Successful freight sales agents can easily make mistakes in their domestic shipping processes. Every year, shipping mistakes of every kind costs freight sales agents and their customers, which in turn add up to multi-millions in lost dollars!
Every year, international and domestic shipping mistakes can cause goods not to be where they’re headed, and also when they MUST arrive.
In the process, millions of dollars are lost by freight sales agents and their customers alike in fees and delays because of these avoidable blunders.
Here Are Six Common And Costly Shipping Mistakes You Can Avoid:
- Not Double-Checking The Shipping Information and Documents
So simple and basic, however, you’d be surprised at how often freight agents and their customers lose money because they don’t double-check the shipping information or accompanying documents they’re providing within the shipping network. This can extend from the freight agent themselves to the carrier dispatcher to the truck driver to the pick-up location to the delivery location.
Mistakes in load information and the actual shipping paperwork can cause big delays and big dollars. Double-check that packing lists, commercial invoices, and original bills of lading are correctly and completely filled out in a timely fashion diminishes these mistakes.
- Mis-Timing A Time Sensitive Shipment
Timing is typically EVERYTHING and it’s extremely important in shipping your customer’s freight as well. Properly timing a time sensitive shipment can be tricky for the inexperienced. Mis-timing a shipment is a common shipping mistake, especially for first time freight sales agents when the transit time is crucial. Perhaps you’ve covered a load that must pick up NOW! You get a quote and find out the transit time alone is longer than your customer wishes to wait for it. A serious problem may arise if you’ve promised the goods sooner than expected.
A common situation new shippers find themselves in is receiving a freight rate quote and thinking the quote is good forever only to find out that it has expired. When it comes to timing the shipping of your loads, the timeline for loading, in-transit time, and receiving time cut-offs are among things that must be considered. As a general rule, freight rate pricing quotes are only good for several days for domestic shipments, so lock down your rate several days before you ship.
- Choosing the Wrong Shipping Method
Freight sales agents MUST choose the correct shipping method for their customer’s requirements. The 3 most common forms of shipping most commodities is by flatbed, reefer or dry van trailers. All of these trailers can travel over the road and by railroad. However, as a general guideline, over the road tends to be more expensive than rail shipping, but it is much faster. Consider the time element of your shipments. If shipments must be delivered more quickly, an over the road trailer type is the best shipping method. With larger shipments that are not time sensitive, shipping by rail is your best choice, provided your customer agrees with it.
Be aware that your LDI rail commissions are not the same for what you earn for regular over-the-road shipments. Why? I don’t know. That’s why I don’t talk a lot about rail shipping. But if you’ve got a load that’s got to go, and your customer is not worried about when it gets there, and you receive a good rate from a rail shipper, then use it to provide the service for your customer.
- Not Getting The Correct Cargo Insurance
Shipping happens and sometimes shipping happens to go wrong. Failing to properly insure your cargo could be very costly in the case that something goes wrong during the transport of it. Among the dangers of shipping are: cargo gets wet or rained on, truck and trailer wrecks, loads are held hostage, goods are stolen, or damaged in transit.
Make it safer (and I typically don’t agree with it) by having your goods professionally packed in or on the shipping trailers when the cargo is of a special variety. Although an added cost, without professionally packed cargo, the odds of damage to your goods dramatically increases and this is a positive when your goods don’t qualify for cargo insurance.
Every time we ship a load, we have to have the cargo insured. LDI will not allow us to ship a load unless it’s insured by the carrier. They check to make sure that we have the proper cargo insurance for each carrier we hire.
- Choosing Carriers With The Lowest Rate
There are pluses of choosing a carrier with the cheapest rate. We typically, on our first several loads in just getting started, have the tendency to choose the carrier with the cheapest rate just to get our foot in the door of our prospects.
This is a common mistake in any form of shipping. When most customers look for a freight forwarder, shipping company or a freight broker, they often choose based on who gives them the lowest freight quote. Often, the lowest freight rates come from inexperienced freight forwarders or shipping companies, or are accompanied by hidden fees. Ask anyone if price is important. However, service and experience are much more important factors to consider when choosing a freight forwarder or shipping customer.
A shipping company that doesn’t have the experience and know-how to handle complications that may arise in and through the shipping process, could cause costly detention delays, other fees, and potential lost cargo that often far outweigh the difference in freight rates that your customer pays you.
- Stop Building Your Contact List
Here’s Your Sure Fire Mistake That Leads To FAILURE:
- Don’t obtain any new contacts, emails or phone numbers daily.
- Don’t build your contact list.
- Only send emails, rather than use the phone, when you do make any contact.
- Believe that your current customers will stay loyal and work with you.
- Only service the current customers that you have.
- Coast and rest on what you have.
When you produce this way, here’s what you’ll eventually receive:
– Few or zero loads moving
– No growth in your sales
– Unpaid bills sitting on your desk
It’s that simple!