With the winter holiday season quickly approaching, the busy shipping rush for manufacturers and retailers is well underway. And small to mid-size businesses are ramping up to ship thank-you gifts to loyal vendors and clients nationwide.
To help small to mid-size businesses nationwide avoid lost, delayed or damaged parcels during the peak of the season, Unishippers Global Logistics, LLC, the nation’s first and one of the largest small package and freight shipping resellers, has compiled the following tips to allow for a smooth, painless shipping season.
For heavy freight shippers
- Properly package pallets. Many shippers try to save a few dollars by skimping on shrink-wrap. All too often, boxes fall off of poorly wrapped pallets and are damaged or lost. A good rule of thumb is to use two to three complete wraps around the pallet to ensure a secure load. If every box on your pallet is not going to be labeled individually, it’s a smart idea to at least mark each box 1 of 10, 2 of 10, etc. By doing so, you can minimize the risk of any boxes being missed if they should fall off the pallet. In addition, it is recommended that you mark somewhere on the pallet how many total boxes are in the shipment.
- Reinforce packaging. Due to unpredictable weather and the influx of shipments over the holidays, packaging needs to be as secure as possible. An easy and effective way to reinforce packaging is by taping the opening and seams of the boxes with 2-inch-wide clear, brown, reinforced or paper packing tape. Do not use the following materials: cord, string, twine, duct tape, basic tape or masking tape. For fragile items, it’s always a good idea to box them twice to avoid damages.
- Consider insurance. If a shipment is damaged in transit, the basic liability program may not cover the full value of the shipment. With cargo insurance, businesses are more likely to recover the full value of their shipments and the process for filing a claim is often easier. Make sure to keep all receipts and take photos of valuable items before they are shipped as proof of their condition. Inspect and take note of any visible losses as soon as the package is delivered. This way, if the goods in the package are destroyed, the business receiving the package can immediately spot if there were any damages and proceed with the proper protocol of filing a claim right away.
For UPS/small package shippers
- Shipping perishable items. The best days to ship perishable items are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays with next-day delivery. Keep in mind that a request for a Saturday delivery will result in an additional charge (and is often a waste when shipping to a business that is closed on weekends), so if you have to ship a perishable item on a Thursday or Friday, make sure it can endure extremely hot or cold temperatures for up to four days.
- Shipping alcoholic beverages. If you are planning to ship wine as a thank-you to your loyal customers this season, read the rules and regulations of the carrier you are using before you ship. For instance, when ordering wine with UPS, you need to be licensed to ship wine and must be entered into a contract with the carrier for wine transport.
- Protecting shipping labels against wet weather. It’s important to prepare packaging for all weather conditions, especially over the holidays when snow and sleet are common. Protecting shipping labels is an important step to ensure shipments get to where they need to be without delay. Preferably, use the label sleeves provided by the carrier or place a strip of clear packing tape over the address area and be sure to avoid any barcodes that require scanning.
For all shippers
- Plan ahead for the busy season and carrier closings. Over the holidays, most carriers have reduced hours or are closed altogether. The majority of shippers, like UPS and FedEx, will not deliver packages on Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday), Christmas, New Year’s Eve or New Year’s day. Check their websites well in advance for open and closed dates and ship accordingly so shipments are sent early enough to get to their destinations on time.
“The holiday season is always a hectic time in general and can easily become that much more stressful for business owners who are in the dark about how to properly manoeuver through the many ins and outs of shipping over the holidays,” said Unishippers' President, Kevin Lathrop. “It’s best not to leave anything to chance at an already stressful time of year. Working with a third party logistics provider like Unishippers takes the guesswork out of the process and alleviates shipping concerns so business owners can focus on all of the other details and tasks at hand.”
Founded in 1987, Unishippers has grown to become the largest reseller of shipping services in the nation with more than 290 franchise locations. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT, the Unishippers concept is simple – work with major carriers including UPS®, Saia®, Estes®, YRC Freight™ and UPS Freight® to handle the pick-up, transport and delivery of customers’ shipments. All the while, franchisees work to provide customers with service and support. By leveraging the combined shipping volume of all its customers, Unishippers gets deeply discounted rates from its carriers, resulting in lower shipping costs. Unishippers serves more than 50,000 small to mid-sized businesses, and has been recognized as a top freight broker by Transport Topics and a top franchise by Entrepreneur, Franchise Times and the Inc. 5000.
Contact Unishippers for information on franchise opportunities.