One of the biggest expenses for small to medium size businesses is shipping costs. How can you find ways to trim costs, or at the least, make sure you are getting the best shipping rates? Are you relying exclusively on one carrier? Are you exporting more frequently than you need to? We’ve put together 5 tricks for getting the best shipping rates to help save money, control your costs, and ship more efficiently.Get a Freight Shipping Quote
5. Consolidate Your Shipments for the Best Shipping Rates
Many small and medium-sized business owners or managers are exporting for the first time. Usually, they send multiple shipments to and from the same location within a short period. However, combining weekly or bi-weekly can save you money on delivering your cargo. This is also much easier on your supply chain in terms of packaging and tracking. When you consolidate your shipments, you no longer have to endure the headache of packaging and tracking 10 separate shipments.
Another trick to consider is stacking boxes together on one pallet. This is a common practice for shrinking shipments. For example, stack and shrink wrap 10 similar-size boxes onto a single pallet. Therefore, your freight shipment is easier to load and unload from a truck. This takes up less space and therefore better shipping rates. You can get more information on packaging materials by visiting our Guide to Freight Packaging.
4. Understand Supply & Demand for the Best Shipping Rates
While carriers need to fulfill their capacity and optimize the space inside their freight trucks on the road. Carriers charge different rates for different lanes depending on how badly they need to fill to capacity. There are a few common trucking terms that will come in handy when looking for the most affordable rate for your shipment. These terms are deadhead, backhaul, and headhaul.
- Deadhead refers to when a truck driver is returning with empty trailers. This is what carriers see as a waste of money, using gas mileage on trucks that aren’t full.
- Backhaul lanes are return trips to the point of origin for a truck. These lanes are necessary for carriers. They are a little trickier for them to fulfill, so they often offer a discounted shipping rate.
- Headhaul lanes are closer to where the carriers themselves are located which makes for quick fulfillment.
3. Get the Right Insurance
It doesn’t matter how great of a shipping rate you get if your cargo takes on damage. Especially when there isn’t any additional insurance for it. Knowing the costs of certain safety nets can help you control your freight spending. Your cargo is precious and so is your money. Make sure you know the difference between limited liability coverage and additional freight insurance because it can save your freight and your wallet.
Legally, carriers must provide limited liability coverage as default protection policies. These carrier-provided policies may not cover the full value of your shipment in the event of damage or loss. However, there is additional freight insurance which provides a greater idea of coverage available.
Purchase added coverage that protects your shipment that goes above and beyond the carrier’s default protection policy. These policies can offer protection for the full value of your shipment. This removes the need of proving liability if any damage or loss of cargo occurs. While many types of freight are covered fully, it’s important to make sure your specific freight is also under the policy you are considering. For example, some policies do not offer coverage for fresh foods, laptop and tablet computers, expensive jewelry, and more. Therefore you always want to make sure your item is qualified for coverage.Get a Freight Shipping Quote
2. Leverage a Powerful TMS
Finding the right carrier, lane, and the best shipping rates can be time-consuming for any delivery. You’d have to go to each carrier directly, compare their quotes, see what lane they would take, and coordinate between multiple parties yourself. Well, let me tell you, there’s an easier way to get the best shipping rates.
A TMS, or transportation management system, is software commonly found within third-party logistics companies (3PLs). They search for carriers, lanes, and rates all based on your shipment’s details and information. This way is so you can easily compare different options.
A TMS is essential to your business because it saves time and money. A strong TMS offers deep business insights, such as finding possible issues, and gives you the ability to track multiple shipments at the same time. Like the Bill of Lading (BOL), paperwork is also centralized in the TMS for easy management. Freight is growing into the digital age. Using these tools is key to finding the best shipping rates quick and easy.
1. Partner with a 3PL
The #1 trick for getting the best shipping rates is by partnering with a 3PL brokerage. This is best to expand your supply. 3PLs like FreightCenter have expert shipping agents who specialize in finding solutions to meet your freight needs. They guide you step by step through the often challenging process. We supply guidance on your shipping questions about reducing shipments, information about the correct insurance, finding the right lanes, and getting the best shipping rates through our TMS. FreightCenter is here to make shipping easy and affordable.