One of the most significant 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 to get the best shipping rates to help save money, control costs, and ship more efficiently.
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 exact 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 regarding packaging and tracking. When consolidating your shipments, you no longer have to endure the headache of packaging and tracking ten 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 ten similar-size boxes onto a single pallet. This takes up less space and, therefore, better shipping rates. Therefore, your freight shipment is easier to load and unload from a truck. You can get more information on packaging materials by visiting our Guide to Freight Packaging.
4. Understand Supply & Demand for the Best Shipping Rates
Carriers charge different rates for different lanes depending on how badly they need to fill. While carriers must fulfill their capacity and optimize the space inside their freight trucks on the road, here are a few standard trucking terms that will be useful when looking for the most affordable rate for your shipment. These terms are deadhead, backhaul, and head haul.
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 to fulfill, so they often offer a discounted shipping rate.
Headhaul lanes are closer to the carriers’ locations for quick fulfillment.
3. Get the Right Insurance
Your cargo is precious, and so is your money. It doesn’t matter how great of a shipping rate you get if your shipment takes on the 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. Ensure 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 total value of your shipment in the event of damage or loss. However, additional freight insurance provides a more excellent 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 total value of your shipment. This removes the need to prove liability if any damage or loss of cargo occurs. While many types of freight are covered thoroughly, ensuring your specific shipment is also under the policy you are considering is essential. For example, some policies do not cover fresh foods, laptops, tablet computers, expensive jewelry, etc. Therefore, you always want to ensure your item is qualified for coverage.
2. Leverage a Powerful TMS
Finding the suitable carrier, lane, and best shipping rates can be time-consuming for any delivery. You’d have to go to each carrier directly, compare their quotes, see what route they would take, and coordinate between multiple parties yourself. 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 based on your shipment’s details and information. This way is so you can easily compare different options.
Freight is growing in the digital age. A TMS is essential to your business because it saves time and money. A robust TMS offers deep business insights, such as finding possible issues and allows you to track multiple shipments simultaneously. Like the Bill of Lading (BOL), paperwork is also centralized in the TMS for easy management. These tools are vital to finding the best shipping rates quickly and easily.
1. Partner with a 3PL
The #1 trick for getting the best shipping rates is 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.
Experience the FreightCenter difference today with a free quote, or call us at 800.716.7608.