How Long Does Last-Mile Delivery Take?

Larry Bernstein

May 24, 2021

Larry Bernstein

Many aspects of transportation and supply chain management have improved greatly over the last several decades, but the final mile of the supply chain remains a time-consuming burden. From online retailers to regional construction material suppliers, last mile delivery represents an outsized obstacle to efficient operations. Today, the team at Curri explains problems and solutions regarding the question, “How long does last mile delivery take?”

What Is Final Mile Delivery?

Let’s back up a moment and clarify what we mean by last-mile delivery. It is the final step in product delivery when an item moves from a central hub to the door of a purchaser, whether a residence or business.

So last-mile delivery is not about a specific distance, but about getting a product to its last stop.

The difficulties involving last-mile delivery make it expensive and time-consuming. In fact, last-mile delivery is the single biggest cost in the supply chain, accounting for over 40% of the fee.

Consider Some of the Challenges


Multiple stops with few drops. Last-mile delivery requires “…transporting individualized shipments to distinct, often unreliable destinations through constantly changing routes,” notes Supply Chain Dive. Last-mile logistics are complicated because there are no regular routes that can be programmed and managed. Instead, each day is a new route.


Neither snow nor rain nor heat… carriers are expected to deliver no matter the conditions. Note, however, there is no guarantee of when delivery will occur. Whether it’s traffic, road closures, inclement weather, etc., unforeseen elements can impact last-mile delivery service.

Receipt of Delivery

Some deliveries can simply be left at the doorstep, in a lobby, etc. But other deliveries require interaction with the package recipient. When another person is involved in the equation (in addition to the trained local courier), the process becomes less predictable. Similarly, deliveries that require a signature or setup of items may or may not go as scheduled.

Location of Recipient

The old real estate saying “location, location, location” is also relevant to last-mile delivery. Meeting a company’s promise on delivery is not location-dependent. Yet some delivery-time promises are easier to deliver on than others. Getting a package to a destination near a distribution center or one-off a wide, suburban road is likely to go as planned. However, deliveries to rural locations and busy cities/downtowns can be difficult.

How to Make the Process Better

So, it’s impossible for local couriers to navigate last-mile logistics and they might as well give up on any sort of time guarantee? Uh, no! In fact, companies utilizing new strategies are overcoming those obstacles and winning in the last mile. Check out some strategies below.

Driver Training

The changes in shopping brought on by the pandemic and accompanying shutdowns increased the challenge of finding qualified couriers. It’s up to businesses/courier services to properly train their personnel so they are equipped to handle challenges that may arise. Couriers need to be fully aware of issues that may arise and company policies on how to respond.

Placement of Fulfillment Centers

Although it’s cheaper to build a fulfillment center in a more remote location, it makes on-time delivery more challenging. FreightWaves suggests companies “begin using fulfillment centers built in unusual places.” By shortening the last mile, couriers can reduce the time needed for delivery.

Integrate Technology

The tech stack available to help with logistics is wide and growing. For example, there’s live tracking which allows customers to stay informed about when their product will be delivered and even get in touch with the driver. Both the recipient and the sender of the material can feel confident with proof of delivery which comes in the form of delivery photos, signatures, and recipient name capture.

Fleet Augmentation

By having a fleet augmentation company as part of the last mile delivery team only when they need it, companies can reduce costs and increase efficiencies. The right number of trucks and drivers can be available to service customers during busier times and slower times.

Curri's Construction Couriers Are the Answer

The big question is, how long does last-mile delivery take? As seen from the information above, this is not a simple question. Traditional solutions for last-mile delivery often take as long as 5-10 business days. However, newer, innovative last-mile delivery services can solve the time-to-delivery problem. Same-day last-mile delivery is possible with dedicated, professional local couriers. In many major metros, Curri can provide last-mile delivery within 2 hours.

Companies need to meet their promises regarding delivery, as surveys show that 84% of shoppers are unlikely to shop with a brand again after a poor last-mile delivery experience.

Curri, a construction-supply delivery service, is an affordable and fast solution that can help companies improve last-mile delivery. Get material in your customers’ hands quickly. Take Curri for a test drive!

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