When choosing a trucking company to handle logistics, most business will focus on the quotes provided. While this should be a consideration in your final decision, it should not be entirely what your final choice is based on. You also need to get into the details of what you will get or not get at a certain cost as well as how adequately the trucking company you choose will support your business.
Related Article: How Trucking Companies Continue to Help Businesses and Impact Canada’s Economy
What are The Factors to Consider When Choosing A Trucking Company?
Here are ten things to explore when looking into a trucking company:
1. Level of Experience
This is important because longevity, among other things, means the company is good at what it does. A significant drawback of focusing on the quote alone is this: most new entrants into the market will have much lower costs as they try to gain traction. The low costs are only aimed at onboarding clients. This undercutting compensates for their lack of experience.
What this means to your business is, as this young, cheaper company cuts its teeth in the business, you might be affected as they find their footing. Affected in this case, means possible interruptions and loss of revenue to your business.
An older company has years of experience in routes, mitigation measures, established training programs, State and federal policy and so on, and thus you are likely to suffer fewer setbacks. This stability is something your business can capitalize on.
2. Manpower and Equipment
Experience can only take a company so far; it also needs to be backed by adequate manpower and equipment, complete with contingency plans.
A good company is adequately staffed and equipped to load and deliver in a timely manner. If a company falls short on either, it could mean occasional delays or damage to your goods in transit or during loading.
Most companies provide two loading options: palletized loading and loose loading. Many people prefer the former because it’s safer and faster. If this is your go-to option, then check that the trucking company has access to fork trucks. Without this, they won’t be able to load.
Depending on your line of business, you might require temperature controlled trucks or trucks to handle hazardous chemicals, keep all this mind while discussing the manpower and equipment. Ensure that the trucking company can adequately handle your requirements.
A good company also should have standardized maintenance systems so that their trucks are not constantly breaking down. If for example, the refrigeration system on a truck breaks down. Your company might lose a truckload of produce. In as much as insurance can compensate for this, it is still lost time and an inconvenience that could hurt your reputation.
3. Load Size
Some companies only allow full-size loads while some allow partial loads. With your company needs in mind, pick an option that is suitable. However, if you are unsure of what your business needs will be, or if they are likely to change, then your best pick a company that allows for both full load and partial loads.
This saves you the trouble of picking two companies to shift back and forth between, which allows you to partner and build a relationship with one, reliable company.
4. Rates and Benefits
Find out if the company you choose have promos and discounts for high volume deliveries and /or long-term clients. Find out what terms and conditions that may impact their service rates, and how you can use this to your advantage.
5. Training and Performance
A company with regular, stringent hiring and training stipulations is likely to have a strong, well equipped, competent staff. Find out the trucking companies’ hiring standards as well as if they have in-house training and refresher courses. The beauty about in-house training is that they are designed to seal loopholes or identify knowledge gaps and thus, the company continually improves its standard of service.
6. Offshore Coverage
Depending on the scope of your business, this is critical. Find out how many states your trucking company can cover, as well as the charges and timelines for offshore deliveries. In addition, find out if the company can go to any part of Canada and if not, the provinces it limits itself to.
Expand this to international coverage if your business calls for it. If it does then find out if they are specific on the contents and if they travel to countries deemed unsafe by international agencies. This has to agree with your business needs.
7. Service Assurance
If you want an unwavering assurance that your products/parcels will arrive on time, some companies can offer this at an added cost. Under such an arrangement, your trucking company cancels your transport charges in the event that delivery is late, due to fortuitous circumstances.
While this might not be necessary for many businesses, it’s good to find out either way. It would be good if this service would be available should you ever need it.
These are some of the things you have to find out:
• What happens if a delivery is late owing to mistake on the company’s part?
• What guarantees can the company give you on the timely arrival of your load?
• If an order comes after hours, find out if it will be delivered on the same day, or if it will be queued for the following day.
• Find out if the company operates round the clock, such that late deliveries have a same day delivery guarantee.
• Find out if they take urgent deliveries, the distance and the extra charges for such requests as well as their request time-lines.
A company with more guarantees demonstrates its confidence in its own services. A company that is reluctant to give assurances and guarantees indicates its less confidence in what it can offer.
9. Interpersonal Relations
Irrespective of the fact that this is an outsourced service, your clients will associate you with the trucking company’s staff as well.
This can affect your reputation and brand negatively or positively.
Inquire about the staff and if they undergo customer care training. In as much as their interactions with your clients will be minimal, you want professional, uniformed and courteous staff on the other end of delivery.
10. Tracking Devices
Again, depending on what you are shipping, a company that allows you to track your goods real time is an excellent choice.
Some gadgets allow alerts in case the tuck is opened midway or at a destination different from the delivery destination. This in itself is a deterrent to any acts of theft, as well as gives you confidence that should there be any issue in transit, you and the trucking company can be able to mitigate it in good time.
The good news is there are numerous trucking companies in Canada, each with an array of services and products designed for different business types, services, and sizes.
The key is to deeply analyze your business then see which companies could align well with your requirements. You can also do things differently by not asking for a quote upfront. Instead, highlight your needs, lead time, budget, carrier frequencies, territories, seasons, order volumes and payment terms and approach companies to see which ones can give you an offer closest to what your company is looking for.
It is worth getting this right the first time as this accords you a long-term relationship that allows you to focus on your core business, knowing that your freight needs are well catered for.