For small businesses looking to expand their distribution and delivery beyond their local fleet, partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) company can fill a crucial gap.
The best way to address these growing pains is to expand your fulfillment strategies. Outsourcing fulfillment can be an excellent business decision as long as you choose the right 3PL company for your business needs.
So how do you choose from today’s bounty of 3PL providers? Here’s a rundown of three of the best 3PL companies for small businesses in 2019, as outlined by Fit Small Business:
FedEx Fulfillment: Best 3PL Overall
This may come as a surprise: FedEx Fulfillment services cater to small businesses shipping just 100 orders per week. FedEx also offers a four-month ramp-up period so that your business has the time it needs to reach the 100 orders-per-week minimum.
Another shocker: It’s economical. FedEx Fulfillment, FedEx Shipping, and FedEx Freight interconnect as a total 3PL solution—what you spend on one service helps you get lower rates across all. A few more advantages:
- Need everything under one roof? FedEx Fulfillment is the most complete small business 3PL solution, delivering enterprise-level 3PL: order fulfillment, freight, and parcel shipping.
- Scaling global? FedEx offers the most extensive international shipping and fulfillment options.
- Want your shipment to stand out? “FedEx Fulfillment also offers specialty packing, wrapping, and kitting services with added per-order or per-project fees. Brand-focused shippers, like subscription box services, can utilize these services to deliver highly branded shipments to their customers.”
ShipBob: Best 3PL for Ecommerce Startups and Batch Shippers
According to Forbes, companies like ShipBob connect your online store to its order fulfillment centers, then store your products, process orders, and manage deliveries.
With its 100-order monthly minimum (around four orders per day), it’s also more startup-friendly than FedEx Fulfillment. For batch shippers, ShipBob offers batch fulfillment on a per-project basis for crowdfunding campaigns and product launches. A few more advantages:
- Need warehouse space? ShipBob’s nationwide warehouse network puts your stock within a one- to two-day shipping time to most locations nationwide.
- Want simple onboarding? ShipBob clients get a dedicated account rep as the main point of contacting for onboarding and ongoing account oversight. The rep will devise a startup or migration plan to move stock and order management into their system without downtime.
- Need help with inventory forecasting? ShipBob assists with forecasting for your stock reorders and identifies the best warehouse locations based on your geographic demand.
FreightPros: Best 3PL for Small Business Freight
This 3PL company brings big business expertise to small business freight. It will save you time and money on inbound, outbound, and point-to-point freight shipments.
FreightPros allows you to access discounted rates for over 70 truck, LTL, and rail carriers. It gives you a suite of tools to manage shipments yourself, but FreightPros can also schedule, book, and track shipments for you. Other advantages:
- Seeking expertise? “FreightPros reps know how to spot savings opportunities through flat-rate freight classification and negotiated dimensional rates to reduce your freight spend. They also know how freight insurance works and ensure your loads are properly covered.”
Small businesses have unique needs. Whether you’re looking for batch fulfillment services, dedicated account reps, or nationwide warehouse networks, one of these 3PL providers could be a perfect fit.