Freight Companies & How To Pick The Best One For You
There are a lot of freight companies out there, but the real question is: which ones are the best of the lot? The answer to that question is a bit of no-brainer, but let me explain...
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From getting a freight quote to booking, tracking and the bill auditing process, good Freight Shipping Companies take the headache out of your logistics and make these challenging processes as efficient and easy as possible.
"I just wanted to let you know that our shipment came in on time and the driver was very good, courteous and helpful. Please let the carrier know how we feel about him and we wish more drivers were like him. We will also be recommending you to all of our business contacts for their shipping needs."
-Hardwood Floor Distributor
How To Choose The Right Freight Shipping Company
Getting your product into the hands of your customer on time and in good condition bodes well for you and them. After finally convincing them to buy from you, this is the next most important step.
From your suppliers to your warehouse to your customer, the integrity of your supply chain plays a vital role in the success of your business. That’s why it’s important that the freight shipping company you choose meets your needs at a reasonable cost.
And in this article, you’ll learn how to choose the right partner for your logistical requirements so your supply chain runs smoothly.
What is a freight shipping company?
They move your freight all across the country and even to neighboring countries like Canada and Mexico. Their trucks and drivers are responsible for getting your products delivered to the distributors and retailers you work with.
Some of them are national chains (e.g. R&L) while others only operate in a certain region of the US (e.g. Southeastern).
The term “freight companies” can mean a lot of things, so let’s break them down, stretch them out, and see where we end up. Like most industries, it seems there are an abundance of names and descriptors for a limited amount of things in the shipping world. The term freight companies is a lot like that.
First off, freight shipping companies can very well mean freight carriers. Here at FreightPros we have contacts and relationships with over fifty national freight carriers. We can offer cheap Roadrunner shipping quotes, not to mention freight rates from Central Freight, and even Saia.
FreightPros freight carrier rates are some of the best in the business, and we’re in the habit of passing those cheap freight quotes and world-class customer service to our customers.
Freight companies or freight carriers are the guys in charge of the drivers and trucks that move freight all across the country. There is a lot of variance in the companies. Some are large national chains, such as R&L shipping rates, that service most parts of the continental United States, not to mention Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and even Alaska. Others are smaller and work on a local scale. Southeastern freight rates are only good for the southeastern part of the U.S. for instance.
FreightPros has negotiated cheap freight quotes with these and many other carriers across the country. Our truckload team has secured relationships with many of these freight service companies as well to help our customers ship their freight in both the LTL and truckload shipping zones. Since we’re a full service broker, not only do we supply the quotes, but we also help our customers find the carrier best suited to their shipping needs, both in price, and service.
Freight companies can also be considered freight brokers, who play a different role from freight carriers in the shipping industry. FreightPros has some of the best freight brokers in the industry, but we’re also a full service brokerage.
This full-service aspect of FreightPros brokers allows us to handle many different aspects of our customer’s shipping needs. At FreightPros, we offer our customers some of the cheapest freight quotes in the industry, while also providing world-class customer service on a daily basis. We’re one of those freight companies that believes in relationships with our customers, not just basic freight rates.
The shipping industry can be a weird place, and with so many freight service companies out there you need to make sure that you find the right one for you. Get a freight quote with us here at FreightPros and we’ll show you what makes us unique in the world of freight companies.
Types of Logistics and Freight Companies
Since there are several operations involved in transporting your cargo, some freight delivery companies specialize in each step. Others provide more services where you don’t have to worry about the inefficiencies and problems of working with different freight solutions providers.
They focus on moving the shipment from Point A to Point B. Truckers are considered as freight companies because even if their services are limited, they’re hired by the shipper to pick up the cargo and deliver it to the destination.
They find the best and most cost-efficient method for shipping different kinds of goods, both domestically and internationally.
They can serve as an agent on behalf of the shipper by negotiating the pricing and the contract’s terms and conditions with freight carriers. They can also serve as the whole freight management service, from the source all the way to the customer. They also offer services like documentation, customs, clearance, duty negotiation, and consolidation.
They transport the shipment across the country and around the world. They include trucking companies, rail services, ocean freight carriers, and air freight carriers.
It’s common nowadays for shipments to be multimodal or intermodal, which requires more than one type of carrier to move the freight.
3rd party logistics companies (3PLs)
They offer logistics services to businesses like yours, where an in-house logistics department would be very expensive to maintain.
3PL companies provide services like freight management, freight forwarding, full-service warehousing, and carrier services to transport your products. They also handle documentation and schedule inbound and outbound deliveries.
Types of Freight Services
Depending on the kind of product and how big your shipment is, the trick is to find the right freight service that delivers your shipment on time for a reasonable price. There are several to choose from and some might meet your need better than the other.
Less than truckload (LTL)
LTL freight is cost-efficient for cargo transport that is low in volume or doesn't need to be delivered as soon as possible. Since low-volume cargo doesn’t take up a lot of space in the truck, your shipping cost is lower because your package is transported together with other LTL shipments. However, the transit time is longer because shipments usually go through several distribution hubs instead of straight to your doorstep.
Full truckload (FTL)
FTL freight is ideal for large, bulky cargo and unpackaged commodities. It is also advisable for refrigerated, temperature-controlled, hazardous material, and oversized or overweight cargo. The delivery time is faster compared to LTL freight because the cargo is delivered straight to the destination.
This is the middle-ground between LTL and FTL freight and is usually for medium-sized loads that are measured by volume. Like FTL freight, it can also carry packages that need refrigeration, climate control, flat beds, or special handling due to weight and shape.
Air freight carriers, including cargo airlines, offer the fastest transit time and are dedicated to handling the logistics of transporting your shipment. They’re great for high-density cargo transport, where they are heavy enough to be considered freight despite their smaller size.
And they can be more cost-efficient than LTL freight for tightly packaged shipments weighing over 100 pounds.
Intermodal Rail Freight
Intermodal rail freight, which combines trucks and trains, is widely used for transporting construction materials in bulk or hazardous cargo. The train covers the longer distances while the truck covers the last few miles to the destination.
It is cost-efficient and environment-friendly because a train needs less fuel to move the same weight and doesn’t have to pay toll fees either. The higher fuel efficiency, plus the less frequent stops, allows you to save a lot of money on shipping.
This service takes less time because the freight is moved faster compared to LTL and FTL freight. Though not to be confused with “Guaranteed Delivery”, It is also predictable, where the delivery is estimated to be between one to five days after pickup.
Air Ride Truckload (Full or Partial)
If your shipment has a high risk of being damaged during transit, a truck with air-ride suspension is able to safely transport it because the truck can absorb shock better. Because this service isn’t commonly used and the load requires special handling, it is often more expensive than full or partial truckload services.
Blanket Wrap/Moving Van
If you have to transport large, irregularly-shaped pieces like furniture and you can’t load it in a box, pallet, or a crate, you can request for blanket wrap shipping or go for a moving van company instead.
These two are a little more expensive than LTL freight because of the specialized planning required for your cargo. And even if the delivery time is longer, your shipment is in safe hands because more care is given to it.
International Ocean Freight Shipping
If you have to deliver orders to Hawaii or internationally to other countries, ocean container shipping is the most cost-efficient option. And like the freight in a truck, the freight on a container ship is also differentiated by full container loads (FCL) and less than container (LCL).
However, it also takes the longest to have your package delivered. It takes two to five weeks to transport a container from China to the US, and shipping to the East Coast takes longer than the West Coast.
What to look out for in choosing the right freight shipping company for you?
There are key factors to consider so that the logistics of your business is running like a well-oiled machine.
This is probably the most important area you should consider because like anything in life, having prior experience is more trustworthy.
Experienced carriers can work around problems like port shutdowns, customs, warehousing, and cargo reroutes. These issues are common in domestic and international shipping and the better they can handle it, the more likely your goods arrive safe and sound.
Depending on the kind of product you need to ship, there may be specific requirements that must be met during transit. Make sure that the services of your carrier meets those requirements.
Some of the services they should also provide include:
- Booking cargo space
- Customs clearance
- Freight consolidation
- Inventory management
- Negotiating freight charges
- Tracking their transport
- Packing and storage
- Preparing the required documents for import and export
A reputable company should also guide you in fulfilling the documents required for shipping your products. And by familiarizing yourself with the services they offer, you know which company meets your supply chain requirements.
Thanks to the internet, your business opens up to more customers outside the country. And if you require international shipping, the company you choose should be able to deal with shipping cargo overseas.
Make sure they can efficiently deliver to the country of destination and the flow of communication is smooth so your shipment arrives promptly and safely.
Ultimately, the customer service you receive makes or breaks the next time you’ll be working with the freight shipping company you chose.
A trustworthy carrier will establish open lines of communication as they are serving you. The agent responsible for your cargo should support you all throughout the process by answering your questions on time and informing you of the status of your shipment.
The Best Freight Shipping Companies
Below are some of FreightPros' top premium freight carrier partners:
- AAA Cooper
- Averitt Express
- Central Freight
- Central Transport
- Custom Companies
- Dayton Freight
- Fedex Volume
- JB Hunt
- Land Air Express
- Midwest Motor
- New England Motor Freight
- New Penn
- Oak Harbor
- Old Dominion Freight
- Schneider National
- Southeastern Freight
- USF Holland
- US Xpress
With a more globalized supply chain, logistics have become a bigger challenge. Timely and secure delivery all throughout the process ultimately contributes to the growth of your business.
And the freight shipping company you choose should be a reliable and trustworthy partner. Taking the time to research is well worth it so your needs are met for a reasonable price.