As the world seems to shrink with global business networking, shipping products between locations is a necessity for company success. Shipments must go out to suppliers and customers alike with a reasonable rate each time. However, small businesses often struggle with shipping systems because most of them are designed for larger, corporate entities. Take a look at a few shipping tips for the small business owner to keep your company on track for yearly success.
Only Export When Necessary
Although the online world allows you to ship nearly anywhere in the world, businesses should think twice about exporting to different countries. Exporting usually involves substantial fees that can quickly eat into growing profits. Unless your company exports on a regular basis, small businesses don’t usually receive many discounts for irregular shipment patterns. Advertise your company within your country and inform customers that exporting isn’t possible from your headquarters. In the end, exporting fees aren’t worth the business between borders.
Use Strategic Freight Consolidation Companies
Large companies sending their goods across the nation usually have freight trains and trailers to hold their products. Small businesses, in contrast, don’t usually fill these bulk containers. Be creative and use freight companies that consolidate. Less-than-a-truckload companies will pick up a certain amount of goods from your business and consolidate the travel costs with other paying companies in the area. You’ll receive a substantial discount on shipping rates while pleasing your customers with rapid product receipt times. Call around to different consolidation companies to learn about current rates in your area.
Weigh Your Goods
If you ship in small volumes, it’s critical to be precise about your costs. Weigh all of your shipment containers using an accurate scale, such as checkweighers. Each box should be full of packing material and the product itself. When you weigh the box, round the value up to the nearest pound. Charge your customer this rate, so that it accurately covers the shipment cost and packing materials. You’ll notice that profits will remain steady while charging customers a fair rate in exchange.
Communicate With Your Customers
Regardless of your shipping strategy, offering transparent rates to your customers is crucial. Clearly state which shipping options you offer, such as standard 3-day shipments, and the applicable rates. List out the rates that are by personal quote only, including expedited overnight shipments. When customers understand their options, they won’t be surprised by any high shipment costs. If they require a product within the next 24 hours, they will pay for the rush shipment costs. Small businesses are limited in their cost flexibility.
Work Closely With Shipment Carrier
Most shipment carriers understand that small businesses are a major part of their profits. Ask your favorite carrier about a small business liaison. These carrier insiders look over a business’s shipment habits, such as time frames and locations, so that discounts and services can be properly applied. Although small businesses don’t have to work with a liaison, it’s entirely beneficial because these specific rates and specials aren’t advertised within the business community. A small discount on each shipment can easily add up to a larger profit margin than before.
Explore Online Shipping Tools
If you’ve explored your options with a liaison, do a little research on your own. Go online and read over different carriers’ rates and specials. At times, you might find a promotional rate that applies to your situation. Use other online tools to streamline your operations too. Saving repeat customers’ addresses through a logged-in shipment account, for instance, can make shipping and receiving easier in the end.
It’s a common occurrence for small businesses to meet with others in their industry or local region at least once a year. Take advantage of these gatherings and ask colleagues about their shopping experiences. Other owners might have unique answers to bothersome problems. In the end, every small business can benefit from shared shipping information when bright minds come together.