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How to Start a Relationship With a New Carrier

As any small or mid-sized business owner knows, relationships are everything. Building and maintaining professional relationships with suppliers and vendors, partners and customers is crucial to running a successful business.

Another critical on is the shipper and carrier relationship. The business you do with the right shipping carrier (or carriers) can have an enormously beneficial impact on your business. Conversely, aligning with a carrier that doesn't share your values or meet your needs can cost you dearly in time, money and aggravation.

So, what's the best way to go about starting a relationship with a new shipping carrier? We're glad you asked! Here are a few simple steps for strong and sustainable carrier relationship management.

1. Ask the right questions

When you're looking for a new freight carrier to transport your valuable products, you'll of course be asking questions about their on-time performance, routes, bang-for-the buck and other important factors.

It's equally important, however, to make sure that the carrier is a good fit for your business — and vice-versa! Other important questions to consider include:

  • What's the carrier's business philosophy? Make sure the carrier's values and purpose align with yours.
  • What can you and the carrier offer each other as strategic business partners? In these times of freight capacity crunch, carriers are looking for shippers who are going to give them a mutually beneficial relationship.
  • Does the carrier have reviews from other shippers they're willing to share with you? If a carrier is open about referrals and reviews from its existing clients, that's a good sign that they've earned a strong reputation.
  • What is the amount of cargo insurance the carrier carries? Bigger is generally better when it comes to insurance amounts, especially if your business ships particularly expensive or fragile items.

2. Build a carrier relationship

Once you've asked the right questions and identified the carrier(s) that will best fit your business, it's time to cultivate the relationship. As we mentioned above, you want to become a shipper of choice for your selected carrier during the ongoing capacity crisis.

Carriers, when faced with overwhelming volumes and the necessity of picking and choosing their customers, are invariable going to offer the best and most frequent service to companies that have built a strong shipper and carrier relationship with them.

We recommend that you:

  • Be transparent and honor your commitments. Be up front and open about the loads you need moved and any freight shipping or receiving expectations that are part of the transaction. Overcommunication about the shipment is always a good idea.
  • Avoid cancelling shipments if at all possible. If a cancellation is a necessity, give the carrier as much notice as possible and try to quickly find them another shipment. A bit of proactivity here will be greatly appreciated and reciprocated by the carrier.
  • Pay your invoices promptly and in full. Carriers will never give preferential service to customers who clog up their Accounts Receivable queues. Be the business that's always in the carrier's good graces by paying on time, every time.

For more tips on becoming a shipper of choice during a capacity crunch, we've put together this handy guide.

3. Leverage the right 3PL to smooth the process

Following the steps listed above will put you well down the path toward being a pro at carrier relationship management. To speed things up even further and minimize any bumps you may encounter, we recommend working with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) like Worldwide Express (WWEX).

We have strong relationships with a large portfolio of carefully vetted freight carriers and are in an ideal position to help guide you to the perfect carrier partner for your business's needs. Contact our team of shipping experts for a free, customized shipping consultation to quickly get on the road to great carrier relationships!

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