As a business owner, you worry about making sure that your product is the best and that you give your customers excellent service. Shipping sometimes gets overlooked, and it is a major part of the customer experience. The sale is not complete until the customer has the product.
Whether you are a new business looking to start shipping your products, or a business that wants to improve their existing distribution system, we have eight tips to help you give your clients the best experience and continue to work with you.
Shipping rates are negotiable. Compare carriers’ rates and services they offer before settling on one. You also can negotiate with the carriers to get the best rate options. When working with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) they have relationships with multiple carriers for this reason. They negotiate the best rates for their customers.
Accurate measurements are critical. Incorrect measurements and weights can trigger a reclassification fee, a dimensional fee, and/or a reweigh fee. Carriers re-weigh all freight. You want to measure all three sides of the freight and record it. If your freight is on a pallet, you must include those dimensions in your measurement. Another tip that we suggest is to take a picture of the freight on the scale and what the reading is, along with photos of the tape measure showing the measurements and keeping it with your records, in case there is an issue.
When you are packing your freight use appropriate sized packaging so that you don’t get overcharged for wasted space. If you are shipping a fragile item, make sure you pack it will filler to reduce the likelihood of damage. Also, label it fragile. For larger shipments, every pallet should have a packing list along with the carrier label. The packing list should describe the contents, weight, and measurements of every box.
Every freight shipment must have an Airway Bill (AWP) or consignment note attached. It is important to have the contact information provided on the AWB for the shipper and the receiver. Shipments can be delayed if this information is not included on the bill.
Transit times provided by carriers are approximate. Many things can affect the delivery time that is out of the carriers’ control, like natural disasters. If you have a shipment that needs to arrive at its destination at a very set date, you will need to choose a guaranteed option. If your freight is booked on a guaranteed shipment basis, it does not mean that your shipment is guaranteed to arrive on time. It does mean that if your shipment is not delivered on time, you will not be charged for the shipment.
In additional reclassification, dimensional, and reweigh fees, there are others that you should be aware of.
Keeping track of your shipments can help you keep an eye on your shipment from start to finish. It can help you manage the shipment if it makes a stop along the way. Tracking can help you recover a lost package if on the off chance it happens.
Carriers only carry limited liability type of coverage in the event of loss or damage. If you have a shipment that you need additional protection for, there are options that you can add on through carriers.