Clever Ways to Save Even More Money on Ground Shipping
Most people opt for ground shipping for one simple reason; it is inexpensive.
Aside from the low cost, it is also a fairly tried and true method of delivery for the most part. In fact, ground shipping was the original and standard supply chain method of operation before the concept of overnight express delivery was introduced back in the 1970s.
However, modern ground shipping operations are much different than those in the early days. There are more regional hubs available, advanced tracking solutions, and more efficient ways of moving freight from point “A” to point “B” across the highways of North America.
There is a downside to all the more recent advancements, though. The largest being that this once affordable mode of transport costs twice as much now and for about the same quality of service as before.
However, there are still a few clever ways that shippers can save some more money on ground shipping…
Become a Stern Negotiator
All the best prices start and end with negotiation. And shipping costs are no different.
Shipping costs are typically negotiated on an individual basis.
Whether you work with parcel, LTL or FTL carriers, the main ‘trump card’ that shippers hold over them is volume. Ground shippers thrive on maximizing their truckloads, whether it’s the UPS, Fed Ex Ground route, or the LTL carrier headed to a regional terminal. And this is why it is so important to build a good rapport with your carriers. It is they who hold the keys to lower costs.
If a shipper frequently uses a specific carrier for their ground delivery services, they have the ‘buying power’ to negotiate better shipping rates.
Be Proactive About Customer Communication
One of the leading issues associated with ground shipping is missed delivery or delivery reattempts.
The primary source of these ancillary charges is when the shipping address to the customer is either incorrect or the customer is not available to receive the shipment. This is especially common in the LTL and FTL industries, as many ground parcel deliveries can simply be left at the customer’s doorstep.
If you’re a shipper, spend some time verifying with your recipient a few important details to reduce these types of problems.
First, verify their shipping address and if they are a commercial building or residential location. This makes a huge difference in regard to shipping rates, especially parcel deliveries.
Second, verify their availability for deliveries, and relay this information to your carrier.
If the lines of communication are clear and documented, you’ll have substance to fight additional charges if needed.
Understand the Value of Regional Transport
This tip mainly applies to LTL shipping.
If you are a manufacturer, supplier, distributor or retailer that ships to customers in a specific region, consider working with a regional carrier. In most situations, the regional carrier will offer better ground shipping rates than the national giants, simply due to reduced mileage driven.
Be Firm and Transparent with Customer Delivery Requests
There are some customers that request special delivery services, such as Saturday service, special handling, advanced tracking, and more.
While customer service is crucial, and there are always exceptions to the rule, if they request the service, make sure to explain to them the additional charges associated with it. Sometimes the simple act of communicating these facts will be enough for the customer to make a more informed decision. A lot of the time, they’ll even offer to cover those fees.
The key is to be firm, but fair.
Consider Online Shipping for Parcels
The USPS has been rolling out online shipping services across the United States over the past few years. Now, it’s a service available nationwide.
By investing in an online shipping platform, such as Stamps.com, you can purchase postage for smaller parcel deliveries.
Similarly, yet a bit different, is making sure to use flat-rate packaging for ground deliveries.
Partnering with a 3PL is the Best Way to Save Money on Ground Shipping
In order to negotiate the best rates for your ground shipments, it takes a few things; negotiation skills, a good idea of acceptable rates, and most importantly, a stellar rapport with your carrier.
And while individual shippers can achieve this, it usually takes quite a lot of time. Time spent building firm relationships with carriers, researching the competition and then finally learning what language to use to negotiate those lower rates in a way that influences the carrier to give out a discount.
In general, it is a lengthy process.
Fortunately, partnering with a 3PL that already has this sort of rapport and negotiation skills, such as Redwood Logistics, will allow you to get the cheapest rates possible in half the time.
Redwood Logistics maintains exceptional relationships with air, ground, rail, and ocean carriers. The rates we negotiate for our clients not only save them money on ground shipping, but can often lower or remove accessorial charges like missed deliveries, special services, and more.
If you’re looking to beat your competition to the chase, reduce your ground shipping rates and discover creative ways of saving a little extra money, check out some of our small parcel shipping services on this page.