only one, two or three vehicles that are in the service business have trouble finding software that will work for them.

Off-the-shelf software for small businesses simply is not good enough. Using mix matched software can often be a problem and sometimes it is more trouble than it is worth because you are putting in information that you will never use or there’s no place to put in information that you really need. It is very unfortunate that more small-business software companies do not make specialized software where you can modify the fields yourself.

Some small-business industry software that you might find in a trade journal may work for you, however usually their cost prohibitive for the very small company who needs to have a software system, which can provide exactly what their company needs. There is a gap between the desire of the customer and the needs of the service businesses in the small-business sector and what the marketplace currently provides. This can be a huge dilemma for the small-business man or woman just getting started in a service company.

The Residential Plumbing Service Industry Is Under Attack

We had pending legislation back in 2013 in Washington State that would have stopped false advertising of plumbing services to the consumer by those that were not licensed but… we never got it passed. The reason it failed was that nobody but the cheaters had any interest in the bill.

Lack of effective plumber license enforcement in Washington State is transforming a skilled licensed trade into a commercial con game costing consumers and skilled craftsmen dearly.

The Issues Affecting Licensed Plumbers and Plumbing Contractors:

1. Unlicensed Plumbers – ineffective enforcement of plumber licensing

2. Fake Plumbing Companies – General Contractors Advertising Plumbing Services

3. The Cost of Advertising – Is incredibly high due to unfair competition from the unlicensed

4. Lack of Consumer Awareness – They don’t know that real plumbers are a licensed trade. (Drain cleaners are not plumbers)

5. Other trades wishing to perform plumbing services – i.e. Builders, General Contractors and the HVAC trades

The plumbing trade is a regulated industry in Washington State. All plumbing work must be performed by those with a certificate of experience; in other words – a license. Over the years there can been a concerted effort by those not in the plumbing trade to violate the law that restricts who may engage in the trade. The attack on the plumber and the plumbing contractor has come from multiple directions.

There is not one enemy of the licensed plumber, but many. The most significant root cause of the plumber license losing credibility and value over the years is the passivity and inattention of the licensed plumber. As a rule, once we have the license in our hand we don’t think much about it other than to complain about the renewal fees or the imposition of the continuing education requirement.

A plumber license represents years of study, certified training and official permission to engage in a regulated profession. The dictionary defines license as “a permission granted by competent authority to engage in a business or occupation or in an activity otherwise unlawful”. A license excludes others by law.

If enforcement of a law is weak or ineffective – nobody will obey the law.

Today the plumbing industry is under attack from those that wish to be engaged in the business of plumbing without a license. The sad fact is that there hasn’t been much resistance from those of us that are most affected i.e. licensed plumbers, plumbing contractors and homeowners. The plumbing industry has been invaded by anybody that wants to represent themselves as plumbers without the license because nobody has had a keen interest in the enforcement of plumber licensing.

Who is violating licensing laws? Answer: Anybody who wants to…

The following trades and businesses all advertise plumbing services today – effectively violation of existing law:

1. Rooter companies with no licensed plumbers or only a token plumber

2. General contractors advertising plumbing services

3. Plumber trainees that abandon their training and advertise as contractors

4. Handymen with or without contractor registration

5. Fraudulent website plumbing companies with fake registrations

6. HVAC companies advertising water heater sales and installations

7. Water heater companies advertising installation of water heaters

8. Hardware stores offering water heater installations

9. Building maintenance service companies providing plumbing repairs.

10. Retail Stores – Home Depot, Lowe’s

11. Marketing Companies with fake websites selling leads

12. Third Party Referral Services that promote plumbing businesses with no licenses

13. Website re-sellers

14. Amazon is now selling plumbing services on their website (2016)

It is a long list…

As a licensed plumber for over thirty five years, I have to admit that I had no idea how easily my license could become a worthless piece of paper until I saw my phone traffic drop off and customers demanding that we match quotes from unlicensed competitors. I didn’t realize that the value of a license is based solely upon what others think it to be. It’s like money. Money is just a piece of paper with ink on it. It only has value if you and I agree that it has some representative value. A couple of hundred years ago a dollar was a day’s wages. Today a dollar might buy you a day-old doughnut. That dollar bill is only worth what we are willing to trade it for. My father described Italians during the Second World War hauling lira in wheelbarrows to exchange at the bank for a few US dollars.

My fear today is that our plumber licenses will be worthless soon and we won’t even notice until it is too late. The homeowners don’t know that plumbers need licenses so the license is worth nothing to them. The rooter companies advertise plumbing with a contractor registration as cover (anybody can get a contractor registration) – the public assumes a contractor registration is a license. They don’t know the difference because the rooter companies, and others, have aggressively been substituting “plumbing technicians” instead of plumbers for years.

So what is the solution?

Well, I don’t know. It would help if the consumer knew that any plumber they hired needed to have a license in their pocket. It would also be helpful if there was a local business directory that wasn’t full of unlicensed plumbing advertisements.

Luckily, there is a new local directory in Seattle that actually checks the contractor registration before allowing the listing to be published: www.SeattleOnly.com

… It’s a start