Less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments are small freight deliveries that are too small to fill a truckload and too large to be classified as parcels for a “small parcel shipment” (think UPS). In terms of weight, anything between 150-20,000 pounds would be able to ship LTL.
Here are six ways you can effectively cut shipping costs and save money on LTL shipments.
6 Essential Tips to Save on LTL Shipment
- Know the Shipment’s Weight
Pricing for LTL Shipments is partially calculated based on weight and dimensions. Most carriers will utilize truck scales to confirm the weight of your shipment after it is tendered to them; therefor it is recommended that you know the exact weight and size of your shipment before it reaches the carrier in order to avoid overage charges after the freight has been picked up.
- Know What You Are Paying For
Before booking, ask for an all-in cost as some carriers will add in fuel surcharge or other accessorial charges after-the-fact. Many carriers will charge extra if the consignee does not have a loading dock and they need to use their liftgate to deliver. Residential deliveries and inside deliveries will also incur additional charges.
You should also understand the rules that apply to different carriers’ pricing. For example, some charge based on an item’s freight classification – a seemingly arbitrary way of identifying freight and determining variable pricing based on the freight’s description. Some things just cost more to ship than others, and often, there is no rhyme or reason for this (at least not for a lay-person). You should ask up-front if a carrier charges based on the freight class and if there is something you can do to classify your object in another, less expensive, grouping class.
Consolidate Small Orders
If you have multiple shipments going to the same delivery destination, or delivering within close proximity to one another, it makes financial sense to ship them out together in order to save money.
Create Visibility into Freight Spend
It is critical to understand how much you are spending on LTL shipping and identify the expensive components. This will help you cut down inefficiencies and measure the progress of the implemented solutions.
The best way to gain visibility into LTL freight spend is through a transportation management system. It provides customized and detailed performance reports. You also get instant status notifications that provide information about LTL transportation spend.
- Efficiently Maximize Pallet Space
LTL shipping relies on used space and the density of the truckload. Therefore, maximizing the pallet space on the LTL carriers’ trucks will save you money. Ensure you understand the minimum cubic capacity of the chosen carrier and learn how to maximize that space. This will increase the density of the shipment and save on LTL shipping. For example, if you can palletize freight so that is stackable, that will be helpful and could potentially save you money on shipping costs.
- Avoid Extra Accessories Costs
There are some mandatory accessories charges like remote access locations or “white glove delivery” services. However, you can avoid some accessorial charges like limited access fees which occur when a delivery location is difficult to access in a large, commercial vehicle.
These fees may not cost much when looked at individually, but they will add up if they occur frequently. Try to reduce accessorial costs or cut the costs that can be avoided.
In sum, as with most commerce, engaging in due diligence before pulling the proverbial trigger will help insure that you choose the best carrier for your LTL shipping needs. Implementing the practices contained herein will assist you in becoming financially prudent whether you are shipping one pallet, or twenty.
*This piece was written by Kevin Hill with minor edits by Nancy Beaurpere. Hill heads up the marketing efforts at Quality Scales Unlimited. Besides his day job, he loves to write about the different types of scales and their importance in various industries. He also writes about how to care for and get optimized performance from different scales in different situations. He enjoys spending time with family and going on camping trips.