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Best last-mile delivery companies

No matter what type of goods you ship, your business relies heavily on effective last-mile delivery. As the final part of the shipping process, last-mile delivery makes a significant impression on your customers, and late packages may threaten your reputation. Last-mile shipping is also the most expensive step, so finding a reputable partner offering services at a reasonable price is essential for your bottom line. 

Check out these six best last-mile delivery companies and learn more about optimizing last-mile shipping for your business.

Quicklook: Best last-mile delivery companies

  • Best for e-commerce retailers: ShipBob
  • Best for freight companies: C.H. Robinson
  • Best for total freight solutions: Averitt Express 
  • Best for global companies: UPS
  • Best for consumer goods: FedEx
  • Best for fulfillment services: Ryder

6 best last-mile delivery company options

Last-mile delivery to consumers and retailers is the final and most crucial step of the shipping process. These six last-mile delivery companies offer top-of-the-line solutions for your business. 

ShipBob

As one of the leading third-party logistics companies for e-commerce retailers, ShipBob offers superior last-mile shipping options. This company partners with USPS, UPS, FedEx and regional carriers to offer lightning-fast shipping at the best price. ShipBob’s system compares shipping rates for every order to find the best value to pass the savings on to you. 

ShipBob also analyzes your unique customer data to strategically place your inventory at the warehouses closest to your customers. It understands that the shorter the distance your shipment needs to travel to your customer, the less time and money it requires to get there.

Best for: E-commerce retailers

Location: International, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois

Shipping options: 

  • Two-day shipping
  • Same-day delivery
  • Overnight shipping
  • International shipping
  • Freight shipping
  • Hybrid services

Special features

  • Integration with e-commerce software 
  • Automated fulfillment 
  • Customized packaging 
  • Analytic fulfillment platform

Benefits: 

  • High on-time and accuracy rates
  • Over 30 global fulfillment centers  
  • Several expedited shipping options 
  • Business-to-business and omnichannel fulfillment

Disadvantages: 

  • Somewhat tricky to set up 
  • Reports of slow customer service 

C.H. Robinson

C.H. Robinson is a large freight company offering a variety of services to shippers. Its last-mile delivery service helps distribute goods to consumers through its extensive network of carriers. Since C.H. Robinson works with various outside carriers, its services cover all of North America for convenience you won’t find anywhere else. 

Best for: Freight companies

Location: North America, headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Shipping options:

  • Last-mile delivery
  • LTL
  • Truckload
  • Freight consolidation

Special features:

  • End-to-end visibility
  • In-depth reporting 
  • Large network of last-mile drivers
  • Provides delivery to customer’s room of choice

Benefits:

  • Strong customer service availability
  • LTL and FTL 
  • Freight consolidation
  • Curbside services available 
  • Excellent customer service

Disadvantages:

  • Integration limited to specific platforms
  • As a large company, can be slow to adapt
  • Customer dashboard is challenging to navigate and use. 

Averitt Express

Averitt Express is a full-service freight company serving the southeast U.S. This company offers everything from truckload to last-mile delivery so that you can get your products into the customers’ hands as efficiently as possible. The Averitt motto is “The Power of One.” Its team works together towards one goal, offering total transportation solutions with excellent customer service.

Best for: Total freight solutions 

Location: Southeast U.S., headquartered in Cookeville, Tennessee

Shipping options: 

  • Regional and nationwide LTL
  • Climate-controlled LTL
  • Local-customization LTL
  • Truckload
  • Flatbed
  • Air cargo
  • Ground freight
  • Dedicated fleet

Special features:

  • Works with customers for delivery dates and times 
  • Room of choice residential delivery 
  • 24/7 customer service 
  • End-to-end freight options

Benefits:

  • 50 years of freight experience
  • Full supply chain services 
  • Large network of drivers and carrier solutions  
  • 100+ distribution centers 

Disadvantages:

  • Commercial deliveries aren’t always placed in convenient locations.
  • Customer complaints about lost or damaged freight.
  • Insurance only covers up to $5 per pound of each shipment, not the total value

UPS

Since 1907, UPS has offered logistics services across the U.S. This company has perfected global last-mile delivery to meet the needs of large, geographically diverse shipping companies. UPS also provides overnight shipping and fantastic last-mile delivery tracking, so your customers can always know when their package is due to arrive. 

Best for: Global companies

Location: International, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia

Shipping options: 

  • Ground
  • Overnight
  • Freight 
  • International 
  • Flat rate

Special features:

  • Drone delivery services
  • Cold chain solutions
  • Electric-assisted cargo tricycles 
  • Weekend and extended hours

Benefits:

  • Provides email notifications for deliveries
  • Integrates via API to customer systems 
  • Delivery options for P.O. boxes 
  • Cost-effective

Disadvantages:

  • Weekend delivery costs extra
  • International and heavy freight shipping can be expensive

FedEx

Over the last 50 years, FedEx has provided outstanding shipping services for businesses in nearly every industry, including last-mile delivery. FedEx has an extensive network of drivers around the world, making its services ideal for a variety of freight needs. This shipping company is also an excellent choice for internet-based businesses looking for an e-commerce shipping partner. 

Best for: Consumer goods

Location: International, headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee

Shipping options: 

  • Overnight
  • Ground
  • International
  • Freight
  • Flat rate
  • Same-day

Special features:

  • Cold chain solutions 
  • Computer-assisted vehicles
  • Robotics
  • Drone delivery

Benefits:

  • Same-day delivery 
  • Email notifications for customers  
  • Advanced, real-time tracking options 
  • Guaranteed on-time delivery  

Disadvantages:

  • Package pickup services cost extra
  • Fewer locations than UPS or USPS

Ryder

Ryder offers various trucking services and fleet management solutions to meet the needs of today’s shippers. This company promises last-mile two-day delivery services to 95% of the country with the guarantee of great customer service. Its drivers are highly qualified and trained to ensure that you’re not affected by common issues facing today’s shipping industry. 

Best for: Fulfillment services

Location: U.S., Canada and U.K., headquartered in Medley, Florida

Shipping options: 

  • Residential deliveries
  • Commercial deliveries
  • LTL
  • Truckload
  • Dry van
  • Flatbed
  • Intermodal

Special features:

  • Dedicated account representative
  • Technology that provides added visibility into shipments
  • One-stop network for all trucking needs

Benefits:

  • Wide location hub network 
  • Opportunity to select times and dates for last-mile deliveries
  • Diverse options shipping options

Disadvantages:

  • Communication with end customers could be improved
  • Relies heavily on contracted carriers

What is a last-mile delivery company?

Last-mile delivery companies move goods from warehouses or transportation hubs to customers. These customers are often the final consumers, such as Amazon’s last-mile delivery, where drivers pick up goods at a fulfillment warehouse and deliver them to people’s homes. 

Last-mile delivery can also be for commercial customers, such as delivering supplies to grocery stores or retail locations. As the most visible step in the shipping process, last-mile delivery is a crucial aspect of logistics.

How does last-mile delivery work?

At its simplest, last-mile delivery is transporting goods to the customer that ordered them. However, it is much more complicated since 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.

Consumers see that they’ve ordered goods and were promised a delivery date or timeline. Logistics companies see far more. Here are the steps for this delivery process:

  1. Goods move from manufacturing or corporate warehouses to a logistics hub, generally via truckload or LTL freight. 
  2. Carriers then coordinate the last-mile delivery based on destination and volume of additional shipments going to nearby addresses.
  3. Route teams develop the most efficient delivery routes based on time commitments, truck capacity and driver availability.

Keeping costs down is more complex than it appears on the surface since last-mile delivery generally accounts for 53% of the total shipping cost.

What to consider with last-mile delivery companies

Last-mile delivery driving is complex and poses immense challenges in the transportation and logistics industry. When evaluating whether to provide last-mile truck driving services, consider these factors.

Planning

For efficient and cost-effective last-mile delivery, you must have excellent planning and historical insights into past shipments. In addition, a company needs to ensure timely pickup from the warehouse and transportation of the goods to the distribution hub. 

From there, the last-mile carrier needs to be ready to bring the shipment to the customer at their chosen delivery location within the small allocated time window. All of these steps require a great deal of planning to execute correctly. 

Local solutions

If you’re a local or regional company, tapping into local carriers can help you achieve your shipping goals with incredible speed and agility while leaving a smaller footprint. Although national companies prefer working with one company that can service their needs, many businesses will find greater value in partnering with smaller, local last-mile companies.

Cost

Undoubtedly, last-mile delivery is the most expensive and important aspect of shipping. Partnering with an experienced last-mile shipper can help reduce costs while ensuring quality customer service. These shippers understand how to manage costs to deliver goods quickly while keeping prices competitive. 

Expectations

Customer expectations are high in last-mile shipping, thanks to the in-depth delivery insights and guaranteed timeframes offered by major online retailers such as Amazon. To stay competitive, shipping companies need to meet these expectations with great delivery times and service. 

Tracking

Last-mile delivery tracking and delivery insights are essential for excellent customer service. To offer this transparency to your customers, you need precise data on the package’s location en route and when and where it was delivered. Without it, you have no recourse if a customer complains.

Choose the best last-mile delivery partner

Partnering with a respected last-mile delivery company helps you grow your business, provide your customers with outstanding service and protect your bottom line. Use this guide to choose one of the best options today. 

FAQ

Why is last-mile delivery so expensive?

Last-mile logistics services are more expensive because drivers have to navigate city streets at slower speeds and experience more idle time. The added expense comes from increased fuel consumption and higher maintenance costs.

Is last-mile delivery profitable?

Last-mile delivery can be profitable but needs to be optimized for efficiency as it often accounts for the majority of shipping costs.

What is the last-mile delivery problem?

The last-mile delivery problem refers to the final part of the shipping process being the most time-consuming and expensive step.

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Streamlined Fulfillment & Warehousing

Known as the best-in-class fulfillment service, ShipBob streamlines your business with warehousing solutions, robust integration software, improved transit times, and reduced shipping costs!