As a small business owner, you likely have a lot of parts of your company to juggle that many larger business owners are able to delegate to others. For example, while many business owners with larger companies have someone directly responsible for managing shipping, you might have to handle it yourself as an entrepreneur. Good shipping is important to customer experience, and 72% of businesses say improving customer experience is their top priority. If you’re looking to improve your company’s shipping as an entrepreneur, here are just a few things you should know.
Doing It All Yourself Is Tricky
If you’re looking to invest in having your own trucks to manage transporting goods and shipping products to customers, be prepared to spend a lot and have a lot of work to do. If you only have to ship the occasional large item and you already own a pickup truck, you may be able to manage it well enough. Pickup trucks currently account for 16.4% of auto sales in the United States, and many of those are to entrepreneurs who need a vehicle capable of hauling items.
However, as soon as you start looking to manage a fleet of trucks of your own, you’re dramatically increasing the amount of work you have to do. Trucking with a fleet of your own can seem appealing at first, largely because of how much it improves your ability to ship farther distances and engage an international market. Approximately two-thirds of Canada-US trade is moved by truck, and owning your own fleet makes that more of a possibility in the future. However, maintaining trucks is difficult, and purchasing trucks that are ready to make long trips like that isn’t cheap. You’ll need to be ready to maintain your trucks, including updating any coatings they have in order to keep your products safe. Coatings have two primary functions: decoration and protection. Owning and maintaining a fleet costs your company money, so depending on your shipping needs, you may be better off outsourcing your shipping to carriers.
Keep Track Of Carriers
If you’ve decided you won’t be managing your trucking and shipping yourself, what’s the next step? You’ll first want to find a carrier that’s trustworthy and you know will be able to get your products to your consumers within a reasonable time frame. Shipping across all industries has seen increasing expectations when it comes to delivery speeds thanks to the rise of e-commerce, so you’ll want to find a carrier with trustworthy estimates. Don’t feel like you have to take the first carrier you find; do some price comparisons first and see which will offer you the best prices long-term for large amounts of shipping. Also, keep convenience in mind – will you have to bring your items somewhere to be shipped, or will someone be able to pick them up from your place of business? Do some homework on your options and you’ll be sure to save money over time.
Calculate Costs Fairly
Finally, one of the most important factors you’ll have to consider when improving your shipping policies is how much it’s going to cost both you and the end consumer. Few people are excited about having to pay for shipping, again thanks to the rise of affordable or even free shipping among leading e-commerce giants. If you’re worried about how shipping costs will look, try integrating the cost of shipping into the cost of your products. Of course, this only works if your shipping costs are stable enough to predict, so be careful about how you approach this. Ultimately, it’s important to not sacrifice your operating costs for the sake of improved shipping, so work to find a pricing model that’s most suitable for your business and industry.
The Bottom Line: Your Bottom Line Matters
Overall, shipping costs can be difficult to navigate, especially if you’re operating as a small business or even a single entrepreneur. Luckily, there are plenty of options available for smaller companies looking to ship their products as long as you know where to look and what you’re able to spend. Use these tips to help set up your shipping and you’re sure to see improved profits and reduced operating costs over the life of your business.