What to Look For In a Trucking Company
You put a lot of trust into the company that moves your freight or delivers your product. Whatever industry you serve, you want your product to be transported safely and arrive on time.
Delays or refrigeration issues can spell disaster. Damaged or spoiled products can sully your reputation and harm your relationship with your distributor. In some cases, transportation issues can make pharmaceuticals or food products dangerous for the consumer. Hazardous materials require special care during transportation to ensure the safety of the driver and others on the roadway.
Transportation is one of the most important steps in your supply chain. So how do you know you are choosing a trustworthy trucking company? What should you look for in a logistics company?
Check for License & Insurance
As you evaluate trucking companies, you’ll want to start by verifying their license, insurance, and U.S. DOT Number.
All companies that haul cargo in interstate commerce must be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and must have a USDOT Number. Companies that transport hazardous materials are also required to have a safety permit.
Look for a company that provides all of this information upfront. You can also verify this documentation yourself by visiting the U.S. DOT website.
Look at Their Safety Record
Safety, of course, is a top priority. The U.S. DOT also makes it easy to access a trucking company’s safety record. All registered trucking companies are given MC/MX numbers. A quick search by MC/MX number will give you a “Company Snapshot.” This page details inspections and accidents, if any have occured. It also compares the company to the national average. These statistics allow you to accurately compare trucking companies.
When you need to move a load quickly or have an unexpected issue, you want to work with a company that will be responsive to your needs. A company that answers the phone and is able to provide a quote quickly is always a good sign.
Clear, consistent communication is another good indicator that the trucking company is well run. When transporting freight, issues will come up over time. A well organized company is able to troubleshoot quickly in an effort to deliver your load as quickly as possible.
Trucking equipment takes a lot of wear and tear on the road. If a fleet is not well-maintained, costly delays are likely. If possible, take the time to visit the trucking company’s headquarters. Looking at a company’s equipment in person will give you a good idea if the company prioritizes maintenance.
Reliable equipment is especially important if you are shipping perishables. A malfunctioning refrigeration compartment can compromise an entire shipment of food in a matter of hours during hot summer months. Even if the company’s insurance pays for the lost product, delays can damage your reputation with the businesses you supply.
When shipping luxury goods, you’ll want to ask about security procedures, documentation policies and driver access to cargo. Inspect door locks and other security measures to make sure they are in good condition.