There are a few concerns that a business needs to consider before shipping out its cargo. Solving the question of which shipping method to avail is a priority. It is a concern, particularly for newer or smaller businesses. Since FTL shipping can be costly for them, they usually go with LTL shipping. The next big issue that needs solving is finding which freight shipping company to use.
Finding a reputable freight service is a crucial step. Small retailers rely on giving their customers the best experience possible. Customer satisfaction for them can make or break their business. They need assurance that the shipper they hire will not cause customer dissatisfaction. This article aims to give a better idea on choosing the right shipping company.
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What is Less Than Truckload Shipping (LTL)?
It is important to be familiar with LTL shipping before looking for a company that offers it. LTL shipping is a shipping method that can be cost-effective when used right. It is a good choice for businesses that are new in their respective industries. Being new would mean that they cannot hold massive inventory yet. They usually deliver what is only ordered by their customers. Also, their customers do not buy enough items to fill up an entire truck. In this case, LTL shipping is the best option. The list below will help you understand the characteristics of LTL shipping:
Usage of space inside a trailer
Since a customer’s cargo is not enough to take up all the space, LTL shipping combines this with other shipments. The delivery truck or trailer used LTL shipping would have the cargo of different customers.
Concerning the sharing of the space of a truck, the customers also share the cost. It means that each shipper is charged a fee proportionate to the area use or weight of the shipment by the freight shipping company.
Intricate logistics process
Shipping companies typically use the “hub and spoke model” for their LTL shipping service. In this system, customers go to local terminals (spokes) to do the transaction. They may avail of a pickup service if it is hard for them to bring the items into the local terminals.
Handling first happens during the loading of items into the trailer. The cargos are all brought into the main distribution center (hub). Preparation of all shipments occurs at the distribution center. All items undergo sorting and grouping before being loaded into their assigned trucks. The truck will then follow a predetermined route on the way to every drop-off point.
Duration of delivery
Delivery of goods with LTL shipping may take a longer time. The hub and spoke distribution model is crucial in ensuring deliveries push through. For destinations that have very little cargo, it may take more time to deliver. Unless the shipping company decides to go through with the delivery, customers might have to wait longer than expected. Another cause for delay is the chance that your cargo will be at the latter part of the delivery route.
Related article: Full Truckload Shipping vs. Less Than Truckload Shipping
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best LTL Shipping Service
Almost all shipping companies offer LTL shipping as a service. It is one of the most sought-after services since it can also serve individuals. Security and safety are essential things that you should tie to all your cargo. It would be for the best to be wary when finding a shipping company that can handle them. The following list can guide you when looking for the best company for your business:
Considerable experience in the industry
The freight transport industry has become saturated through the years. Heavy competition has made it better for customers, though. More choices mean that pricing can get lower. The length of service a shipping company indicates how it was able to establish itself. The longer a company has been in the industry means it has gained a positive reputation. That is one factor you should look for in a shipping company.
Cargo securement is something that shipping companies should prioritize. You can inquire from them about their rules and guidelines that their employees follow. You can use the information you gathered if the way they treat safety will be enough for you. If you get the chance, try to look at their current securement devices. Research the brands they are using to check if they put importance on the quality of their operations. Remember that your cargo may be unloaded at a different destination. Their processes should assure you that they have rules in re-loading shipment.
Commitment to customer service
Having communication with the company to get updates is crucial. It would help if you inquired about their guidelines on tracking cargo. There should be a way for you to check the status updates of your delivery. Also, inquire about their rules about handling complaints. Ask what their guidelines are if there are damages to your items. By asking them various questions, you will also find out their professionalism. You must check if they have a way to deal with conflicts. Gathering this information will reveal if they can still deliver even under pressure.
Performance and reliability
You can ask the company’s customers with regards to their pickup and delivery timings. LTL shipping may involve the pickup of cargo from your location. You need to know if the company can follow its timelines. Knowing if the company arrives within the schedule is very important. It is also a form of professionalism. A reputable shipping company must be able to keep its word. It must ensure that the trucks arrive on time. Even the drop-off at the destination would also need a timeline. The company must be able to give you a timeline that already considers delays.
Insurance fees and limits
Insurance is a factor that individuals usually neglect. Shipping out a few items rarely gets lost or damaged. So paying for insurance is not cost-effective for them. Businesses should not follow this mindset, though. Sending items in bulk is a different situation compared to cargos sent by an individual. Insurance fees matter when the volume of the items shipped is high.
Businesses should also consider the limits shipping companies can cover. Limits refer to payment you receive from shipping companies for damages or losses. You have to ensure that the limit covers the actual value of your shipment. Smaller carriers tend to have lower limits compared to the established ones. There are times that items get lost or damaged with LTL shipping. That is due to the multiple times your cargo may get loaded and unloaded. Hence, you should prepare yourself for such situations to avoid incurring unforeseen losses.
Availability of a liftgate
Liftgates are important for businesses that have no equipment to help unload the cargo. You must inquire from the shipping company if they have one available. A liftgate is an equipment that can be attached to the rear of a truck or trailer. They enable easy lifting of cargo from the tailgate of the truck down to the ground. Furthermore, they help speed up the unloading of cargo. Lastly, they are also usable on other drop-off points, which is an advantage for you.
When it comes to the price quotation, you should be able to see all the charges and other fees. This is very important since you may use this as your guide when you inquire from different carriers. You should ask for information about the charges if some have vague descriptions. It is your way of determining if you will earn from your transaction or shipping will eat up your profit.
Shipping companies will have different price quotations, but the margins should not be that high. This also goes for expedited LTL shipping services. You should also compare price quotations between carriers. Some companies may take advantage of your urgency and additional charges that may not be fair to you.
Related article: Introduction To LTL Freight Shipping
The Best LTL Shipping Service Must Help You Make a Profit
Compared to individuals that send out packages with no intention of gaining profit, remember that you are doing business. Maximizing the profit you can earn is your top priority. Profit may not only be about monetary gains, though. Having a reliable carrier means that your customers will receive their items as expected. This may help improve your reputation in the industry. Customer satisfaction is a tool for you to grow your business. You should consider that your customers are the ones dictating how you succeed. You may do all the work, but customers are the ones improving your reputation.
Working with the best LTL shipping service should not give you headaches. The carrier should be the one assuring you that your cargo will be safe even before it reaches its destination. Being one of the top carriers offering LTL shipping services in Ontario, RoadLINX can give you that much-needed assurance.
Having served many types of businesses through the years, we can say that we have always kept them happy. For any shipping concerns, you can contact us at 905-760-1141. We know that we can serve any of your shipping needs.