How to Evaluate and Choose the Best Courier for You

It can be difficult to wade through the dozens of companies in your area who offer transportation and courier services. How do you narrow down the choices to the most optimal businesses? What should you look for in a transportation provider?

We’ve put together the most critical questions to ask when evaluating transportation providers to ensure the most professional, efficient service.

1. Are the drivers uniformed? Do they carry identification?

It is vital when hiring a courier that the drivers project a secure, professional image. Be sure to ask if all drivers wear full uniforms and have identification badges prominently displayed. Also, verify that all drivers have a background check. This offers peace of mind to your employees as well as your customers.

2. Is the company licensed and insured?

Protecting your company from liability is a priority. Research the courier’s insurance coverage. It is critical that your courier won’t expose your company to lawsuits. The majority of the companies in the courier industry utilize an Independent Contractor compensation model. As such, the risks involved may require different types of insurance coverage. The most common difference is worker’s compensation insurance. In the courier industry, it is common to use occupational accident insurance for independent contractors. This would be a great question to ask prior to making a commitment to a particular delivery company. Without either coverage, your company is at risk if the courier is injured while performing work for your company.

3. What types of packages can the drivers handle?

Can the drivers manage large cargo or extremely valuable packages? What about perishable items? Is the company H.I.P.P.A. compliant? If you have specific or strict instructions, will the drivers be able to follow them successfully and efficiently? The big two (FedEx and UPS) may perform well when the carton is very standardized, however, a smaller, more nimble company may be better suited to meet your specific delivery requirements. Do you have the need for special handling (e.g., “white glove” service)? Do you have the need for special paperwork to be signed and returned to you once the delivery is completed?

4. Does the company offer different levels/speeds of service?

Do you need a scheduled delivery? Will the delivery need to occur on a weekend or at night? Ask what types of services are available to you. You might need service within the hour. Or perhaps you want an inexpensive option for when time isn’t a critical issue. You need a courier company that is flexible and offers many choices for levels of service. Be sure to ask if the company operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, including weekends and holidays. Be aware, additional charges typically occur for after-hours, weekends, and holidays.

5. Does the company offer tracking? Proof of delivery?

Does the courier have up to date technology? Can you track your package and receive proof of delivery via the Internet? In today’s busy world, the information about a shipment may be equally important as the actual shipment itself. Does the company offer shipment notification via email, as well as an exception email should there be a delay? Is it helpful to receive an email upon delivery showing the signature of the consignee?

6. How accessible is the customer service department?

What if you need to contact the courier’s customer service department? What are the hours they are available? Can you reach a representative quickly? Can you communicate via email or chat in a timely fashion?

7. Is the courier company experienced? Can they provide recommendations from other customers?

Experience is extremely important when looking for a courier. You want people who have extensive knowledge of the industry and who demonstrate professionalism. Find out if you can speak with other customers who have used the courier and are pleased with the services offered.

8. Are the courier’s rates competitive?

Rates are, of course, a significant factor when choosing a courier. Is the company posting rates that are reasonable and competitive? Beware of rates that seem exceptionally low. As in any industry, you sacrifice security and professionalism with lower prices.