Couriers’ rise in fortunes in coronavirus crisis

By Sarah Stowe | 27 Apr 2020 View comments

Now more than ever courier services are coming into their own as consumers and businesses ramp up delivery orders.

The courier business is one of just six per cent of franchises experiencing a normal level of growth, according to a just-released survey by FranchiseEd.

The appetite for growth identified by FranchiseEd echoes the experience of CouriersPlease’ Mark McGinley, and Peter Lipinski of Fastway Couriers.

Couriers Please

CouriersPlease CEO Mark McGinley | Inside Franchise Business

CouriersPlease CEO Mark McGinley | Inside Franchise Business

CouriersPlease CEO Mark McGinley says “A lot of new businesses are starting up home delivery, food delivery, alcohol delivery and using our services.”

Whether it’s micro businesses selling the obvious things like hand sanitisers, or existing businesses stocking office supplies, sportswear and equipment, bread machines and pet food, there’s been a shift in the type of products customers are ordering.

It isn’t just a COVID-19 moment though, suggests Mark McGinley.

“The home delivery trend will continue for the next six months. Then people will get used to it, so we expect a permanent increase.

We’ve seen record volumes that exceed Black Friday and Silent Monday, I think that’s across the whole industry.”

That has meant a ramping up of casual staff across the business.

In very busy times the franchise relies on a partnership with a crowdsourcing firm to recruit drivers to take up any extra volume franchisees cannot cope with.

Health and safety are crucial for everyone working at CouriersPlease, and there is now contactless delivery, and boosted levels of sanitation practices.

“We have sortation staff much more spread out, we’ve changed the shift pattern, added night and weekend shifts. Franchisees stagger numbers in the depot which has an operational impact but this is the same for all carriers,” says McGinley.

Fastway Couriers

Fastway Couriers are rebranding to Aramex | Inside Franchise Business

Fastway Couriers are rebranding to Aramex | Inside Franchise Business

Fastway Couriers’ CEO Peter Lipinski reports “quite an increase in activity, similar to Christmas peak times” for the courier chain which is in the process of rebranding to Aramex.

The biggest challenge is how to keep on servicing the consumer at the same time ensuring the fleet of drivers and the warehouse workers are safe.

Lipinski says “We have tried to maintain our service standard. We’ve worked hard with franchisees and providers so it doesn’t impact lead times.”

One unexpected side-effect of the coronavirus crisis has been expanding regional work. The franchise chain even opened a brand new region, Young, on 1 April. The new business to cope will meet the demand for additional services, sending wine to metro areas.

As franchisees grow their own territories beyond capacity they can meet, they can split the run and create new franchisee areas.

“We are growing at 17 per cent, pick up and deliveries, and we need to continue to grow.

“Our courier network has had a big increase in enquiries in metro and regional opportunities; people are looking at new avenues.”