A big selling point for dog care and boarding kennels is the flexibility to fit in with your customers' schedules. Offering home pickup and delivery makes it very convenient and can be the deciding factor when choosing a dog care for someone's furry friend! This can be quite difficult to plan, with new 4-legged customers being collected and dropped off every day this can take quite a lot of organization! Automated tools like SmartRoutes can help reduce the amount of time you need to spend on manually planning pick-ups and drop-offs and free up your time to spend on the other more important parts of your business!
Why would I need route planning software for my dog care business?
If you look at the pick up and drop offs like offering home delivery this will help make more sense of the benefits you can get using a route planner. Simply, you have locations you need to pick up something from and bring them back to a central location, similar to picking up orders and bringing them back to a depot or warehouse. The reason why a route planner could really benefit you here is that you’re not just collecting from one location and heading straight back, instead to ensure you're not losing money by offering pick up and drop off, you must plan your routes with multiple stops. In essence, this means you're collecting and delivering to several locations on the one route. To make sure you're not wasting time on this route, you must optimize your route so your drivers aren’t going to travel past a stop they visited earlier for example. By using a route planner app you can ensure you are not only choosing the right route but you can also input things like vehicle restrictions, driver skills, time windows and more!
SmartRoutes Route Planner
Save time and money in delivery management. Cut carbon emissions. Impress your customers with superb communication tools.
Key Features of Route Planning
We recommend looking out for the following features when considering a route planner for your dog care business to ensure you will receive a positive return on your investment.
Automated Route Planning
An automated route planning system will allocate pick ups and drop offs to drivers in a logical order while eliminating human error. It will also ensure maximum work in minimal time, therefore getting more pickups and drops off done in the same time as before, reducing your cost per delivery! By knowing your routes ahead of time, this will give you the option to send your customers an accurate estimated time of arrival (ETA). This makes sure that your customer knows what time to be there to handover their beloved dog! Automation can be pivotal for your company’s long term performance. It frees up your valuable time to allow you to focus on other areas of your business.
One of the most important features to be on the look out for is route optimization. The SmartRoutes platform will provide you with the most optimized routes regardless of the number of stops. This process involves finding the most efficient route between multiple stops as opposed to the fastest route between 2 stops. Our software takes into account the number of stops, the location and other factors set out by you - creating fully optimized routes.
Routes can be modified for example if someone cancels at the last minute, and routes are re-optimised based on that information. Drivers will receive this information in real time via a push notification. Route optimization therefore allows you to spend less time on the road, avoid having to backtrack and as a result reduce fuel consumption and cost per delivery.
Customer notifications are vitally important as it ensures the customer knows when they need to be in. Once routes are planned and sent to drivers you can also opt to send notifications to your customers giving as much or as little information as you require. Your route planner should facilitate this level of communication, from updated ETA’s to 2-way communication.
Whatever route planning platform you decide to use, it should provide you with a driver app. This app allows drivers to receive their routes directly, take notes, communicate directly with customers and more. They can tick off collections as they are completed in real time so admin staff knows exactly where they are in the route, if they are on time and so on.
Another really beneficial feature to look out for is zones. By dividing pick up and drop off areas into zones, drivers can be assigned to a particular zone so once requests come in they can be automatically assigned based on their zone. This efficiency alone can reduce miles driven by 10-15%. This helps to reduce per-stop costs by grouping collections together but also it helps drivers to stay within an area that is well-known to them. Zones can also be assigned to a particular day of the week. Each zone is serviced by one vehicle but they only deliver in a certain area on a Monday and a different area on a Wednesday (for example).
Improve your Route Planning today
If you're looking for a route planner for your business, you can try a 7-day free trial of SmartRoutes or book a demo to discuss your needs. We can get you up and running in minutes and help you to make the most of it from the outset.
Frequently asked questions
1. Why is route planning essential for a dog care business?
Efficient route planning is essential for a dog care business for several reasons. It helps you maximize your time and resources. By optimizing your routes, you can reduce travel time and fuel costs, allowing you to serve more clients in a day. This, in turn, can lead to increased revenue. It also enhances the overall customer experience. Pet owners appreciate punctuality and reliability. Proper route planning ensures that you arrive at your clients' homes on time, which builds trust and satisfaction.
2. How can I optimize routes to reduce travel time and expenses for my dog care services?
- Use Route Planning Software: Invest in route planning software or apps that can calculate the most efficient routes for you. These tools take into account factors like traffic, distance, and the order of your stops.
- Group Appointments: Whenever possible, schedule appointments in proximity to each other. This minimizes the distance you need to cover between visits.
- Consider Time Windows: If your clients have specific time windows when they're available, take those into account when planning your routes to ensure you arrive when it's convenient for them.
3. Can you provide tips for integrating efficient route planning into my daily routine as a dog care provider?
- Establish a Routine: Set aside a specific time each day for route planning. This could be in the morning before your appointments or the night before.
- Use Technology: Embrace route planning software or apps that make the process easier and faster. These tools can provide real-time traffic updates and suggest optimal routes.
- Prioritize Client Communication: Keep open lines of communication with your clients. Ensure they understand your scheduling and are informed of any changes to your arrival times due to route adjustments.
- Regularly Review Performance: Periodically assess the effectiveness of your route planning and make adjustments as needed to optimize your daily routine further.
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