Opening up a small business is a stressful endeavor. There are laws that need to be followed along with several other arrangements, such as obtaining tax IDs, registering business, hiring people, picking a location, etc. One avenue that often gets overlooked, until it's too late, is shipping. This could potentially be disastrous and an operational nightmare for a small business if not properly researched and a plan of action put into place. But if you have some tips and a beginning as to where to start from, you are pointed in the right direction.
Everyone knows the major shipping organizations made available to them. These organizations have easy to use websites that can handle every aspect of shipping. The reps of these companies advise you of price per pound, help with tracking shipments, pick the packages up for you and also tell you where a drop off location is. They can advise you as to when your package has arrived and give details about when you can expect a delivery service from them. The shipping companies can help you understand any custom regulations or international laws. Some of the companies may be charging too high, so you have to make sure that the shipping company you work with charges moderately. While working with shipping companies, make sure that you discuss some important things with them in advance, such as; what things should be shipped by air or ground, which way should be safer and cheaper, security of shipped items, etc. Lastly, get to know if any discounts are offered on certain quantities or weights.
Another useful tool that needs to be acquired is a postage meter. You have the option of buying one or leasing one. Leasing one seems to be more affordable. This takes the guess work out of how much a package weighs. This helps to alleviate over-postage. It will also print shipping labels for you. This could help save your company a lot of money.
Setting up shipping policies is crucial from the very beginning. For instance, if you are a window film company, there has to be a basic understanding between you and the shipping company you use, because the deliveries of your window films are going to be sensitive and you must settle on some security policies.Also, if you are going to provide your customers with free ground shipping, let them know. If a package is over a certain weight of film and additional postage will be required of them, let them know about this too. Having these policies in place before doing business with a potential customer will alleviate confusion and arguments later. It will also simplify things for your employees.
When sending freight on trucks, or sending shipments weighing over one hundred and fifty pounds, consider consolidation. Look into the trucking company's policies, as shipping something with a full load of goods is often cheaper than half a truck full. Therefore, it may be more cost efficient to wait until you have a full truck. Also, if you have a full load to be shipped, the truck will pull right up to the loading dock and usually packed for you, saving you time to be taking care of other things.
All shipping methods available need to be researched. Effectively managing this aspect of your business will directly affect the bottom line, which if handled efficiently will be higher.