Getting the service you expect
Getting the service you expect requires communication. Once you have received a quotation and made a booking you are not obliged to complete the transaction. You must feel confident that the service you want is the service that is being offered.
When the agent receives the booking they will contact you. Now you can ask any questions relating to your shipment. Ask them for a copy of their standard trading conditions. It is usual for most freight companies in a given country to be operating by the same standard conditions. These conditions will set out any compensation amounts in case of loss, damage or delay as well as the responsibilities of the freight company and yourselves.
You will often find that the compensation that the freight company is required to pay does not cover the full value of the goods. Read: Making a claim and Insurance (Why it is worth it’s weight in Gold). If you did not ask for insurance in your original enquiry, now would be a good time to ask if it is available and what it costs. As there are many insurance policies available it would be prudent to ask for a breakdown of the main benefits and exclusions.
You can ask the freight company for advice on the packing. Goods packed at home may not be suitable for the journey and may be excluded from many insurance policies. The freight agent can probably arrange for a packing quote.
Do you have any goods you are unsure if they are suitable for shipping. They may be hazardous cargo or dangerous goods. The agent can give you advice. Also check Hidden Dangerous Goods.
Ask how long the service is likely to take. They will not give a guarantee, but at least if you have an indication you know if it is suitable. You may wish to send the shipment on a faster service, again the agent will be able to advise.
Make sure you are confident in the freight company. Does the person you are speaking to sound professional or are they making exaggerated claims. At the end of the day you are entering into a contract with a freight company and you need to feel confident. If you do not feel confident walk away.