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5 Questions to Ask Shipping and Freight Companies

by EasyPost
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Working with the right shipping and freight companies can majorly impact a business. These companies directly affect business, whether it's expenses, customer satisfaction, or delivery times. Because of this, it's crucial to partner with top-notch shipping and freight companies that meet your business's unique needs.

When it comes time to choose whom to work with, take some time to sit down with several companies and learn about their practices and procedures. Then, ask their representatives plenty of questions so you can be sure they are the right fit before making a final decision. Here are a few questions we recommend bringing up during your following rundown.

Two men looking at a tablet in a warehouse

What are your rates, and how are they determined?

First and foremost, it's important to know how much a freight or shipping service will cost. Depending on how much a business ships, the size of their parcels, their weight, and various other factors, rates will vary. Understand the pricing model of each carrier and request a quote, so you can have a clear idea of how much you will be paying (and even save). Be sure to ask if your business might encounter any additional charges outside of the quote – such as documentation and customs charges – and then compare the companies you're considering to choose the best option.

Delivery person writing on clipboard

What are your typical transit times?

Today, transit times are more valuable than ever for both businesses and their customers. A white paper from Flexe states that 85% of consumers are willing to search elsewhere for faster shipping options. It's important to know that freighters and carriers can keep up with customer expectations for speedy delivery.

When speaking with these companies, ask about their typical transit times. A modern freight or carrier company knows that speedy delivery is crucial to success and will make it possible to reach your goals. Depending on how fast your materials need to be delivered, this may impact your rates. By going into conversations upfront with your expectations, you can quickly determine if a carrier or freight company is right for your business.

Woman signing for package

Where do you deliver?

Not all carriers and freighters operate in the same way. Some are regional, while others are national or international. There are benefits and drawbacks to each. For example, regional carriers can often be faster, more reliable, and more cost-effective than larger carriers. Meanwhile, national carriers are typically better equipped with superior technology, services, and resources. Ask carriers about their delivery regions and how transit times can differ from region to region. If your customers are centralized in a specific region, you may better cater to their needs first.

Woman working on a laptop

Are we able to track our goods?

The more visibility you have on your parcels while they are on the move, the better for businesses and shoppers alike. Tracking numbers give customers transparency and peace of mind that their order will arrive in the near future. By sending tracking notifications, you can stay top of mind and have a better chance of leaving a positive impression on customers.

For businesses, they help recover lost packages and give customer service representatives the tools they need to assist customers properly. Knowing that your carrier or freighter will track packages will also give you more confidence in their reliability. After all, their reliability is your reliability.

Woman working on a computer wearing a headset

How does customer service operate?

Although nobody ever wants it to happen, you may need to work with your carrier or freight company's customer service representatives at some point. This could be due to a lost package, a technological integration, or another hiccup.

When these situations arise, you want to know that reliable customer service will promptly help. Asking about a carrier's customer service will help you set expectations and understand their support scope. This will give you peace of mind in the future if you choose to work with a company that is dedicated to exemplary customer service.

Narrowing down your options

Choosing a new carrier or freight company isn't always easy, but it's important to be as informed as possible before making your decision. Ask specific questions to the representatives you speak with to understand the pros and cons of the company fully.

If you're already established, you're going to need a carrier that fits in with your established logistics. Working with companies who can integrate with your system – like EasyPost – will save you time and complications down the line. Our modern shipping API integrates with various carriers, plugins, and APIs. Sign up for free to see how EasyPost can enhance your shipping operations.