HELP - Moving up - Expanding Biz

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by KlyxMaster, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. KlyxMaster

    KlyxMaster
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    not sure if I am posting in the right section so I will just start, and if I am not, hopefully someone can point me in the right direction.

    I have been a self employed courier for 5yrs. Incredible clientele base. Problem is there are TOO MANY clients what want to use my services and I can not comply. This has been an increasing issue over the last 2yrs (note: I do not advertise - it is all word of mouth, and they are large companies - not small shops)

    Here is my problem. (?) (right now its difficult at best to take days off if needed, vacations etc.. no havent been on one in 5yrs, and I only take sundays off)I think it is time to expand . But I really don't know the first thing about it. here are some of my issues.
    1. How to pay the employees (most 95%+ are COD - their choice)
    2. I believe the right way is to hire them on as independent contractors where they pay for their own expenses, I just give them routes

    While in the past I have been a manager in the retail field and a sales trainer - this is new. I love what I do a lot! But I think it would be nice to get about 5-10 people on board to cover the area including a field sales rep to get new clients and maintain present clients.

    I am constantly jealous when I see new competitors out, and some are small fleets and other have 18 wheelers and I think - what the heck am I missing?

    any professional couriers out there that are this large? I am interested in the ones that started on your own and grew - how did you do that? what steps did you take?

    thanks

    ps
    my alterate was to get hired on with a competitor - oh my clients would absolutely hate that LOL
     
  2. Fergal

    Fergal
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    Welcome to our Business Forum KlyxMaster. Congratulations on growing your business to it's present level, that is a great achievement that you should be proud of. Taking on additional staff is a huge step and not one to be taken lightly. If you do decide to recruit additional staff I'd suggest that you expand relatively slowly, i.e. employ one additional staff member at a time, rather than five all at once. This will make the change a lot easier on you and your business.

    The idea of hiring them as independent contractors is a good one, it would make it a lot easier to manage and administrate them, plus your legal obligations would be less than if they were direct employees. Another advantage is that you would not have to pay them during times when you did not have work for them.

    You could also consider selling your business to a larger company and then becoming an employee of that larger company. They would get the benefit of your client base and you would have the benefit of their management structure plus the additional advantages of the selling price of the business and receiving a regular salary.

    Another option would be for you to buy into a franchise system, again this would give you access to a business structure and training system that would make it easier for you to expand.

    Please post back with your thoughts!
     
  3. KlyxMaster

    KlyxMaster
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    This I am. even when I take emergency leave off, and come back - I am still the first call, and many of them either call and wish me well, or send gifts - even though there are large companies - there is a close nit relationship as well.

    many thanks for your idea - I am hoping I can make a large change come summer, as it has been over 5yrs since i took more than 2 days off and would love a long vacation! :)

    yes I agree - the above statement is only the max I want to have one board when all is said and done.

    Agreed. However, this is my first "road block" (no pun :p ). Avg run is from $10 - $15 per stop. While that works as a single independent, if I want a percentage of that, it will not benifit them. the only way I thought it might work is to pay a minium wage of say $10/hr and by my math the runs should cover that, and I can still make a small profit. but I still run into the problem of C.O.D. (the clients just prefer it this way, opening a charge account requires too much paper work, and it seems to be easier to just toss out a $10 or $20 and have done with it) I would have to rely on the driver to bring back this cash - I am sure with a LITTLE push, There is another very large company that I have turned down several times (I have too much now) that is charge only - so that may be an option for the new highers, but then I am digging into my daily profits to pay the drivers.

    Now this I have not thought of. interesting approach. The problem is that it is such a lethal competitive nature lately that I fear they may take me on board and slowly weed me out. This is not far fetched as it seems. Several of the competitors have been trying to drive out the little guys (all have quit or retired in my area except one other guy - outside that I am the only "lone" courier handling large companies). Even with their "unethical" pricing (some dropped to a low as $5 for 30 miles runs) my clients will not switch. Even when I told them I am NOT lowering my prices. How many business can say that!!! (yes im chest pounding LOL ) - So ya, they would LOVE MY CLIENT BASE.
    2nd. I do not want a regular salary - that is why I left the retail end. I enjoy being my own boss - even when the econ. crashed and we were on the edge of loosing our place - I still would not go back.


    Hmmm, not sure if that is available, but I know couries companies that start and fall flat on their face - now THIS might be an interesting option. of course finacing is a problem. Where to small biz go to get finacing?

    Please post back with your thoughts![/QUOTE]
     
  4. mackey

    mackey
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    Why not outsource some of your orders to other providers? I suggest to hire a Staff leasing company instead of a freelancer. because leased staff are permanent workers of a company and are easy to reach in case you need them. Freelancers do not have employers so they do as they please and sometimes cannot be contacted for various reasons.

    That will definitely help you out.
     
  5. KlyxMaster

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    Very very nice idea - never thought of that - and any suggestions on accounts that are COD?
     
  6. Fergal

    Fergal
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    Thanks for posting back KlyxMaster. Why are you so concerned about receiving cash payments from employees or independent contractors? Are the issues you face concerning cash, any different to those of retailers who accept cash for goods sold? If you keep good records of the business you are doing you will know exactly how much cash to expect from every employee or contractor at the end of every day and if you hire reliable people you should have no problem receiving the cash you are owed.
     
  7. KlyxMaster

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    good question - can be answered simply as the same reason many companies do not accept cash for say, car rentals, hotels etc... TRUST. If I wanted to rent a car, they would not take cash for the rental. there is no trust that I will pay the balance. Or even return the car for that matter. What is to say that an "employee" ticked off, pockets the cash and takes off. Everyone has "good intentions" - however there is a reality when dealing with cash, and I deal with hundreds of dollars on a daily basis. The temptation is too great (heck my wife did that, did her hair, got starbucks and the list is endless - so i fired her - and she is family). Its just human nature when you are dealing with "loose" cash that goes in your pocket, or log book - its not the same as doing a deposit. Maybe they are broke and have no gas, and dip into the funds, or maybe a quick fast food stop. No, I have heard too many horror stories from other courier companies about employees handling cash. Even good employees can go sour. How do you determine "reliable" people. Even when I was a manager at a retail, we did background checks, and still found one employee scamming credit cards.

    however you have good idea's. I am thinking about putting the new hirees on accounts that are charge only and I deal with the cash accounts until an emplyee can prove "reliable" :)
     
  8. Fergal

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    I can understand your concerns regarding trusting employees KlyxMaster and as you say the temptation is always there. However, I like to believe that the majority of people are honest, plus if you employ someone they will want to keep their job.

    You could limit the risk by collecting all the cash employees receive at the end of every working day. That way, the most they could steal is one day's taking (obviously not something you would want, but it's still a limited risk) and if they steal from you once, you wouldn't use that employee again. Most employees would not steal in those circumstances because they know they would lose their job and risk being reported to the police.

    There are a huge number of businesses, such as filling stations, retail outlets, restaurants, etc, who need to trust their staff to handle cash and they would not be in business if they did not have that trust, backed up with systems to limit the risk and to check on employees.

    Would it be possible for you to collect any cash an employee receives, at the end of every day? If you could do that, would the risk still be too great?
     

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