You spend a good amount of time, money and other resources to get a sale. Don’t let the wrong shipping company let you down. Your reputation can be made or broken by the delivery process. Therefore you will want to find the best possible shipping company for your business. Here are six steps you should take to find that perfect delivery partner.

1). Check the shipping company’s experience with your product

If you are shipping a product that requires special care, you will want to make sure that the shipping company has experience for that particular product. For instance, if you are shipping artwork, you don’t want inexperienced shippers handling an original Picasso. Ask about the shipping company’s experience with your type of product, their insurance coverage and their white glove services that they offer. Be sure to also ask the shipping company for a couple of references so you can perform a background check.

2). Ask about their contingency plans

You want to make sure that your shipping company is thinking ahead. Therefore, you will want to know about the shipping company’s contingency plans. For instance, if you need to ship something overseas, what will they do if there is limited air freight service. Ask what backup plans do they have in case their tracking systems go down. Think of as many things that can go wrong with a shipment and see if the shipping company has a backup plan for those situations.

3). Check their delivery methods

A good shipping company should have every type of shipping method available to meet your needs. If the shipping company uses a third party to handle air or sea shipments, then you will want to do research on that third party. Chances are you will be making cross-country and international shipments. These types of deliveries can be risky when you are using a third-party shipper. Therefore you will want to make sure that these third party shippers have good systems in place.

4). See how they perform during busy seasons

If you are like most companies, then a significant chunk of your business will take place during certain times of the year. For instance, the majority of your business may occur during the holiday season. Chances are the shipping company will be handling an elevated amount of orders from all of their clients. You will want to make certain that the shipping company has the capacity to handle that kind of business. It may be a good idea to check how the shipping company did the previous holiday season before you commit to them for the upcoming holiday season.

5). Check their delivery times

One of the most important aspects of shipment is delivery time. With every order, you will be giving the customer a delivery date range. In some cases, you may be committing to a specific delivery deadline. You will want to make sure that the shipping company will be able to consistently meet that shipping deadline. You may want to start by making a couple of “test” shipments with the company to see how well they handle regional, cross-country and international deliveries. You will also want to test the shipping company’s ability to handle any promised express delivery.

6). Check for lawsuits against the shipping company

One of the best ways to check the reputation of a shipping company is to look at any previous or pending lawsuits against the business. In particular, you will want to see if the shipping company has been sued for non-delivery, late delivery or damaged delivery of products. If you notice a high number of lawsuits, then that should be a big red flag to pass on that shipping company. Obviously, the shipping company will not disclose this type of information for you so you will want to check court records.

Getting a top shipping partner on your team

Your business deserves the best possible delivery partner to help your operations grow. However, you will have to put in the time to carefully check the reputation and the operational capacity of that shipping business. Check each company’s reputation carefully and you will find a shipping partner that will get things done.