OptimalShip's Helpful Shipping Tips

K. Sterrett

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What to Look for (and Avoid) in a Freight Forwarder

Posted by K. Sterrett on May 30, 2019 11:42:00 AM

A freight forwarder's marketing strategy -- or lack of one -- can say a lot about how they will be to work with. As you select your freight forwarder, keep these do's and don'ts in mind.

If a freight forwarder falls in the "Don't" category, be careful. You'd likely be much better off with a different freight forwarder. If a freight forwarder falls in the "Do" category, they are likely a good choice. Here are our Marketing Do's and Don'ts for how to choose a freight forwarder, followed by an infographic reference with this information.

Do's: What You Should Look for in a Freight Forwarder 


It's easy to get into the freight forwarding business, but harder to do it right. 

Country Agents

Does the freight forwarder have connections in the country you're exporting/importing from?

Correct Services

Not all freight forwarders offer the same services. Does this one have everything you're looking for?

Good References

How are the reviews across the web? Do you know anyone who uses this freight forwarder? More references are better.


Your freight forwarder should answer the phone, emails, and any correspondence in a really reasonable amount of time.


Don'ts: What You Should Avoid in a Freight Forwarder

No Website

No website is a no-go. Make sure your freight forwarder has a presence online.

No Phone Number

Some freight forwarders try to save money by not providing "live" customer service, or upcharging for it. The best do not.

Lack of Reviews

Are there just no reviews across the web? They could either be silenced by the company or too new to have any yet.


Does the freight forwarder have a consistent online presence, or do they come and go? Watch their website for up-to-date information, as well as their blog and social media accounts -- if they have them.

Unwilling to Help

Customer service isn't helpful when they don't know what they are doing or can't help you. They should go above and beyond to help you. Don't settle for less.

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Topics: Export Basics, International Shipping, Freight Forwarder

Should You Offer Free Shipping to Your Customers?

Posted by K. Sterrett on May 23, 2019 11:12:00 AM

If you need more business, it’s likely that you’ve thought about offering free shipping to people who buy your merchandise, especially if you don’t have a storefront. It's become an increasingly demanded and popular option for customers. Amazon does it, Walmart does it, and even DollarTree offers it for shipments sent to your closest store.

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Topics: Domestic Shipping

What Determines Shipping Costs?

Posted by K. Sterrett on May 18, 2019 11:03:17 AM

Shipping costs are determined by numerous complicated factors. We know you probably didn't want to hear that!

While some of the factors can be difficult to predict, with some proper guidance and research, shipping costs can be predicted within reason.

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Topics: Export Basics, International Shipping, Domestic Shipping, Import Basics, Exports

Who is OptimalShip, and What Can We Do for You?

Posted by K. Sterrett on Aug 3, 2018 1:24:05 PM
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Topics: International Shipping

Most Commonly Used International Shipping Terms Everyone Should Know

Posted by K. Sterrett on Jun 27, 2018 12:56:10 PM

Are you confused by some of the lingo in international shipping? Abbreviations, acronyms, words that look different but mean the same thing…international shipping is tricky business, and the extensive vocabulary one must develop takes time and patience. Don’t worry, everyone must start somewhere, and we’re here to show you where.

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Topics: International Shipping

The Difference Between HS, HTS, and Schedule B Codes

Posted by K. Sterrett on Jun 6, 2018 1:33:03 PM

All of these abbreviations can be downright confusing in the shipping world, especially when it comes to codes that define your products at the customs borders. Here, we talk a little about the most commonly confused codes and when they're used.

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Topics: Export Basics, International Shipping, Import Basics

What's the Difference Between International Shipping and Domestic Shipping?

Posted by K. Sterrett on Jun 1, 2018 5:32:00 AM

If your company is thinking about shipping internationally, you’re probably already shipping domestically. That makes sense; it’s much easier, in almost every country, to start shipping to places within your borders. The rules are consistent within a country and packages get to where they need to go without the hassle of customs and other delays.

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Topics: International Shipping, Domestic Shipping

How Much Does It Cost to Ship Internationally?

Posted by K. Sterrett on May 23, 2018 12:01:41 PM

One thing is for certain: when you’re shipping things across country borders, it can get expensive before you know it. Shipping internationally is a big unknown for a lot of people. Often, before they even ship anything, they wish to know a cost associated with their export so that they can properly plan for that charge.

Unfortunately, estimating the cost of shipping internationally is more difficult than it seems in the beginning. It isn’t as simple as knowing where the package is going, though that’s often a great place to start.

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Topics: Export Basics, International Shipping

How to Comply with Export Laws (infographic)

Posted by K. Sterrett on May 15, 2018 3:38:25 PM



Exporting laws can be tricky, but must be followed in order to get your goods where you want them to go. We've made an infographic to help. Here are 5 steps to follow in order to comply with export laws.

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Topics: Export Basics, International Shipping

How Do I Ship Internationally?

Posted by K. Sterrett on May 4, 2018 1:47:07 PM

International shipping is a little bit confusing, especially since you have to consider your country AND the country you're shipping to. Everyone has different rules and considerations, but there are a couple of guidelines that just about everyone should follow. We've outlined these here for you.

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Topics: Export Basics, International Shipping

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