Small Business Brief

Shipping & Transportation

How to Choose the Proper Freight Services for Your Merchandise

Here’s a quick quiz to test your memories of 2021 world events. Who or what was “Ever Given?” Does the name ring any bells?

Well, if you rely on freight, you’ll probably remember the story of the giant ship, Ever Given, that got stuck for days after crashing in the Suez Canal. It caused havoc with supply chains and delayed shipments globally.

It’s an excellent example of how critical reliable freight services are for a 21st-century business.

Choosing a dependable freight service should be one of your top business priorities. Start here with our quick guide to selecting the proper freight service for your merchandise. 

Write Down Your Freight Needs

Before you can start your search and get quotes for forwarding and shipping, you’ll need to have a comprehensive outline of your freight requirements. Here is some of the information you should capture:

  • The types and volume of goods 
  • The value of goods
  • Number of units and frequency of transportation
  • Packaging and handling (for example, breakable or heavy objects)
  • What country you are transporting from and to
  • Type of freight (air, sea, road, rail)
  • Customs handling
  • Security
  • Insurance considerations

Think too about whether this inventory will change over time. If you are likely to expand shortly, you should outline this in your spreadsheet. That way, the quotes you receive will include potential long-term costs.

Experience and Expertise

Try to prioritize suppliers who offer on-time delivery, experience, and expertise. Consider the downsides and risks of choosing the wrong freight company: missing or damaged goods, late deliveries, and unhappy customers.

Specifically, you want to find real-life examples of freight services offered by your shortlist. Have their shipped from your originating country in the past? Do they have experience in shipping similar types of goods?

Do they have experience in customs declarations?

Are these companies up to speed with the latest customs rules? The new post-Brexit customs rules governing the EU and the UK are an excellent example of why up-to-date knowledge is critical.

Finally, look at their processes and testimonials to better indicate their customer service standards.

Get Multiple Quotes

Freight services will be a significant portion of your merchandise costs, so it makes sense to search around for the most competitive price before making a final decision.

Don’t forget that the cheapest quote isn’t as important as customer satisfaction, reliability, and experience when it comes to freight.

However, that doesn’t stop you from negotiating for a cheaper deal, particularly if you have large and regular merchandise to ship.

Be clear, too, on your plans. For example, if you intend to double your merchandise in the next two years, share that information early.

By sharing your forecasts with a potential freight provider, you might be able to lock in some discounts now based on possible future expansion plans.  

Get the Best Freight Services for Your Business

Trustworthy and capable freight services are essential for your business. They’ll be an extension of your company, and choosing the right one will help you grow your business effectively. 

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