Question: Managing Freight Charges
A Distributor Asks: I have been in this industry for over 10 years, and I’ve always passed freight charges on to my clients. I have other friends in the industry who do the same. Recently, I sent a quote to a potential client and he said that in all his years of buying promotional products, he has never been charged freight, and the seller has always paid it. I’m curious to hear how others handle freight charges.
The customer pays, but sometimes, I write it on the receipt separately. Other times, I’ve already figured it into their total (for their convenience).
Chaffee Chick Design
Chaffee, New York
PPAI 743737, D1
Delivered price. Freight included. It’s never free.
President and Owner
West Shore Associates
West Haven, Connecticut
PPAI 287403, D2
Customer always pays. If this one didn’t, it’s one of three things:
- Liar, liar, pants on fire.
- The shipping was already rolled into the per-piece price.
- Some distributor was picking up the cost of shipping and may no longer be in business as a result.
Rama Beerfas, MAS
San Diego, California
PPAI 218331, D1
All your quotes should read something like “does not include shipping and any applicable state taxes.” That may give you some protection. The client always pays shipping, whether it’s baked in or as a separate line item.
PPAI 176289, D2
A Distributor Asks: Does anyone hold product for customers and ship it out to them when they need it, basically acting as a mini-fulfillment facility as space allows? If so, I’m curious to learn how you price this additional store-and-ship service for your customer. Do you build this into product pricing or as an add-on service fee in addition to the product price?
We do it for some clients. Sometimes it’s in concert with suppliers, sometimes it’s just stored here. I usually charge the outgoing freight plus tack on [a small cost] for a box if needed and for release fees.
Ed Hamner, CAS
Founder, Top Dog and Print Geek
Howling Print & Promo
PPAI 593535, D1
We do it for our good distributor customers. They buy stuff from several suppliers for their own clients, mostly for webstores, and we store for them and fulfill for them. They focus on sales and we take care of the rest.
PPAI 690397, S1
It depends, as every situation is different. If it is a large enough order [and a] large enough client who has paid for merchandise, I may not charge anything to store it, or it is included in merchandise price. I am currently storing small amounts of paid-for merchandise for a few clients who have no office access due to COVID-19 at no charge. Just wanting to help them out.
Karen Major, MAS
All The Right Tools, Inc.
PPAI 288674, D1
The best way to price this is to contact a local fulfillment center and copy their pricing, that way if you grow your space you will be able to outsource it. Bill it separately so your client doesn’t think you’re over-charging them on basic products.
Sales Executive/Strategic Alliances
S.C.G. & Associates, Inc.
PPAI 103684, D2
I did it for years for a huge customer. Money was flowing good until it didn’t! I’d never do it again unless all inventory was paid for upfront. Our situation was with a big company in North America that was salesforce-consolidated and streamlined, where a vice president picked out everything, so he had control of quality and consistency over what the salesforce was providing. Then an economic downturn came and, you guessed, it changed; individual salespeople were cut to a max of $250 per month that they could spend. It took about three years to finally get rid of all the inventory.
Owner and President
PPAI 276409, D2
We do it for multiple clients. Luckily, we have the space and we have a dedicated person who does all of the fulfillment/shipping. Each client is different. Some are built into the price and others we invoice for the warehousing/fulfillment on a monthly basis. All inventory is paid for upfront by the clients. We only have one that we bill out as we ship, but we have a written contract that if they decide to go elsewhere, they have to buy us out of all remaining inventory.
GO AZ PROMO
PPAI 712278, D2
We do it for a few good clients and don’t charge extra. It’s all for products already paid for. One thing I will say is if you are considering it, to ask your insurance person if you may need to up your coverage.
Kim Molnar Palermo
PPA 196835, D13
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