How to Find the Best Shipping Method

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Is it an antique armoire? How about an industrial washing machine or a high value piece of technology? No matter what item it is, at one point in time, it had to be shipped. Finding the best shipping method for your goods can be extremely difficult. Here are a few factors to consider to make shipping a little easier.

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Understanding Freight Prices

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One of the most confusing things about shipping freight is understanding freight prices. You may think that you are paying a particular rate, only to find out that you shipped in the wrong freight class, forgot to mark your shipment as a residential delivery and didn’t include a lift gate. Read over the following factors to consider when creating an LTL shipment in order to understand how LTL pricing works and prevent any surprises for you or your customer.

Freight Class– Each shipment is rated different depending on the freight class which it ships. Freight classes are based on density and commodity. There are 18 classes that your shipment can fall under, ranging from class 50 (the least expensive) to class 500 (the most expensive). It is important to chose a class based on the commodity you are shipping and it’s respective NMFC #. If you do not know your freight class, you can typically ship based on the density of your particular shipment. ShipHawk has a great tool built into the rating process which provides an estimated freight class. Be careful that you select the correct freight class as your shipment can be subject to expensive re-class fees if not correctly noted on the BOL.

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The Price of Cheap Shipping Companies

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cheap shipping companiesThere is nothing wrong with using cheap shipping companies, but using the cheapest shipping company is rarely a smart move.  The cheapest shipping option will result in a higher probability of damages, loss, and spending the next 3 months attempting to resolve claims. The bottom line is whether we are talking about parcel, blanket wrap, or less than truckload, the cheapest option often provides the cheapest services.  

With LTL freight in particular, it is best to go with a carrier that has decent reviews from people who ship regularly.  Obviously, finding reliable reviews like this is easier said than done.  As anyone in the shipping industry knows, shipping can and will always go wrong at some point, no matter how careful you are or which carrier you decide to use.  It is easy to find horror stories online for any shipping company.  One-time shippers will always share their negative experiences online, and it can be hard to tell who to believe.  

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What Are The Best Shipping Options?

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Whether you are doing personal shipping or shipping for a business, finding the best blanket wrap shipping options can be difficult.  Every company you find online will talk about their “unbeatable carrier network” and their “commitment to customer service,” but it’s hard to know what you are getting into. You must carefully consider both the quality of each blanket wrap carrier, as well as the shipping options that they offer.  

There are pros and cons to every blanket wrap carrier, but the best blanket wrap carriers in my opinion are Plycon, Ukay, Metropolitan, and Team Worldwide Blanket wrap. Even though they each have their own stipulations, I’ve found Team Worldwide to be the most reliable at this point.  Ukay and Plycon will ship basically anything blanket wrap, but Plycon is better for chandeliers or anything else involving glass, as they can pick up and do custom crating.  Services like this cost extra, but they do a better job of getting more fragile items safely to their destination.

In terms of the best shipping options, it is important to consider what your time is worth to you. In my opinion, the best shipping options are the ones that are low touch and reliable.  Especially if you are shipping for a company with multiple shipments per day, you want the most efficient shipping options, not just the cheapest.  For instance, Metropolitan blanket wrap has great rates, but they have a much higher rate of loss and damage.  Although these things happen with every carrier, this tends to happen more frequently with cheaper shipping options. I’ve also had many shipments get lost in the abyss of Metropolitan’s warehouses.  All it takes is one mistake switching paperwork or a label, and your shipment can be on the wrong side of the country.  This is not to scare anyone away from using Metropolitan if you like working with them, but I’ve had more lost shipments and issues with them than with any other blanket wrap carrier.  Another factor to consider is the reliability of shipping options. Reliable companies won’t leave you on hold for 30 minutes when you are looking for an ETA for delivery. They are also the companies that will call and leave a voicemail to schedule delivery, and then actually follow up to get the shipment delivered. Different carriers have different rates for different lanes and items, but general reliability of the company is most important. For example, even though all blanket carriers can handle a couch or bookshelf, if any special services are involved, Team Worldwide has been the most reliable for me.

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Why Businesses Should Be Rate Shopping

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Shipping can often be an overwhelming process. With so many different types of carriers, rates, services and regulations, it’s easy to understand why many customers opt to choose the first carrier that comes to sight without really doing the research to find the best rate. While it may be more time efficient to settle with the first adequate carrier, a more cost-efficient way to ship packages is through rate shopping.

Rate shopping is the process of comparing different carriers– such as UPS, FedEx and USPS–to find the cheapest shipping rate for the same delivery experience. This means that instead of immediately choosing one carrier, you research several different carriers, delivery formats and service levels to find the lowest rate that still delivers the package by the expected delivery date. Shipping-Software-for-Executives_Data-Driven-Decision-MakingRates are dependent on various characteristics, such as dim weight, fuel charge, residential surcharges, freight class, and unit types, all of which carriers charge different prices for. By strategically researching and prioritizing these components, customers can avoid high margin loss when they pick the cheapest possible delivery service. In fact, rate shopping has been accredited to reducing shipping costs by up to 30%. In addition to increasing company profit, money saved in shipping relations can also increase customer acquisition rates. By providing the cheapest shipping rates, businesses are better able to maintain a competitive edge through marketing shipping, such as offering free shipping to increase eCommerce sales.

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