Do you ship items or send documents regularly for your business? If so, how thoroughly have you researched your delivery service options? Many businesses simply use the major, well-known parcel delivery services and call it done. However, doing so may be costing them a bundle. Depending on your delivery needs, you may want to consider other options for at least some of your packages.
How do you determine which delivery service will best meet your needs? Here are 10 things to consider when evaluating a courier or delivery service for your business:
- Delivery service type. You will want to choose the delivery service that is best equipped to economically meet your shipping needs. This will depend largely on the size and number of your packages, and how far you are sending them. For example, if you are shipping large volumes of material over long distances, a regional or national freight carrier is your best bet. For same-day delivery of small packages and documents within your local area, a local courier or messenger service is almost always the most efficient and economical choice. Do you send multiple types of shipments, and/or also require warehousing? You may be lucky enough to find an integrated transportation company in your area that can handle all of your delivery needs. This will simplify your billing and make it easier to train employees in your shipping procedures.
- Security. If you are considering a local company, make sure they are licensed to do business in your area. Also, find out if they are bonded and insured.
- Speed of delivery. For many businesses, fast delivery is critical. Even if timing is not usually a big concern for you, you never know when you might need to rush an order. What rush options does the company you are considering offer? Overnight? Same day? If it is a local service, do they offer a two- to three-hour emergency delivery option? Choosing a company that offers multiple delivery options could save your reputation at some point.
- Reliability. Each time you promise delivery, you are putting your company’s reputation on the line. You need a courier service that won’t let you down. Be sure to ask your package delivery service if they offer proof of delivery, and look for a company that offers package tracking via the Internet. Also, check out their Better Business Bureau rating and online review sites such as Yelp.
- Professional appearance. Like it or not, the appearance of your courier company’s trucks and drivers reflects on your business — especially if you never meet your customers in person yourself. Choose a company whose trucks are clean and whose drivers maintain a neat appearance.
- Security. Ask your carrier about their security policy. Are packages ever left unattended? Are their vehicles and drivers well-identified?
- Special needs. Do they handle oversize packages? Are they equipped to handle special needs such as delivering perishable or hazardous goods? Do they offer help loading or unloading? Find out in advance before you are in a time crunch.
- Price. The advertised price isn’t always the final price. There may be hidden costs that can raise the price of delivery considerably. Always ask for the final price before you commit!
- Ease of doing business. Can you order easily online? What is their invoicing procedure? You want to choose a company that makes your life easier, not more difficult.
- The customer experience. Last but certainly not least, is the company you are considering friendly and pleasant to do business with? You may be interacting with these people on a daily basis, so why not choose people who make you glad to work with them?
It’s important to realize that there may not be a single delivery service that will suit all your needs ideally, all the time. You may discover that you’re best off using multiple companies for your different shipping needs. Even so, evaluating each of them with the above criteria can help you make the best shipping decisions possible for your business. Over time, this is sure to save you time and money, and deliver the best package possible: peace of mind!
Brad Poulter is the Executive Vice President of Operations at Best Transportation Services, Inc., a Chicago-based delivery service providing reliable and customized courier solutions for businesses throughout a variety of industries.Comments