The Courier, the Freight Broker and Funny Frolics

The transport industry isn’t just about the haulage of stuff from ‘A’ to ‘B’. It’s also a powerful source of humorous stories that a freight broker will often share, given half the chance.

Here is a selection – judge for yourself whether you think they’re true or just the product of the over-active imagination of a freight broker one wet and grey day!

Handy with a fuel tank

The driver of rig once had to be rescued by the local Fire Department when he got his hand stuck in his tank. Ok, maybe not worthy of worldwide headline news but two things come to mind: how on earth did he get his hand in there, and why was he trying?

Now you see him, now you don’t

One courier was working with a partner on their way to make a delivery when the partner suddenly noticed that he was alone in the vehicle. Much as he admired his partner’s vanishing trick from behind the wheel, he quickly became pre-occupied with bringing the now driverless vehicle to a safe stop. The driver came running up frantically behind, fortunately relatively unhurt, having apparently ‘fallen out’ of the vehicle while turning a sharp corner. How do you fall out of a vehicle while driving it? It perhaps shall remain a mystery…

Round and round we go

One freight broker tells an amusing tale of a courier who was asked to take an urgent package to a fairly distant destination. Setting off early, he’d got more than half way there when he received a cell call saying that the shipper had made a terrible mistake and actually addressed the parcel to another office in their company rather than to the correct delivery address. He was then given the correct address – not only back in his hometown but actually his own personal home address. Yep, the package was, in fact, for his wife. Just how unlucky can you get?

Vous parlez français?

One freight-forwarding assistant had a great grasp of the French language, painstakingly studied over many years. Unfortunately his knowledge of geography wasn’t quite on the same level. This came to light when he bitterly complained that he couldn’t get an answer to his beautifully constructed emails in French to an overseas office. Unfortunately, he was trying to communicate with Hamburg – a city he thought was in France when, of course, it’s in Germany and a place where, perhaps unsurprisingly, they speak German. Did nobody, in the entire freight broker office, have a wall map of the world?

Super service

One driver arrived home one evening shortly before Halloween, to be told his freight broker boss had called and left a message that he should go into the office the following morning in costume for a team publicity photo. Putting on his skeleton costume, used with his young kids trick-or-treating, he duly reported in. The boss was less than amused. He’d actually left a message about the “uniform” (rarely used by the drivers on a day-to-day basis) not “costume”, as he intended the photo as part of a major advertising campaign.

A Quick Guide On Road Haulage

Road haulage can be a tough business although things can get a lot easier with appropriate planning. If you choose the right freight service then you shouldn’t encounter major problems. There are usually two different types of haulage service offered by most freight transport companies: part-load and full-load. In the first type, your freight comes with other cargo load. Many people find this service more convenient considering it is less expensive. You share delivery cost with other customers, so the price that goes along with the freight service is reduced. The disadvantage is that it may take considerably a long time before the package arrives. The full-load haulage is quite better than the former because you have the entire truck to deliver sole shipment. Hence, it is faster but is also more expensive.

There are a number of companies that offer haulage services. Consider the range of services, price, payment terms, insurance, and reputation of the haulage company.

The cost of haulage can vary from one company to another, so it would benefit you if you can compare quotes among different haulers. To excel in the competition, some haulage companies offer service at lower price while others offer quality service, so be careful before going for the cheapest hauler. Perhaps you can ask your friends for a trusted courier company or you can check online for the haulers with more positive reviews. Most people are concerned about the speed of delivery because waiting for ages can be exasperating. Also, the means of transportation utilized is important. You want to make sure that the load you requested to be delivered is handled with utmost care whilst in the delivery truck.

It is crucial that you make sure the hauler offers insurance and find out what kind of insurance they provide. This is for your own security. You should be able to keep track of your goods. Reputable haulers do have online tracking system so you’d know where your goods are at any given time. Aside from that, trusted courier companies ensure the safety of the goods because they can be charged for broken and damaged items due to poor delivery.

Usually, it is not difficult to determine reputable haulage companies because people speak their names. You may even get instant recommendations from friends or colleagues, but it pays off to check out what other customers say about a particular courier service. While you seek others’ opinion regarding a courier service, you may be able to help other consumers by posting your reviews and opinion about the road haulage service afterwards. People want to know whether you are satisfied or not. For instance, you must tell others whether the arrangements you had with the courier company was religiously followed. You must inform the courier company if you are unsatisfied with their services. They may also want to hear from you in order to improve their service.

On the other hand, some work will be left for you to do. If you are the sender, consider packing your goods prudently to mitigate likelihood of damage during transportation. Wrap the stuff in a sturdy box. If you are sending multiple items, number them. Also, it is wise to take photographs of the goods prior to sending them for delivery because photos serve as concrete evidence that your goods are in good condition before having them delivered.

If you are the receiving end, then check the quantity and condition of the goods. The quantity and condition of goods should be as specified by the sender. Sign of damages which is not indicated by the sender prompts inquiry. Check with your freight service provider regarding such unexpected mishap.

To ensure you only receive good freight service, be careful when choosing a haulage service. This has to be reiterated.

The Psychology of Selling Courier Services

These days it’s not easy going when trying to sell courier services. Okay, if you work in sales and marketing then you probably know that it isn’t easy to sell anything at the moment. Times are tough and customers are keeping their money in their pockets.

It also doesn’t help, though, that courier services don’t exactly have a super sexy or photogenic image to help them. If you’re trying to sell sports cars, holidays, luxury brand goods, jewellery, or watches then it is pretty easy to take some very attractive photos to contribute towards advertisements and sales campaigns etc. However, is a lot more difficult when the only material you have to work with is a rusting and ‘seen better days’ forklift truck that wouldn’t look out of place as an exhibit in a science museum. The shot of that van that looks as if it could have been used in an episode of “Dad’s Army” isn’t going to be of much help either – however high-tech looking the logo is that you sprayed on the side of it.

The psychology used to try and address the problem is sometimes also counter-productive. Take one of the classic approaches. This involves starting with a 12m box trailer and tractor unit, getting them virtually steam cleaned from top to bottom, polishing them to a shine level that is dangerous for the retina, then parking them outside of your main depot. That depot which sits in the background may also have been subject to a major cleaning and overhaul just for the photo shoot. Then, hire some extremely attractive models of both sexes, and dress them in something that pretends to be your uniform. At that stage, you are ready for the pose. This is usually very sexist and shows the male driver looking down from the cab benignly, with the female (in an improbably short skirt for someone working in the courier industry) looking up at them adoringly whilst holding a clipboard. As an aside, when did you last see anyone in an office using a clipboard?

The intention is presumably to create an image of courier services that looks slick and sexy. It’s usually accompanied by an inspired slogan along the lines of “we can transport you to new heights”. Job done. Marketing and sales sit back contentedly and wait for the orders to start pouring in.

However, one wonders if they really question what sort of response this sort of advertising imagery may generate in the minds of potential customers? It just may be:

• “I have never seen such a spotless vehicle – they obviously don’t get to use it much”

• “if those two are that clean and shiny then they obviously don’t like mucking in and getting the job done”

• “there is no way I’m going to pay for a vehicle of that size to ship my tiny parcel”

• “how much extra am I having to pay so that they can create these beautiful advertising photos?”

• “that guy couldn’t lift his own paperwork out of the cab let alone handle our crates”

• “is that clipboard the best technology they have available?”

So, the courier industry perhaps needs to think of an image that manages to communicate what it is about and be sexy at the same time – but without drifting into the surrealism that is sometimes seen in the present-day advertising materials!

Any suggestions?

A Simple Sell Photos Online Formula Any Photographer Can Easily Use

If you’ve ever tried selling your photos in the form of a photo product such as an original framed print, a limited edition signed poster, or a canvas photo print, you’d know that it takes LOTS of effort to do.

In fact the whole process can end up being downright tedious. After all, just consider the work and time involved… you have to figure out how to print the photograph up, find the right frame (if framing it), package it securely, find a good courier that’ll transport it safely and cheaply, and so on.

In fact, the time and effort it takes to do all this is likely the one key factor that stops many photographers from actually going ahead and doing it! You’d be right to think that there must be a better way…

There is of course, and that’s what this article is about. Actually it just involves tapping into many of the numerous online resources that are more than happy to do all the printing, framing, packing and shipping for you! Of course, you’ll need to pay for it to be done, but the costs can be quite minimal overall. And the end result can be brilliant!

The process involves uploading your chosen photograph/s to one of the many ‘print on demand’ websites. (We’ll use CafePress as an example). CafePress basically hand you a blank canvas… you (upload your photo) and then design and create your own custom photo product… They then print this on your choice of greeting cards, home decor, ceramics, clothing, stickers, calendars, framed photo prints and more…

If you know how to do it, that part is easy enough. You need to get the photo sizing right, and there’s certain requirements for the images you upload, such as the particular image format and the resolution. CafePress does explain a lot of this at its website, but the ‘sellable’ factor of the photo you choose is something you’ll have to mull over yourself, and perhaps get feedback from trusted friends.

The next part is selling your photo product. For this you’ll use eBay.com as they are a good testing ground for you to ‘experience’ selling your new photo product. eBay is relatively inexpensive and a heavily ‘traveled’ web site (over 100 million members) – many of these people are going to eBay to buy and sell goods, so it makes sense to ‘go where the people are!’

After all, you do want them to see (and buy) your custom photo product, right? The best way to learn how to do this part is actually to get in there and do it. Get familiar with how eBay works, what sells best, how to present your listing, how it all runs and flows…

In a nutshell that’s almost all there is to this simple sell photos online formula. Create an attractive photo product using CafePress, and then sell it using eBay. However if you jump into doing this it’s quite likely that quite a few questions would pop up at you…

For example you might be thinking how can I make sure my framed print (or the product you decide on) sells? How do I run a successful eBay listing (auction)? Or how do I know what will sell? eBay will be able to answer some of these questions for you. Plus they have a pretty helpful sellers forum and ‘live help desk’ that I encourage you to use to get knowledgeable quickly.

There’s also another seldom used CafePress technique that takes this formula one step further. It’s not really an ‘advanced’ technique as such, although it’s quite difficult to explain clearly! You do what we’ve already mentioned… create your unique photo product and let CafePress send this to your (eBay) buyer.

Except this time around you ‘turn the technique on’ and stand back and watch impressively as your new customer (your buyer) receives your one-of-a-kind framed photographic print (or custom product) directly from you!

Read those words again… and then let them sink in. Your new customer receives it ‘from you!’ Shouldn’t they be receiving the unique photo product that you created ‘directly’ from CafePress? Well, actually they do, but they won’t know this! That’s the beauty of this ‘sneaky’ technique. 🙂

And, as I mentioned, it’s a little difficult to explain fully here. But suffice to say, the technique works quite well and can be used repeatedly to sell your own photography products, no matter what. You just need to tweak it a little to fit your style…

So, hopefully, the (relatively!) simple sell photos online formula here has given you some creative food for thought… Now you just need to go and experience it for yourself, and use it to get your own amazing photo products out there!