Sounds like you have a very good service for the right type and volume of customer. We have supplied our shipping software to several companies like yours. I will also say I have seen major savings passed on to companies by businesses like ours when the situation is right. For this reason people should pay attention to companies like yours when the time is right in their business cycle.
From my viewpoint, I see carrier fuel surcharges a little different than in your points. For example, I see fuel surcharges fluctuating up and down. They are not solely a way for carriers to take money from businesses, but more a way that the carriers can afford to offer their services in trying economic times without having to change their rate tables constantly. Recently, you are right. The surcharges are going up and up, but so have oil prices. I think oil prices have gone up faster than any US or global company ever expected. Eventually, parcel carriers will incorporate their operating costs directly into their standard rates during their annual price increase and lower the fuel surcharges. Or even better, the fuel surcharges go down due to decreased oil costs or increased efficiencies in their delivery system. All businesses do this over the long haul in a free market system. As long as the economy changes, nearly all services, including yours, will go up in price. Just a fact of life we all have to deal with as entrepreneurs. This was the reason for my posting of this topic - I wanted to see how others are dealing with these current increases.
I agree that the more you can move in bulk with delivery from local centers, the more you can save. This can also be seen in services where carriers incorporate USPS for final delivery or in carrier services like consolidated clearance for international shipments. In all of these cases the key is in what you have to move and the best logistics channel to move your goods to market with at the least amount of cost. All this must be done fulfilling the end customer’s expectations for time of delivery and condition of the end product at the time of delivery. I really feel that the time has ended that freight charges can just be passed to the consumer without any concern.
Many of the companies here at Startup Nation do not ship enough products in large volumes to a given geographical location to be able to take advantage of bulk consolidators and forwarder services. Many send single products one at a time all over the globe and just need the cheapest and best way to get this done. Fuel surcharges are a serious thing to deal with for these companies. I will admit, not all SuN members are smaller volume or non-regional shippers. To my joy I have seen some here that started out small and are growing very rapidly. That is what is great about this group and I think many of those could use a service like yours.
The main point you have made that I think is very important is that companies must always be looking for ways to deliver their goods with maximum customer satisfaction, but at the least possible cost. Even for those that think they can just pass the charges along at checkout time.
Bert at Harvey Software, Inc.
Multi-Carrier Shipping Software and Supply Chain Solutions for Internet Retailers
Also a provider of free shipping information and resources at Harvey Software`s Parcel Shipping Blog
along with free tracking solutions at TrackingPage.com