How to Choose Your Freight Forwarder
Whether your shipping requirements are domestic or global, finding the right freight forwarder isn’t always easy. Certainly, you want to make sure that all your products or goods will be delivered on time and in good condition. Before you decide which company to hire, consider the following:
This is obvious but always worth repeating: freight companies are not all made the same. Many of them concentrate on certain routes – sea, air or rail – and you must pick the specialist that is most aligned with your needs. Asking for quotes from various companies not only lets you in on their prices and logistics but also their customer service skills. Most probably, you will be in regular contact with your chosen forwarder, so it makes sense to know early on how things might play out between the two of you.
Very importantly, when you request a quote, ensure that it bears every important detail the company will need from you. You can speak to their sales associate on the phone or just email them. You don’t want to leave anything out, so prepare your information ahead of time (but they should ask if you actually forget anything). Remember to include any future needs as your company grows.
The history of the freight and cargo industry goes just about as far back as commerce itself, so do your research and look for a forwarder that has a solid background. More experience usually means a better business experience for you – otherwise, they just wouldn’t have lasted that long.
Freight forwarding is a challenging job, which is the reason you’re hiring someone else to do it for you, right? Once you’ve received quotes from various places, don’t make the mistake of jumping at the cheapest option. In most cases, there will be a catch. You may get what you need from a low bid company, but this could be at the expense of some shady fine print or customer experience that is compromised in the name of a lower price. Whatever the case, don’t decide until you’ve read the fine print thoroughly and scanned online reviews (but stick to third-party consumer websites to get accurate and neutral information.
Lastly, pick a freight company that can give you all the documents necessary for shipments, such as certificates of origin, customs and port documentation, etc. Furthermore, make sure they can issue approved house bills of lading. You don’t have to be an expert in these papers, but it’s totally crucial that you will receive them with each transaction. When checking out a certain company, don’t hesitate to ask them about this. As a consumer, you have the right to know this important detail from the beginning.