For shipping contracts on the LM (and by implication direct contract, but this would be mostly a LM feature), have the option for a shipping bonus with an optional “time for delivery” and “time from placement” bonus.
Delivery date bonus
I’ve got a shipment and I want it there within 2d12h from now. The ad is up for 3 days and the shipping time is 3 days so in theory this could take up to 9 days for it to be delivered (end of the ad window + 3 days to pick up the shipment + 3 days slow shipping it)… but if they get it there within 60 hours from now the contract will have another fufillment line for me to complete that pays out another 5k.
Shipping time bonus
The contract has a 4 day delivery on it (seriously, MOR to ANT is long). But if you push some sliders to the right, you can get there in just under 2 days. This timer starts when contract is accepted (not when the shipment is picked up) and if the shipment is delivered or attempted delivery (won’t fault the shipper for a full storage) within the bonus window (lets say 60h again), the bonus will pay out.
The difference between the shipping time bonus and the delivery date bonus is when the timer effectively starts - when the ad is placed or when the ad is accepted. Either way, there’s a contractual bonus that is part of it (rather than good will “I’ll pay a bonus if you get it there by…” - which to be clear I’ve never had a problem with as a hauler, but I’d like to be able to put it in the contract and advertise that bonus as part of what is shown on the LM),
This would certainly give shippers an incentive to haul the cargo at a reasonable pace rather than waiting till the last hour of the delivery window to complete.
I think this gives some more incentive to shippers regarding speedy shipments. Perhaps make the bonus able to be paid out by the contract maker at their own discretion regardless of a set time?
Communication is key, and if someone is able to communicate with me a valid time I’d like that to be a flexible thing within the contract mechanic to avoid a set time frame for that bonus.
(To clarify, what I’m saying is I’d like the ability to be able to pay out the bonus at any point in time so long as I’m happy with the completed time, with also the option to have it auto payout if it is done in a set time on the contract. Communication is good, but I don’t expect them to message me before they pick up a random LM contract, that’d be unreasonable, but that flexibility while it is in the process would make up for this.)
So set in the contracts is the bonus and contract time elapsed to autopay the bonus but you want to include a pay bonus option before the contract is flagged complete?
I would say that the option to pay the bonus anyway should be external to the contract mechanics and be paid direct by the shipper.
Let’s say that you have a contract for a shipment due in 3 days.
You set the bonus payout for a delivery done before 2 days have elapsed.
The person doing the shipment contacts you expressing the timeline, reasoning, etc. and you agree. Currently, the payout will be set for 2 days if it is done in time, but instead, you want to move it up to 2 and a half to give him more time to work based on your conversation.
The person creating the contract has a clear idea of when they will be getting their shipment, and the person shipping has a clear idea of what is acceptable to the contract maker for the bonus.
This allows flexibility past the original bonus start time which I think is important overall as forcing a timeframe after originally being accepted could be rather inconvenient. Just make it a dual-person thing where both parties must agree to change the bonus deadline or something, problem is solved.
This would require a fundamental change to the contract system to include contract editing/updating. The suggested bonus payment is simply another condition to the existing contract system which simplifies the implementation.