How to Plan a Route with Multiple Stops?

Does your delivery business require a route with multiple stops? Are you spending way too much time on route planning and optimization activities?

If you are keen to plan the shortest route with multiple stops, you’ve landed on the right page. In 2022, the market size of the local courier and delivery business in the US was more than $150 bn. This data shows how crucial it is to provide seamless delivery services to your customers.

As we move forward in this article, we will see how you can plan a route with multiple steps. There are various ways to plan delivery routes. The options always depend on your needs and business size. This article will help you figure out ways to plan routes with multiple stops and suggest solutions for better route planning.

Let’s jump in to find the answer to your question of how to plan a route with multiple stops.

What is Multi-Stop Route Planning?

Multi-stop route planning is a process to plan an efficient delivery route with more than one stop in a particular order. You have to add a number of stops between the starting and ending points of the route. To plan a multi-stop route, all you need is the list of stops, drivers’ schedules, and efficient route planning software.

To plan a multi-stop delivery route, you need to consider many factors like the number of stops, number of drivers, traffic, road condition, urgency of the delivery, and drivers’ availability.

Can Google Maps Plan a Multi-Stop Route?

Google Maps is a free tool to plan an optimal route with multiple destination route planner. But there is a catch. You can only add limited stops (up to ten stops) per route, including the starting location.

But is it really good? The thing about Google Maps app is that it is a precise navigation app, perfect for getting turn-by-turn driving directions on your route as well as real-time updates. 

People are often found relying on Google Maps trip planner to find the best way to reach a destination or plan trip routes for their personal trips. It is more suitable for a one-time trip than a multi-stop trip.

But for advanced route planning and optimization for your delivery business, you need an alternative to Google Maps.

Let’s take a step-by-step look at how you can plan multiple stops with Google Maps. 

Steps for planning multi-stop route on Google Maps:

Step 1: Open Google Maps.

Step 2: Then, search for the destination by typing it in the search bar.

Step 3: Select and click on the one from the suggestions given below.

Step-4: Now, click on the “Directions” button to get a route from the initial stop to the entered destination.

Step 5: Once done, tap on the 3 dots button to open the dropdown menu and click on “Add Stop” to add more stops to the route. With this method, you can add up to 10 stops (including your initial stop) to your route.

Step 6: By hovering the “=” button, you can manually drag the stops up and down to rearrange them according to priority.

Step 7: Once completed, click on “Done” and then on “Start” to get turn-by-turn driving directions for all the stops on the route.

What are the Limitations of Using Google Maps?

To plan routes with Google Maps isn’t a great idea for businesses, here’s why: 

1. Doesn’t allow you to create multiple routes

Google Maps route planner can only allow users to create one route at a time. For businesses making multiple deliveries throughout the day and having multiple delivery drivers, an app like Google Maps is not really the most efficient way to plan routes with ease.

2. Limited number of extra stops

It not only limits the number of routes but also puts a limit on the number of stops you can add to a route. Users can only add up to ten stops per route. Businesses always have routes with more than ten stops for deliveries. It’s not enough for businesses whose focus is to deliver goods throughout the day.

3. Can’t prioritize stops

If there’s no fixed order of stops you need to follow, then the Google Maps app is a good option. But if you have to focus and prioritize certain stops over others, Google Maps trip planner wouldn’t allow you to do that. All your route destinations will be given the same importance by the algorithm on Google Maps.

4. No proof of delivery

Another critical aspect of a delivery business is the ability to collect electronic proof of delivery. It can be collected by taking a photo of the delivered parcel and getting a digital signature from the receiver. Google Maps doesn’t offer a way to capture electronic proof of delivery through the mobile app.

5. No report analysis

There’s no way to generate daily reports related to your delivery tasks when using Google route planner. So there is no way for a business to know the number of successful deliveries or failed deliveries.

Plan Routes with Unlimited Stops on Upper Route Planner

The best way to plan a cost-effective route efficiently is by making use of route planning solutions like Upper Route Planner.

Upper Route Planner is a route planning and optimization solution that helps individuals, contractors, and businesses offering delivery services by creating the most optimal delivery routes. It works as a route planning app for delivery managers.

Key features of Upper Route Planner

Upper Route Planner offers some key features like:

1. Multi-stop route planning & optimization

Upper Route Planner enables your business to plan and optimize multiple routes with more than 500 addresses per route. The planning and optimization of multiple destinations take less than 5 minutes with Upper Route Planner. It automates the route planning process and takes away a load of the manual route planning processes from the back office team.

2. Import excel

The Import Excel feature makes it possible for your dispatchers to import hundreds of addresses in a single click. Dispatchers simply have to line up the stop details in their respective columns in an Excel sheet or CSV file and import the sheet to the Upper Route Planner. 

In less than a minute, multiple addresses will be uploaded and ready to be optimized, an ideal feature for companies that already maintain such sheets. 

3. API integration

This robust route optimization app comes with this effective feature that lets you integrate third-party apps with Upper so you do not have to switch apps to carry out different operations.

One of the best ways to implement this feature is by integrating additional navigation apps and software like Google Maps, Apple Maps, Yandex, and Waze with the Upper Route Planner. So, while using Upper, your drivers do not have to face any difficulties in navigation while carrying out deliveries.

4. Customer notifications

You can send delivery updates and ETAs to your customers via SMS or email. This way you can ensure they are well informed about the delivery status and practice transparent business with your customers.

5. Proof of delivery

Drivers can capture electronic proof of delivery using the Upper Route Planner. Recording proof of delivery is a must-have for any business that takes responsibility to deliver packages. 

Delivery proof improves accountability, and communication and helps avoid false claims. Upper allows you to collect proof of delivery by clicking pictures and taking signatures, minimizing physical interactions with customers.

6. Reports & analytics

Dispatchers and admins can create daily, weekly, and monthly delivery reports and analytics to understand the progress of each route and delivery task. 

It helps them keep a track of how the drivers and the business are progressing and handling each delivery. Reports enable you to figure out if there’s any need to make modifications to your business process or not.

How to plan multi-stop routes on Upper?

Step 1: After Signing up as a new user on Upper Route Planner, enter the starting and ending points of your route. Once done, click on “Next” and it will automatically create a new route.

Step 2: Then, click on “Upload File” to add hundreds of stops by simply importing an Excel sheet, or CSV file. Also, you can directly drag and drop the file from your system to the Upper Route Planner.

Step 3: Once all the stops are uploaded, you can edit each stop or add more information like delivery time window, service time, parcel info, or urgency of the delivery if needed.

Step 4: Now, click on “Next” to check and allot the available delivery driver/s from your team.

Step 5: Then, click on ”Optimize and Assign Routes” and it will find the most efficient routes in less than a minute.

This way, you can plan your truck drivers’ daily routes with this delivery route planner solution.

Planning Multi-stop Route is Easier with Upper

Plan routes with unlimited stops and Optimize them with a single click of a button. Schedule your routes for months in advance using Upper.

Benefits of Planning Routes Using a Multi-Stop Route Planner

Benefits to plan a route with multiple stops route planner

Not just automation, multi-stop route planner comes with many benefits such as:

1. Increase driver productivity

A route planner creates the most optimized routes for drivers. Drivers simply have to follow the shortest routes without having to worry about finding a particular address or verifying whether the driving directions are correct. When stops are accurately optimized, drivers can cover more addresses in less time than usual, improving their overall productivity. 

2. Plans route according to preferences

It is extremely difficult to take time windows or priorities into consideration when optimizing routes manually. But with the help of the route optimization tool, dispatchers can easily optimize routes according to delivery preferences like time windows, driver availability, and priorities.

3. Improved real-time visibility

An automatic route optimization software helps keep track of the drivers and their sales routes in progress. The current location of the driver is updated in the software. So the dispatchers can plan new drop-offs and pick-ups accordingly. Having real-time visibility in the progress of the routes allows businesses to take more control over the routes. 

4. Save time & operating costs

A route planning and optimization software helps dispatchers automate the entire route planning process, which usually takes about 2-3 hours each day. It not only reduces the back office load by cutting down manual work and saving 2-3 hours each but also reduces fuel costs by providing optimal driving directions. Businesses can allot their resources to more pressing needs.

5. Scale delivery operations

With an automated route optimization system, the back office team saves time and reduces overhead costs and your delivery teams have improved productivity with more orders delivered on their regular routes. It helps businesses scale their delivery operations with the help of the most efficient routes.

Take a look at how Nathan used Upper Route Planner to plan multiple routes for their meal-kit delivery company.

Upper helped Chef Nicole

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Yes, Google Maps can plan a route with multiple stops. But you can only add up to 9 stops, excluding the starting point of the route.

The best way to plan a route with multiple stops for free is by using apps like Google Maps, Mapquest, and Waze.

To plan a route with hundreds of stops, you must use a paid route planner app like Upper Route Planner. Upper Route Planner is a web-based app that allows you to create optimized routes with more than 500 stops.

Route planning apps better than Google Maps to create routes with multiple locations are:

  • Upper Route Planner
  • Mapquest
  • Badger Maps
  • Circuit Route Planner (Circuit for Teams)
  • Routific
  • Speedy Route

Upgrade from Ordinary Navigation Apps to Upper Route Planner

Dispatchers using ordinary apps like Google Route Planner and Waze can only plan the routes but cannot optimize them. Also, there are many drawbacks of using such apps like a limitation of adding stops, lack of proof of delivery, API integration, or reporting features.

With a multi-stop route planner like Upper Route Planner, you can plan the fastest route with multiple stops, cut down delivery time, deliver more packages, and scale overall delivery operations.

Along with the most efficient route, you also get countless features like route scheduling, collecting proofs of delivery, API integration, one-click dispatch, and reporting that Google Maps or Waze doesn’t provide you.

Want to check the ins and outs of the Upper Route Planner? Book a demo with us today!

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel is the founder and CEO of Upper Route Planner, a route planning and optimization software. With 28+ years of experience in the technology industry, Rakesh is a subject matter expert in building simple solutions for day-to-day problems. His ultimate goal with Upper Route Planner is to help delivery businesses eliminate on-field delivery challenges and simplify operations such as route planning, scheduling, dispatching, take a proof of delivery, manage drivers, real time tracking, customer notifications and more. He loves sharing his thoughts on eliminating delivery management challenges via blogs. Read more.