Maximizing donation pickup capacity Myrtle Beach ReStore Success Story

This article was contributed by Erin Walters from Habitat for Humanity of Horry County ReStore , which has a store in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Our Habitat ReStore has had great success since 2016 with maximizing our trucks pick up capacity on daily pick-ups. We send two 26 foot trucks out into our 1200 sq. mile county 5 days a week. We sort our pick-up days by zip code areas and are able to flex based on the demand in different areas. We separate the North and South end of the County and do pickups on different days. The ability to schedule specific zip codes on certain days ensures we are servicing the entire county.

We have recently implement the ability for online scheduling that has worked very well. Some of our customer’s schedule online, selecting their pick-up day and all the items they are donating then our scheduler calls them back and confirms the pick-up quality. We typically schedule 2-3 weeks out but we take a backfill list to fill in when cancelations occur.

We have one consistent employee that has the job role of Scheduler and they understand our trucks capacity and take a lot of time making sure the trucks are maximized. The typical issues of course come up sometimes, like having to reject donations or at other times the customer decides to donate their entire house when the truck is scheduled 11 other pick-ups. In those instances, we have been fortunate that our team communicates and we are able to flex accordingly. Sometimes we rent an additional truck for the day and we have at least 5 available drivers on staff at all times.

We notice our Truck Drivers and the Sales staff are so excited when the trucks come back at full capacity and when they don’t the staff isn’t as excited. Our Board and Executive staff are also happy as our store has comped for 4 years in a row and pretty much maintained sales through the pandemic (excluding the months we were closed.) Speaking of the Pandemic we have been able to easily switch to contact less pick up with the ability to email donation receipts and we began an online store as a backup sale option that we are just getting started.

The call log feature of ThirftCart helps us communicate to customers that say, “No one ever called me back.” We log if we left a message or if no voicemail was available, sometimes even helping the customer understand their cell phone voicemail is full! We utilize the ability to see how many calls are logged per hour and ensure the scheduler is available and ready the most active call hours.

The ability to track cancelation reasons has also proven to be helpful. Most customers are able to unload their donation before we can pick it up so when we see an increase in cancelations we know our schedule is falling behind.