Freight forwarding is an industry that has been around for centuries, and the number of freight forwarders in the world continues to grow every year. This means there are more ways than ever to choose a freight forwarder who will take care of your international shipments. However, choosing the right one can be tricky since there are so many different companies out there with varying levels of experience, expertise and price points. To help you find a good fit for your business or personal needs, here are some questions to ask when choosing a freight forwarder:
1. The location
The location of your freight forwarder is important because it affects how quickly they can get your cargo to its destination. Some locations are better than others for certain types of cargo, and each location has its own unique benefits and drawbacks.
2. Level of experience
It’s important to ask how long a freight forwarder has been in the business. This can help you determine whether they have had the opportunity to learn from other companies and build up their knowledge over time. You may want to ask if they’ve been working in this field for even longer than they’ve been in business, or if they’re new to it altogether. If you’re looking for more experienced assistance with logistics, then it’s probably best that you go with someone who has seen a lot of changes throughout the years. However, if you are new at freight forwarding and don’t know much about what goes on behind the scenes with customs regulations, taxes and tariffs, etc., then go ahead and choose someone who is just starting out!
3. Customer service
To ensure that you get quality customer service, ask questions like:
– Is their customer service department available 24/7? This can help track packages down in emergencies.
– Are they able to communicate in your native language? For some people, language could be a barrier. Being able to have a clear conversation helps avoid any misunderstandings and provides good customer service.
– Do they offer a phone number so you can contact them directly? If not, you might have to wait for hours on their customer helpline calls and not get a proper response. not to mention, this can be very frustrating.
4. Client testimonials
Asking for client references is often one of the first questions a freight forwarder asks you, so why not turn that around and ask them? A good freight forwarder will be happy to provide you with multiple references from previous clients and their responses to your inquiries will give you an idea of how much they value their customers’ experience with the company.
5. Documentation / Paperwork
You should ask your freight forwarder if they will take care of the following:
– Shipping documents.
– Customs clearance.
– Transportation from the port or airport to the final destination.
– Insurance, including marine insurance, cargo insurance and liability insurance (if necessary).
– Clearing customs at your end and receiving cargo at your end (both should be part of their services).
Make sure you find out if the company has a network of agents in different parts of the world who can help with shipping and other related problems when necessary.
6. Payment terms
You should also ask about payment terms. These are important because they will affect your cash flow. In general, the less you have to pay upfront, the better. Make sure the terms are clear and easy to understand—if there’s a lot of fine print, that might be a sign that something fishy is going on. And make sure they’re consistent and reliable so you know exactly when you’ll get your money. Finally, be sure that they’re fair—if there are any hidden fees or charges involved in the process of shipping goods across town or across continents, they could end up costing you more than expected!
7. Compensation for loss or damage to your cargo
You’re going to want to ask your freight forwarder if they will compensate you if they lose or damage your cargo. You have a few options here:
– The first is to ask for a specific amount of money. This can be a small amount (up to $1,000), or it can be around 10% of the value of your goods.
– You can also choose instead for them to pay you back in kind. For example, if 50 boxes were lost from their truck on its way from China, then instead of paying out cash for each box lost, you could tell them that the next time they ship some things over from China that one box out of every ten should go directly into your possession at no cost (then sell those items on eBay).
If neither approach works for you and your freight forwarder refuses compensation after losing or damaging cargo then go ahead and consult with an attorney who specializes in this kind of thing!
Inquiring helps you get to know your freight forwarder and decide whether they are a good fit for you. Your questions will help determine if they have the services and experience that are important to you, and their answers will give you a better understanding of how they work.
You should ask about the types of shipments that they can handle, the types of carriers they use (including whether or not their carrier is DOT certified), their business model, any guarantees or warranties that are included in their service offerings, any special features or add-ons that come with their services (such as free storage), how long it takes them to complete each step in the process from booking through delivery/pickup at your door—and anything else that comes up during your conversation!
Asking questions is a great way to get to know your freight forwarder. It also helps you determine whether they are the right fit for your business. If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to ask them!