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5 ‘tweaks’ to ask your shipper

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Scope out your shipping-fee statement for potential cost savings. Five questions to ask your carrier:

1. Have you added any surcharges? Carriers may tack on charges for going through international security or for handling an undeliverable package. All of them are negotiable.

2. Can I have my account history? If you’ve worked with the same carrier for a while, ask for a historical report, and then use that information to negotiate. If 95% of your packages are going to Boston, for example, you might ask your carrier to cut the fees it charges for the remaining 5% to go to rural Wyoming.

3. What would make my freight more attractive?
Carriers can offer discounts to those who ship cargo in the most profitable way. So ask how you can tweak your shipping to get a price break. For example, you might be able to bundle multiple packages going to a single destination.

4. What regions and types of freight do you specialize in?
Some carriers specialize in shipping hazardous materials, perishable freight, pharmaceuticals and even cosmetics. Also ask: What companies do you ship to? You might be able to piggyback your delivery with a truck already headed for that destination.

5. Can you give me a trial run?
Most carriers will do trial runs during off-peak months, but few will take on new business during peak shipping season.

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