There’s more to choosing a shipping option for your business’s precious cargo than merely going with the least expensive option, says Tarik Yousef, founder and proprietor of T.Y. Fine Furniture in Columbus, Ohio. “When you choose a shipper, you want to choose someone who will represent you well,” says Yousef, whose company sells custom-made wooden furniture such as headboards and tables as well as organic mattresses and sofas.
When selecting a shipping partner, it’s imperative to choose one that will represent your company well when their representative interacts with your customers, says Yousef. In the two years he has been in business, Yousef has learned to regard his professional relationship with shippers who admit when they make a mistake, such as damaging an item in transit or delaying delivery for whatever reason.
It has been his experience that UPS has delivered what it promises, so Yousef often relies on them for his shipping needs. However, his experiences with UPS’s chief competitor have not proven favorable.
“I have found Fed-Ex doesn’t take responsibility (for its mistakes) and no one seems to care. There’s a cultural problem there,” says Yousef.
And while the U.S. Postal Service has been losing millions over the years, it’s not because Yousef isn’t supportive of their efforts. He has no problem using good ol’ snail mail when the item to be shipped is small enough to justify it. Moreover, he maintains an online account with the USPS, so when he needs stamps, he doesn’t have to run down to the local post office to buy them. He simply surfs to their web site and purchases what he needs that way. He has a small scale to weigh letters and packages and then prints the postage he needs right at his desk.
Because he maintains an online account with the USPS, his company enjoys a five percent discount on postage. He admits that snail mail may not be the fastest way to send a letter or package, but, he says, “It works well for us.”
Yousef suggests developing a relationship with shippers whose service you like the most, for a few reasons. One is that using the same shipper will likely result in reduced prices. Another reason is that when the same company’s services are repeatedly relied on, they will most likely go out of their way to keep your business.
Another way to save money on shipping is to shop around for supplies. Costs add up, so it’s prudent to purchase in bulk when the price is right. Of course, that means a company will need to make room for the requisite envelopes, paper and paper clips needed for mailing, so they might consider using flat-rate boxes and free envelopes supplied by the Post Office for some or their shipping needs.
So whether your business purchases its supplies from Uline, an office supply superstore whose wares are available online or from the local Staples, it’s optimal to form relationships with the people who both pick-up and deliver your precious cargo.