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One of the biggest challenges for new entrepreneurs is the unexpected costs of shipping. This includes the costs of shipping to customers, but also the cost of having things shipped to yourself. There are many costs and responsibilities associated with starting any business no matter how big or small it is, and finding ways to save money is at the top of the list. Shipping is a huge part of the expenses, and these are some tips for reducing shipping costs that can pay off huge.
All major shipping companies offer flat rate options that are great for standardizing the process and removing the variable rates that get excessive. Shipping companies offer flat rates by zones, or based on the distance a package travels. UPS, FedEx, and the post office provide free flat rate boxes, which is a huge savings in itself. The information can get confusing, so talk to your rep about it before deciding on flat rate shipping.
Shipping companies typically employ huge teams of sales reps to make sales and take care of customers. Every region around the country has at least one rep just waiting to contact you. It’s their job to please the customer, so get to know them and improve the relationship. The reps are allowed to negotiate rates, they answer questions, and they find lost packages or shipments. They can and should be your best friend.
Carriers know that once you start using a specific company for shipping, it’s a massive headache to switch carriers and you’ll be a customer for a while. For these reasons, freight and small package carriers will give incredible incentives to secure you as an account, and all you have to do is ask. Reps will also help you with the process and even subsidize the costs of switching if you’re already using another company. Always price compare before entering into a contract to find the best rates. Try to get them even lower during the initial meeting.
Most prominent small package shipping companies have their own shipping software. Whenever possible, use that software for scheduling shipments and tracking. They have printers, scales, and computers that they will give you for free as long as you use their shipping services. Most of the freight carriers have their own online scheduling pages as part of their website. Don’t reinvent the wheel and use the free services they are offering.
The best tip for reducing shipping costs, and a basic tenet of business, is to never leave money on the table. When you pay for expedited shipping services, there is a chance that the shipment will get to the destination late. When that happens, the company offers refunds because their service was unsatisfactory, and most of those refunds go unclaimed. If you have a next-day shipment that doesn’t get there on time, ask your rep about how to claim the refund you are owed.
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