While the CitizenShipper platform does a great job connecting drivers to clients, it’s not very beginner-friendly. When I was just starting out, I couldn’t figure out how people made any money this way! I was bidding on all sorts of routes in my area, both the busy ones and those less so. Yet somehow, I could barely win any bids. Other drivers kept undercutting me, making these incredibly low offers that I felt I couldn’t compete with. But that was before I learned how stacked shipments worked.
Put simply, stacked shipping is a system that enables you to make multiple deliveries along the same route. This cuts down massively on your fuel costs and other travel expenditures. And that, in turn, allows you to bid even lower, stacking more and more shipments onto a route.
Easier said than done, right? How are you supposed to get all those jobs neatly stacked along a route, if you’re barely winning any bids? It does take a little getting used to, but it’s a massively underrated system that drivers are ignoring to their own detriment. Once I had it figured out, I upped my profit margins enough to make a steady living out of this. So, to clue in other rookie drivers, I wanted to lay out how the stacked shipments system actually worked.
Stacked Shipments and Route Planning
Let’s say you’re bidding on an East Coast delivery, New York to Florida. Someone wants their dog shipped all the way down there. On average, you’ll see these jobs going for as much (or as little) as $400 to $600. You might wonder if it’s worth your while to bid lower than that, drive for two days, and make just enough to cover the expenses.
Well, the way you make it worth your while is scheduling other deliveries along the way. That’s what the Shipment Stacking Tool is there for: it automatically lists other shipments that can stack onto yours. Each of these adds a little extra time and mileage, so take that into account when planning the route. But these are only minor additions, allowing you to minimize the expenses and maximize the earnings. Instead of driving a thousand miles to make a single $500 shipment, you could drive a thousand miles and make four or five of those.
This works both ways, of course: you could stack a few shipments traveling south and a few more on your way back north. Suddenly you’re not making $500 on that trip but $2,000 or more. That’s why stacked shipments really are the only way to make it in this business.
Stacked Shipments and Bidding
Here’s where things get a little trickier. You shouldn’t try to bid a proportional amount on every shipment you stack, based on the distance covered. This puts you at risk of missing out on some of them, making only a couple deliveries on the way, and operating at a loss. You need to stack as many as you can, which means bidding lower than you’d like.
There’s a couple of different strategies for optimizing the bidding process with stacked shipping in mind. Some people bid their standard amount for the initial job, then gradually lower the asking price for each shipment they stack on to that. Others bid low on the initial job if there’s plenty of stacking opportunities along the route, then up their price with each additional bid. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, so try to experiment and figure out which approach suits you the most.
Whether you choose to go high-low or low-high, be sure that you value all shipments equally. Don’t make the rookie mistake of prioritizing the higher bids at the expense of lower ones. On this job, you live or die by your reputation, and sometimes a single bad review can bury you.
So go ahead and give stacked shipments a try. The tool is built into the platform, kind of easy to overlook at the bottom right of the page. A great way to monetize your ability to plan ahead, it can be the difference between you making it as a pro driver or going back to your day job.