To safely get your products to their destination, you need to find a trustworthy freight shipper that understands your company’s needs. But how, exactly, do you find an ideal LTL shipper? Evaluate the three vital characteristics listed below to find the perfect shipping partner.
First Things First
Before we get into how to evaluate shipper, it’s important to make sure you know what your shipping needs are. How often do you need to send LTL shipments? Do you need special services, like a lift gate? What’s your budget? Do you ship any items that require unique considerations and handling, like hazardous materials? Write down your needs and any specific questions you have. Then, identify a handful of carriers you want to research and keep reading.
Trait #1 – Competitive Rates
Money equals success in the business world, so it can be tempting to go with the cheapest shipper available. The problem is, some companies are cheap for a reason. Maybe they have low base rates, but lots of surprise fees – or perhaps they overfill their trucks, an issue that can cause damage to shipments. Before you get excited about low rates, do some research and make sure you’re not sacrificing quality for the sake of saving a few bucks.
Make it your goal to find a shipper that provides the perfect balance between affordable rates and quality service. Also be sure to ask about incentives that can save you money, like early-bird discounts for booking pick-ups days in advance.
Trait #2 – Accurate, Reliable Service
It’s important that your shipments reach their destinations on time and in the safest manner possible. But how can you tell if a freight shipper you’ve never used before is reliable?
First, dig into what core offerings companies you’re considering provide. Prioritize carriers that offer transparent pricing, service, and policy information. Write down what they have to offer, and compare services and pricing. Then, narrow your search to two or three potential carriers.
Next, dig for details and ask your carrier tough questions. Talk about what steps they take to minimize damage, how they process claims, and how they handle unscheduled delays and emergency shipments. Now you’ve gathered enough information to be able to comprehensively compare your options… but there’s one more thing to consider.
Trait #3 – Fantastic Customer Service
Look for a shipping partner that goes out of their way to treat you like their most important customer. Sales reps should respond to your inquiries quickly, and the support team should be willing and eager to answer questions, offer advice, and help you get the job done right.
But people aren’t the only component of good service. Also, look for a forward-thinking freight carrier that uses technology to its advantage. Innovative companies with intelligent systems in place can help you be more efficient, save money, and ship smarter.
Before you commit to a shipper, make sure you understand the total cost of doing business with them, what services they offer, and how their customer service stacks up. After a thorough evaluation, pick your top contender!