For businesses that ship products often, LTL shipping can be incredibly beneficial and cost-effective. LTL stands for “less than truckload” and refers to a freight shipment that doesn’t fill an entire truck. LTL shipments are usually shipped on pallets and range anywhere from 150 to 10,000 pounds.
Rates for LTL shipping are influenced by many factors such as weight, distance between locations, and the classification of the freight. It’s easy for LTL shipping rates to add up, but there are steps you can take to help reduce your rates. Here are 5 tips to help you save money on LTL shipping:
Maximize the density of your shipment
LTL carriers make a profit by fitting as many different LTL shipments as possible into a single trailer. The more space a shipment takes up, the more you’ll be charged to ship it. For example, a 3,000-pound shipment that takes up 10 percent of the trailer will be charged less than a 3,000-pound shipment that takes up 25 percent of the trailer.
Even though the weight of your shipment is out of your control, you can control the density. When packing your shipment, make sure you do everything you can to keep your pallet compact. If your pallets aren’t already stackable, you may want to find a way to do so. Try to stack an extra row on top of a palette instead of using a new one. Or consider packing your product more densely by eliminating empty spaces on the pallet.
Consolidate your shipments
One of the best ways to save money with LTL freight is to eliminate a shipment and consolidate it into another. Sometimes, an LTL shipment can be added to another shipment that still has extra room. Sometimes, it’s less expensive to combine two smaller LTL shipments into one full truckload (FTL) shipment.
Negotiate with carriers
Even though shipping rates and operating costs are going up, carriers are still willing to negotiate with businesses. You may be able to get accessorial charges reduced or waived if you frequently ship items via LTL. If you ship all kinds of freight, you may be able to negotiate a FAK. FAK stands for “freight all kinds,” meaning you frequently ship products that are in many different freight classes. Getting a rate for each class can be time-consuming and complicated, and you may be able to negotiate a FAK rate that would allow you to ship all our LTL freight at the same class. This simplifies the process and typically results in cost savings.
Avoid spot quotes
If you don’t already have a contract with an LTL carrier, you’ll likely pay more for your shipments. Avoid paying higher spot quote rates by committing to a carrier and using them for all your LTL shipping.
Provide accurate information
Shipping rates for LTL freight are highly dependent on size and weight. For this reason, you may be tempted to underestimate the dimensions or weight of their shipment in hopes that it will result in a lower shipping cost. As tempting as it may be, this is something you want to avoid at all costs. Instead of saving money, you’re putting yourself at risk of being fined and charged more for your shipment. If the carrier does happen to double check the weight or dimensions and it doesn’t match what’s on your paperwork, you’ll be charged inspection fees and accessorial fees. The carrier may also “red flag” your freight and your shipments may be inspected every time you ship with that carrier in the future. By ensuring that all the information you provide is accurate, you won’t have to worry about being charged extra fees for your shipment.
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