I learned a really good rule in sales training back in my telecom days. It helped our customers focus on if and how a product could help them. The rule was this: When buying technology, that technology should either make you more profitable or make you more competitive. If it doesn’t do any of those, you really shouldn’t buy the technology.
When we look at the things we use, we want to do the same thing. We can purchase something because it’s cool, but if it doesn’t help us with our business purposes, don’t buy it. BUT at the same time, if it DOES help us and helps us more than what it costs, then it makes sense to spend the money. Be sensible but don’t be cheap to the point of spiting yourself.
I won't make any particular recommendations here. The idea is to help think through whether a tool or piece of equipment you use in your business actually helps you.
With everything you look into, ask the critical question: How will this make me more profitable?
Will it increase my earnings? Will it reduce expenses? If it does neither of these things, it’s probably not that important.
Let’s look at some common equipment and ask these questions:
Your car is mission critical (unless you use another means of getting around, that would be true of that as well) I would say there are two extremely important considerations for your car:
- It’s reliable
- It is comfortable.
You notice that fuel efficiency isn’t on that list? While it’s important in that efficiency reduces your expenses, you would be amazed how often a more efficient vehicle is actually more expensive to operate. Reliability and comfort are so important because you’ve got to spend time in your car, a LOT of time in your car. It has to be something that doesn’t make you want to avoid driving . Being uncomfortable or sore after being in your car will reduce your motivation and time doing delivery and that will cost you money. Look at the overall picture of the cost of your car and drive something that you don’t dread driving.
Your cell phone:
A really good cell phone is critical. How does it increase earnings or keep expenses down? Good processing power will allow your apps all to function well. It will keep you from interrupting earnings capability or missing offers due to down time. A good voice assistant like Siri or Bixbie is critical to operating it well while driving.
Your cell phone holder:
There’s a big difference between doing delivery and doing rideshare here. You need to take your cell off the holder and put it back frequently. You want to be able to do it quickly. Time lost due to fiddling with the holder is lost earning opportunity. If you’re looking for one, I suggest getting a magnetic holder – one with a metal plate you attach to your phone case (not the phone itself). It’s incredibly efficient.
Your cell phone plan:
Good coverage is THE most important factor. Find out who has the best coverage in your area. Go with them, even if it costs more. Seriously, you can lose so much time due to dead spots. Inability to check in and check out on deliveries due to data issues can be crippling. Delays when your GPS app can't search an address cost money. You may even consider a second phone, tablet, or a hotspot from a different carrier as a backup that gives you redundancy.
Your delivery bag:
A delivery bag pays for itself in so many ways. Many platforms give you a bag, and Grubhub may be giving out the best ones right now. A bag is critical for getting in and out of a restaurant quickly. It signals right away to restaurant staff that you’re there for a pickup. A solid bag with stiff sides is easier and quicker to get food into. A bag can help with tips on certain platforms. I think it’s a good idea to purchase a larger bag or two for larger orders. You want something you can load up quickly.
These are the must haves. You can look at a lot of secondary items if you think they help you. A couple things that I do:
I keep a bottle opener and a cooler. I have re-useable frozen gel packs – this helps tremendously with drinks and ice cream in the summer. It makes a huge difference with tips.
I spent money to upgrade my sound system in my car. The biggest factor was the time I spend in the car, and the amount of time I’m listening to podcasts or audio books or just my own music. I got something android compatible, I can transfer my GPS from my phone to the large display, and I even installed a backup camera – makes a HUGE difference when parallel parking.
A couple things I’ve thought about: I’ve wondered about buying an electric scooter that I can haul around and use downtown. The potential time savings is intriguing. I’ve wondered too about getting a dash cam for protection and documentation. I’m sure I’ll act on the latter before I do the scooter.
The main thing here is, you want to look at things like that through the eyes of how it helps your business.
Does it allow you to keep going longer? Does it help increase money, such as through tips? Does it save money? IF it helps you and it helps you enough to offset the cost, then go for it. And if it’s something that you REALLY think will help, don’t skimp on the cheapest option, get something that is really good, something that you can rely on.
The main thing I want to encourage you to do is to think like a business person with your purchases. Because guess what? YOU ARE!