Not all international shipping companies are alike, and choosing the right one can seem like a daunting task.
If you’re moving internationally, sending large items, or large volumes of items across the pond, you need to be able to trust your provider with your life’s most important cargo. This might be cars, furniture, household goods, or your life’s work.
With so many options––where should you start looking? For starters, you need a strategy. We went ahead and did that part for you.
To help you find the right international shipping company for your shipping needs, we’ve broken down the process into four actionable steps. In this post, you’ll learn how to:
- Prepare your cargo information and understand your needs
- Research the right keywords in Google
- Compare international shipping companies
- Get a Quote
Let’s get started.
Prepare Cargo Information and Understand Your Needs
Before you get on Google, the first thing you need to do is be able to answer the question, what are you looking for out of an international shipping company?
Start by identifying the basics and writing them down (this will help you in the next step):
- What types of items are you shipping?
- Ocean or air freight?
- What country is your cargo going to?
- How fast does it need to get there?
Once you have the general parameters of your shipment, you need to get more specific. You can refine your needs by determining whether your shipment requires any additional services or specifications from your freight forwarding company, such as:
- Full (FCL) or less than full (LCL) container load?
- Do you have a ledger of the items, quantities, and dimensions of the items being shipped?
- Do you need warehousing to store cargo overnight?
- Do you need cargo loading and unloading?
- Do you need consolidated shipping?
- Do you need door-to-door delivery services?
- Do you need dispatching or inland services (delivering a car to your driveway, for example)?
- Do you need someone to load the container for you?
- Do you need a company to plan your shipment and book your carrier for you?
Now that you know your priorities, keep your list on hand. Your answers to these questions will help you filter out companies that don’t fit your needs when you start looking up companies.
Google Search Companies Using Specific Keywords (From Step 1)
Now that you have all the criteria and pieces of information about your shipment assembled and in one place, you’re ready to start searching for shipping companies on Google.
Beware: if you type in search terms that are too broad (e.g. simply “international shipping company”), you’ll get pages of irrelevant results and companies that don’t specialize in the areas you need.
For instance, suppose you live in the United States but want to ship a car or household goods to Rabat, Morocco.
To turn up results that are most relevant to your shipping situation, simply take a look at what you wrote in Step 1 and extract the following information:
- The locations involved (e.g. “From the US to Rabat, Morocco“)
- The type of item being shipped (e.g. “a car” or “household goods” or “furniture“)
Now you have your keywords, and you can use them to form the question: “How do I ship a car from the US to Rabat, Morocco?” Google will then parse through all the thousands of international shipping companies out there to return the most relevant companies that deal with the regions and items you specify in your search.
You’ll still have lots of options to choose from, which brings us to our next point.
Compare International Shipping Companies
After your Google search, you’ll probably have a list of prospective companies. Now it’s time to compare them and figure out which one meets your price, timeline, and service needs.
Call their sales representatives. When they give you the space to ask more questions, you can use this opportunity to find out other key factors in your decision:
- What do they know about the regulations in your target country?
- Do they have agents in your destination country?
- Do they provide the freight type you need? (ocean/steam, air, rail, etc.)
- How do they make sure there are no hidden fees in the process?
- How do you guarantee the safe shipment of my cargo?
Look through their website. It’s a good sign if the company specializes in the area you’re looking for. Don’t forget to read their services page to make sure they provide everything you need for your shipment.
Look for paper clearance. Make sure the company is compliant with the appropriate rules and regulations of international shipping and import/export laws in the country your cargo is getting shipped to.
Get a Quote
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s time to contact the companies of interest to get quotes.
Some companies will require you to fill out a form with all the shipment details, while others ask that you call their number and describe your shipment to a sales representative.
Either way, if you completed step 1, you should be ready for both!
Finding an international shipping company doesn’t have to be such a headache.
Whether you’re a family and need to ship large items to another continent, an e-commerce business shipping large volumes of smaller items, or car auctioneers looking to deliver merchandise to international customers––you need a freight forwarding service you can trust, that accommodates a wide variety of international shipping needs, and places a high priority on customer service.
With SenShipping, you can rest assured you’re getting the best rate and the fastest shipping time, from folks who care about getting your cargo where it needs to go.