How to Choose a Shipping Carrier for Your Business

Melton Logistics – 06/20/2024

In today’s market, selecting the right shipping carrier is crucial for businesses of all sizes. Depending on the industry and the areas you operate within, the options can seem endless and overwhelming. For a smaller business, using a local provider may work well, or using a well-established network that runs through your area. Larger organizations with multiple locations and warehouses can find it challenging and may have to utilize multiple carriers to create a network that works for their needs. The bottom line: the shipping companies you choose will have a large impact on your business, and it’s recommended you do substantial research before making a final decision.

Here are some things we recommend looking at before you select a carrier to partner with:

Service Costs

This is often priority number one for businesses, and for good reason. Lower transportation costs mean more flexibility to invest in other areas of your company. However, despite how tempting it may be to go with the lowest cost, the cheapest option may not be the best for your business. Depending on the size and scale of your shipping needs, the services you need and the rates you’ll need to pay will vary greatly. Additionally, when you’re reviewing the quotes carriers provide for your needs, make sure to consider their reliability and reputation. If their rates are initially low, but the carrier doesn’t offer a quality service, it may end up costing you more in the long run. If possible, try comparing rates between carriers to get an idea of what you can expect to pay for a transportation service.

Shipping Carrier Reputation and Customer Service

A carrier’s reliability in transportation is crucial. A good reputation is built on a foundation of great service, from honoring delivery times, to ensuring good customer service, to consistent communication. Many carriers offer varying levels of service, and finding one with the capacity to fit your needs is very important. As you research transportation companies, be sure to pay attention to reviews, both online and from previous customers, and keep an eye out for any testimonies that may be relevant to your business.

Shipping Lanes and Operating Area

For a local shipper that might only have to transport goods within a few hundred miles, a smaller, local shipper may fit their needs perfectly. Companies looking to grow and expand beyond that boundary will need a greater network to operate in. It’s important to look at your long-term business plans and determine if a transportation carrier’s operating area completely fits your needs; if not, consider whether it’s best to work with other carriers to fill the gaps, or switch to a carrier that transports nationwide and/or internationally.

A row of commercial trucks parked in front of a background of a map

Types of Products

Before you ship, take a look at the products you’re selling. Determining if your products are fragile, require a specific type of container, or any level of protection to ship. Perishable goods, hazardous materials, oversized loads, and potentially expensive products may be difficult to ship, or will require a specific kind of trailer for transportation. Finding a carrier that offers a variety of trailer types that can handle the challenges your product might face is a major factor to consider.

Tracking and Visibility

Another important aspect of a carrier’s service that often flies under the radar is its visibility. Giving you a transparent view of the process, alongside real-time updates and tracking is crucial to make sure shipping is as efficient as possible. Delivery delays can occur for a multitude of reasons, so finding a carrier that maintains an easy flow of communication and provides alternative options and solutions to these disruptions when necessary is a good sign you have found a great transportation partner.

Having a long-standing relationship with a singular carrier can sometimes come with benefits like establishing steady rates, faster response times, and a direct point of contact that you can depend on. Shippers that retain multiple carriers may find it difficult to keep things organized and to ensure every need is being met, but they also enjoy greater flexibility if shipping needs change. Whichever option works best for your business, we’re always happy to help. If you’re looking for a dependable logistics company to handle your shipping, you can view our services page for more information.

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