Imagine this: you started your gift basket business while employed by someone else. It pains you to be away from your creative workspace, but putting food on the table while starting an enterprise is mandatory for your sanity, health, and future as an entrepreneur.
You’re walking down a hallway at the full-time job when a call arrives on your cellphone. Ducking into an office supply closet, you answer the phone and speak with a potential customer who’s just learned about your gift baskets (wow, referrals do work!).
She wants to order a birthday gift basket for her best friend who lives in another U.S. state. Good thing you’re in the supply closet, because you easily find a pen and paper just in case you need to write notes.
The person is satisfied with what you tell her about the BFF Gift Basket, filled with best friends forever girly gifts. You write down the order, total the sale on your phone (including shipping), and get the address to mail the basket.
This woman, who is now labeled as your client (yay!), hopes that you can mail the gift basket today so it arrives at its destination tomorrow.
Oops. You didn’t consider this as a rush design, but now that you know, you cross your fingers, agree to mail it today, and thank your client before exiting the supply closet and continuing to work the full-time job.
Hit the road
It’s 4:30 pm, time to leave the job. You’re 10 minutes away from your gift basket office, and you drive fast, yet carefully, to get there. No time for a bathroom break, feed the fish, or pet the dog. UPS closes at 5:00 p.m, and you have 20 minutes to make the gift basket, wrap it, close it in a box, and drive to UPS, which is five minutes away.
Is completing this order even possible?
You arrive at UPS at 4:55 p.m., just five minutes before they close. After completing the form at a computer within the UPS shipping office, paying for the delivery, and bidding the representative a good night, you exit the building and collapse in your car.
Sporting a big smile on your face, you have just enough energy to get back home to enjoy the evening.
How would you handle this order? Would you manage it differently or test your ability, rising to the challenge to get it done?
What you just read isn’t a tale. It happened to me. Every word was exactly as it happened one day when I worked elsewhere, everything except feeding the fish (my husband was in charge of water creatures).
I still shake my head thinking about that order which, thankfully, arrived in good order and with multiple thanks from the client and receiver. That sale convinced me that deliveries needed to be completed in some other way.
I’m lucky that UPS is five minutes away from my office, but that doesn’t mean I want to drive there every time I have an order.
The following weekend I began thinking about other options, ways to outsource my shipping that would be affordable and much safer than ripping down a highway. When I figured out three new methods for deliveries, I tested all of them the next time orders arrived.
The new systems were tested for local orders and out-of-state deliveries. Most of what I hoped would work out did not, and I went back to researching alternative ways.
The right systems were found and set up within the next month, and taking that task off my list let me figure out how to do other parts of my business better.
Discover your solution
What’s your delivery method?
When you begin making gift baskets, the first person you hire is you. However, you cannot always be on the road delivering when your time is better spent marketing.
Even if you plan to stay small, deliveries become a nuisance. You want to give that part of the business to someone who does it for a living, and that someone exists because business owners like you need the same service.
Delivery choices depend on where in the world you live. Metropolitan cities offer more choices than rural towns. Still, you have options and must find the one that fits your requirements.
Making the decision to give away the delivery part of your gift basket business is a huge undertaking, and my VIP Program clients know this well.
Many of them struggled to not only decide to trust someone else with the precious cargo but also find a delivery source. The latter is a task we did together, and in most cases we were pleased to learn that providers were closer than we first thought.
If finding and setting up a delivery service for your growing gift basket business is your concern, check out the VIP Program, and let’s talk (no obligation!) about that and any other part of your business that’s nagging you.
Delivery prices were also found to be extraordinarily affordable, especially when considering the time and money each designer spent making their own deliveries.
Another huge consideration I made during my own rush order was how much a rush order really cost, but that’s a subject for another article. Here’s a hint – you have to know how to calculate and address this the right way with clients, or your name is mud all over social media, including Yelp.
How are you handling your gift basket deliveries? Is it still squarely in your hands, or have you given the task to a trusted source?