How to Avoid Damaged Freight

Once you send off a shipment, it may seem like that’s the end of your part of the process. However, if your freight becomes damaged, it can cause you to do even more work – and for the same payment. This can be a huge blow to your profit margin, especially if you tend to ship in bulk. With this in mind, we’ll be going over how you can avoid damaged freight, as well as what damaged freight truly costs you.

The Cost of Damaged Freight 

It may seem like damaged freight doesn’t cost much – that it is a manageable expense that can be easily factored into your pricing to maintain a profit. However, that isn’t the case if you take a holistic view of damaged freight, which can cause a chain reaction of costs, including some that only increase over time.

First, let’s start with the cost of the damaged freight itself. When your product is damaged during shipping, you lose the revenue that was supposed to be given in return for your product. This will either happen due to the customer refusing to pay for a damaged item, or you having to issue a refund to maintain good customer relations. When freight is damaged, shrink levels increase. Shrink levels are the difference between your viable inventory and your recorded inventory.  Every time freight is damaged, your viable inventory shrinks. Even if you paid for insurance, you won’t get a full refund most of the time. And if your freight keeps getting damaged, your insurance rates will increase, making it more costly to ship anything.

Then, of course, you have to replace the freight. After filing a freight claim, you’ll need to repeat the manufacturing and shipping process for the replacement. This will incur a second set of production costs – for the profit of only one product. This might interrupt your production schedule, and the inefficiency could cost you profit.

Risking customer relationships

All these delays could also hurt your relationship with your customers – whether it’s the customer who bought the damaged freight, or others who may be affected by delayed production. Considering customers now have much higher standards than before the pandemic, and that they are likely to tell others about their bad experiences, this may cost you a whole host of clientele.

Finally, all of the added manufacturing, shipping, and delays increase environmental costs as well. Remember, if climate change worsens, natural disasters will become more frequent and resources will become more scarce. This will make it harder to produce and safely ship your products!

How to Avoid Damaged Freight

At a glance, damaged freight may seem like an unavoidable cost. After all, a lot can happen when freight is being shipped, and freight handling is entirely within the hands of the carrier. However, there are more factors within your control than you think. With proper planning, you can minimize damaged freight and protect your profit margins and your reputation.

Proper Packaging and Sealing

First things first: before you ship anything, you need to package your product properly. This can decrease overhead costs and minimize any potential damage to your freight.

Here are some handy guidelines you can follow for proper packaging:

  • Choose packaging that fits your product well.
  • Pick packaging that is ideal for your carrier’s mode of transportation.
  • Make sure the packaging is sturdy enough to hold your product’s weight.
  • If there is any empty space between your product and packaging:
    • Fill up the space with filling materials, such as foam peanuts.
  • If any products have contents that might spill:
    • Use seals like adhesive tapes to cover up any openings.
    • Use waterproof wrappings to cushion the items.

Label Packages

Now that you have a perfectly packaged product, it’s time to move on to labeling. Labels may seem trivial, but they can often be the most important factor for how your freight is handled during shipment. This is because they inform your carrier what is inside the box, how fragile it is, and how they should handle it. Equipped with this vital information, your carrier is less likely to accidentally damage the freight. 

To label your packages properly, you can follow these guidelines:

  • Use only ONE label to avoid confusion – unless more are required by the carrier.
  • Choose a label that won’t be easily damaged, rewritten, or blurred.
  • Indicate if the product is fragile and/or hazardous..
  • Indicate the packaging’s ability to handle added weight.
  • Write the delivery address.
  • Include reference numbers that refer to both you and your customer.

Limit Handling as Much as Possible

When it comes to handling, you basically want to reduce the amount of handling as much as possible. The less that your freight is disturbed, the better. Many factors aren’t controllable, such as road bumps that might jostle your package. However, what you can control is the mode of freight shipping, which may require more or less handling depending on which type you choose. Types of freight shipping that are heavy on handling – and which you should thus avoid – include partial truckload and volume less-than truckload.

Partial truckload (PTL) has freight pass hands between one to two warehouses.

Volume less-than truckload (VLTL) has the most handling, with freight passing through one to seven pitstops. 

Meanwhile, types of freight shipping that are light on handling include truckload (TL) and shared truckload.

Choose a Reliable Carrier

Finally, you need to choose a reliable carrier that knows what it’s doing. A good carrier will automatically minimize any risks of damaging your freight. They can do this by optimizing truckloads and planning efficient routes, which can reduce handling and other mishaps. A good freight carrier may also have an in-house logistics expert that can guide you in choosing the mode of freight transportation that is ideal for your products. And if you are able to find a freight carrier that has its own warehouses (instead outsourcing to third parties), you can be further assured that your shipment will be handled responsibly throughout the whole shipping process. Finally, a reliable carrier should have its own transportation and warehouse management systems, which you can use to track your shipment’s location. This will ensure that both you and your customers are updated on all progress. 

Find Reliable Carriers on GoShip.com

Now that you know everything you need to avoid damaged freight, it’s time to go out and find reliable carriers. And with hundreds of carriers in the market, it’s more efficient to use a shipping marketplace, such as GoShip.com! Through GoShip.com, you can easily filter freight carriers by your shipping requirements, then compare the results in terms of services and prices.

Get a free quote on GoShip.com, and find all the information you need without talking to a single freight broker!


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