Factors to consider when selecting a freight forwarder
Selecting a carrier to handle your shipping needs can be a tough decision, especially if you do not understand the importance of freight forwarding, which is the coordination and shipment of goods between places.
While freight forwarders are becoming increasingly common, finding one that is right for you and your business needs could be challenging, and have lasting implications.
If you are new to business, then the stakes are especially high, as your success may be heavily dependent on your selection. For small business owners, the ideal freight service provider should simplify the process for you and, most importantly, be affordable.
Therefore, it’s important that the effort be put out upfront to analyse and evaluate your options in order to select a service provider that removes the hassle from the process later on.
To help with your selection, we have compiled several factors to consider when finding the ideal freight forwarder.
Few considerations will be as important as experience. A freight forwarder’s knowledge and understanding of the industry will be key to advising you how to best meet your company’s requirements and supply needs. An experienced freight partner will know how to handle matters such as Customs, port disruptions and any other issue which may affect your goods arriving in a timely manner, or at all.
The cost of shipping is usually among the first components assessed before a determination is made. While the cheapest option is not always best, it is rarely ideal to go ahead with the most expensive, especially for smaller companies. When evaluating the price of a freight forwarder, also consider the quality of service and the delivery times being offered, as this will determine if the charges are appropriate for the work being done.
When choosing a freight forwarder, it is easy to decide on one that can get your goods from one place to the other, but is that all that is required? Does your freight service provider offer packaging and storage? Will they negotiate freight charges? Are insurance, consolidation and customs clearance part of their offerings? If your business requires multiple services, using several companies may not be ideal. It may be more helpful and cost-effective to work with one company that meets all your needs to ensure that shipments are processed smoothly.
Working with a less expensive freight forwarder may save you money now, but could affect your company’s profitability and reputation in the long run if they are not reliable. A reliable freight forwarder will move your goods in a timely manner and provide constant and open communication if things go amiss, which allows you to plan and act accordingly.
For most businesses, good customer service can make or break your plans for success. Good service by a freight forwarder will determine how you are able to meet your clients’ needs, which is crucial for profitability and growth. Having direct access to an agent that is responsive and proactive will be beneficial to your long-term goals.
Even having met all the criteria above, a freight forwarder may not be right for you based on the requirements of your business. Doing research on their offerings and how they match up to your needs is crucial to finding the correct fit. So, take all the time necessary and ask the questions that are relevant to you and your business before making this all-important decision.