3 Questions To Ask When Choosing A Freight Forwarder To Service Your Small Business

Whether you need to ship products you're making in-house to customers or you're fulfilling orders for manufacturers, you need a quality freight forwarding service to rely on and ensure that your shipments are transported safely and delivered on time. Here are a few important questions that should be asked when choosing a freight forwarding service to work with:

Which Shipping Modes Are Utilized?

Freight forwarders tend to use a variety of shipping modes to get shipments where they need to go for their customers. But they don't all use the same modes, so it's important to find out ahead of time what you can expect. Some freight forwarders may only utilize trucks to transport shipments, but others might use one or more of these other options as well:

  • Airplanes
  • Trains
  • Ships

Not every reliable freight forwarder has to use more than one or two modes of shipment to keep their customers happy. But the more shipping modes your freight forwarder uses, the better they'll be able to meet your shipping needs both now and in the future – especially if you need to make an emergency or last-minute delivery for a customer.

How Are Carriers Vetted?

You can expect your freight forwarder to work with multiple different carriers in order to successfully transport all of your shipments wherever they need to go. So to be sure that you can rely on all of the carriers that they will be using on your behalf, it's important to find out how your freight forwarder vets the carriers they choose to work with.

Do they investigate their carriers by checking with the Better Business Bureau, researching their public legal history, and verifying their financial stability? Ask for a copy of your freight forwarder's vetting guide, if possible, so you can see exactly what vetting steps are taken. And make sure that you'll be notified of any carriers that are shipping products on your behalf so you can vet them yourself if you want to.

Is International Shipping Available?

You may not have a need to make international shipments right now, but as your company evolves and grows, you might very well want to branch out to markets overseas. If your freight forwarder doesn't offer international shipping, you may have to spend your time and efforts finding another company to work with that does serve international markets. If the freight forwarder you choose to work with doesn't offer international shipping, they should at least be able to secure those services for you if and when the need arises.