The Best 3PL Companies List – It’s Not What You’re Expecting
It doesn’t take much effort to find 3PL companies lists online today. You can pull up any search engine, type in “3PL companies list,” and it will deliver many websites and blogs featuring lists of the top 100, 50, 25, or 10, third (3rd) party warehousing providers in the world. These lists show how profitable some logistics companies have become, but they’re often intimidating and confusing to small or mid-sized businesses.
Business owners have to figure out which of the listed companies may provide the services that they need, and more importantly, which companies may partner with them at prices that they can afford. In many cases, business owners spend hours researching listed companies only to learn that none of them are a good fit to their needs.
The Challenge for Smaller Businesses and Startups Looking for 3PL Companies
Small to mid-sized businesses often cannot pay the fulfillment services prices demanded by global third-party companies earning billions of dollars each year, and many large logistics companies don’t want to work with smaller businesses unless they store and ship a substantial amount of merchandise each year. Some global companies also specialize in international shipping and storage, so small companies searching for 3PL providers in a localized geographical area won’t meet requirements set out by those companies.
Do the Best 3PL Companies Lists Truly Vet the 3PLs?
Some 3PL companies lists are created with one thing in mind: profit. The organization or website compiling and presenting the list may operate with a bias towards certain companies, and they may even have something to gain financially from promoting select 3PL companies. Oftentimes, the 3PL companies on the list pay a fee to be placed on the list. While this process, usually referred to as Sponsored Advertising, isn’t illegal, it definitely doesn’t guarantee that the members of the list are the “BEST”, nor does it guarantee that they will be the best company for your business.
3PL companies can rise in ranks through the amount of money they have to spend. The 3PLs within these lists are typically those who have a large marketing budget or pay directly for the endorsement. This makes it more difficult for business owners to find a 3PL company that would truly benefit them.
The lists’ goal isn’t necessarily to connect businesses of all sizes with logistics providers that are reputable, but many businesses just starting out with logistics don’t realize that there are other companies out there besides the ones prominently listed.
Top 3PL Lists Don’t Even Define 3PLs Correctly
Another challenge with “best 3PL company” listings is that they don’t properly classify 3PL companies. 3PL lists often include fulfillment companies in their rankings. Although 3PLs and fulfillment companies are somewhat similar, 3PL companies offer a wider range of services. By using 3PLs and fulfillment companies interchangeably, 3PL companies lists are marketing services that do not cover the entirety of what a business is looking for.
What is a 3PL? And What Do They Do?
True 3PL companies manage more aspects of freight logistics, both inbound and outbound. Sometimes, this is done via in-house freight assets, and sometimes it is done by securing relationships with 3rd party freight carriers (non-asset based). Nonetheless, 3PL companies usually offer the following additional services, above and beyond fulfillment providers:
- Inbound freight, including container and air freight services
- Less-than-truckload (LTL) outbound shipping services
- Full Truckload (FTL) outbound shipping services
3PLs offer logistics services that facilitate some—or all—of a business’ shipping operations. 3PL providers and a business’ warehousing and transportation procedures are integrated to meet their specific needs. 3PLs increase supply chain visibility, operations, finances, and end customer performance through whatever level of involvement a business requires.
3PLs can work with transportation, global shipping, and information technology. On the transportation end, 3PLs can help with LTL or FTL, engaging carriers, or tracking insurance and freight payment. This can lower transportation costs and increase efficiency. 3PLs can also deal with customs, freight forwarding, and consolidations. Managing ecommerce and operations with 3PLs is often done through EDI, API, and cloud-based systems to further increase supply chain visibility.
How is a 3PL Different than a Fulfillment Company?
The main difference between the two is the number of services each provide. Fulfillment companies typically just receive, store, and ship parcel shipments. A 3PL can help with international freight forwarding, customs clearance on the inbound side and on the outbound side, LTL (less than truckload), and FTL (full truckload shipments). 3PLs are oftentimes more geared towards B2B shipping rather than B2C, and they might help with bigger and heavier products as well.
How Much Do 3PL Companies Cost?
Each 3PL company has different rates that they charge. The main 3PL costs you will encounter with 3PLs are initial set up, receiving, storage, fulfillment or “pick and pack”, and shipping.
The average set up fee is around $550, but if a provider focuses on helping smaller businesses, the lowest initial setup fee will be around $120-$150. Included in this fee is the cost to set up an account in the 3PLs system, integrate the customer’s online shopping cart with the warehouse, and establish a customer’s preferred procedures and processes. Essentially, what you pay is what you need to get started.
Receiving fees can vary based on what aspect of the product is being charged for. Receiving covers all tasks needed to unload and prepare products for future distribution. Fees run around $35-$45 per hour, but more fees can be added on for extra services. Some 3PLs will charge per order ($30-$50 per order), per pallet ($4-$15), per item ($0.20-$0.25), per SKU ($2.50-$10.00), or per box ($2.90). Companies that charge per container have a receiving fee of $330 for a 20-foot container and $441 for a 40-foot container.
Storage fees are often done by pallet. This charge is based on how much storage space is utilized monthly and is influenced by location, volume, and special requirements. A storage fee can run around $8-$40 for each pallet. Three other forms of charging for storage are per cubic footage ($0.45-$0.55), per bin ($4.07 per bin on average per month), and per square footage ($0.75 per square foot on average per month).
Fulfillment pricing varies depending on what a 3PL charges for product weight and materials. Outsourced warehousing fulfillment providers’ fees run up to $5 or more per package, and they average around $3.13 for a one item B2C order and $4.27 for a B2B. In general, there is a per order and per item fee plus any additional material fees. A standard sized box can range around $0.50-$1.15 if it is small. Insert fees of roughly $0.15 per order can also be distributed if an additional item—such as a coupon—is required within each order.
One of largest fees is shipping charges. Shipping costs are based on volume of packages. Extra fees could be applied if you are looking to ship through your own company account, but for general ground shipping, companies may provide a 10-20% discount. Express shipments, however, allow for higher discounts of around 20-30%, and LTL and truckload shipments can warrant up to a 45-50% discount. Around 93% of 3PLs offer a shipping discount with the Discount Off of Published Rates or the Cost Plus model. The Discount Off of Published Rates model gives a certain percentage discount off of retail rates, and the Cost Plus model add a percentage market up to the shipping cost.
Benefits of Using 3PL Companies
A 3PL company essentially streamlines supply chains which increases efficiency and saves valuable time and money. 3PL companies also provide expertise in supply chain logistics which allows for businesses to receive reliable assistance with managing and distributing products. 3PLs also provide the technology, facilities, and services needed for product distribution. This saves you money by covering all employees and facilities that you would have to invest in. 3PL companies also have expertise in international shipping and flexible technology which allows global growth.
What to Look for in a 3PL Company
When choosing a 3PL company, the compatibility of your business with their services is most important. The technologies used by the 3PL and their typical scale of operations should line up with the preexisting technology and business volumes of your organization. This ensures all your needs can be met as seamlessly as possible. A 3PL company’s previous performance and customer relations should also be examined to confirm they will be a good fit for your business.
Are All 3PL Company Lists Useless?
Should you just assume that all 3PL provider lists are worthless and try to find other methods of identifying third-party companies that can meet your needs? Not necessarily. Most lists can provide some value to any business in need of a third-party logistics provider. You can look at some of the larger companies to determine whether your business is a good fit with their services, eliminating many companies from your list of possibilities.
If you’re new to the concept of logistics and aren’t sure what services a 3PL can provide, browsing one of these long lists could also help you identify the wide range of services that are currently available to businesses of all sizes. By identifying services used by other companies, you can get a better idea of how you may want to handle your own growing logistic needs.
However, since most businesses find that the companies on these lists aren’t good fits to their needs, we don’t recommend that you spend much time searching them out or reading them. You may get some introductory information from select lists if you want to do your own research, but 3PL networks like the one found at WarehousingAndFulfillment.com are a far better use of your time.
How Can WarehousingAndFulfillment.com Help?
There are hundreds, even thousands of 3PL providers operating in North America today and thousands operating around the world. Some specialize in select services while others offer a long list of services and provide customized contracts to each of their clients. There are companies that specialize in certain types of goods or specific industries, and then there are global companies that can help businesses in any industry. This makes it difficult to find the providers that are well suited to your needs because there are far too many companies to thoroughly research and compare on your own.
That’s the reason WarehousingAndFulfillment.com was created. We have done exhaustive research into Fulfillment Services, Fulfillment Houses and Fulfillment Companies so that we can quickly match customers like you with the third-party logistics providers best suited to their needs. Our network of third-party providers is different than those long 3PL company lists featured through other websites because we research 3PL companies of all shapes and sizes, and there’s one additional difference: we have thoroughly screened every provider in our network.
Unlike many 3PL company lists, we do not accept payment to include companies in our network. Any extensive advertising or potential marketing opportunities are not taken into consideration during our evaluations. Our completely unbiased screening process ensures that each 3PL company we list is assessed thoroughly. We also include many smaller 3PL companies that you just won’t find on those top 100 or top 50 3PL companies lists.
You also receive our guidance and personal help to ensure the provider you choose is well suited to your needs and budget, so contact us to begin the process of requesting quotes from multiple 3PL providers online.
Find the Best 3PL Companies in the US and Canada
The best way to find 3PL warehousing and fulfillment centers near me! Select the desired area below and get matched with top 3PL warehouses today!
Our Search for the Best 3PL Companies Lists
The search for the best 3PL and Fulfillment companies is under way. We know that there are a number of different “Top 100 3PL Company” lists out there, but they’ll all focused on the large scale logistics companies. And while these companies are great, they’re not always the best fit for smaller to mid sized companies looking for outsourced fulfillment services.
So WarehousingAndFulfillment.com is looking for the top small to mid sized 3PL and fulfillment companies. What does it take to make the list? We’re looking for companies that have strong customer service and happy clients, low error rates, high on-time shipping percentages, solid technology platforms, among other things.
If you think your company has what it takes, here’s the benefit for you – upon selection and if you pass our screening, you’ll be selected as a Top 3PL and Fulfillment company and will be listed on our site. In addition, we’ll announce it on our site and through a press release. And on top of everything else, you can proudly display the Top 3PL badge on your site to customers.
To find out more of the specifics, please contact us at [email protected].
Since 2005 We’ve Been Helping Companies Just Like Yours
Your contact information is held in the strictest of confidence. We will contact you before we connect you with vendors so that we can learn about your situation, obtain any of your contact preferences, and answer any of your questions.
YOU have control over your contact details:
- No unwanted contacts – you control how vendors respond to you
- Remain confidential if you wish
- No commitment to choose any of our vendors
- Ask our 3PL Warehousing experts any questions you have!
Some of the Best 3PL Companies
Below are some great 3PL companies. Fill out a quote request on our site to get YOUR best matches.
WSI’s goal is to maximize efficiency and minimize costs. WSI has built their company on the foundation of reliability, and with 10 distribution centers and a large family of companies, WSI has created a reputation of dependable service and integrity.
Address: Appleton, WI
FW Warehousing is a mid-sized logistics service provider that is large enough to handle all business needs while still providing specialized services. Customer relationships are heavily emphasized with FW Warehousing to promote customer success. Their cost-effective and efficient operations target business’ long-term goals without compromising on quality.
Address: Belleville, IL
Shipping rate: 99.9%
MKM Distribution Services, Inc.
MKM Logistics is in Indianapolis, IN, an optimal location for nationwide distribution. MKM’s dedication to flexibility and customer communication guarantees your products will be handled and distributed according to your requirements. No matter the size of organization, MKM will be able to handle your fulfillment and supply chain logistics to get your business running smoothly.
Address: Indianapolis, IN
eShipping provides distribution chain management through all modes of transportation, optimized carrier rate programs, and data and financial visibility. Based in Kansas City, MO, eShipping has distribution centers in seven states and a wide array of transportation modes to ensure products are shipped efficiently. With their growth focused philosophy, eShipping would be a great option for those looking to expand their business.
Address: Parkville, MO
Retention rate of customers: 90%+
With small beginnings in Texas, Expak Logistics is a 3PL company that offers a variety of delivery services, LTL services, and many other supply chain logistics services to accommodate your business. Expak Logistics’ emphasis on problem solving and small business’ needs makes them an ample option for startups and smaller businesses.
Address: Los Angeles, CA