There’s more to shipping than just getting your goods to their receiver. There are many factors that can influence how much it will cost you and what you get for the price.
To professionals, shipping represents the business. It demonstrates your reliability and commitment to giving customers what they want.
Saving time and money on shipments is a great way to do better business and get a sharper competitive edge. Avoiding the biggest pitfalls will help you spend less and reduce damage and delayed goods.
The ability to ship things in an efficient, controlled, and cost-effective manner makes a great improvement for anyone who ships a lot of things.
Keep reading to learn about six common costly shipping mistakes–and how to avoid them.
1. Lacking Attention to Detail
When you ship things, you must pay close attention to the details.
Don’t assume you know the weight, size, packaging type, and costs. You need to know for sure beforehand. And you need to make sure every address is 100% correct.
Getting these details wrong often lead to paying more than you have to. It makes the delivery less efficient as well.
If you seek shipping solutions for a company, the best idea is to create a database. Use it to log all the data for reference, calculation, and comparison. This can help you reduce big shipping expenses.
Even when you’re dealing with a last-minute shipment or a very rushed job, you need to impress and satisfy. Otherwise, you’ll lose customers.
It’s important to get the data right in these situations too, no matter how much you feel like you don’t have the time. The good news is that there are software solutions that can do the math for you and your customers.
Many shippers have many more fees than you think. These fees may not be obvious to you and may seem unnecessary. You must be prepared to pay more than you thought if you don’t pay close attention from the beginning.
Look for any additional fees added to the bill. Examples include fuel compensation and residential services. Make room for these fees in your shipment budget.
Be very diligent. Even the slightest address correction can cost more than $10 with many carriers.
2. Using the Wrong Packaging
Getting the packaging details right is so important that it gets its own entry on this list. Pay close attention to the weight of the items you’re about to ship. It can affect the price more than you think.
If the weight you told the carrier and the actual weight of the package differ, you’ll be charged for it. There may be penalty fees with certain carriers.
Ensure that all the packages you’re ready to ship have the right weight that you budgeted for and specified. You need to understand how to ship heavy items.
Inefficient packaging is a very common problem that costs many companies a lot of money. Make sure that you’re not using packaging that’s too big for your delivery.
It may seem convenient at the moment to grab a big box and stuff your items in it, but it will be a waste of money. You have to pay for more space, so you’re paying for the empty space in the box.
You will also end up spending a lot more on boxes, padding, and other packaging materials. In the long run, these smaller costs will accumulate into big costs.
Extra packaging also adds extra weight, which you’ll pay more for. This can cause a difference in the weight you planned for, and thus the final weight. This will make you pay more than you budgeted for.
On the other hand, if you try to skimp too much on the packaging, you may risk damaged goods. It’s a balance you’ll find by paying attention to the details.
Last but not least, don’t underestimate the holding capacity of envelopes when shipping small items.
3. Making Promises You Can’t Keep
If you can’t tell the receiver when to expect their delivery, they may be hesitant about the shipment. If you tell the receiver they’ll receive the product at a particular time and it doesn’t come in time, you’ve got a major problem.
There is a straight-forward solution to this matter. For example, rather than guaranteeing delivery in two days, promise delivery in three days or less. This gives you an error margin.
It lets you be more flexible, and it can help you reduce costs. Most importantly, it will reduce the number of disgruntled receivers.
A good way to make things simpler and more efficient is to use next-day delivery.
4. Failing to Handle Unhappy Returns
If you have a return policy, make sure it’s clear, concise, and accessible. Make sure you have it fleshed out in writing, with all the details covered in concrete form. No maybes and a few conditionals as possible.
Put your return policy on your website. Make it visible to customers before they finish the purchase, or you may lose potential customers. This will establish trust and ensure that both you and the customer are accountable.
Good return policies focus on the customer and making things easier and more efficient for them.
5. Neglecting Automation
Automation is an effective way to reduce inconsistencies and human error. It doesn’t have to be a huge, complicated task to implement automation. It doesn’t have to be very expensive.
Assuming it’s not worth it is an expensive mistake. There are many benefits to automation.
Start in the shallow end. Connect data points with Microsoft Access or Excel spreadsheets. Set them up to memorize and recall data for you, keep track of numbers, and do your calculations.
Automating these documents to give you comprehensive graphs on how you’re doing is a quick task.
Then see how you feel about continuous automation. The more you automate, the less you have to do. And remember, computers don’t miscalculate or misspell.
6. Using Indirect Delivery
This one might seem like an obvious matter to some readers. However, it is a very common mistake that cost many people a lot of money.
This mistake can take a few different forms, such as:
- You order an item and have it shipped to your business. Then you send it onward to your customer.
- You buy an item and wait for it to come by mail. When it arrives, you get in your car and drive it to your friend.
This is such an inefficient way of doing things. It takes a lot more time than a direct shipment. It costs a lot more. And it’s a lot more work.
You could have the retailer or manufacturer do most of the work, without additional costs. Or you could use a shipping company to deliver it from the first point to the last.
Avoid These Expensive Shipping Mistakes
There are many mistakes that increase costs for nothing, from wasteful practices to unseen fees and penalties for negligent calculations.
Cutting down on shipping can improve your finances a lot. Not only do these mistakes cost more money, they’re often inefficient in other ways as well.
By following the advice on this list, you’ll avoid these costly mistakes and save money.
For more information on fast, cost-efficient shipping, contact us.