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National Courier Service | Same Day Delivery Management Specialist

Courier Archives - National Courier and Logistics; Supply Chain logistics - Need it Now Delivers

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small business shipping
small business shipping

You’ve thought of everything for your small business. You’ve found suppliers and vendors, figured out all your price points and profit margins and set up your space. So why aren’t you seeing the profits you expected?

Plenty of small businesses overestimate the role shipping plays in their expenses and their time. Streamlining your shipping process and using the right services will go a long way toward a more efficient and lucrative business.

If you’re looking for ways to jumpstart or improve your small business shipping process, try these tips.

Small Business Shipping Tips

If you’re ready to stop paying more for shipping or spending more time than you need, here’s what you need to know.

Know the Three W’s

The three W’s are three of the factors that impact a package’s shipping cost the most.

What: Shipping certain materials require special care and, as a result, higher fees.

Weight: Your product’s weight is often the largest factor that affects its shipping cost.

Where: As you would expect, shipping farther distances tends to cost more.

As you’re estimating your shipping costs and getting quotes from carriers, the three W’s can help.

You’re Not Married to Your Carrier

Many small businesses choose one carrier, whether it’s FedEx, UPS, or USPS. They stick with them for years, using them for every shipment of every product. This is in spite of the fact that carriers like USPS tend to raise their rates each year.

While it might be a pain to shop around, there’s a good chance you’re overpaying if you haven’t done so in the past year or two.

Spread the Love

Along the same lines as shopping around for carriers, you should remember that different carriers may be better for different shipments. It’s a good idea to have relationships with several types of companies when you need them.

For instance, major carriers like FedEx and UPS could be great for interstate shipments. When it comes to local shipments, though, a local courier will probably be your best bet. That’s especially true for expedited shipments.

If you offer international shipping, that may also work best with a different carrier. The key is to have different go-to carriers for different situations.

Plan Your Packaging Well

Another factor that affects your shipping cost is the size and shape of each item.

Many carriers have tiered pricing for different sizes of packages. For instance, they could have one price per ounce for packages with at least one side over 12 inches. The next tier may be 18 inches, then 24 inches and so on.

With that type of pricing model, using a box that’s half an inch smaller could mean a sizable drop in your shipping costs.

If your carriers have size brackets like this, find out the cut-offs. It could be worth revising your packaging or the boxes you’re buying.

Free Shipping Isn’t a Slam-Dunk

Some retailers and e-commerce businesses think free shipping is a deal-breaker for customers. They assume all their competitors are offering it, so they must too in order to compete.

It’s not as much of a given as you might expect. First, take a closer look at your competitors. Is free shipping as common as you think it is?

Second, run some experiments. Offer a “free shipping weekend” as well as a weekend sale that will save customers a similar amount. Compare the numbers and see if free shipping is really that alluring.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, don’t assume customers won’t pay attention to the shipping. Some businesses use that assumption and they overcharge for shipping, trying to make some extra profit.

Customers notice these tactics, and it could make them bitter enough to stop shopping with you. When they see a $9 shipping charge for a domestic purchase on an item that weighs half a pound, they feel scammed.

Make Sure Your Shipping is Scalable

If you’ve been running your business for more than a few months, you know how variable it is. You could go a few weeks with rock bottom sales followed by a record-breaking surge.

As you’re setting up and modifying your shipping process, scalability is vital. Make sure that your process can handle a busy spell without slowing the delivery and failing to get products to customers in the promised amount of time.

This applies to your warehousing operation as well as your chosen carriers. As much as you might want to use a local courier, for instance, a nationwide courier service will be able to better handle expedited large volumes.

This is most important right now, as the holiday season is fast approaching. If you aren’t sure that you can handle a rush, now is the time to make changes.

Fine-Tune Your Packing Process

Depending on how small your small business is, you might handle every aspect of the operation. Perhaps you have a handful of employees that help you store, pack, and ship purchases.

Regardless, remember that time is money. If your packing and shipping process is time-consuming, that’s time you aren’t spending on other money-making tasks.

The portion of the shipping process you handle in-house is still part of your shipping cost. To keep those costs as low as possible, it might be time to re-think your packing and warehousing strategies.

Set up a specific area in your office or home office for packing and shipping. Arrange this area for maximum efficiency, making sure everything you need is within reach.

Making Your Shipping Work

You could do as many calculations as you want for the price of your materials, your advertising expenses, costs to manage your website, and more. If you don’t use just as much precision to plan and lower your shipping fees, though, you’re leaving money on the table.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re trying to grow an established small business, never assume you have it all figured out. The tips above can help you have a more efficient and cost-friendly shipping process.

To find out more about how a national courier service can help with your small business shipping, reach out to our fast shipping experts.


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holiday delivery

It’s that time of year again! The holidays are approaching, and you’ve started to think about all the gifts you want to send.

Whether you’ve actually started your shopping or not, you’ll need a way to send all that loot to your loved ones. Do you already have a plan for how to do it?

There are several options when it comes to shipping gifts for the holidays. To have the best experience, though, you should use the best courier.

How do you find the best courier for holiday delivery? Keep reading to find out.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

You should always plan early when it comes to holiday shopping. Delays are inevitable due to the increased number of packages that are being sent around the country and the world.

So start your search well in advance of when you need to send your packages. Otherwise, you risk feeling rushed, which could lead you to choose a courier that isn’t the best.

Look at How They Handle Accidents

While we all hope it doesn’t happen to us, there’s always the possibility of packages getting lost, damaged, or stolen. When choosing a courier, find out how they handle these situations.

A great courier will have a plan in place to help you bounce back from the incident at hand. Compare what is available and choose the courier that really takes care of their customers.

Check for Tracking and Insurance

Enhanced security is always a great idea when shipping packages. You may especially want this when sending gifts.

Package tracking allows you to see exactly where your package is. This offers peace of mind during your package’s entire journey.

Insurance provides that peace of mind as well. With insurance, you know your package is covered if something happens.

The likelihood of an item arriving in a damaged state is on the large side. So cover your bases by choosing a courier that offers insurance.

Expect Fabulous Customer Service

The holidays are a time for happiness and excitement, so don’t choose a courier that gives you a buzz kill. Poor customer service is a sure sign of a company that doesn’t care enough about its customers.

In other words, if you aren’t treated well, you owe it to yourself to look elsewhere.

Find Speedy Quality

Speed and quality are two great things, but you don’t want one without the other. To ensure you’re choosing the best courier possible, look for one that offers the speed you need, but also handles that speed well.

There’s no point in getting your package to its destination as quickly as possible if the package is damaged or broken along the way due to poor handling. And you don’t want a perfect package arriving a month late.

Look for Quick Local Service

Some couriers offer specialized local services, not just cross-country or cross-world. If you need a local delivery but don’t have the time or means to do it yourself, a courier is a great option.

The best couriers have services in place to deliver your local packages quickly. Look for same-day delivery to get your package delivered pronto.

Find out if They Have Great Reviews

When choosing a courier for your holiday deliveries, look for a good track record. One way to verify this is to look at customer reviews.

Each company will rave about their abilities and service, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get what it promised. Reviews give you a glimpse into actual customer experience, not just the courier’s marketing materials.

If you see lots of negative reviews, that’s a big red flag. Lots of great reviews is a sign you could have a winner.

Require Flexibility

The best couriers know that one size doesn’t fit all. While their general services are what people will come looking for, there may be someone with special needs.

That someone could be you. Flexibility is a sure sign that the courier is focused on the customer and their experience. So look for it when selecting a courier service.

A courier’s regular services may be just fine for you most of the time. But ensuring your courier of choice is flexible will give you the peace of mind that you won’t have to look elsewhere if different needs arise.

Demand Decent Prices

The cost to deliver your package isn’t universal across couriers, so don’t be afraid to conduct a little research. Look for prices that match the service you’re getting without being over the top.

If the prices seem outrageous, they just might be. Compare prices across your top picks to see how they compare. One may cost more, but that may be the one with the best service and most protection for your package.

While saving money is nice, it may be worth it to pay a little more to make sure you package arrives in one piece and in good time.

Find Your Best Holiday Delivery Option Today

The safe delivery of your holiday packages is no small thing. You want to make sure everything gets to where it should be when it should be there.

In order to have the best experience possible, look for the best courier you can find. Doing so will help ease any holiday delivery anxieties you may have.

The holidays are right around the corner, so don’t wait! Put these tips to good use and find the best courier for your needs today.

We’ll get your package exactly where it needs to go. Visit our services page to see our many delivery options!


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An event planning checklist consists of different elements: the venue, the food (if any), the products, the materials, the people, and the cost among others.

Notice how many of these are things you need to have delivered to the venue?

While you can see to the venue and staff yourself, you won’t be able to see to the delivery of all the items you need for the event yourself. That’s why you need a partner – a reliable courier service.

With the shipping industry becoming even more competitive, you have to be diligent in choosing the right one. The company itself will ensure that your items are safe during the transport so that you can have a wonderful and worry-free event.

Read on to see the other important ways of having a great shipping company for your event.

Why You Need a Reliable Courier for Your Event Planning Checklist

Every event planning needs a courier they can trust to deliver their items, but why exactly do you need to spend as much time and effort you can to find a good one?

Why can’t you simply contact the first thing that pops up in the search results? Here are the exact roles that a courier plays in your event planning and why they matter.

Before the Event

Although you might not need the items until the exact day/s of the event, you and your courier would already be at work to ensure that everything is in place for your event. This is especially crucial when you’re having items shipped from faraway places, such as from another country.

A reliable courier service would also have to set up their own timetable and logistics planning in a way that they would be able to deliver your items without a hitch and even with.

During the Event

On the day/s of the event, you’re going to want all your materials set up by the time it starts. If you hired a good courier service, you can expect to have everything you need before the door opens.

They’ll also take into account the other trucks that will also be going to the event location. During events, it’s not uncommon to see trucks lined up to drop off or pick up packages. Sometimes, the drivers are in a queue for hours.

With careful planning on the courier’s part, they’ll be able to avoid this to get your items to you in time.

After the Event

Everything you used for your event needs to go somewhere afterwards. You wouldn’t want them to be hanging around longer than you need them, so the courier must also be on time to take them away. Any delays or cancellations are simply unacceptable since the venue won’t likely be able to hold the materials for you.

Event Planning Involves a Strictly Implemented Timetable

For event planners, their timetable is the bible. Any drawback will wreck the whole thing and perhaps the event itself.

That’s why it’s crucial to find a courier service that will stick to this timetable no matter what it takes. Sure, they’ll maybe experience some drawbacks on their part as well. However, that shouldn’t stop them from keeping their promise of delivering the product to you at the intended date.

Especially when using an international shipping service, which is more prone to delays, a dependable company is non-negotiable. From the processing to customs clearance to transport, anything can happen. With a great courier, though, they’ll always be ready to face it.

Couriers Offer Warehousing

To minimize the risks of delays, you have the option to have all the materials you need shipped to a warehouse. The shipping company will keep your package there until the moment you need it.

What’s the difference between having your items shipped directly from the supplier and having the courier store it first?

This is more useful to those who are shipping from another destination as opposed to having items shipped locally. The shipping company will get the items from the supplier first then store them at a warehouse close to the events place.

That way, you’ll be more confident that most of the things you need will be ready for dispatch. This also minimizes the transport time in-between the warehouse and the events place, which also lessens the transport risks.

On the other hand, this increases the risks of mishandling while in the warehouse. However, it shouldn’t be a problem with a trustworthy company that will organize and protect the packages from the risks inside and outside the warehouse.

It goes without saying that this service is only appropriate for non-perishable items. For such things, you’ll need the service below.

Need Something Shipped ASAP?

Have an oversight on your event logistics checklist? Get a reliable courier service that got your back.

When you have a need for a time-sensitive delivery service for any reason, such as a shortage or a broken material, you’ll need a company that can deliver you the goods at the soonest time possible.

Of course, there are limitations to this – an item won’t be able to travel from another side of the world to your location in a day, for example. Still, a good company will deliver it to you the soonest time possible.

Tracking Features Help with Your Event Planning Logistics

Need to know where your packages are at any given time? A good courier service has features that can help you track your packages. This enables you to ensure if it’s on track or if there’s going to be a delay, which will allow you to plan ahead.

Even if they’re sitting in a warehouse, you will be able to check on them once in a while to check if they’re indeed tucked away safely.

Need a Company You Can Trust to Do All These?

If you’re still looking for a shipping company that will fit best in your event planning checklist, contact us now and let’s discuss the right solutions for you. Let’s both ensure the success of your event by having everything you need right where they should be.


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Drayage Services

We know that you’re always on the hunt for the best ways to improve your overall supply chain and shipping process.

But especially in today’s world, where fast shipping speeds are more important than ever before?

Sometimes, it can feel almost impossible to keep up with the competition — especially if you need to move a large amount of goods over a short distance.

This is where the process of drayage can help you to expedite your shipping process, and raise customer satisfaction in the process.

Especially if you’re interested in same day shipping, then you need to learn more about how drayage services can make it happen.

Keep on reading to learn more about the drayage process, and how it can help your business as a whole.

What is Drayage?

Before we get into the specifics of why drayage services are so essential, and when you’ll likely need to use them as a part of your shipping company?

Let’s make sure you actually understand what they are!

In a nutshell, the process of drayage refers to moving an amount of goods over a relatively short distance. In some cases, drayage services refer to smaller shipments.

However, usually, when someone mentions drayage, they’re referring to its specific role within the shipping container industry as a whole.

For example, drayage is the process of moving shipping containers and cargo from one point to another, moving cargo by rail, or even using semi-trucks to transport goods and smaller containers.

The shipping method isn’t nearly as important as the distance being covered.

Whether you’re using port drayage or trucking drayage, the point to focus on is that you’re not likely to move the goods over too great of a distance.

In general, drayage services help companies to move large amounts of goods from one part of the same city to another. They are not suited to those who need to move shipping containers and other products from one state to another, or to an international destination.

It usually takes only one shift to complete the drayage process.

In some cases, you might also see drayage services referring to a pickup at a border or a seaport. In these cases, drayage is the service fee that your company will pay to have this pickup completed by a professional.

Finally, drayage can also be a smaller part of a larger overall journey or shipping process. For example, if you need to get your shipping container from a warehouse to a seaport, so it can be transferred overseas?

Drayage can make it happen.

Understanding Intermodal Drayage

Now that we’ve covered the basic definition of drayage services, let’s take a closer look at one of the most important aspects of it all: intermodal drayage.

This refers specifically to a shipping process we referenced in the first section of this post: getting your goods from one place to a larger and more central transportation hub.

You might hire a drayage service to pick up your products at a port, a warehouse, or another intermodal point. The services also ensure that your goods are properly packed and loaded before they go to their next destination.

Sometimes, intermodal drayage services are used by companies who need to put their goods into longer-term storage facilities.

Usually, drayage trucking is used in these specific types of services.

Other Types of Drayage Services

Of course, intermodal drayage services are hardly the only kind of drayage services that you can expect to be offered to your company.

One of the most popular methods is what’s called expedited drayage. This is the process of shipping and moving goods that have especially time-sensitive deliveries. In most cases, this means that the goods will be moved over the road.

This is especially popular for companies that need assistance making same-day delivery a possibility.

You may also opt for inter-carrier drayage. This is the process of moving your goods from one carrier to another.

Some drayage companies even offer what’s referred to as door-to-door drayage.

Usually, when someone chooses door-to-door drayage the goods are delivered specifically to a customer, not to a store or warehouse. They’re most often transported by rail.

There is also what’s known as intra-carrier drayage. This means that cargo is moved from one kind of transportation type to another, but through the same specific carrier.

We know it gets confusing, so always make sure that you’re absolutely clear on the difference between inter-carrier drayage and intra-carrier drayage before you book anything.

The last two methods of drayage are pier and shuttle options.

As the name implies, in pier drayage, your cargo will be moved by truck from a train station to a dock or a pier. Finally, shuttle drayage refers to the process of taking intermodal cargo to a lot.

Then, it will be transported from there to prevent overcrowding.

Interested in Professional Drayage and Other Delivery Services?

We hope that this post has helped you to get a better understanding of not only the definition of drayage, but also why drayage services are so important for your company.

They’re especially beneficial to those businesses who want to offer same day delivery to their customers.

Of course, drayage is far from the only delivery option that’s available to your business.

Are you interested in learning more about how we can help you to improve your overall delivery process?

If so, we invite you to spend some time on our website and to contact us when you need a quote or have any additional questions.


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Shipping frozen food can come with a huge amount of obstacles.

If you’ve caught the perfect fish off the coast on vacation, or have fallen in love with a particular cheese far from home, it can be a huge difficulty to get these items home safe. The United States Postal Service and most mail carriers are aware of these troubles and will take no blame: customers can ship perishable goods at their own risk. There’s no promise that those items will still be edible on the other side of the journey.

Just because it’s difficult, though, doesn’t mean that shipping frozen food is impossible. With the proper preparation and precautions taken, you can get your items home safe and in one piece.

Read on, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about mailing frozen food.

Pick The Proper Packaging

A standard cardboard box won’t cut it when it comes to mailing frozen food items. Cardboard doesn’t have the insulation required to keep your items from thawing. No matter what you do, there’s just no way to make a cardboard box work.

Most shippers do provide an option for cold shipping boxes. These are typically insulated coolers that then fit inside of cardboard boxes. In addition to these containers, usually either dry ice or gel ice packs are loaded in alongside the items. If your item is truly frozen and needs to remain ice cold, you’ll probably opt for the ice pack. If it needs to stay at a refrigerator level of cool, the gel packs are probably the way to go.

Styrofoam lining and insulated bubble wrap liners are also used frequently when packing to help insulate the package.

Checking the packaging of the food itself is vital when packing. Any leaks from the ice packs have the potential to damage food if not protected and packaged properly. Dry ice is usually wrapped in newspaper and placed at the bottom of the cold shipping containers. Then the frozen goods are placed on top, and another layer of dry ice is placed above them.

Working With Dry Ice

If you’re handling dry ice yourself, make sure to use gloves and protect yourself. Dry ice is so cold that it has the potential to cause skin damage if direct contact is made. Also make sure to note how many pounds of dry ice you include in the package, as all shipping carrier will want to know.

The amount of dry ice needed will depend on the size and weight of your food product. You’ll need to also consider the required temperature for your product, and the climate and season of your destination. You can reference this information to see how much dry ice you might need depending on your particular situation.

You should also check with your shipping carrier ahead of time to make sure that they don’t have specific requirements when it comes to packaging frozen food. Some shippers will not accept dry ice packages without ventilation, for example. Writing DRY ICE on the outside of your box and specifying the dry ice weight can be a huge help in getting your package through.

Preparing Your Frozen Food Items

In an increasingly globalized world, the need to ship frozen or refrigerated items is more and more vital.

The proper care must be taken in getting these frozen items ready to ship. The most essential thing is that you keep these items chilled and frozen until the last possible moment. Even with the best possible shipping set up, you want to keep the time your food is in the shipping container as small as possible.

This means picking the fastest possible shipping is also highly advisable. Dry ice can last a few days, but if you’re shipping your items a far distance, it can get quickly expensive to get your items home in time without a big expense.

Timing your shipment properly is also essential to the health and upkeep of your frozen food items. Be aware of all factors that might delay your package’s arrival, including holidays. Make sure that your package will be able to be directly received when it arrives at your intended location. Having it sit on your front step for hours, or get turned back around to the holding station, will not bode well for the food inside.

If you’re shipping something home that might beat you there, consider shipping instead to a trusted friend or family member. They can receive and store the food item in their freezer, and you can quickly transfer it once you arrive back from your trip.

How To Save Money Shipping Frozen Food

There are a few things to take into consideration when it comes to getting the best bang for your buck when shipping.

One thing you can do is design your packaging to be as compact as possible. Most shipping companies set prices based on the size of the package being shipped. While the weight is a big factor, don’t underestimate how much companies rely on dimensions for their estimates.

You still may find that you have a hefty shipping cost to consider. If you’re planning on selling the goods you are shipping, consider including some of the shipping cost in your pricing. Even a little increase in price can make a huge difference in covering the costs of your shipping, especially if customers tend to buy in bulk.

How To Ship Frozen Food

Shipping frozen food items can be a challenge. But with the proper steps taken, it doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive. In fact, it can be easy. If you follow the tips outlined above, your frozen food will be off and well on its way, safe and sound for its eventual arrival.

Need more shipping advice, tips, or tricks? Check out our blog for more information.


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Courier Delivery

As e-commerce continues to grow globally, courier delivery service grows in importance. The global parcel shipping market is slated to increase up to 20% by the end of 2018. Courier deliveries cover a wide range of needs, including international shipping, next-day

Courier services compile several services for the delivery of portable goods, documents, and mail. As there is a wide range of products involved and each customer has different needs, courier companies offer several types of courier services. When planning to trust courier services to ship your goods, it is always a good idea to choose the service that meets your expectations. There are several services to choose from, and your choice should be based on several factors:

Courier Delivery Priorities

In order to separate the standard from the exceptional, you need to prioritize which aspects of delivery are most important to you. Some delivery services offer guarantees on certain types of delivery.

For example, is the arrival of your packages directly tied to profit? Meaning, the sooner they are received, the higher your profits? For some, getting the absolute fastest delivery isn’t a priority, reliable shipments are.

Is your overhead under a strict budget? This is where value shipping prices can really benefit businesses. This is especially true when dealing with big, heavy packages.

Logistics

What about location: are your deliveries made locally or internationally? If you’re dealing with just local or domestic customers, you should focus on couriers based nearby. This will save you a lot of time and money, even if offshore companies have lower rates. Taxes, fees, and permits add up fast.

Lastly, you should consider whether your packages demand special care. Check whether the courier specializes in the transport of your packages. If it’s food or medical supplies, they need to have sufficient refrigeration capabilities.

Highly fragile or expensive goods need special care, too. The courier must practice special handling protocols and security checks. Don’t settle for the first shipping service with a low rate and fast shipping time.

Types of Courier Services

Shipping companies are generally divided into a few major categories. There are some companies that specialize in specific types of shipping. Then, there are courier services who cover as many types of deliveries as possible.

Standard Courier services

Your standard courier deliveries are those that stick within the most common set of parameters. You’ll get the most dependable deliveries for small and medium parcel sizes. The maximum weight tends to stay below a certain threshold, i.e. 100 pounds.

Standard courier service may not be a good idea for businesses that cannot predict the weight of all their parcels. Fees associated with exceeding these weight limits can add up.

International Services

Usually, international services cost a high premium for standard courier companies. Those that specialize in international delivery will offer the best rates. They have access to better connections with port authorities, acquisition of permits, and tax discounts.

International services include air freight and sea freight. Finding a courier that specializes in international shipping is important for staying legal. Not all countries are easily accessible for political reasons.

It’s valuable to find a courier who knows how to navigate international laws.

Rush and On-Demand

It’s good to have access to express delivery services for emergencies. From customer returns, medical emergencies, to shipments of important documents. These services are not always dependable at your average courier.

Same-day deliveries aren’t offered by all companies, either. Rush deliveries include a pickup in under an hour and delivered to a nearby destination.

Additional Services

Outside of the standard three types of delivery, courier services may provide any of the following:

Pallet Shipments and Warehousing

Doing business in high volume often calls for pallet shipments to get products distributed across the country. Pallets also make keeping track of inventory much easier. Missing an entire pallet is a much bigger red flag than a few products here or there.

Pallets that needs transporting to a warehouse for sorting or storage can also be handled by couriers. Some offer their own warehousing, so you don’t have to pay another third party to keep track. The fewer hands that your parcels have to go through, the better.

Luggage Delivery

Besides large packages, couriers can also be handy for the delivery of luggage. This saves you the time and money of moving your luggage during business trips. Avoid broken or damaged luggage by having a courier service wrap them in protective coverings.

Couriers can pick-up, ship, and drop off luggage at any location. This includes electronic tracking info, just like any other major shipment. Standard shipping confirmations apply, so nobody else can sign for your stuff.

Extra Insurance

Last, but not least is the expanded types of delivery insurance that come with professional courier deliveries. Standard shipping insurance only covers declared value on packages. For things that are very fragile or contain a greater value than standard rates, you’ll want to have extra insurance.

Couriers that offer extra insurance are more trustworthy and confident in their abilities. Don’t bother with shipping companies that make you wait a long time during and after filing a claim.

Third party insurance options are also very costly. Again, you have to be able to communicate with them and the shipping company.

Finding the Right Courier Service for You

With so many delivery companies out there, it can be hard to filter through the noise. Now that you have a good idea of the different types of courier deliveries offered, you should start researching companies. Look at the client testimonials and reviews.

Ask for a free quote from them to see how they stack up. They should be able to get back to you quickly. You can get a quick quote from us anytime. ASAP Courier specializes in many different services and leads Florida in both customer service and value of services.

If it’s not ASAP, it’s not as fast as possible.


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LTL shipping rates are at an all-time low averaging $2-$3 dollars a mile. Now is the time to take advantage of declining rates. If you’ve been using parcel shipping, combine them into one LTL shipment. Less than truckload shipping can save your business money on shipping.

Not sure how LTL transport works? We’re going to answer all your questions.

What Is Less Than Truckload or LTL Shipping?

Less than truckload shipping is freight shipping for items that fit on a pallet. These items are too large for parcel shipping but do not take up the space of an entire trailer.

Pros

Less than truckload shipments offer better security. Putting more than one box on a pallet streamlines your shipping. This is easier to track than the boxes shipping one by one.

You can track your LTL shipment through your bill of lading number. This lets you know where your shipment is at all times.

You have access to special services that are not available with parcel shipping. There are also reduced costs associated with LTL shipping.

You don’t have to pay for the whole truck with LTL. You also aren’t paying for many shipments through parcel shipping.

Cons

There is a risk of damage as your shipment will get taken on and off the trailer during transport. You may need to spend more in packaging to guard against potential breakage.

The delivery time of shipments does not have a guarantee. You need to pay extra to guarantee your shipment will arrive by a certain date.

With no guaranteed transit times, your logistics planning is going to get complicated. You may also experience increased shipping times and delays.

How Is It Different from Full Truckload?

A shipment qualifies as full truckload when it needs the entire space or weight limit of the trailer. This generally means the shipment is over 15,000 pounds or more than 10 pallets.

A trailer is 48 by 53 feet of space. Carriers want you to fill and pay for this space when you book a Truckload shipment.

Less than truckload means shipments that take up less than the full trailer. This lets more than one shipper use the truck to transport their items.

When to Choose LTL Shipping

If a shipment is between 150 and 15,000 pounds you should consider LTL shipping. Items this weight are going to be more expensive when shipped by parcel.

Warehousing

LTL shipping services allow your business to better use space. Carriers and shipping services offer warehousing.

This lets inventory be on hand and ready for shipping upon notice. Your business can grow without restriction of space at your location.

Factors That Determine LTL Rates

There are four factors that affect the rate of LTL shipments. The location and dimensions are the two main factors used.

The further the distance, the more expensive the shipment. Your shipment will get more expensive when one of your shipping locations is more remote.

The dimensions are the other main factor. The weight and size of the shipment determine the freight class, and thus the cost.

Mode and Type are secondary factors that will affect the price. Mode refers to the type of transport.

Type refers to if the shipment is a special commodity. Items that are perishable, hazardous, or fragile incur extra costs.

What is a Freight Class?

There are 18 possible classes that your shipment will fall into. They number from 50 to 500. Your shipment’s class gets determined by density and value. The lower the class number, the cheaper the rate.

If you plan on shipping a lot, you can create a freight of all kinds (FAK) agreement with a carrier. All your shipments of different classes can ship at one standard rate.

Add-On Services

Sometimes you need something extra added on to your regular shipment. You can pay for extra services provided by the carrier.

Expedited

If the shipment needs to arrive on a certain date, expediting it ensures a faster transit time. It can also guarantee your shipment arrive by a certain date.

Inside Pickup and Delivery

Inside pickup and delivery has the carrier bring the shipment all the way indoors. Without this service, carries will practice curb delivery.

Liftgate

A liftgate can help take items over 100 pounds on and off of the truck. This is helpful if your locations do not have a dock.

Limited Access

There is also an extra charge if your locations classify as limited access. Construction sites, schools, strip malls, and camps count as restricted locations.

Final Mile

Final mile services provide transport from a shipping hub to the final destination. Usually, the final delivery is a home.

Carriers tend to charge more to deliver to a private home. Having a carrier ship to a hub, and then using another service for home delivery can save you money.

Preparing Shipments for LTL Transport

Measure your shipment after you package it. The carrier charges based on the whole shipment.

Box your item and pack it with cushioning material. Place your item on a pallet made of solid construction. Secure the box to the pallet.

When you measure your package, always round up to the next inch. Measure the width, height, and length. If you measure wrong, your carrier will adjust the bill to fit the correct measurements.

Prepare your documentation. You will receive a BOL or Bill of Lading. This is your receipt and proof of shipment.

Schedule Your Shipment

LTL shipping saves you money by combining more than one shipment into one trailer. If your shipment is too heavy for parcel shipping, but not big enough for full truckload, LTL is the answer.

Start by packaging up your shipment on a pallet. Then measure and weigh it. Double check to make sure the measurements are accurate.

Get a quote and schedule your shipment with a carrier. Keep your BOL handy for tracking. While there is the increased risk of damage, the benefits far outweigh this risk.

Let us help you schedule your LTL shipment today.


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logistics terms
logistics terms

Some 3.6 million trucks currently move freight across the United States. At some point, you will need freight shipping for your business.

This could be shipping products that have sold to customers. It could be shipping a new desk for the office.

Knowing key logistics terms will help you communicate with those in the industry. Understanding the shipping terms helps you request the right service for your needs.

Logistics Terms

Whether you are a freight shipping pro or new to the process, you need to know these terms. Familiarize yourself before you book your next freight transportation.

Adjustments

To avoid adjustments, double check the information provided to the shipper. Adjustments are a change in the cost of shipping after delivery of the shipment.

Discrepancies in the size, weight, or class will incur a cost adjustment. Extra services performed by the shipper also incur adjustments.

An extra service includes the use of a lift gate when not originally requested. Another extra service is delivery of the shipment beyond the curb, known as an inside delivery.

Agent

Often companies hire an agent to make shipping arrangements for them. This person has the ability to source a shipper and make decisions.

Agents take on additional responsibilities in international shipments. They will handle the clearing of customs.

Back Haul

Shippers often give rate discounts for the return trip of a truck. These trips are the truck’s return to its home base hub after a shipment delivery.

Bill of Lading (BOL)

The BOL is the written contract between the customer and the shipper. This document contains all of the information about the freight transport.

The driver of the truck picking up the shipment will collect a copy of the BOL. Check it carefully for the correct information as it is legally binding.

Blind Shipment

Blind shipping occurs when the receiver and the shipper do not know each other. This situation commonly occurs when a business uses drop shipping.

The customer purchases an item from a company. The company then lets the supplier know they need an item shipped.

The supplier then ships the item to the company’s customer. The customer is unaware of the additional party.

Brokerage License

A license authorizes a broker to legally make freight shipping arrangements. There are separate licensing additionally required for sea and air shipments.

Ocean freight shipping requires a Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC). To arrange air freight shipments a broker needs an Indirect Air Carrier license.

Bulk Freight

When a shipment is a large amount of an item, but not individually packaged, it is bulk. The best examples are bulk freight are shipments of sand or crude oil.

Cartage

Freight shipping doesn’t have to mean shipping across the country. Cartage is a term that refers to shipping freight in the same city or geographical area.

Classification

Shipments fall into certain pricing categories based on a classification number. These classifications apply to LTL or less than truckload shipments.

Classifications can be confusing and contradictory. If there is any doubt as to where your item falls, confirm with the shipper.

Charges for classifications can vary greatly. You don’t want a nasty surprise adjustment because the shipper changed the classification.

Concealed Damage

Packaging is key to prevent damage with freight shipping. Concealed damage is the damage that is inside the packaging. It is not readily seen upon delivery.

Consignee and Consignor

The consignee is the person who is responsible for receiving the shipment. The consignor is the person requesting to ship the item.

Consolidated Shipments

Two or more shipments get combined into one. This saves on shipping costs.

Cubic Capacity

The total amount of space within the truck is the cubic capacity. This number is the maximum volume of shipments the truck can take on a single trip.

Exceptions

Sometimes damage or shortage happens during the shipping process. These issues get documented on the BOL as exceptions.

Intermodal Transportation

Shipments using a combination of truck, rail, air, or ships are intermodal. The most common form of intermodal shipments are truck and rail combinations.

Less Than Truckload (LTL)

Most freight shipments use LTL shipping. Shippers will make contracts with multiple people for shipments.

Then the shipper will organize these multiple shipments into a single truck. Each shipment will take up less space than the entire truck.

Not Otherwise Indicated (NOI)

The classifications list for LTL shipments is the NMFC. If there is no classification for a shipment it falls into the catchall category of NOI.

Time-Critical or Definite

The term critical means the shipment’s delivery will occur at the earliest possible date. The term definite means that the shipment’s delivery will occur on a specific day and time.

Truckload (TL)

When a single shipment takes up the entire truck it is a truckload shipment. These shipments will fill a space equal to 48 by 52 feet.

Sometimes these shipments are one large piece of equipment. Sometimes it is multiple pallets of a product where LTL isn’t as cost-effective.

Volume Rate

Sometimes shipments take up a large amount of space but don’t weight very much. These shipments are things like a pallet of empty plastic bottles.

Other times shipments are very small in size, but weight a lot. This could be something made out of iron.

Both of these situations have special pricing for LTL shipping. Check with your broker for the specific weight and size requirements for this pricing.

Warehousing

When shipments are put in a storage facility for a specific amount of time they are warehoused. Warehousing is available before or after the shipment.

Most shippers will have a grace period for housing shipments before or after the shipment. once the grace period is used, you will start accruing charges.

Book Your Shipment

Congratulations! You are now ready to book freight shipments. Using the correct logistics terms ensures you will get the service you want.

This is important when the delivery time is important. You know the difference between critical and definite. You can save money by understanding how rates are determined.

You know to check that the broker has a license. Finally, you will understand what your agent is saying when they use industry terms.

Get a quote for your next shipment today.


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air freight shipping
air freight shipping

Air freight shipping accounts for 2 million tons of domestic freight shipping. While truck ground shipping totals 10,568 million tons.

You could be shipping personal items or freight is an integral part of your business. Either way, it can be tough determining which method is best and fits your needs and budget.

There are pros and cons to utilizing each method, and the one you choose will depend on a variety of factors. We’re going to show you how to decide which shipment method to use.

Factors to Consider

You need to take into account the speed, cost, reliability, security, and shipment type when deciding between air and ground freight shipping. You also need to think about what you are shipping, all freight methods can ship the same things, but will charge and handle them very differently.

Air Freight Shipping

With air shipping, you are not limited to where the roads go. This means you can ship internationally, which trucks alone cannot do. There is higher security with no stops, but you may end up paying more for these advantages.

Speed

Usually, air is faster and ideal if the product itself has an expiration date or the customer has a hard or short deadline. If you are shipping perishable or hazardous items your air shipment can be delayed due to additional requirements.

You are more likely to experience delays with air shipping as weather can totally shut down flights at any time. It can also take longer recovery when a delay does occur.

If you are really in a rush, same day delivery is a possibility. This is useful if you have a sudden last-minute shipment you need taken care of.

Cost

It can be quite expensive to ship via air freight due to the limited space, weight restrictions, airport fees, and fuel costs. The advantage is that airports are usually all-encompassing so you are not having to pay for warehousing and port fees.

Reliability

Shipping via air freight can be affected by the weather in both the beginning and ending location. The weather is also influential year round making your shipments potentially delayed at any time.

Security

There is a high level of security at airports that is translated over to your freight shipment giving air shipping an inherent increased level of security. Your items are put on the plane and the plane doesn’t stop or get opened until it lands.

This will protect your shipments from potential theft. There is an increased risk of damage if the items in the plane are not properly secured.

Shipment Type

Smaller shipments work well with air freight. Perishables such as produce also work better shipped via air since they have such limited expiration dates.

Ground Freight

This method of shipping utilizes a semi-truck to drive your items across the country. There are two major kinds of ground freight, LTL or less than truckload and FTL or full truckload.

Speed

Shipments by ground tend to take a lot more time than air shipments. Mainly because there are limits on how fast and how many hours a day a driver can work.

A truck also needs to drive around at the beginning and ending points, dropping off and delivering each customer’s shipment. Often ground shipments can vary days or weeks from the original shipment plan.

Cost

Usually, this is the cheaper method to go. Freight companies will strategically plan their routes so as to be most economical which translates savings to you.

Generally, ground freight can be more reliable than air. Daily weather across the country is not as influential. Bad weather such as rain will not stop a truck like it would a plane.

Costs can vary greatly depending on the locations that the item is coming from and going to. Places that are less popular and receive few shipments will have inflated pricing. Costs can also rapidly multiply when warehousing and port fees are included.

Reliability

Winter can totally shut down ground shipping as it is very dangerous to drive large semi trucks in a snow or ice storm. The plus side of this is that winter weather is seasonal and regional.

You also have advanced warning when a major snowstorm is expected. This gives you the opportunity to plan ahead by shipping earlier or rerouting your shipments.

Security

Ground shipping is not a secure method for shipping because your items are in a truck that will be stopping at points all along the route. Plus the truck will be opened up every time an item is picked up or dropped off.

There is a method of shipping where you can totally secure your items behind a locked wall. The downside is the increased cost and shipping time.

With this method, your shipment is loaded into the truck first, and a wall within the truck is installed and then locked. Then the rest of the truck is then filled. You must wait for the rest of the shipments to be delivered before you can receive yours.

Shipment Type

Items that are large or numerous enough to require a full truckload should be shipped ground. Furniture is better shipped via truck due to its large size and weight.

Ground Freight Shipping or Truck Freight Shipping

Take a look at your shipment and determine its size, weight, and time constraints for delivery. Once you have these answers you can determine if air freight shipping or ground freight is better suited to your needs and budget.

Remember large and heavy items are usually cheaper via ground. While produce, smaller items, and high-security items work best shipped by air freight.

Check the weather in the areas you will be shipping. Make adjustments to your shipping plan accordingly.

While no one wants anything bad to happen to their items, determine if security is needed. If you really need security, consider paying the extra money for a locked truck or air shipping.

Let us help you book your freight shipment today.


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calculating shipping costs
calculating shipping costs

One of the biggest concerns for people ordering a product online is how much the shipping is. If it’s one of the biggest concerns for a customer, it should also be a major concern for the retailer. Charge too much and you risk losing the sale and possibly the customer as well. Charge too little, however, and you’re the one who loses out on profit landing you in the red. So what exactly goes into calculating shipping costs so you can find the right balance between affordable for your customers and for your business? Read on to find out.

Key Elements to Calculating Shipping Costs

Determining shipping costs should be well thought out and handled with great care. There are two kinds of shipping methods: calculated shipping and flat-rate shipping.

It’s important to know what goes into both of these methods, as well as the advantages and disadvantages.

Calculated Shipping

This is exactly how it sounds. You actually have to sit down and calculate the cost of shipping for your items. In order to do this, you’ll need to consider 3 key elements.

Packaging

You’ll need to determine what type of packaging you will be using. Will you be using an envelope or box, and what sizes will work best for your product?

Each type of packaging comes with its own price. That price not only depends upon the size of the box or envelope but also how much the package weighs. A really big and heavy package will cost much more to ship than a smaller, lighter package.

In short, the same things you contend with when shipping a personal package using UPS or the postal service, are the same things you contend with when shipping your products from your business warehouse to your customers.

Handling

Once you’ve determined what kind of package, you’ll need to figure out how your package will be handled. Will you be packing the boxes yourself, or will you be hiring someone else to do the packing?

If someone else is going to be packing your boxes for you, you’ll need to think about how much you pay them per hour and how many hours they work. Vice versa, if you’re packing your own shipments, then you’ll need to determine if this could cause shipments to customers to be delayed.

While it may seem more cost effective initially to pack your own shipments, delayed shipments to customers could cost you in the long run. It may be worth it, depending on the size of your operation, hiring someone to box your shipments.

Mailing Services/Postage

Possibly the most important factor in shipping costs, who will you be using to mail your shipments?

Choosing the right shipping company for your business comes down to the shipper’s ability to meet the needs of your business and customers, as well as having the right price.

This is not the place to cut corners or settle on the cheapest company possible. Make sure the company you choose is reliable and dependable, and won’t bust shipment time frames or damage packages in route.

Flat-Rate Shipping

Flat-rate shipping is where you charge one flat rate for shipping products regardless of the size/weight of the package or how much you pay someone to package your boxes for you.

To determine a flat-rate shipping cost, you’ll need to average out the overall costs of all shipments for your business. While you will lose money on half of your shipments, you will gain money on the other half so it evens out.

However, you’ll need to continuously pay attention to the costs of shipping your product and adjust the shipping rate accordingly; failing to do so will result in a monetary loss on all shipments and negatively impact your profit and bottom line.

Is Free Shipping Worth It?

Assuming the cost of shipping your products without making the customer pay anything towards shipping will hurt your profits and is never worth it. However, that’s not to say that offering free shipping events aren’t beneficial. And there is a way to offer free shipping without bankrupting your company.

Free shipping discount events can help drive up sales for a brief period of time and generate more traffic. In these cases, you’ll make up for the loss of money in shipping with a dramatic increase in sales, especially if you offer free shipping on certain select products.

Some companies offer free shipping all the time and are able to do so by adding the cost of shipping into the price of the products they are selling. The shipping isn’t really free since the price of shipping is covered with the purchase of the item.

But customers believe they are receiving free shipping. This will also drive traffic to your business and increase those conversion rates.

The Bottom Link of Shipping Costs

Ultimately you want to make a profit, and that includes your shipping costs.

Shipping costs can be a way to make some profit. By calculating the cost of shipping and raising the price of shipping higher than what you will be paying you could make some money.

This is the same tactic applied to selling your products. You always charge more than what it cost you to make or store.

No matter what shipping option you choose, it’s important that you find a good balance between making the customer happy and keeping your profit margins high. Too high shipping costs will cause customers to abandon their shopping with you, and too low shipping costs will eat into your profits.

It’s important to spend a fair amount of time calculating shipping costs, making sure to keep in mind the amount you are charging customers is equal to or greater than the amount your business pays to the ship the product.

If you have questions about shipping costs or wish to talk to someone about shipping your products to your customers reliably and timely, contact us today!