How to Get Delivery Contracts in 2024

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Online shopping rose sharply as a result of the pandemic. And subsequently, home deliveries also increased. But that trend won’t continue, with 90% of shoppers in a recent study stating they plan to return to their pre-pandemic shopping norms. As shoppers return to their favorite storefronts, online shopping and, consequently, deliveries will decline. Relying on one-off jobs won’t be enough for third-party logistics and shipping companies to survive. For sustained success in the future, shippers need to secure long-term delivery contracts.

Getting delivery contracts in 2022 takes a lot more than simply contacting local businesses and pitching your services. You’ll also need to invest in a good website, plan delivery routes with software, market your business, and use courier sites to find initial contracts.

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What Are Delivery Contracts?

Delivery contracts, sometimes known as delivery orders, are agreements that provide for the delivery of goods. These types of agreements typically don’t specify the exact quantities needed to be delivered—usually only minimum and maximum amounts. What these agreements do specify are the clauses and terms that define the conditions of the contract, including the cadence of the deliveries and how much customers will pay. A few of the standard clauses and terms include late delivery clauses, delivery terms, and payment terms.

  • Late delivery clause: Delivery companies often include a late delivery clause in their contracts to help improve the customer experience by enforcing deadlines. For example, the clause may dictate that the shipper pay a penalty fee for late deliveries.
  • Delivery terms: The delivery terms of a contract specify what customers can expect, including the cadence and method of the deliveries, such as bi-monthly airfreight shipments or a one-time delivery shipped via truck.
  • Payment terms: To define the price of the delivery service and payment method, shippers typically build payment terms into their contracts. These terms can include details like whether the customer will pay for delivery upfront or with a monthly payment plan, as well as if payments should come via cash, credit, or check.

How to Get Delivery Contracts in 6 Steps

Getting delivery contracts is the foundation of a shipping and delivery business. But to secure those contracts, you’ll have to define your services, market your business, and develop a plan to scale operations to support future business growth.

1. Choose which delivery services you’ll offer

Outlining your services will help you focus the scope of your operations, which will make it easier to optimize and scale as your business grows. It will also help you identify potential customers, so you can develop a marketing plan. To decide what delivery services you’ll offer, assess what makes sense for your business and what you can realistically provide. Consider factors like the size of your delivery team, the payload capacity of your vehicles, and your service area. You’ll also want to consider what industry you plan to operate in.

You’ll need standard certifications, like a commercial driver’s license, for a full-fledged delivery company. But the specific services you offer and the industry you operate in can also have an impact on how you conduct business. For example, if you offer a delivery service for restaurants, you’ll need the appropriate food license when handling raw or frozen foods. It will be important to contact local regulatory offices to ensure your business has all of the documentation and certifications it needs.

2. Start reaching out to local companies

After defining your service area, you can begin to contact companies to offer your services. It is easier to win local delivery contracts than it is to win larger, national contracts because you won’t have to compete with larger shippers and distributors like FedEx or Amazon. Focusing on local companies will allow you to identify and cater to specific delivery needs in the area. For example, you may plan around regional considerations like transporting fish via a refrigerated truck along the coast.

You can find local businesses online by searching for companies in relevant industries that operate within your service area. Refine your search by focusing on new businesses that are less likely to have an existing relationship with another delivery company. Compile a list of companies you plan to contact, including details like the name of the person you hope to speak to and how you plan to contact them. Prioritize business owners, managers, or logistics personnel who have a key role in deciding how the business operates. Then begin contacting the companies on your list to discuss what delivery services they need and why contracting your company is the best option.

3. Optimize your website and utilize SEO

If your business isn’t easy to find online, then you’ll miss out on potential business opportunities. That’s because 92% of searchers will pick a business that appears on the first page of their search results. And since 26% of customers don’t trust a brand without a website, making sure your webpage shows up in local searches is vital to business success.

A good website will look modern and be easy to navigate, which means keeping your webpage up to date and ensuring your contact information and service offerings are easy to find. After you’ve built your website, you can increase the chances that it will be the first search result by optimizing the site for SEO. One way to do this is to publish content related to the delivery and transportation industry, such as a guide to secure product packaging or delivery stats your customers will find interesting. Many organizations implement this strategy by leveraging a platform like WordPress to build a blog on the company website.

4. Use software to improve route efficiency

Photo by Mike Birdy via Pexels

The more deliveries your team is able to complete, the larger the contracts you can win and the higher your profits will be. And efficient routes are the key to maximizing deliveries. Optimizing your routes helps you cut down on driving time by helping you find the most direct path to each destination. This means you won’t just increase delivery efficiency; you’ll also cut fuel and labor costs. The best way to improve efficiency is by implementing delivery planning software, which automates key tasks like routing, driver scheduling, and even last mile delivery. The impact of this is massive for business, with one company increasing its overall delivery capacity by 20% just by implementing a routing tool.

5. Market your business

A good reputation and positive brand image will make shoppers think more favorably of your business. And the more they like your business, the more likely it is that your marketing efforts will win over new customers. One popular way to build a good reputation and market your business is with social media. For example, consistent branding across your social media accounts “can help build consumer trust and create familiarity and meaningful connections.

A good strategy will include a variety of marketing tactics so that you reach a wider base of potential customers. Two other common tactics that all businesses can use are:

  • Traditional marketing: Classic marketing tactics like buying ad placements in local newspapers, radio advertisements, and even billboards allow you to target your marketing efforts in a specific region. This makes it easy to reach potential customers in your service area.
  • Google My Business: A complete Google My Business page displays details about your business that may turn browsers into customers. Make sure you include a company website link, contact information, and customer reviews that can sway customers who may be on the fence.

6. Use a courier site to find delivery contracts

A courier site functions as a job board for delivery drivers. Couriers can search the sites for contracts, view delivery job details, and bid on contracts. These sites make it easy for courier services to find clients and begin growing a customer base. However, many courier sites only list temporary contracts. If shippers hope to avoid slowdowns in business, they’ll need to continually pitch their company and win delivery contracts.

How to Pitch Your Company for Delivery Contracts

To win over customers and get delivery contracts, you have to convince business owners and decision-makers that your delivery services are the best in the region. Start by explaining how your business will help them save time, improve the customer delivery experience, and grow their brand.

Start by searching for other shippers that operate in your service area to find out who your competitors are. Then assess what services other parcel carriers in your area offer and at what price by looking at their websites. If you offer more robust services or lower prices, these will be great selling points to help you win delivery contracts. You can also set your business apart by implementing a route planning tool like OptimoRoute, which streamlines the routing, planning, and scheduling process to help you complete deliveries with greater efficiency. The software also offers capabilities like customer notifications and proof of delivery. These features can help you win customers over by providing them with visibility into their delivery progress, improving the experience they have with your business.

Take a look at how OptimoRoute helped one company implement delivery and scale from zero to 1,000 weekly deliveries, or sign up for a free trial to see how OptimoRoute can help your business scale to win more contracts.

FAQs About How to Get Delivery Contracts

In this section, we’ll answer three of the most common questions about deliveries and delivery contracts.

How do I start making deliveries for my business?

Starting a food delivery business or any other type of courier business will require you to define your offerings, hire a team of delivery drivers, and buy box trucks for your delivery fleet. Then you’ll need to market your business to find customers and implement a tool to help you with delivery planning and scale operations as your business grows.

How do I make deliveries as an independent contractor?

Independent contractors can find their first contractor jobs by using courier sites like Courierboard. Once a contractor finds a contract, they can pitch their services to the company by explaining what services they offer and how they can help the company with its delivery problem.

How do companies get delivery contracts?

Shipping companies get delivery contracts by advertising their services, contacting companies directly, or relying on digital and traditional marketing strategies. Some of those strategies include creating a website, buying ads on Google, and placing physical advertisements in their local area, including on billboards and TV commercials.

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