In his first three months with CitizenShipper, driver Dan Sutton completed 14 shipments. That’s an impressive amount of deliveries for a new driver, but Sutton isn’t exactly a novice. He’s worked as a pet transporter for five years, and moved to CitizenShipper after his former provider (an online shipping company featured on cable television) became a difficult partner.
“They were making it very difficult for working folks and didn’t stand behind their drivers like you’d expect them to,” said Sutton. “I felt they got too big for their britches and it didn’t bother me at all when I left.”
That negative experience was erased after Sutton was quickly contacted by a member of the CitizenShipper Customer Service Team after his first bid was accepted.
“She was just checking that everything was ready to go,” he said. “That was way above the call of duty and I was very impressed. That made me realize CitizenShipper was a good choice.”
The transport industry hasn’t always been the easiest for Sutton, however. Getting his shipping operation off the ground took longer than expected and little costs kept eating into his bottom line. He also had to develop a bidding strategy that maximizes profit.
“At first, this business is discouraging but you’ve got to stick with it,” he said. “You need to learn your strengths and develop a total strategy that works for you.”
“I’ve got it down where I work hard on the road for 10 days a month. The rest of that time I’m taking care of vehicles, resting and lining up the next shipments. And I’m always watching for ways to save money.”
A professional driver profile, Sutton said, is critical to attract potential customers.
“Your profile is a major tool for attracting customers,” he said. “Just go through and fill it out with great info and pictures. Make it look professional and get your spelling right. People are catching up to technology, and your image on the web has to be sharp.”
Sutton also said that customers have slowly become more trusting of an individual working in the sharing economy, which was a major hurdle for digital companies that provided services.
“Now that people are getting more used to the Internet, it’s become more acceptable to trust someone you made a business agreement with online and haven’t met in person. Now people are glad to hand over a dog or a cat and they are happy to see you.”
“There used to be a lot of skepticism, but the web has become very mainstream and interest is not slowing down. The Internet is helping the small businessman, and I’m glad to be part of it.”