How to Hire a Trucking Company

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Moving freight around is big business. Just about every company that produces large quantities of goods relies on trucking companies to transport products to customers. With so many different trucking companies in operation, it is sometimes hard to know where to turn for the best deal. Here are some ideas on how to hire the right trucking company, and achieve the ideal blend of cost efficiency along with prompt and reliable service.

Define your needs. By determining exactly what you need from a transportation service, it is much easier to look for companies that can accommodate those requirements. Along with defining the sizes and quantities of the goods that must be transported to buyers, also think in terms of the frequency of the shipments, the delivery dates that are routinely required, and the shipping hours at your warehouses. Don’t forget to consider the distance involved in transporting goods to all your current customers, as well as to areas where you hope to establish a presence.

Develop a listing of trucking companies in the area. Using the requirements cited in Step 1, compile a list of all transportation companies in the local area that potentially could fill your needs. Omit any transportation companies that do not fit your requirements. For example, if you routinely ship out amounts that will not take up a whole trailer, don’t spend a lot of time dealing with trucking firms that only deal with truckload orders; focus on companies that specialize in LTL or less than load business.

Contact each trucking company on the list. Talk with them about your needs and verify they can provide the care you require. Make arrangements for a representative or salesperson to visit you on site for a more in depth discussion and to submit a bid or proposal for your business.

Meet with representatives of each company. Ask them hard questions about how they handle situations such as rush shipments, or how they track shipments that get lost in the shuffle. Ask for a quote on pricing in writing, as well as the terms and conditions that will be in force if the two of you decide to do business. Also ask about discounts and price breaks if you commit to using the trucking company for a certain amount of time, or generate a certain level of business volume.

Narrow your options to three or four of the best candidates. At this point, invite each of these final candidates to review their bids and see if they might be willing to adjust the pricing to make the offer more attractive.

Make your final selection. After reviewing all relevant factors, choose the trucking firm that provides the best balance between service and price. However, hang on to the other bids just in case the final selection does not perform up to expectations.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ask anything that comes to mind, no matter how outlandish. Chances are if you can imagine a given situation, the trucking company has seen it before and knows how to deal with it.
  • Be sure to ask about interlining procedures. Some trucking companies will work with other trucking companies to complete deliveries rather than send their own trucks into a given geographical area. Understand if, and how, they do this and make sure it will not cause problems for you.
  • Always get the pricing in a documented form. Review invoices to make sure they are in compliance with the terms of the bid. If charges appear that are not in harmony with the bid, call it to the attention of your contact immediately.

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