This blog was originally published in October of 2012; we have since updated it to reflect the most current and accurate information possible.
Developing an affiliate network is important to any transportation company’s long-term success.
As your client base continues to grow, it’s vital that you provide their transportation needs in whatever city they travel to.
If you’re new to affiliate business, the process might seem unclear and difficult. Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take to establish your affiliate network.
Appropriate Staffing & Technology
As with scaling any business, it’s important to have enough staff to handle the additional work load.
Not having enough staff can cause the quality of service to suffer as you scale.
Although having enough staff is vital, the most important element is having the right technology in place to handle the new business.
Make sure you’re up to date on the latest industry software to alleviate the added stress and time commitment of new business.
Adjust Insurance Coverage
As you prepare to grow your affiliate network, make sure your insurance coverage can handle the growing liability.
Depending on the size and passenger capacity of the vehicle, insurance coverage can vary.
Make sure that you establish a standard for insurance policies as you begin to expand your network. Verify that your policy covers all farm-out trips and any necessary workman’s compensation coverage you may need.
Prioritize Target Network
Figure out the top cities your clients travel to and prioritize your desired target network accordingly.
If a large number of your clients do a lot of travel to New York, it’s imperative that you have a trusted affiliate in the New York area. Start by selecting your most desired affiliate locations and then research potential affiliates in those areas.
Set Pricing Structure
As exciting as growing your affiliate network might sound, if it’s not profitable what’s the point?
Make sure you understand what the real cost is before you jump in with both feet. Set your minimum profit margin and construct a winning sales pitch to capture new affiliates at this margin.
Connect and Screen Potential Affiliates
Once you have all your policies and procedures in place, it’s time to reach out to your ideal affiliates.
Provide them with your winning value proposition and get their basic company profile by having them fill out a survey or form.
From knowing how long they’ve been in business to their rate structure, it’s important to understand everything about your potential affiliate before tying the knot.
Finalize the Contract
Once you’ve decided a potential affiliate partnership is worth your time and effort, it’s time to strike a deal.
The contract should include the details on reservation procedures, ride logistics, billing cycle, rate confirmation, insurance verification, chauffeur requirements, non-disclosure agreement, and anything else vital to continuing your company’s quality reputation.
Nurture and Monitor Relationship
As with any relationship, it’s important to continue to nurture and be in regular contact with your affiliates.
Not only is it important to develop the relationship with your affiliates, but it’s important to continually monitor the success of the agreement.
If the agreement turns out to not be as profitable as anticipated, it’s time to reassess the agreement.
From appropriate staffing and technology to setting a standard pricing structure, it’s important to take the right steps when growing your affiliate network. Skipping a step or mismanaging your efforts can cause frustration and regret down the line. Follow these simple steps and you’re on your way to growing your affiliate network and scaling your business for success.
What aspects of affiliate agreements have caused you issues in the past?