Tips To Compete With Major Shipping Carriers (And Win)

One of the most significant challenges that owner-operated shipping businesses face is finding new customers. Truckers must compete against major carriers like FedEx, UPS, Amazon, USPS, and other independent carriers. As you might imagine, the competition is stiff, and getting in the fight as a newly established business is easier said than done. Admittedly, it will take some time to acquire loyal customers, but there are some strategies you can use to make the process easier. Continue reading for tips. 

Research The Competition

You can’t devise a plan if you don’t know who or what you’re competing against. So, your first order of business is to learn everything you can about other shipping companies. Assess international and local shippers. 

Their websites can provide a lot of information, including services offered, rates, mission statements, customer reviews, etc. Social media platforms are another place to check because you can learn more about how they interact with their audience and consumer experiences. 

Once you’ve done your due diligence, you can use the information to develop a business strategy to separate yourself from the competition. 

Be Mindful With Rates

When you’re just starting, you have a lot of overhead. Ultimately, every penny counts. Naturally, you want to make the most money possible, but pricing your services too high too soon could put you out of the running. 

Assess your expenses, analyze competitor rates, and develop reasonable pricing options that enable you to generate a profit without hurting your customer’s pockets. Shipping zones, distance, weight, and dimensions using tools like a DIM weight calculator can also help you customize pricing packages to accommodate your customer’s needs and budget. 

Provide Convenience

Consumers are willing to pay more to work with businesses that provide them with additional conveniences. As you consider the types of services you offer, make convenience a priority. What can you do to make it easy for your clients to get their products and services to their customers? 

Offering specialized storage, inbound and outbound processes, warehouse fulfillment, and inventory management, for instance, helps your clients save money while keeping up with product demands. Another suggestion is to expand your services to include small orders and oversized freight. Ultimately, customers can use you as their one-stop-shop shipping carrier instead of having multiple delivery options. 

Convenience doesn’t just apply to what and how you ship customer orders. You must consider the overall customer experience from the initial point of contact until the order is completed. Leveraging technologies that allow clients to get online quotes, virtual bill pay, access inventory management platforms, and track packages provide a convenience that customers can appreciate. 

Partner With Other Service Providers

As a new shipping company, you may not have the capital or capacity to provide full-service options to your customers. Partnering with other service providers and negotiating discounts or affordable rates for your clients saves them the trouble of searching for capable agencies. 

For instance, working with a packaging company would benefit small businesses that need assistance designing product labels and choosing the best packaging materials. Similarly, you can outsource those orders to independent truckers or a specialized shipping company if you don’t have refrigerated trucks. The idea is to make things as easy as possible for your clients so they can worry less about shipping their products and focus on providing quality service to their customers. 

Stand For Something

Modern-day consumers prefer to do business with brands that stand for or support something meaningful. Think about ways to give back to your customers, the community, a social cause, or the shipping industry. You could use sustainability and advertise as a shipper who cares about the environment. Donating a portion of your profits to a charity or cause is another popular way to give back. Sponsorships, giveaways, and even social media posts supporting things that mean something to your target audience can help set you apart from the competition. 

Consistency Is Key

The final step to beating out the competition in the shipping industry is to be consistent. You and your staff must work diligently to provide quality customer service from beginning to end. Your ability to remain consistent reduces client stress and cultivates loyalty. 
The shipping industry is very competitive. As a newcomer, you will need to work hard to set yourself apart from the rest. While it can take time to build brand awareness, establish credibility, and acquire loyal customers, having a strategic plan can make reaching your goals easier. Use the advice provided above to customize the most effective strategy that will increase your chances of success.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.