Shipping Costs: 6 Tips to Reducing Your Business Transport Costs

portfolio-385530_640Providing high quality service to customers is one of the most important goals for any business. Having a proactive plan to optimize your transportation management will make a huge difference between giving your customers excellent customer services and your customers looking at your competitors to fulfill their needs. Streamlining the delivery of goods is based on saving money on transportation, faster delivery times to customers and an ability of efficiently using up available floor space in the warehouse.

In the current economic environment, businesses that make the most of their transportation options will stay at the top. Below are a few tips to help you get started.

Hire Third Party Logistics Companies

Hiring a third party logistics company to lead and execute an optimized transportation plan, gives you access to several quantifiable benefits. It becomes easier to review the costs associated with getting your products from the warehouse to their final destinations, including insurance costs (take a look at insurance.me), for example. Lower shipping and storage costs are some of the benefits you reap from having a logistics company streamline and study your entire process.

Another measurable benefit is the reduction in the number of products damaged due to improper packaging. With effective packaging systems as well as excellent quality control, your products are shipped in good shape to the final customer; fewer product damages result in a higher profit line.

Automate Transportation

If you are currently managing your scheduling and routing manually, consider putting in place an automated planning system. Route optimization systems quickly offer reliable and accurate routes based on the specific needs of your business and customer. In the short term, this may look like an expensive venture, but the return on investment in a few months will see you realize more freedom to expand due to increased efficiency savings.

Cross-Optimize for Maximum Efficiency

A while ago, it was the responsibility of the warehouse or transportation team to ensure that products are correctly stored and delivered to your customers in a cost-effective and efficient manner. New technology, like a transportation management system, integrates with a warehouse management system and procurement management, making the storage, packing and delivery process an effort that involves all the integrated parties. This translates to better communication between employees as well as an improved system of checking on the status of any job.

Review Company Fuel Usage

If you are constantly handling heavy items and know the weight of your collections or deliveries, consider putting in place a strategy for optimizing fuel costs reduction. The approach means looking into ways of dropping fuel usage by reducing the weight per mileage during transportation. Doing this will also help your business reduce its carbon footprint.

Consider All Shipping Costs Before Billing Your Customers

On average, carriers can bring in more than 75 charges into a bill, including fees for collecting a signature from recipients, delivery over the weekend or fuel surcharges. If your customer is paying for shipping, ensure that you factor in all the extra costs in their bill; this will help you avoid absorbing such costs yourself.

Use Warehouse Space Effectively

For many large businesses, warehouse space is a premium that should be used effectively through an optimized and strategic transportation management system. Keeping product flow in and out smoothly also ensures you save both money and time. The better flow system you have, the less warehouse floor space will be used.

Effective use of space and time means that your products get to customers faster. In addition, the less warehouse space you are using, the lower your overhead costs will be.

Should a Lawyer Review Your Contracts?

contract-1464917_640Dealing with contracts is something you do every day when running a business. Whether you’re getting raw materials, premises, or the skilled staff you need to make your business work, you need to lock it all into place with a series of contracts.

It’s important not to let all of this blur into one. If you take your eye off of the ball, and let the details of a contract slip past you, you could find yourself liable for far more than you’ve budgeted for.

A good business lawyer can check the contracts you sign and make sure not only that they are compliant with law, but also that they cover exactly what you want them to. This is too important a step to overlook: whatever you may have discussed previously, once you’ve signed a contract you are locked into that version of the agreement (unless you can prove you have actually been deceived, voiding the contract). Not putting your contracts before an expert’s eyes before signing them is the definition of a false economy.

A lawyer can review all kinds of contract for you, checking your rental agreements for premises won’t see you evicted for specious reasons and with little warning, that your customers giving you their data online are consenting properly, and even conducting an IR35 Contract Review to make sure your employees and consultants are correctly covered and compliant.

If you don’t have access to an in house legal team, you can consult high street lawyers, or you may opt for the increasing trend of using an online law firm. These offer greater flexibility. You can keep costs down by ensuring you only pay for the service you require, rather than an escalating series of billable meetings, and work via email and phone to make sure you get things done your schedule.

However you get it done, using the services of a lawyer is far superior to simply checking a contract yourself. Taking a lawyer’s advice means you are protected against problems you don’t have the expertise to predict. It has the secondary bonus of giving you something to fall back on if there is something unexpected in the contract the lawyer misses: you are no longer responsible for this lapse. Your lawyer is. This gives them an incentive to defend you from the consequences all the more vigorously and even possibly gives you an avenue for compensation when necessary.

This Insurance Compare Giant is Helping Rideshare Drivers Get Insurance

navigation-1048294_640Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft have completely revolutionized the way people get around cities—and given the taxi industry a run for their money in the process. These ridesharing companies aim to reduce traffic and vehicle emissions by offering popular Line and Pool services to complete more trips with fewer vehicles. All you need is a smartphone and credit or debit card to ride.

While these services have taken the world by storm, it’s not without its share of unique issues and challenges—chief among them being the problem of insurance. While Uber and Lyft do provide a certain amount of coverage while you are en route to pick up a rider, there isn’t much they offer for the interim when you are waiting for a call.

While ridesharing has massively disrupted public transportation and how Americans get around, the insurance world is scrambling to keep up. CoverHound, an insurance-shopping platform for the auto, homeowners and commercial business industries, recently announced that they’re rising to the occasion to meet the needs of the many rideshare drivers using these services.

When you own a car and pay for insurance, the policy will almost always have the verbiage that says that it doesn’t apply if you are charging people money to drive them around. The two rideshare giants have back-up policies that go into effect if a driver’s personal insurance provider denies the claim because of policy exclusion that prevents the exchange of rides for money.

This puts many drivers in a tricky spot. They can tell their providers the truth about the use of their car commercially and risk a policy cancellation; or, they could omit their activity with the ridesharing company and hope that the insurance company doesn’t catch wind of the truth.

The online insurance company has affiliated with large carriers across 24 states for drivers who use ridesharing apps, like Uber and Lyft. Keith Moore, CEO of CoverHound, told Insurance Journal, that the need for rideshare insurance became clear to him, and the other executives of the company, after using the rideshare app to get around while traveling for business and noticing that many drivers are “in need of education on rideshare insurance, the requirements to carry it, and the benefits of having it.”

Rideshare insurance has been a hot-button issue after a fatal New Year’s Eve accident involving an UberX driver in San Francisco. The driver was in an SUV and drove into a family walking across a Tenderloin crosswalk—killing a 6-year-old girl. Uber said the driver was not covered under their $1 million liability policy because he was in between calls.

“Insurance can’t be content with maintaining the status quo; our industry must keep up with constant innovations and disruptions in transportation and the sharing economy,” said Moore. “Ridesharing is a phenomenon, and we are committed to helping drivers find the coverage they need on our online comparison platform.”

CoverHound is an insuretech company that makes it simple for consumers and businesses to compare car insurance rates among providers in their region. The platform handles most of their business online but also has support available over the phone. States currently served are: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.