The shipping services you use will affect how customers view your business. When goods are lost while in transit, are delayed or arrive in a bad condition, the reputation of your company will be ruined. You will not only lose your existing customers, but also attract negative reviews and lose future business. This is the key reason why you should be very keen when selecting a shipping company for your products. This article highlights some of the key tips to help you in selecting the best freight shipping company.
Before you select a company, take time to evaluate their customer service. The service providers you choose should be friendly, always willing to help, knowledgeable and prompt. Ask questions about their company and services and see how well they respond. If you have to wait hours for a reply, then you are likely to have a bad customer experience. Communication should be prompt so that when your goods are delayed, or you need to make a few changes, you will get assistance on time. Test their phone, email and live chat to see how effective they are.
The shipping company you choose should be registered to offer services in your state. Registration and licensing are one of the key indications that a company is legitimate.
Tracking ability is an added advantage when choosing a shipping company since it allows you to keep track of goods while they are in transit. It is an important feature, especially for businesses that ship goods to other countries. When a shipping company is using tracking software, customers can log on to the platform to check the delivery status. It makes it easy to tell when there has been a delay in shipping products.
Your goods can be delivered by land (train and trucks), sea or air. When selecting the mode to use, you will have to consider the nature of goods, value, urgency and cost. Consider the following:
- Transport by ship is most viable for bulk goods. Its key benefit is that it is cost effective and ships can carry any product. However, the goods will take longer to get to their destination.
- Air freight is most suitable in cases where speedy delivery is key. The transit time is very short but it’s the most expensive among the three. Therefore, before you use this mode you have to weigh the returns, especially when you are not charging your customers a shipping fee. Another disadvantage is that you cannot use air freight for large goods or goods with an odd shape.
- Road transport, whether by trucks or train can be used to transport bulky goods and goods of almost any nature. Rail transport is cheaper compared to road transport since trains burn less fuel than vehicles. Therefore, it would be more cost-effective to consider rail transport for longer distances. Generally, both are cheaper compared to air freight.
Number of Products
If your company deals with multiple products, go for a shipping company that can handle them all. Using multiple companies for your shipping needs will not only be time consuming but also expensive. If you are dealing with special goods, choose a service provider who has the expertise to handle the specific kind of goods.
When looking for a shipping company, go for one that has an insurance policy. Insurance acts as a guarantee that you will be compensated if your goods are lost or damaged while in transit. With an insurance cover, you can have peace of mind knowing that your company will not incur losses if the goods are lost or damaged.
There are two types of insurance; declared value and cargo insurance. With declared value insurance, you will have to prove that the damage or loss was caused by the shipping company’s negligence in order to get compensation. However, for cargo insurance, the customer does not have to prove that the carrier is liable.
Since carrier insurance is limited, you may have to get freight insurance, especially if you are dealing with high priced goods. You can purchase freight insurance with the carrier or with a third-party insurance company.
Can you rely on the shipping company to deliver the goods on time? A reliable service provider will ensure that your goods get to the customers on the set date or time. Delivering on time meets the customers’ expectations and this will boost customer satisfaction and retention. However, if your goods always arrive late, your customers will shift their orders to your competitors. Therefore, take your time and evaluate their reputation by reading reviews posted by businesses that have worked with the service provider before.
Some shipping companies will offer other services such as packing, storage and picking the packages from your business or warehouse. These services can be useful for business owners with a busy schedule or anyone looking for convenience. When selecting a shipping carrier, ask them if they offer such services.
The final tip for choosing a shipping company is to compare pricing and choose the most affordable one for your business. Find a number of reputable companies with services that match your needs and ask for quotations. You should only ask for quotations from companies after you have done thorough checks on their reputation and safety record. Don’t hesitate to request a discount, especially if you will be shipping products in bulk.
Finding the right shipping company can be time consuming, but thanks to the many options available it is possible to find a reputable one that meets the needs of your business. To avoid picking the wrong choice, start by evaluating the needs of your company. Consider the nature of your products, destination, packaging, the resources you have and the support you need. Don’t forget to take into account future company expansion needs. Today you may be shipping ten boxes a day, but in a few months, you may go up to 100. Will the shipping company be able to accommodate you then, or will you have to find another carrier?