If you’ve ever thought about soliciting the USPS for a local, regional, or national contract, there’s no better time than now. With the continued COVID-19 response and varying conditions around the country, mail hauling is experiencing seasonal-load surge levels. Before you put in your USPS hauling bid, be sure you understand and are willing to follow these best practices.
1. Follow every procedure when bidding for your USPS hauling contract
Though privately funded, the USPS is a government entity. And that means process. Your bid needs to show that you understand what it means to do business with the USPS. The post office inspector general will request a lot of information. Be sure you are open and transparent, and that you quickly provide any information requests. By being diligent and thorough in the application process, you demonstrate your company’s capacity to work in an environment that doesn’t provide room for error.
2. Don’t leave home without your postal badge
If your drivers don’t have postal badges, they’re going to need to go through the screening process. It’s a fairly familiar process that includes a security background check, drug/alcohol screening, and medical assessment. Drivers understand the importance of carrying identification, certification paperwork, permits, etc., so having their postal badge on hand should be second nature.
Your drivers can become credentialed USPS drivers by following the application process
In addition, you can help ensure driver success by supplying them with the basics, including:
- Trip sheets
- Pick-up/delivery addresses
- Pre-charted routes
- A padlock to secure their cargo
- Important contact numbers
3. Understand the USPS hauling pay rates
When hauling for the USPS, drivers earn an hourly base rate and an additional stipend called Health and Wellness Pay, also known as “H.W.P.” each calendar week. The H.W.P. pays out only for the first 40 hours for the workweek. After 40 hours, the driver’s pay rate decreases back to the base hourly rate. Once a calendar week is over, H.W.P. goes back into effect.
- Hours 1-40: $20.98 + $4:02 H.W.P. = $25.00/hour
- Hours 41+: $20.98/hour
Based on how you pay your drivers, you may or may not need to go into this detail with them. However, you’ll want to ensure that your USPS hauling contract allows you to pay your drivers a competitive wage plus all applicable benefits.
4. When it comes to USPS hauling, timeliness is everything
When running for the USPS, timed deadlines are crucial, there are no permissible service failures, and the mail always goes. Be sure your drivers understand the stakes and that they have ample time to complete pre-trip duties, collect trip sheets and other necessary paperwork, and plan routes. Your dispatch team should plan these activities as part of the route, and allow time buffers for traffic and routine stops. With the right preparations, you can set your drivers up for success.
Since delays simply cannot turn into failed deliveries when hauling for the USPS, you’ll also need to be prepared for bigger issues, including mechanical failure. Make sure you have a process in place to notify the Post Office and any involved parties if a driver is running behind. Also, your drivers need to get a late slip whenever they have an issue that causes them to run late. Most postal carriers have designated routes, which means that they have a pre-determined amount of time that an assignment should take, and they pay accordingly. If a driver runs late due to traffic, mechanical issues, etc., and does not receive a late slip from the Post Office, they will not be compensated for the extra time required to complete the trip.
5. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…
Per its charter, the USPS is bound by US code to “provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities.” That means, when you have a USPS hauling jobs dispatch, they need drivers every time, without question. With the fluctuation in load experienced through the enduring pandemic, carriers who contract with the USPS need to be ready for anything. If you don’t have enough credentialed drivers ready to go, you risk your contract and your company’s reputation.
F|Staff can help you keep your USPS loads moving, no matter what. Not enough USPS credentialed drivers on staff to get started? We can help. Driver called in sick? No problem. Sudden burst in demand? We’ve got you covered! Just open your F|Staff app, post a job for USPS-credentialed drivers, and they’ll come to you, ready to work. There’s no need to conduct a lengthy interview process. With F|Staff, you have access to a crew of pre-screened, DOT and USPS verified, drug tested and background checked. You can even create pools of your favorite drivers, solicit them first, and build strong working relationships that last. And the best part? There’s no risk in trying F|Staff, because you only pay for the drivers’ time you use.
Are you ready to start delivering for the USPS? Give F|staff a try. We can help you get — and keep — that lucrative USPS contract.