Every business owner wishes to satisfy their customers and keep them happy. So, if you would love to make your wishes come true, steer clear of making freight shipping mistakes. Here’s the thing, you are just one mistake away from losing customers and money. And that is bad for business, especially if you pride yourself in delivering high-quality customer experience. Shipping errors or mistakes can happen. But thankfully, you can prevent them before they happen with the right information at your fingertips. This post aims to throw light on the ten (10) common mistakes freight shippers make and the steps you can take to avoid these costly errors and ensure your shipment’s safety.
Working with Multiple Freight Brokers
The first common mistake involves working with multiple freight brokers which may look harmless. However, it does more harm than good in the long run. This is because most freight brokers bank on the same carriers, which may lead to unnecessary bidding or competition, increasing your final shipping rate.
Effective communication is an important part of any successful shipping process. However, when multiple freight brokers are involved, there is a high chance of poor communication. This can lead to misinformation, higher rates, and waste of time.
Incorrectly Classifying Freight
Listing your freight class incorrectly can lead to costly consequences. In the shipping world, a lower class means you get to pay a lesser fee. Hence, some shippers deliberately list their items in the lowest class possible. And in other cases, it is nothing but an honest mistake. Unfortunately, errors like this can lead to increased shipping costs, re-class fees, incorrect quotes, damaged products due to mishandling, and a damaged reputation.
Not Thoroughly Vetting Their Freight Broker
Nothing beats the assurance that comes with working with trusted freight brokers that have made freight shipping a pleasant experience for you. Nonetheless, there are times when you deem it fit to try new options. So, if you plan to explore new freight broker options, ensure you scratch beneath the surface before choosing one.
Most freight brokers position themselves as the perfect link between you and potential carriers. But sometimes, this can be false which is a common mistake made by many shippers. If you do your homework, you can dodge a bullet and save yourself from illegitimate freight brokers.
Here are a few ways you can tell if a freight broker is legitimate or not, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):
- The freight broker must be registered with the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) program.
- The freight broker must be insured.
- The freight broker must be bonded (purchase a surety bond) to obtain a license and operate legally.
Getting a reliable broker that connects you to a carrier isn’t the end. Also, ensure you get the carrier’s local quote and international quote (LTL quote) or international freight quote (LTL freight quote) for international shipping USA (LTL shipping USA) and other countries.
Freight Claim Delays
Losses or damages can be disheartening. Unfortunately, these are some of the risks associated with businesses. In cases like this, your accuracy and speed in filing a claim for those items can make or mar your chances of recouping your losses. So, ensure you file a claim immediately after you notice the problem. Additionally, consider providing photographic evidence. It can go a long way in backing up your claim.
Not Using Insurance
At a glance, it appears insignificant. But when you see the bigger picture, you’ll realize how much of a difference it makes. Insurance can save you from taking the financial brunt alone in cases of an accident, natural disaster, overturned truck, theft, and other situations capable of damaging your goods. This is why insuring your goods before shipping is a smart decision.
Incorrect BOL Information
Another common mistake is not listing the correct information on the BOL. Every freight shipment requires a Bill of Lading (BOL). It is an important (legally binding) document that gives the carriers and drivers the details they need to process and record freight correctly. BOL also serves as the receipt when shipping.
The BOL includes:
- Shipment date
- Shipment weight
- The shipper’s and receiver’s full names and addresses
- Packaging type
- Number of packages
- The freight classification of the products
- The declared value of goods
- A note informing carriers about potentially dangerous materials (if necessary)
- Special account numbers or purchase orders for tracking (if applicable)
- Items Description
- Specific information to aid carriers deliver products quickly, such as closing time.
Providing inaccurate details can lead to problems between all the parties involved, as it is a costly mistake that puts a lot at stake, including your products and business reputation. However, you can avoid this error by double-checking or triple-checking to discover contradictory information and prevent any possible problems.
Miscalculating Transit Times
Transit time is the timeframe involved in transporting a shipment from location A to the final destination B. Quicker transit time makes a business attractive to a customer.
Hence, these days, most businesses offer to deliver goods in record time. But oftentimes, they make some miscalculations that alter the accurate transit time which is another common mistake. These errors can lead to disappointed or dissatisfied customers. So, if you don’t want to lose your customers, you should pay attention to calculating transit times accurately.
It is worth noting that you need to consider certain factors during the calculation. They are:
- Average truck speed
- Labor requirements
- Product requirements
- Weight and size of products
- Port delays
- Route planning
- Space availability
Faulty labeling can be misleading. In fact, this is one of the main reasons for delays, damaged goods, shipping of goods to wrong locations, and sometimes loss. The most effective way to avoid making this error is by ensuring you double-check or triple-check to ensure it conveys the right information to the handlers.
Not Investigating Shipping Options
The final common mistake is failing to realize the different shipping options available to you, but not all are well-suited to your goods. Put simply; there is no one-size-fits-all shipping option. This is why you need to get in touch with reliable shipping platforms like GoShip. They can connect you with carriers that offer a wide variety of shipping options and know the perfect fit for your goods.