Delivery zones and delivery charging banding for home delivery services. Using isochrones and drive-time maps to provide charging rates.

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Local Delivery Charge Maps – What do I charge my customers for deliveries?

bicester drive-time map

Local Delivery Rate Maps – What to charge my customers for deliveries?
With another lockdown approaching, more businesses are choosing to provide home deliveries for their customers. We saw this during the first lockdown so are fully aware of the logistical problems small and medium sized businesses are facing. How much do I charge my customers for delivery? We create simple easy to follow maps for businesses to help explain to your customers how much a delivery will cost. We design the maps from scratch, build web-apps and provide geographical analysis to help you sort out and plan your delivery charging zones. Take a look at some of the work we have done for our customers recently below.


Postcode Sectors with Drive-Time Polygons
bicester isochrone map

As the crow flies 'radius' is losing you money.
Businesses often say, “We will deliver anywhere within a 5 mile radius for £10 which might be cost effective if your customer lives at the end of a long straight road BUT what if they live at the other side of town? Travelling across town to get to a customer that is only 5 miles as the crow flies could easily turn into an 8 mile drive which means you are losing money on your deliveries.

This image shows 3 'radius' circles on a map at 5km intervals. The 3 coloured driving-distance polygons show how far it is possible to drive in any direction using the road network if you stopped when the odometer read 5km, 10km & 15km.

You can see from the map that 'distance from your business' polygons are significantly different to the 'as the crow flies' circles. This means that when a delivery appears to be within a 10km radius, it could actually be much further when driven on the road network.



Driving-Distance polygons will save you time and money when planning your home delivery charging zones.

We plotted a grid of 2,500 fictitious postcodes on the sample Bicester map we’ve been using on this page. We then calculated how many of those postcodes appeared inside the driving-distance polygons and the radius circles shown at 5km intervals. The results are quite shocking and prove categorically that drivetime polygons will save you time and money with your delivery charging system.

bicester postcode within range

67% of postcodes that DO appear in a 5km radius circle but are NOT within 5km driving distance. 50% are incorrect in the 10km band and 42% are wrong in the 15km band.

In money terms, you should be charging 67% of people who say they are within an ‘upto 5km’ circle the rate for an ‘upto 10km’ delivery!

Drive-Time polygons are even more accurate than Driving-Distance polygons.

There’s an even more accurate way you work out your charging zones and that’s using drive-time polygons or isochrones. Drivetime isochrones show how far it is possible to travel using the road network in any direction over a given amount of time. The type of vehicle used (car, HGV, van, bike etc.) all have different speed restrictions and potential access problems which are all taken into account when calculating the isochrones.

bicester isochrone map

Driving 1km across a busy town may be the equivalent to driving for 10km up the M1 motorway. Using this method of charging makes the whole process fairer for everyone, including your customers. Each customer will get an accurate price specific to them rather than an average price where some customers are winners, and some are losers.

Issues with drivetime maps
There are a few drawbacks with travel time or distance maps, but these can easily be overcome.  Firstly, as you can see in the image below the boundary between one charging zone and another could be disputed by your customer. There are no landmarks to distinguish where the charging zone boundary is.  The simple way to overcome this is to add more detail to the map and include roads, towns, villages, landmarks etc.  You can also add postcode boundaries and then decide which postcodes are within one isochrone and which are in another.

We can build a simple web-based postcode search app to work out your delivery charges
The very best and most accurate and fair way to provide custom pricing to your customers is with a simple web based app. We can develop these kind of apps really quickly and could have something up and running within a few hours and not costing the earth either.  You would simply specify your drive-time boundaries or drive distance boundaries and the cost per delivery within each boundary and then provide the user(or your member of staff) with a postcode entry box.  They enter the delivery postcode, click ‘Search’ and the cost for delivery to that postcode is displayed on screen.  This can be developed on further to allow the entry of multiple postcodes, multiple drops per postcode and provide discounts for high value items or charge extra for extra large or heavy items.  This is all bespoke so it’s best to give us a call or send us an email to find out how we can help.