4 Common Shipping Mistakes That May Cost You Thousands

Written by Paul Forand


Are you doing everything possible to ensure accurate shipping to your customers?  If not, you could be risking your customers' goodwill as well as thousands of dollars in unnecessary fees!

It’s up to the shippers themselves to get things right the first time with accurate shipment information.  Mistakes in your estimates or in your paperwork can be costly, and in most cases the burden of payment for those errors falls on shippers as well.

So if you're seeing too much money being spent on freight, it may be time to look at your processes for potential enhancements to efficiency and effectiveness.

Four Shipping Mistakes No Profitable Business Should Make

1.  Inaccurate product dimensions/measurements

One of the most common sources of shipping mistakes comes from the products themselves. Accurate freight quoting requires highly accurate weights and measurements for the items being shipped, including packaging materials, and product density calculations are also sometimes required.

This isn't just for paperwork and proper scheduling, although that's part of it. It’s about cargo density, handling requirements, stowability, and liability exposure. For example, a shipment that goes over cubic capacity can end up costing far more than expected, and once it’s handed to the carrier it could be too late to do anything about it.

2.  Knowing when to apply accessorial fees. 

Broadly speaking, any additional equipment that's needed to transport the materials and offload them will be added to your bill, not to the client's.  If the client doesn't have the machinery to offload the trucks, for example, you could be billed and liable for renting heavy equipment.

Likewise, perishable or dangerous materials require special handling, which can often drive the cost up. Knowing exactly what accessorial charges are applicable to your shipments will greatly reduce freight billing errors.

3.  Inaccurate shipment information transportation loading docks

Going along with #2, you need to have as much information as possible about your customers and the facilities at their end.  If the customer lacks a loading dock, for example, an additional fee for a noncommercial delivery could be added and billed to you.

A carrier’s job is to deliver a shipment in good condition within a reasonable amount of time, and they will use the appropriate means to get the job done. If they have to use additional equipment beyond what was originally planned for or requested, they will charge you for it.  

A full understanding of your customers receiving requirements is necessary for accurate freight estimates, which means good communication with your customers is vital.

4.  Published transit times are not guaranteed

It's important to stress that published carrier transit times are only approximate times and not guarantees. Knowing this can potentially save you some hassles in dealing with customer service calls.

That said, some carriers do offer guaranteed transit times for an additional cost. By making it clear your initial timetable is just an estimate, a customer can make a more informed decision about their delivery.

Details Matter In Shipping

There are few areas in business where a true eye for detail can save you more money.  Verify shipment information beforehand, and you can greatly reduce needless fees and provide better customer service!

Contact ReTrans Freight today for a free cost-savings analysis!