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Delivering for Valentines

Whether you have your own projections/estimates on what your Valentine’s Day Sales & Deliveries are going to be, or counting on someone else’s projections, you should prepare a schedule for delivery. 


This year we have three days for delivery of Valentine's Day orders, but most customers want delivery on the 14th. In years past, I had offered an incentive to both the sales person and the customer for early delivery. This year, I would offer the sales person $1.00 for each order taken with an early delivery date of Monday 02/12, and give the customer a free Valentine Mylar balloon. By offering the incentive to both the sales person and customer, you may be able to take more orders for the 14th. 


Valentine's Day takes planning and storage. Planning should include your marketing and sales effort, design production schedule and your delivery schedule. One of our biggest challenges is the timing of producing the arrangements ahead of time, then storing them until delivery date. I can remember on more than one holiday, we took too many orders and ran behind on getting the arrangements made which in-turn delay the arrangement getting delivered. Although we all want as many sales as possible, taking a customer’s order then failing to provide the product offered and the delivery date requested does not build customer loyalty and does not help you grow your business. 


One Slogan to live by, Don’t Lie, Don’t Cheat, don’t make promises you can’t keep. 


Looking at your delivery requirements, the holiday generally ramps or builds up to the 14th. As an example, if your shop does 15 deliveries in an average day, the holiday can be 10-fold or ten times that say 150. How many drivers do you need? Let’s say a driver can deliver 3 orders per hour, divide the 150 by 3 equally 50 hours of delivery time. If your drivers worked 8 hours, you would need 6 drivers. Another way to look at this is 150 orders divided by 6 drivers, each driver would have to make 25 deliveries. Depending of the size of the driver’s vehicle, the driver would make 2 to 3 runs for his 8-hour shift. 


Of course, these numbers are in a perfect world. Traffic, weather, distances between deliveries, places of businesses with limited hours and timed deliveries all have an effect these numbers and your results. 


So where can you find more drivers? I have used a combination of resources, the best has been contract drivers (1099 employees). You pay them by delivery and they use their own vehicle. Pizza delivery folks make great contract drivers, they are used to using their own vehicle, know the area, and used to delivering a product. The newer resource is UBER or Lyft, and maybe a solution as well. 


Last thought – You are only as good as your last delivery. Most customers ordering over the phone or web never see you in person, so your delivery person is the only contact the customer or recipient has of you and your shop.