Hiring a Cleveland Trucking Company
Small business owners seeking to hire a Cleveland trucking company have numerous considerations to weigh. Most focus almost exclusively on price – something that is undoubtedly important. But that isn’t where your assessment should stop.
As the American Trucking Associations reports, there are nearly 900,000 for-hire carriers registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), with private carriers accounting for more than 770,000 of those. That means businesses have many options. It also means that in addition to cost, businesses should examine a trucking firm’s reliability, licensing/insurance, responsiveness, transparency/tracking, references and fleet.
Here, we examine the importance of each element.
- Pricing. It’s important to strike a good balance on the cost of your trucking contract. Consider that while a dirt cheap Cleveland trucking company contract will certainly keep your transport costs low, it won’t be worth it if your products don’t get to where they need to be – on time and in excellent condition. If that happens, your profit margins – and reputation – will suffer. That’s not to say price is something you can disregard. If you’re paying too much transportation, your overhead is going to spike which could give you no choice but to increase your prices or accept reduced profit margins. It’s important to find a good balance.
- Reliability. As previously mentioned, you need to know you can trust your goods to get to where they need to be, when they need to be there. This is where it’s valuable to check the trucking company’s ratings, reviews and references. How long they have been in business is also a good indicator. The trucking industry is notoriously volatile, so those companies that have weathered the ups-and-downs are likely to be those other customers know they can count on.
- Insurance and licensing. This is essential. All licensing and insurance requirements should be met for the type of cargo you’re shipping for all states, regions and countries that are involved. If you are shipping any type of unusual or hazardous cargo, this is critically important. If you aren’t certain of the regulatory rules for the trucking companies in your area, it’s worth contacting the government agency in charge of oversight. The FMCSA is a good place to start. The Ohio Department of Transportation is another. These agencies will also have information on safety records of the trucking companies you’re considering working with. You should compare and contrast the top contenders.
- Responsiveness. This involves your first impressions of the Cleveland trucking company sales and staff department, but also how quick they are to get back to you – with a quote, with an answer, etc. Note how competent they seem, how personable they are. If you’re going to trust another company with the lifeblood of your business, you need to know they’ll be easy to reach in a pressing situation.
- Fleet. If a Cleveland trucking company’s fleet is poorly-maintained, that should raise a red flag. Not only does it speak to the quality of service, but there are potential safety concerns. Beyond that, security equipment and features could jeopardize your shipments. And a ragged fleet is almost certainly going to cause costly delays. Even if the trucking company’s insurer covers your losses, delays can hurt your reputation.
- Transparency/Tracking. Your Cleveland trucking company should offer you the means to monitor shipments en route. Tracking technologies can provide means for carriers and customers to communicate in real time. Ask prospective truck companies what type of monitoring technology they use, how it works and how you might access that data.
If you have additional questions or concerns, our dedicated team at On Time Delivery & Warehouse is available with answers and insight.
Contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or send us an email.
Economics and Industry Data, American Trucking Associations
More Blog Entries:
What to Ask When Hiring a Cleveland Trucking Company, Feb. 20, 2020, Cleveland Trucking Company Blog