Deciding on the right freight housing company for your import/export business is of the utmost importance. Freight housing companies play an important role in your entire business operations. Selecting the right freight housing company will dictate much of how you operate your business, ranging from how you process orders to how you create internal workflows.
Begin by Interviewing Yourself
You know that you need a freight housing company. You need an organization that will receive and store freight until it’s able to be sent on to the next location, allowing your business to grow and expand. Asking yourself a few specific problems will help you ascertain what you’ll need from a freight housing company:
- Is any of the cargo that will be transported hazardous?
- Based on the legal agreements with suppliers, when does my organization become liable and responsible for the product?
- Based on recurring orders, what is the typical origination and destination of shipments? At what point in their journey will they require a freight housing company?
- Are there any additional licenses that will be required for importing/exporting that the freight house will need to carry?
- What types of special documents will my business require from a freight housing company for internal processes?
Answering each of these questions will form the criteria for what you need out of a freight housing company. The more thoroughly you answer each of these questions, the more likely you’ll end up with a perfect freight housing partner.
Thoroughly Vet Prospective Freight Housing Companies
After you’ve interviewed yourself, you’ll understand how to quickly weed out housing companies that won’t get the job done. If their operation is too small, they’re in a bad location or they can’t accommodate your cargo – they aren’t the ones for you.
The real difficulty begins when deciding between a freight housing companies that can satisfy your basic requirements. You’ll need to invest the time required to vet every perspective company. Here’s how to do it:
- What is the organization’s experience level? Experience matters. A freight housing company with a proven track record of excellence indicates that it is an organization you can put your trust behind. Ask the freight housing company if they can put you in contact with any of their existing clients, and ask about the clients’ experiences.
- Do they have all required permits and licensing? Importing and exporting can be quite complex in legalities alone. Make sure that any prospective freight housing company has all required permits to operate. They should be able to easily provide this information, and failing to verify it may result in lost shipments.
- Can they handle different types of shipments? Right now you might be primarily receiving shipments by air from Vietnam, but next month you may wish to receive shipments by train from Mexico. Look for a freight housing company that can accommodate as many types of shipments as possible.
After you’ve completed your vetting process, you may still have one or two reputable companies to decide between. Ask about their contract terms. Try a minimum agreement with one, and then the other.
Alternatively, you may even be able to use both services simultaneously, depending on locations and other logistics. Once you’ve completed a trial period, examine the experience from a financial perspective. Did the business grow as a result of using this freight housing company? Was there any lost inventory or a higher frequency of issues? If the experience was problem free, then your search may be over!