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How to Offer Local Delivery and Pick Up For Your Produce

Besides farmers' markets, farms of any size should consider offering local delivery and pick-ups to expand the availability of their produce and increase their sales. This allows customers to get produce from your farms on varying days of the week that works in their schedule. With more logistics, it can be challenging to figure out the best way to handle local deliveries and pick up. Here's a few things to consider and tips to getting started.

1. Partner with Local Businesses to Offer Pick Up Options

The easiest way to get started is to find local businesses that you can partner with to offer pick up of your produce. This can be a win-win situation for the partner business and your farm - the partner business will get more traffic and exposure and you'll be able to coordinate one big drop off versus delivering to multiple customers.

Once you've found some partner businesses, figure out the best timeframe that works for the business and your customers. Ideally, you'd want to find a business that has refrigeration or you can set up a cooler system. A bodega or small grocery store or cafe might be a great partner to consider.

Sustaina offers the ability to add multiple pickup locations with different timeframes and route the drop-offs. No need to deal with cumbersome excel sheets to manage your orders!

2. Managing a Delivery System

There are several things to consider: (1) Can your in-house team manage packing and delivering the orders or do you need to hire someone or find a fulfillment partner? Think about how you can help fund this position through delivery fees. If you get 20 orders a week with a $5 delivery fee, that's $100 that can go towards making it work.

(2) What zipcodes and areas do you want to offer delivery? Figure out the range that you're willing to deliver your produce. Our team has used this tool:United States Zip Code Look Up to figure out the postal zones. Sustaina offers the ability to charge different delivery fees based on zipcode ranges, which means you can offer cheaper delivery for those less than 1 mile than orders that are 5 miles out.

(3) What fees should you charge for delivery? Consider what's sustainable for your business. As mentioned above, figure out the correct amount that could make this worthwhile for your business and work for your customers.

3. Plan Packing and Delivery Logistics

There will be some trial and error to understanding how long it takes to pack and delivery. You'll want to set up an assembly line with an easy way to access all the different types of produce you might need to pack. When using Sustaina, you'll be able to export order labels that will assist with checking off items as you pack.

Ensure you understand how many orders you can fill in the delivery driver's car and consider splitting up routes if you offer a wide range of delivery ranges. With Sustaina, you can build as many routes as you need and pay only $0.01 per route stop.

4. Add Value-Added Products to Expand Your Offerings

Offer other "value-added products" that can boost the appeal of ordering from your farm. Value-added products are products that go through an extra processing step that makes it last longer and increases its value. This can include things like pesto, jams, salad dressings, etc.

This can be made in-house, or you can partner with other businesses to offer their products alongside yours. Some items to consider (if you don't already offer them) are eggs, bread or baked goods, sauces or pestos, meats or cheeses, flowers, etc. Offering a more complete meal package can increase the likelihood that customers will repeatedly order from you.

If offering other's products, you'll need to consider what kind of profit share will work considering that you will be marketing it, packing it, and delivering it.

These are a few tips and ideas to get you started. Get in touch with us to see how we can help you get your pick ups and delivery options up on Sustaina! Our team is happy and ready to help you grow your business.