How to Find the Best Shipping Method
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.
What to know about Freight Prices
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.
Why Businesses Should Be Rate Shopping
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. Rates 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.