Last-mile delivery gets goods from a warehouse or other hub to the final delivery location for the goods. That location might be a B2B or B2C location, such as a person’s home or it could be another business.
For the customer or end-user, the last-mile delivery is the only part of the goods’ transportation that they see, making it essential despite being the shortest distance the goods must travel. If you’re evaluating a career in last-mile delivery, you’ll learn about the top 5 companies to work for.
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Quicklook: Best Last-Mile Delivery Companies
- Best For Shippers and Freight Companies: C.H. Robinson
- Best For Total Freight Solutions: Averitt Express
- Best For Global Companies: UPS
- Best For E-commerce and Consumer Goods Companies: FedEx
- Best For Fulfillment Services: Ryder
5 Best Last-Mile Delivery Company Options
Last-mile delivery covers a wide spectrum of product transportation, sometimes from a retail location to a customer and other times from warehouses to retailers. Here’s a look at the top last-mile delivery companies you should consider driving for.
C.H. Robinson is a large freight company offering a variety of services to shippers. One service is last-mile delivery that helps get goods to consumers through a large network of carriers. Because C.H. Robinson works with other carriers, the service experience can vary. But with a network that covers all of North America, it also offers added convenience you won’t find elsewhere.
Best For: Shippers and freight companies
Location: North America
- Last-mile delivery
- Freight consolidation
- End-to-end visibility
- In-depth reporting
- Large network of last-mile drivers
- Provides delivery to customer’s room of choice
- Strong customer service availability
- Freight service for LTL, truckload and freight consolidation
- Curbside services available
- Excellent customer service
- Requires that you use certain systems if you want integrations
- Large freight company is not very reactive to changes
- Customer dashboard is challenging to navigate and use
Averitt Express is a full-service freight company serving the southeast area of the country. If you’re looking to move a variety of freight and need everything from truckload to last-mile delivery, Averitt offers those services to help you get your products to customers.
Best For: Total freight solutions and last-mile delivery of bulky products
Location: 18 states in the southeast area of the country
- Regional LTL
- Nationwide LTL
- Climate-controlled LTL
- Local-customization LTL
- Air cargo
- Ground freight
- Dedicated fleet
- Works directly with customer for delivery date and time
- Room of choice delivery
- 24/7 customer service
- End-to-end freight options
- 50 years of freight experience
- Full supply chain services
- Large network of drivers and carrier solutions
- 100+ distribution centers
- Commercial deliveries aren’t always placed in convenient locations
- You can’t control the customer experience when Averitt works with third-party carriers
- Customers complain about lost or damaged freight that never makes it to their home
- If something goes wrong, Averitt covers $5 per pound of the shipment and not the value of the shipment
UPS is one of the oldest logistics companies in the country dating back to 1907. The company has perfected its operations structure and is global to meet the needs of large, geographically diverse shipping companies.
Best For: Global companies
Location: Global presence headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia
- Flat rate
- Drone delivery services
- Provides cold chain solutions
- Electric-assisted cargo tricycles
- Weekend and extended hours
- Provides email notifications for deliveries
- Integrates via API to customer systems
- Large company with ample customer service reps
- Delivery options for P.O. Boxes
- Takes 2-7 days for delivery
- Weekend delivery costs extra
- International shipping is quite expensive
- Heavier freight gets quite pricey
FedEx is far newer to the logistics business than UPS having been founded in 1971. But that doesn’t mean that the company is not as good as UPS. Over the last 50 years, FedEx has provided outstanding shipping services, including last-mile delivery for a variety of businesses. And because of its large network of drivers and diverse geography, its services are ideal for a variety of freight needs.
Best For: E-commerce and consumer goods companies
Location: Global operations
- Flat rate
- Cold chain solutions
- Computer-assisted vehicles
- Drone delivery
- Same-day delivery
- Email notifications for customers
- Advanced, real-time tracking options
- Guaranteed on-time delivery
- Package pickup services cost extra
- Fewer office locations compared to UPS or USPS
Ryder’s last-mile delivery services promise 2-day delivery to 95% of the country with customer service guarantees. The company is diverse in its trucking types to provide a stable employment opportunity for truck drivers of all kinds. And with locations throughout the country, you’ll likely find a hub near you to make your commute short and help maximize daily income opportunities.
Best For: Fulfillment services
Location: Ryder has transportation hubs throughout the US, Canada, and United Kingdom.
- Residential deliveries
- Commercial deliveries
- Dry van
- Dedicated account representative
- Technology that provides added visibility into shipments
- One-stop network for all trucking needs
- Wide location hub network provides ample work opportunities
- Provides customers the opportunity to select times and dates for last-mile deliveries
- Diverse options for types of truck driving work to grow and adapt your career as desired
- Customers complain about delayed deliveries
- Communication with end customers could be improved
- Relies heavily on a network of contracted carriers, which provides less chain of control and insights into deliveries
What Is a Last-Mile Delivery Company?
Last-mile delivery companies move goods from warehouses or transportation hubs to customers. Those customers might be consumers, such as Amazon’s last-mile delivery where drivers pick up goods at a fulfillment warehouse and deliver them to people’s homes.
Or it might be commercial customers, such as delivering supplies to grocery stores or retail locations. Last-mile delivery is a crucial aspect of logistics because it’s the most visible aspect for the consumer.
How Does Last-Mile Delivery Work?
Last-mile delivery sounds fairly simple on the surface. You pick up goods and deliver them to the consumer or business that ordered them. But it’s a complicated business because profitability relies heavily on route optimization and efficiency.
To succeed at last-mile deliveries, companies benefit from economies of scale or having many deliveries in a specific area to optimize their truck and driver resources to the fullest.
What consumers see is that they’ve ordered goods and they’ve been promised delivery date or timeline. Logistics companies see far more.
- Goods must move from manufacturing or corporate warehouses to a logistics hub, generally via truckload or LTL freight.
- Carriers then coordinate the last-mile delivery based on the delivery address and other goods that need delivery in the same general area.
- Route teams develop the most efficient way to deliver the goods they’ve promised on any given day while maximizing a truck’s capacity and the driver’s hours.
- Keeping costs down is harder than it appears on the surface because last-mile delivery generally accounts for more than 50% of the total cost of shipping the goods.
What to Consider With Last-Mile Delivery Companies
Last-mile delivery driving is exceedingly complex and poses some of the largest challenges in the transportation and logistics industry. When evaluating whether to provide last-mile truck driving services, consider these important factors.
For the best, most cost-effective last-mile delivery, you need a company with excellent planning and insights into reporting and data from past shipments. Ensuring timely pick up from the warehouse to transport the goods to the transportation hub.
From there, the last-mile carrier picking it up is just as important as getting it to the customer at their chosen delivery location. All of that requires strong planning.
Tapping into local carriers can help you service a smaller footprint with incredible speed and agility. While national companies will prefer working with one company that can service their needs, local businesses will find greater worth in partnering with smaller, local last-mile companies.
Undoubtedly, last-mile delivery is the most expensive, yet most important aspect of shipping. Managing costs will help shippers deliver goods quickly while keeping prices competitive.
Due to major retailers like Amazon who have provided in-depth insights into deliveries and guaranteed timeframes, customer expectations are high. Companies can’t compete unless they meet those expectations with outstanding delivery timeframes.
Customers want insights into their deliveries and for customer service purposes, you need those same insights. Without clear data about when and where a package was delivered, you have no recourse if a customer complains about your services. In-depth tracking data keeps everyone informed and happy.
Delight Customers with On-Time Deliveries
Working for the best last-mile delivery companies ensures your customers receive on-time deliveries with insights into where their order is at throughout the transportation process.
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Last-mile deliveries are so expensive because they include expenses for failed deliveries, extensive fuel costs, out-of-route miles, and driver downtime.
It can be, but it requires deep knowledge and quality software in route maps. Efficiency is the key to making money in last-mile delivery businesses.
Last-mile deliveries are the most expensive and time-consuming aspect of the entire delivery process. As such, they create enormous headaches and challenges for shipping companies looking to optimize their expenses and assets.