Holst Truck Parts in Ucon, Idaho has been shipping on a regular basis for a very long time, but until 2014, the majority of their activity was regional. In late 2014, Holst started using Truck Parts Inventory, an online marketplace for heavy-duty truck parts, and since that time they have been sending parts all over the country as well as internationally. All of this activity has given them solid experience in shipping, and so we asked Chris Holst, one of the co-owners, to share some of what he knew with us. Here are a few things we learned:
- General advice for those starting out in shipping internationally: Shipping is not as hard as it seems, there are brokers out there who know the ins and outs of the industry and they will guide you. Don’t get discouraged, it is possible to include it as part of your business, and after doing it a few times it does get easier.
- A mistake they learned from: Holst once shipped a crate to Denmark, and learned the hard way that the Danish requirements for the wood used as crates were very specific, and they hadn’t researched this beforehand. The shipment came back, and they had to re-crate it and re-send it, incurring more costs as well as some inconvenience. Lesson: when you are shipping, every country is going to have its own regulations, even down to the kind of wood you can use for the crating. Do your research, investigate, and make sure you have learned as much as possible about the destination before sending that shipment on its way.
- How has this substantial increase in shipping affected the business: it has had a very good impact. The company has grown to the point where it is now no longer regional, and there are customers all over the world. For Holst Trucks, shipping is a natural extension of a value they consider important: customer service. If a potential customer is far away, and shipping is necessary to get them the part they want, Holst’s commitment to taking care of the client’s needs means that shipping the part to the customer is what they do. It’s not just about doing more business, it’s about doing business in alignment with your values and seeing increases that way.
When a company is just starting out with shipping that goes beyond regional, there are always doubts and hesitation as the topic can seem big and overwhelming. However, as Chris Holst so rightly points out above, there are professionals out there who are a part of the process (Customs Brokers) and they will help you on your way. In general, shipping is a task that can be learned as you go, and, again, as Holst says, doing it on a regular basis brings experience, and soon enough it is just another part of your business, another way of ensuring that all of your potential customers are taken care of.