How to plan a trouble-free delivery

Large vehicles and narrow, busy streets don’t go well together – yet that combination presents an everyday challenge for couriers across the UK.

For van drivers, it can be tough balancing safety considerations with a busy schedule or urgent deliveries. So, what can you do to ensure that important or large items are delivered without a hitch, keeping both your customers and your fellow road users happy? And how could courier insurance arranged by the Insurance Factory keep you on the road?

Read on for our quick guide to planning, driving, parking, and delivering packages safely in tricky conditions.

1. Plan ahead

Wherever possible, let the customer know when to expect you so you avoid a wasted journey or a lengthy wait.

Ask if there’s anything you need to know about the delivery site, for example, times when traffic is especially heavy, or routes to avoid.

The better you know the neighbourhood, the easier it is to plot a van-friendly route that will limit your likelihood of getting lost, stuck in traffic, or falling foul of parking restrictions. Sat navs are essential tools for couriers these days but can on occasion get it wrong – and nothing beats expert local knowledge.

When loading your van, put the last deliveries in first so that the packages you need for your first stops are easily accessible. Take care when stacking, too, so your goods arrive with customers in perfect condition.

Courier insurance can provide cover for goods in transit, so make sure you’ve chosen a suitable policy.

Get all paperwork ready to limit the amount of time you need to spend at each stop.

Fill up with fuel to avoid having to make urgent detours to find a gas station. If you’re embarking on a lengthy journey, plan where you’ll stop for fuel and rest breaks.

A courier driver unloading parcels from his van using a sack barrow

2. On arrival at the site

You’ll need to keep a close eye on parking restrictions, including time limits and bans on unloading.

Avoid blocking traffic with your vehicle. Remember to be especially considerate to vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians. 

Don’t reverse into a parking spot or delivery site unless necessary – in a big van, on a crowded street, this can prove dangerous. If it’s unavoidable, you could ask a co-worker or someone at the delivery site to guide you.

Try to allow enough space for other vehicles to get round you safely. This includes parked cars, which might need to leave their spaces while you are stopped.

If stopping on the road, you’ll need to turn on your hazard lights. Remember to look outside before you open the driver’s door – you might accidentally hit a passing cyclist or an overtaking car.

3. Making your delivery

When getting out of your vehicle on the road or at a busy site, don’t neglect your own safety as well as that of your fellow road users. Always look out for oncoming and passing traffic and other hazards.

Don’t unload heavy items until you’re sure there’s someone at the delivery site ready to receive them. There’s always a chance that you’ll end up simply having to reload them if nobody’s there!

Remember to use a trolley or get someone to help you lift and carry especially heavy or bulky goods. You might think you can save time by doing it yourself, but you could end up damaging the goods or injuring yourself.

Have the paperwork – or electronic equivalent – to hand if possible, to avoid you making more than one trip from your vehicle to the delivery site. Don’t forget a pen! And do you need to take a photograph for your company or client records?

Courier insurance arranged by the Insurance Factory can provide cover for many of the most common forms of damage that delivery drivers encounter, depending on the policy you choose. Policy benefits can include cover for goods in transit up to £10,000, and liability insurance up to £2 million with extensions available up to £5 million.

A delivery driver handing over a package to a customer

3. Leaving the site

Double check that all the remaining goods are secure in your van, and that the doors are firmly locked. Make sure the next batch of goods to be delivered and the relevant paperwork are easily accessible.

Check you know the route to your next stop, and that you’ve got enough fuel to get there.

Before you set off, can you give the delivery site a quick call to let them know you’re on your way and give them an ETA? Remember – using a mobile phone while driving is illegal and can land you a fine and points on your licence, or even a driving ban. That can threaten your livelihood, and might raise the cost of your insurance for courier drivers.

If you are on a busy road, you might need help pulling out, so ask your co-worker or someone at the delivery site to guide you out if necessary. No matter how busy your schedule, you always need to keep yourself and other road users safe.

Don’t forget to use your indicators to show traffic that you are ready to move. And remember – moving traffic and pedestrians always have right of way, so you’ll need to wait for a space.

Delivery driving is a difficult job, particularly for urgent or heavy packages and in built-up areas. So, keep a clear head, and drive safely.

Get a quote from the Insurance Factory today

At the Insurance Factory, we understand the pressures that couriers are under to deliver packages swiftly and in tough driving conditions. We also know that all delivery services are different. So we want to help you find courier insurance tailored to meet the requirements of your business and vehicle.

We arrange cover for vans up to 7.5 tonnes, and goods in transit with a value of up to £10,000. Benefits can include cover for the transportation of hazardous or fragile goods, depending on underwriting criteria.

We can arrange cover for young drivers, and will consider applications from those with convictions, too. If you’re not sure whether we can cover your line of work, just give us a ring to discuss – we’re always happy to help.

Get a quick quote today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.