Choosing the right LTL carrier can make your business shine in a way that puts you on the map. The ability to get your products out to customers faster than anyone else is nothing short of a blessing in this industry. And this blessing is something that a good LTL carrier can provide.
But with so many good LTL carrier options out there, finding the best fit for your business and customers can be overwhelming. It’s actually not that hard to do just that, believe it or not. It is going to take some examination of your current supply chain, researching potential LTL carries and partners, and a healthy dose of common sense.
To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of tips that you can put into action right now!
So without further ado, let’s take a look at a few things that you can do right away to make your search go just a tad bit smoother… and quicker.
Before you even start trying to answer all of the other questions on this list, focus on the most important one first; can the LTL carrier you are looking at potentially hiring actually fulfill all of your needs?
A good way to find out is to simply make a list of all your shipping needs, as well as requirements. When you are researching a carrier, go down and mark off the requirements that they meet, first. Do this again for all of those which they do not meet. Continue this process with every single carrier you are considering hiring.
There is absolutely no sense in working with a carrier that cannot provide the services that you need. By making a list and then sticking to it, you can cut through a great number of carriers that wouldn’t be a good fit for you, before you even really start looking.
Do you plan to ship goods all across the country, or are you just going to ship within a certain region? Once you can answer that question, you will be able to narrow down your search significantly.
Not every LTL carrier offers both regional and multi-regional shipping options. Depending on what you are looking for, you’ll probably end up marking at least a few of them off your list in the process.
When you are narrowing this down, you aim should be to try to strike a good balance between both speed and coverage area.
First of all, not every LTL carrier is created equal.
Some carriers have a stellar reputation that precedes them at every turn. Others lack any real authority or reputation in the field to even be considered a valid contender.
When doing your research on your potential carriers, do your due diligence to see what their past clients are saying about them. Did they have any issue with deliveries, tracking, or billing? Was the carrier reliable overall?
While this is certainly a great way to gauge whether or not a specific carrier is on the “up and up”, it takes a bit more than that. It would still be a smart decision to verify that they also have reasonably-priced liability coverage for your goods. Accidents do happen, so do not skimp on this.
The overall performance, reliability and track record of an LTL carrier are all crucial factors. None of these points should be overlooked when you begin your search.
Every business has a budget that they must stick to when it comes to making certain decisions. And one of the biggest decisions, and usually the largest expense as well, is the shipping of goods.
The one thing to pay close attention to is the fact that LTL shipping is usually based on some sort of sliding scale. To make matters even more complicated, this sliding scale is usually based on a variety of factors. The different classes that we talked about at the beginning of this article, FAK provisions, discounts on certain fees, etc… will all determine the overall cost.
Similar to finding the balance between speed and coverage, you must also find the right balance between cost and performance.
When it’s time to hire an LTL carrier, there is quite a bit of careful research and consideration that must take place first. Your chosen carrier should meet or exceed your expectations and requirements. They should be reliable, deliver your goods quickly, and their performance should be directly reflected in their cost.
While these suggestions are great food for thought, this is a non-exhaustive list. There are many other things you need to consider before making a final decision. We hope that these considerations will be more than enough to help you get your list narrowed down a bit.
Optionally, if you would rather not handle any of these things on your own, you should consider working with a qualified 3PL such as Redwood Logistics. Reach out to us today and let us do all the heavy lifting.