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7 Shipping Contracts Best Practices to Grow Your Business

By | April Ann

Shipping is central to any e-commerce business. It’s the backbone of a virtual marketplace, and it’s also a good way for new businesses to scale and expand fast.

The key is figuring out the best ways to grow your business with shipping as a core part of it. There are plenty of other businesses that offer shipping services as well, but not many of them are capable of doing so at scale.

That creates room for those who want to take advantage of it. However, if you plan on growing your business with shipping contracts, you need to know what you’re getting into first. Fortunately, most businesses can grow with shipping if they have the right strategies in place beforehand.

 Read on for insights on how you can start building your business faster and more efficiently with shipping contracts too.

What is a Shipping Contract?

Shipping contracts are agreements between the shipper and receiver. They define all of the conditions that need to be met before a shipment can be delivered, such as shipping timeframes, labeling requirements, and pricing.

A good shipping contract will detail how many items can be shipped on a given day and set up specific deadlines for products to arrive at their destination. It will also outline any eligibility restrictions for this shipment process (such as if it’s restricted to just certain countries or cities) so your business can avoid potential setbacks in terms of deliveries.

In short, a good shipping contract captures all of the rules that need to happen in order for the product to get from one place to another. It’s the document that lets you know what you need to do in order for someone else to ship your product.

Key terms and concepts you need to know before you start

The shipping process is always changing, so it’s important to know as many terms and concepts as possible. Here are some key terms that you need to know before you start:

  • Forwarding agents: These are the people who help with the shipment or delivery of your goods from one country or state to another.
  • Freight forwarders: These are companies that specialize in shipping goods internationally. They typically charge a commission on the value of each item, which is usually paid for by the sender.
  • Customs brokers: These are businesses that facilitate the customs clearance of your shipment. They can help you avoid any problems with customs clearance and find ways to get your items past borders more easily.
  • Air freight carriers: These companies move goods from point A to point B by air without requiring ground transportation like trucks and trains. This can be a good option if you want to make sure your loads will arrive where they need to go without delays or issues.
  • Air cargo brokers: Similar to customs brokers, these businesses handle the logistics surrounding moving your goods through airports and delivering them overseas. They typically offer a discount for larger shipments, which may be helpful if you plan on moving a lot of products at once.

7 Shipping Contracts Best Practices to Grow Your Business

Here are 7 shipping contracts best practices to help you get the most out of your agreements and grow your business:

1.   Have a Clear Understanding of Your Need

Shipping contracts can be complex, and it is important to have a firm understanding of the terms and conditions before signing on the dotted line.

You should ask yourself these questions to get started; Do you need a contract that covers international shipping or a contract that covers only domestic shipping? What type of goods will you be shipping? How often will you need to ship?

Once you have a clear understanding of your business’s shipping needs, you can begin to research different shipping contracts to find the one that best suits your needs.

2.   Before You Sign

When it comes to negotiating shipping contracts, it’s important to proceed with care. There are a number of factors to consider, such as shipping rates, terms and conditions, and liability.

It’s important to get all the details in writing and to have a clear understanding of what you’re agreeing to. Be sure to read the contract carefully before signing, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure about anything.

Always make sure that every one of your contracts is correctly documented by utilizing Signhouse, which enables all paperwork to be also trackable.

Remember, you’re not obligated to sign a contract just because it’s been presented to you. If you’re not comfortable with the terms, or if you don’t feel like you’re getting a good deal, walk away. There are other options out there, and you shouldn’t settle for something that doesn’t work for you.

3.   Scout for the Best Price Available

In order to get the best price available in your shipping contracts, you should always be transparent about your needs and objectives. You should also be willing to negotiate in order to get the best possible terms.

It is also important to have a clear understanding of the market rates so that you can be sure you are getting a good deal. Finally, you should always get quotes from multiple vendors so that you can compare prices and find the best option for your company.

4.   Include All Necessary Details

In any shipping contract, it is best practice to include all of the pertinent details in order to avoid any misunderstandings or issues down the road. This includes specifying the type of goods being shipped, the quantity, the destination, the delivery date, any special instructions, and any terms and conditions.

By being as clear and concise as possible in the contract, both parties can be sure that they are on the same page and that there will be no surprises.

This will help to ensure a smooth and successful transaction for all involved.

5.   Use a Tracking Software to Manage Your Shipping

Using a logistics tracking software such as DataDocks helps you and the shipping agency to increase communication, improve efficiency and performance while keeping everyone in the loop. This gives you the liberty to plan your shipping timeframes. Track, schedule, and plan loads coming into and leaving your dock electronically instead of using manual processes.

Then both parties are aware of the timeline for the project and can plan accordingly. It will also help to avoid any potential delays or issues that could arise if the project is not completed on time.

6.   Escrow to Protect Yourself from Fraudulent Claims

When you’re shipping goods, you want to make sure that you’re protected against any fraudulent claims. One way to do this is to use escrow.

Escrow is a third-party service that holds on to money during a transaction. This way, if there are any disputes, the money is not released until the issue is resolved. This can protect you from having to pay out money for goods that are never received, or that are not as described.

If you’re using a shipping contract, be sure to include a clause about using escrow. This will give you an extra layer of protection against fraudulent claims.

7.   Review the Contract Regularly and Update as Needed

It is important to review the contract regularly and update it as needed in shipping contracts. This will help ensure that the contract is up to date and accurate so that it reflects the most current terms and conditions.


A shipping contract is an agreement between you and your shipping company that outlines all the terms and conditions for the transport of your goods. It’s a very important document and should be treated as such. Use these 7 best practices to grow your business with shipping contracts.


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