Does the cost of living crisis affect couriers?

The answer to the above question may be obvious. The cost-of-living crisis affects everyone from individuals to businesses and consumers aswell as larger organisations. For couriers however, different problems can present from an increase in the cost of day to day living (or in the case of a business such as delivery, day to day running.) In our latest article we’ll take a closer look at the impact on rising costs within our industry.

The first thing to point out is an important distinction between individuals / consumers and businesses. Individuals can be somewhat shielded from price rises (for example the energy cap on gas and electric,) although of course, that is not to say that everyone isn’t really struggling. For businesses it is often different and whilst there are some rebates and support available, it is often lower and less generous. Even without considering anything else, this immediately makes things much more challenging for any business to operate – whether they are couriers or in a totally different industry. Businesses are often seen to have the capital and cash to be able to weather these types of storms, but the reality is often very different as many operate close to the line each day.

As far as couriers and delivery drivers are concerned, the fuel increase is an obvious big problem. We have posted a few times in the past on fuel rises when we all thought £1.30 a litre was high. Now in many cases the cost is north of £1.70 and sometimes £2.00 a litre! This is a whole different world in fuel price increases. No one needs to be a genius to work out that couriers and same day couriers spend most of their time on the road and can literally clock up hundreds of miles even just travelling around the local area. The latest round of fuel rises is bringing immense pressure to the courier industry and the sad but inevitable reality is that these prices have to be passed onto customers. The best courier companies (including ourselves,) always do the best to ensure fairness to customers, but the difficulty is that fuel prices are out of everyone’s control.

We mentioned gas and electricity earlier, and this is also worthy of a discussion. Businesses do not have the benefit of the price cap that consumers and homeowners do. We all know the price of gas and electric has gone up an eyewatering amount, and that’s even with the cap. The full cost of the rise therefore is passed onto businesses which is even more. If you are a courier heating a working environment (gas) and using computers and other electronics to conduct your business (electric,) this is a double whammy of excessive energy rises.

We all know the rate of tax has recently increased also. Whilst there has been some respite for businesses in the form of business rates relief for example, an increase in national insurance costs that employers have to pay is draining further money away from businesses, at a time when they are already finding things very difficult. Coupled with this, there are also increases in the cost of insurance. This is an absolute necessity (sometimes legal obligation) in order to protect the business and its customers, but reports are finding that more and more businesses are trying to cut corners in order to save money. This is a sad and dangerous consequence of the current state of affairs and must be addressed.

Things are tough at the moment, no one can deny that! The war in Ukraine isn’t helping with the volatility that the world is currently experiencing. We have all been through tough times before however – businesses too. The financial crisis seems a distant memory, but cast your mind back and it doesn’t seem that long ago. Things will improve slowly, prices will stabilise (and hopefully fall,) and confidence will return. Until then, couriers, other businesses alike and individuals will have to do what we all do best – muddle through!

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