When choosing team door drops, choose carefully.

If you need to source a tradesman to undertake some work in your home or garden, do you check whether they hold any industry or association accreditations?

Or if you cannot choose between two potential suppliers, if only one held accreditations, would that sway your decision?

Assuming you agree with that theory, when choosing your door drop supplier, why would you not select a company who belong to the DMA – the Data and Marketing Association, in preference to one who does not?

To become a member, companies must adhere to rigorous membership criteria the DMA has created over decades.

The DMA has a door drop council drawn from its members who provide a wide range of final mile options, thus presenting a representative and balanced outlook on all matters affecting the medium. The Council organises door drop events, publishes newsletters and creative critiques.

And most importantly, maintains and seeks to improve industry standards.

In September 2020, the council published an article about door drop standards which you can read in full here focusing on team options.

If you are seeking a team supplier to provide a solus or shared service, there are countless options across the UK and quite possibly countless answers to the same questions!

There are any number of useful tips in the door drop standards link, but there are three key areas I’d like to highlight :

1. How many leaflets can one person deliver in a day?

Think carefully about the duration of your drop – DMA team member companies agreed that the average distributor daily output rate could be between 800 – 1200, making the national average 1,000. But based upon the nature of the area, urban versus rural, it could be as low as 200-300 or as high as 2,000. So if you were looking to drop to all the Glasgow G postal sectors in one week, 589,000 households, that’s possibly 589 days work.

To complete the drop in 2 weeks, assuming a team consists of 5 people, any distribution company will need to have 11 or 12 teams, each available for the 2 weeks you require. Even if you increased the daily output from 1,000, you still need 8-10 teams to complete in a two week period.

Tip – consider that calculation when discussing duration with your supplier.

2. Can the distributors access every property you wish to reach?

Consider the depth of coverage teams can supply – Royal Mail D2D has a legal responsibility to deliver addressed mail to virtually all households in the UK. Door drop items are delivered alongside addressed material and the only properties omitted will be those who have opted out. High and low rise flats with security entrance doors are not a barrier to postal workers, but can the same be said about teams?

Will roads with no pavements present safety issues to team distributors (perhaps why Royal Mail postal staff commonly operate from bikes or vans), what about farms and remote properties? And bear in mind, some team companies conditions of contract even state the level of sector coverage may only for instance be 90%.

Tip – how do you know which 90%?

3. How is my distribution managed and monitored?

Team companies across the UK will offer an array of options, but there is no gold standard.

Some companies will offer GPS tracking, but is it limited to vehicles or extend to individual distributors? Just like your mobile signal, GPS is not infallible in rural areas and can drop out in inner city areas populated by high rise buildings. Backchecking may be face to face, observed, photographic or by telephone, if they provide backchecking in the first place.

By comparison, Royal Mail D2D offers no form of on territory checking, though the system is audited by ABC.

Tip – discuss validation before you appoint a supplier.

Whilst Royal Mail are acknowledged as the industry’s largest file mile supplier, teams equally provide an important option for clients to consider.

Teams are more flexible for starting drops immediately upon receipt of bulk supplies. Teams will work to partial sector coverage requirements and provide some form of validation and if required provide progress reports during a drop, so they form a vital part of the final mile armoury. If there are distribution issues to resolve, teams are generally more amenable to remedial actions being taken.

And a final tip from TLC.

If you are looking for team shared distribution, treat any potential supplier who offers you a shared rate for your total distribution volume, BEFORE you have even identified the postal sectors/areas to be covered and agreed timings/duration for the drop, with some caution.

They may well be genuine, but a supplier offering a shared package without knowing your precise requirements, is akin to trying to complete a jigsaw without the picture!