Industry sector: Retail and wholesale

Milk round: Services offered

Organising the day

An early start is a must for a milk roundsman because the milk may have to be collected from the depot or you may have to load the float from your own store before you can start out on your round. Some roundsmen start work before 2.00 am or even earlier.

Your domestic customers will want their milk delivered in time for breakfast or, at the very latest, before they leave for work. No one wants their milk sitting on the doorstep all day!

Your trade or wholesale customers may not require such an early delivery and you may be able to service them later in the morning.

Once the daily round is over there will still be things to do such as:

  • sorting out the empties
  • ordering stock
  • making loading, delivery and collection lists
  • doing the other paperwork
  • targeting new customers, distributing leaflets and so on

Collecting payment

At the end of each week you will have to try to collect payment from your customers. Catching everyone in can be a problem, so you may need to go out on, for example, Thursday and Friday evenings as well as Saturday morning. You will need good record-keeping systems to tell you how much each customer owes and when they pay. If you accept Healthy Start vouchers you'll need to send them to the Healthy Start Reimbursement Unit to be reimbursed. You must claim within six months of a voucher's use by date.

Some dairies have their own websites which let their customers order online and pay their bill by direct debit. This provides the dairy with a record of orders as well as the ease of collecting payment. Customers like it because they can change their orders easily, suspend deliveries while they're on holiday and they don't have to wait in to pay their bill, worrying that if they miss the milkman their bills will mount up.

Daily deliveries?

A franchisee of a major dairy would normally be expected to make deliveries six days a week, from Monday to Saturday inclusive. A double quantity would be left on Saturday so that Sunday could be a day off.

In some rural areas milk roundsmen have kept costs down by delivering every other day and customers are happy with this if it means that their delivery service can survive. You will have to decide how frequently you will deliver. It may be you could offer a combination of daily deliveries to trade customers and every other day to domestic households.