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One way to promote your shipping company is through open market Web sites. These Web sites are places where shipping companies and those who need shipping service can come together and negotiate a price that is acceptable for both sides.
These Web sites allow those who need an item(s) shipped to place a listing and then potential moving companies will make a proposal on how much they would need to be paid for the service. The person looking for a shipping company will then choose a bid and the transaction will be set up.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Such Web sites do charge a small portion of the amount you receive, but it is necessary for them to keep their doors open.
- You may have to place a bid for an amount lower than what you would normally charge, but it is a good way to get your services and shipping company seen by those who are in the market for them immediately or to fill up extra space on a route you will be taking anyway.
- A shipper might be inclined to base more value on the quality of service you will give them and your overall satisfaction rating, rather than grabbing the lowest bid.
When planning a trip, remember to plan for rush hour traffic, and take turnpikes when you are on a time schedule or when you are in an area when gas is higher than average.
If you hit a city or large town during rush hour, it could take a chunk out of the time you have set aside to make your rest stops. Popular highways often times have stand-still traffic at the peak of rush hour, especially if there as been an accident. Try to take a less popular highway if you find yourself near in a large town or city during rush hour or try to avoid towns or cities at this time altogether.
Turnpikes cost money, but they can also be a better option for those who are on a tight time schedule or when taking a longer, free route would be just as expensive due to gas prices in the area. In these cases toll roads can actually save you money.
You may also want to plan your route so that you can fill up at gas stations that have low gas prices (compared to other gas stations in the area). You can find out where these may be by using a Web site such as www.gasbuddy.com, and plan your trip around them. This idea can also help you save money.
There are many ways to plan a trip and various routes that a shipping company can map out for each trip.
Putting together a route to follow for multiple stops on the same trip or by scheduling all of your stops for a week on two or three specific days, may help your shipping company save on gas (which will save money), time (which will allow you to schedule more shipments per week), and hourly driver pay (which will also help to save money).
Planning a specific route in advance will give you the opportunity to place stops in an order that will allow you to make the most out of that one trip. By saving money, you will be able to pass a portion of these savings on to the customer, which will lower your prices and help to bring in new business.
One way for a shipping company to help attract customers is through the use of banner ads. These can be placed by you, by an affiliate (which you will have to share a portion of the profit with), or through a banner exchange on relevant Web sites. There are three ways to secure a placement for your banner ads:
- Send an inquiry to the Webmasters of related Web sites and see if they have a price structure for advertising on their Web site.
- Set up a small affiliate program. This may require that you hire a professional to manage the program, however, you only have to pay the affiliate when they make a sell. This will save money on the amount of advertising costs you dish out before you see a profit.
- Sign up with a banner exchange program for relevant Web sites. This is one of the few free marketing options that may be available to you.
You will need to use banner ads that grab a visitors attention, but not one that has an “in your face” approach. Lastly, it is important to advertise a promotion or discounted rate on your banner ads. Visitors will be more willing to check out your Web site and services if they feel they are getting a good deal.
If your not sure which type of banner ad marketing strategy will be more lucrative for you, try them all out for a few months and see which one performs the best. This will help you narrow down the right option for your shipping company.
Growing a business can be a difficult task for some start-up companies. There are many large shipping companies that started out as a few people, with a few trucks, in one location. The key to growing your start-up shipping company is to branch out to a new area whenever you have the financial means to do so.
As profit comes in, you may be able to rent an office space, buy a few more trucks, and hire a manager and several drivers in a new area. The best place to do this would be at least 30 miles away from any of your current locations, in a large town or city. This will give you a new area in which to advertise, promote your business, and gain customers.
Once you have several locations, you can begin to combine your routes so that you can cover the most amount of space with one driver. This will help your shipping company save money that can be used for advertising or to establish another location.
One of the most effective ways to grow the customer base of your shipping company is to make sure your current customers are happy with the quality and service they receive for the price that they pay.
The higher a shipping company's rates, the better service a customer may expect. This is important to keep in mind when dealing with an unsatisfied customer.
If you can succeed in making your customer walk away satisfied with the transaction, they will be more apt to give you returning business the next time they are in search of the same services. Furthermore, if they have family, friends, or associates who need something shipped, they will be more likely to refer you to these potential customers if they were satisfied with the service they received from your shipping company.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|