The 2021 Peak Season Survival Guide
Recently on the blog you may remember that we talked about Peak Season, that hectic time of the year that every shipper dreads.
Major Canadian carriers just released their 2021 Peak Season surcharges (see them here) and you need to be aware of them to avoid them. At Freightcom we strive to provide the best shipping experience for our customers, so today we’re helping you get a head start, and providing advice and insight into some of the most pressing Peak Season questions!
Prepare Your Budget
Before you even start looking at your shipping, you want to make sure your bottom line is not going to be impacted by the oncoming hikes.
With ocean freight capacity still at unprecedented levels, some import rates are upwards of 600% higher than normal. While no business wants to absorb such a high cost, you ultimately want to use tools that will help you avoid passing those added expenses onto your customers where possible.
Many businesses utilize lines of credit to manage unexpected or extraordinary costs. If necessary, consider extending your credit limit to ensure that any unexpected costs are covered. This will allow you to prepare for additional supplier costs, shipping costs, and human resource requirements.
How to Prepare a Package
The first step for shipping packages during peak season take place well before you even book your shipment!
When it comes to size and weight accuracy, there is always plenty of room for error, provided you’re ready to pay for it. Oversize and overweight fees are the most common (and costly) accessorial fees during Peak Season, so before you book, be diligent, and remember a few key tips:
- Always check the measurements of the packaging you plan on using. Carriers are more diligent than ever this time of the year, so don’t just double check, triple check.
- Weigh all packages using a good-quality shipping scale. Home scales are very misleading, ensure you are using a properly configured and calibrated scale.
- If you’re shipping several small, heavy items, package them in separate boxes to avoid overweight fees. The fees associated with one package with excess weight, will be much higher than breaking the boxes into individual shipments.
- When in doubt, round up on your measurements, to the nearest inch and the nearest pound. This will ensure there are no chargebacks which can be even higher during peak.
- To avoid non-conveyable and additional handling charges, use new packaging that falls into a standardized size. Awkward shaped or oversized packages do not allow the carrier to put them on a standard conveyor, which forces them to handle the shipment by hand, leading to extra charges.
- Take photos to document everything. In the event of a claim or a dispute, the more evidence you can submit, the better. Get into the habit of taking a picture of your shipment before it leaves your business or home.
Booking Your Shipment
Now that you have your packages properly packaged, it’s time to look at booking your shipments. Thanks to Freightcom’s easy-to-use platform, actually booking your shipments is quick and easy year-round. That said, during peak season there are additional checks that you can take to help ensure your shipments are moving in a timely and cost-effective manner.
- When preparing your shipping label, make sure that all of the information is complete and accurate. If the shipping address contains a suite or buzzer number, remember to add it to your label, as well as the contact number of the recipient.
- If you use 3rd party fulfillment services, contact them in advance to ensure that they are following your shipping procedures to the letter. Be sure to verify that they are using Freightcom’s shipping labels that you prepared for your packages.
- If your carrier of choice offers drop-off points, take advantage of them! Using drop-off points will eliminate the need for residential pickup fees and ensures your package is delivered straight to their facility.
- Schedule your pickups in the morning. Delays are inevitable during peak season, but earlier pickups will help to minimize them.
- If you’ve booked multiple packages for a single pickup, be sure that they are neat and organized for the courier in an accessible area for pickup. This greatly increases the efficiency of the pickup, as well as lowering the risk for error.
- Shipping several packages within a single shipment can be subject to additional fees if you are not careful. Be sure to contact a Freightcom Shipping Expert if you plan on booking a high-quantity shipment to avoid costs like over-max fees.
Cover Your Assets
Despite even the best preparation and planning, there is the chance that somewhere along the shipping journey something may go wrong. Issues with billing can and do arise and lost and damaged shipments may occur.
Naturally, everyone involved in the shipping journey wants to avoid this, but in the event that disputes or claims become a reality for you during peak season, there are a few things you should remember.
- Do not hesitate to start the process of submitting a claim or dispute. Depending on both the carrier and the nature of the claim, there is a window ranging from 21 to 60 days in which to submit a claim. If there is an issue with your shipment, file the claim right away.
- When submitting the required documents, be thorough. The photos that you took when you were preparing your shipment should all be included.
- Be mindful that, as with every aspect of the shipping journey during Peak Season, there will be delays.
Ship with the Best
Ultimately, booking a shipment is an integral part of your business. As with any other purchase, it is in your best interest to do your research and make an informed decision.
While it is possible to compare multiple rates and services on your own, it requires time and energy that, especially during peak season, would be better used elsewhere in your business. Not to mention, our exclusive price discounts make it easy to pick the best service and cost for your shipment.
Using a multimode solution like Freightcom will allow you to streamline this process for both LTL and parcels, ensuring you get the best rates possible without increasing your own workload.
Written by Brandon Draga
Brandon Draga is a full-time content writer at Freightcom, the leading shipping solution for businesses in Canada. When Brandon is not writing content to help businesses with their shipping needs, he can be found at local skate parks or writing fantasy novels.