One of the trickiest tasks an interior designer must tackle is ensuring every single item ordered for a project is delivered from one place to another in one pretty piece. As we all know, this is much easier said than done. The team behind Freight Club understands this priority and has made it their business, literally, to provide customers with the flexibility, rates and white-glove service they need to execute this difficult undertaking.
Freight Club focuses on managing the logistics and rate negotiations of high touch/high demand product, shipping over 1.5M pieces of furniture last year alone. How does the Freight Club keep their prices down? They consider themselves a collective club; “the more we all ship, the better the rates are”. The Freight Club shares how they take care of delicate shipments such as glass, executing shipments in a cost-efficient and timely manner, and how Freight Club offerings ease the shipping and handling burden for interior designers.
Why do interior designers enjoy working with the Freight Club?
Interior designers literally have more important things to focus on than getting a product from point A to point B. Being able to shop 23 furniture specific carriers with one click and then receive quotes back in seconds saves time and allows for quick rate comparisons. Designers need flexibility, Freight Club provides this. Designers need assurance of quality, Freight Club does this, and is also responsible for handling the claims with the carriers. Regarding price, we ship more than 1.5 million shipments per year and negotiate the best rates possible across the country. We also don’t just specialize in certain lanes or geographic areas, Freight Club provides full national coverage.
How does the Freight Club guarantee the lowest furniture freight rates?
Freight Club focuses on shipping high touch/high damage product, like furniture, and we ship a lot of it! We shipped over 1.5M pieces last year. We focus on the core of our business and our logistics managers negotiate very hard with carriers to get the best rates. We are a club, and collectively, the more we all ship, the better the rates are. Volume savings are passed on to our customers. This allows piece shipping to be economical and enables the smaller shippers to compete with the largest retailers in the business.
We want to be the leader in both providing amazing rates and finding solutions for our customers every day.
In your opinion, how has technology impacted the freight business in the U.S.?
I believe we are only at the beginning of this journey. To be able to input a couple of details about a shipment and then push those details out to all the carriers and return rates in real-time is pretty phenomenal. Our rates are not table based, meaning, we don’t store them in our database. If a carrier has capacity across a certain lane, our platform will reflect that immediately. On top of that, being able to print and push B.O.L’s out automatically also reduces time. So, if you think of it from a user’s standpoint, you don’t have to submit for quotations to multiple carriers and wait for an agent to get back to you, you don’t have to spend tedious amounts of time shopping around and you don’t have to fill out B.O.L’s. This all adds up to more time for interior designers to do what they do best and love!
Based on your knowledge of the industry, what are the common challenges in executing shipments in a cost-efficient and timely manner?
Volume is a large part of cost, and that is why as a club, we collectively have more power to win on costs. All of our carriers are contracted to pick-up within 48 hours of booking. If certain carriers can’t commit to that for a certain zip code, they will not populate rates. We care a lot about our customers’ time and money, so fast rate shopping, ease of booking, pick-up within 48 hours, and handling of claims are all factors that contribute to this platform being successful.
What are the trickiest items you ship for interior designers?
Glass – and specifically large glass tables that weigh in excess of 450 lbs. Packaging is something that manufacturers who are not used to shipping single pieces quite often don’t do very well. Having carriers that specifically deal with furniture is imperative because shipments are often fragile. All of our white glove services come with two men minimum and more can be added depending on the weight of certain items. We also suggest to use a carrier for fragile items, like Watkins Sheppard
, because we know they don’t use forklifts in their shipping process. Everything is handled by hand and inspected at each terminal the item goes to. We are also currently building out our blanket-wrap services which will also allow for more specialized services as we move forward.
Can you name some of the common mistakes interior designers make when arranging for shipping using freight services?
Pickup dates are probably the most common mistakes. Many interior designers have custom orders and those manufacturers are often behind, or their schedules change. It’s not great to send trucks out to pickup locations when the item is not ready. However, with our 48-hour pickup window, it allows the designer to be quite fluid with their needs. Rate Classification is another common mistake. And what’s Rate Classification? It’s a number generated by the various different inputs, weight, dimensions, type of shipment, etc. The rate of 100 can be very different to a rate of 400 and we don’t like surprises or adjusted bills after a shipment. Our rate calculator will automatically calculate the rate class which takes out the ambiguity of rate shopping.
As a Freight Club Member, what kind of information can you review on the dashboard?
Everything you need to be able to quote, book, and track an order is easy to find from our dashboard. Another great feature is being able to pull up “open quotes”, quotes you have inquired for, but haven’t booked. All of the shipping address and product information is saved so you can quickly move to book without having to enter all the information again.
Our rate calculator will automatically calculate the rate class which takes out the ambiguity of rate shopping.
For those new to Freight Club, what are 3 tips for making the most out of your offerings?
1. Familiarize yourself with the “Quick Quote” page. There are some easy-to-use features that allow you to get multiple quotes very quickly so you can check prices and get on with your day.
2. Take the time to review the Service Levels. Freight Club has all types of delivery options. Sometimes, changing the delivery service is a great way to ensure your project stays on budget.
3. Service is key. We have a full Customer Service team who is just a call or email away to help you with any questions or special requests.
How does the Freight Club prioritize customer support for its clients?
Yes, we have a terrific platform with real time quotes, however, Customer Service is an integral part of our business. That’s why our Customer Service team will personally handle every claim and damage resolution on your behalf. Plus, our freight experts are here to help answer your questions and help take some of the pain out of shipping.
We are a club, and collectively, the more we all ship, the better the rates are.
What’s your focus for 2017?
Our goal is to continue improving our services and rates for our clients by either adding more furniture carriers, or adding specialty services such as blanket wrap. We have a dedicated IT team who is constantly improving features to our dashboard, often incorporating user feedback to make the site function even easier to use. Our focus is on a very specific portion of the shipping industry. We want to be the leader in both providing amazing rates and finding solutions for our customers every day.
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