When in the year should you NEVER buy your first route?

The question is more about when NOT to buy – Peak Season. FedEx corporate often doesn’t even allow the transfer of routes during peak season it’s such a bad idea. If you’re new to the FedEx industry and the seller wants to transfer the route to your name on December 1st, you should seriously reconsider.

Santa Clause in peak season

Santa Clause is delivering nightmares for FedEx contractors

WHAT IS PEAK SEASON EXACTLY?

It’s the wonderful time of the year when people decide to start making those gift purchases for the holidays. This can mean a lot more money for contractors since the volume of packages is higher. However, since FedEx pays contractors based on a variety of other factors beyond packages delivered, many contractors just dread peak season. If you’re not sure how contractors are getting paid specifically, or being painted the erroneous picture that peak season is a wonderful time where all contractors just get rich, I suggest you order my consultation now to get up to speed. Peak season can end up costing contractors more than what they make additionally!

The weather is usually at its worst in the year, making driving conditions dangerous, and while FedEx doesn’t require drivers to put their lives at risk when it’s iced the night prior, not delivering that day means you’re forced to deliver twice the volume the next day, which is impossible usually using the same resources (one truck and driver).

So much for the illusion of having an option to safely deliver or not! 

WHEN IS PEAK SEASON?

The true start of peak season is Black Friday. Routes start running 6 days a week for 3 weeks in December. It’s not uncommon to try to run 7 days a week. In the winter of 2013 people moaned and groaned when their packages didn’t arrive in time for their last minute gift ideas for Christmas. FedEx issued an apology and people made idle threats that they’d shift their business over to UPS. But if everyone shipped with UPS, it would just have bogged UPS down and packages would have gotten delayed there too. While I’m on the note of people hating one carrier over the other, I laugh when people say they think USPS handles their packages better than FedEx. The reality is packages are handled nearly identically with each carrier, and FedEx already handles and delivers many packages to the USPS office and then it’s just delivered by a regular mail man.

Yep, FedEx has its hands deep in the USPS pie as well.

Technically, peak season starts for FedEx the beginning of August as package volume starts to slowly increase before spiking in December. Retail businesses create their orders in October and November creating a pre-peak season for FedEx Ground routes. Those orders go to stock shelves so people can buy it in Decemeber and then ship it out again to whomever. This creates the true peak season where FedEx Home Delivery is hit particularly hard.

WHAT IF I BUY A FEDEX ROUTE AND I CAN’T HANDLE ALL THE VOLUME?

You better just keep working until there’s no more hours in the day to work. No, there’s not 24 hours to work in a day. There’s “only” 14 hours to work in the day, and the Department of Transportation says so. When you go beyond working 14 hours in the day, there are issues with your HOS (Hours of Service) that state that drivers must be able to sleep and rest up so they don’t run around dangerously on the roads like a missile on 6 wheels.

Things can get messy real fast when you’re working nearly non-stop for weeks on end…

If you’re working 14 hours a day already, generally packages will flex (flex meaning, “be moved to”) to another driver OR even another division. The latter happens often when Home Delivery can’t handle everything and right as Ground has taken care of their November peak season, Ground gets hit again by packages flooding over from Home Delivery that they can’t handle.

SOMETIMES A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS…

Here’s a pic I snapped one day during peak on one of my routes. You can see the truck backed up to the dock and completely full already.

FedEx truck overflowing with packages

If you see this and don’t know exactly what to do, you’re in trouble.

Hopefully by the time you’re in a spot like this, we’ve already been working together prior so you already know exactly how to handle situations like this that will arise.