I recently recovered $284 from a FedEx shipment without doing anything at all. Here’s how you too can save money on your FedEx and UPS bills.
Several weeks ago, I stumbled across a freight auditing service called 71lbs. Intrigued by the service’s promise, I did a little research to find out exactly what the company did. Basically, 71lbs combs through your FedEx and UPS accounts to find late small parcel shipments. When they find a late shipment, 71lbs requests a refund on your behalf. You get that shipment charge deducted on your next UPS or FedEx invoice, and 71lbs invoices you for half of the refund.
Sounds like a great service, but since they are a relatively new company, I wanted a few more details before signing up. My first concern was a service fee. I’m familiar with a few similar services, but they usually require a monthly fee whether they find anything or not. Other service’s monthly fees usually outweigh the potential gain if shipping volumes are low or everything delivers on time. To see whether this service was indeed free, I dug a little deeper into their business model.
I read 71lbs’s entire user agreement, but just to make sure, I also emailed the company. The CEO, Jose Li, responded personally to my questions. He guaranteed me that the only charge my company would ever receive was half of what we saved. Additionally, he told me that if I was not satisfied for any reason, I could simply send an email and they would cancel the service – there was no long-term contract. I went ahead and signed up my company’s FedEx account for 71lbs’s service.
Now I certainly cannot say that your business will experience the same quick results that mine did, but I received two emails within two weeks of signing up explaining successful refunds that 71lbs secured on my behalf. One was just a $17 domestic shipment, but the other was for a 26-piece shipment to Germany worth $569. Of course, half of those refunds will go toward 71lbs, but that’s still $293 in my company’s pocket that we would have paid to FedEx. I see it as a definite win for me, a win for my company, a win for 71lbs. It’s also a bit of motivation for FedEx to increase its service levels.
Now to be realistic, these two shipments were quick successes that represent far less than 1% of the shipments my company sends out. Certainly, I wouldn’t lower my freight budget forecast because of this service – at least not at first. Nevertheless, a quick and easy setup has the potential to save money you weren’t expecting.
71lbs is also working on a few other services that could help your business even more in the future. One is a service that audits your FedEx and UPS invoices to make sure the pricing matches contract pricing. I see huge potential savings for this, since I often have to dispute pricing errors. Additionally, I asked Mr. Li if 71lbs could notify me the morning a shipment is late so that I can contact the customers and manage damage control for a late shipment. He responded, “I know exactly what you are being faced with. I’ll add it to our product pipeline and will get back to you when we have it done.” I look forward to what other great services 71lbs creates.
Update Since Posting
My company is a 71lbs customer, but I did not receive any compensation for this review. I think 71lbs’s service is a great add-on for any business wanting to lower small parcel freight expenditure. A year after posting this review in Sept. 2012, 71lbs began advertising with Supply Chain Cowboy. As an update, my company saved over $2000 in the past year from their service.
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