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After you’ve established a need for LTL services, the next step is to get your LTL shipping quotes. This is where navigating the waters can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to the game. There’s a lot of industry specific terminology, there’s a lot of small specifics that really matter. However, don’t fear, the process can actually be quite easy.
1. Freight dimensions – LTL carriers carry multiple shipments from multiple shippers and need to know their shipments are in accordance with the truck’s carrying capacity; so be aware that the dimensions of your freight is one of the most critical items for calculating an accurate quote. Measure the length, height, and width, round each to the nearest inch. Be accurate and mindful when measuring dimensions! If your measurements are inaccurate, a price adjustment or increase may be required. Be aware that you need to know the total measurements including crating or shipping containers!
2. Freight weight – Just as every truck has a maximum volume of cargo it can carry, every truck has a maximum weight allowance. This is a detail that’s also regulated by the Department of Transportation and inaccurate weight measurements can leave you at risk for an adjustment. Be aware you need the total weight including crating and all shipping container materials!
3. Is your shipment oversized? – Many shipments are standard container or crate sizes but be aware that if you’re shipping a particularly large or odd shaped item, you need to communicate that information when asking for a quote. Oversized items can absolutely be shipped but if it’s not properly planned for, it can leave you at risk for an adjustment or even a delay.
4. Extra considerations – Does the truck need to be refrigerated? Is a forklift going to be required to load or unload? These are important details and need to be know to establish a quote.
5. Class – Freight classes are determined by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association and there are 17 freight classes, ranging from class 50 to class 500. They’re calculated based upon shipment size, density, how it’s packaged, value, and a few other factors. Your shipment’s contents also matter, chemicals have a very different class than baby blankets. Your shipping agent will be able to help you determine the appropriate class of your shipment if you don’t already know.
6. Insurance – Insurance is a component of many aspects of life and LTL shipping is no different. Accidents and problems don’t happen often, but when they do, you want the peace of mind to know that you’re not stuck with a loss. You may want to discuss with your insurance agent to determine if you have any coverage with your existing home or business policy. Some LTL carriers may also offer shipping insurance.
When you have that information, the next step is to give it to an LTL carrier who can determine what it’ll cost to transport your shipment. That may be easier said than done, however, if you don’t have carriers you already work with. Otherwise, where do you find LTL carriers and how do you know which to choose?
There are thousands of LTL carriers and searching a thousand different websites to gather a thousand different quotes is too impractical to even be considered. Fortunately, companies known as third party logistics providers (3PLs) exist to help business owners get LTL shipping quotes and with every aspect of their shipping needs.
Third party logistics don’t ship your shipment, but they do operate with a large network of individual carriers across the country and are able to handle the leg work in obtaining quotes. They also provide experience based guidance to help get your shipment out the door. It’s nice to have someone to turn to when you’ve got questions, and a good 3PL will offer that.
A 3PL shipping agent will ask you for the information about your shipment, including its location, destination, and required schedule. They’ll then put the work order out for carriers to offer bids. The negotiating is handled for you, some can also help you arrange shipping insurance. Often, because 3PL companies are hubs for a lot of shipping business, they are able to negotiate better rates than you may be able to on your own. A lot of 3PL providers also online free, instant online quotes. Overall, the experience has been compared by many people to be similar to purchasing car insurance through an independent agent.
After selecting a carrier, the next step will be to prepare your shipment is prepared in accordance with their requirements. Some carriers may require pallets, your 3PL will communicate this information to you. It’ll also be the time to schedule pick-up and delivery times. This is one area where working with a reputable carrier can really pay off. Amateur drivers who deal in excuses and apologies can cost you money and will most certainly waste your time.
Once your shipment is picked up, you will be able to track its transit route online and know in real time when it’s been delivered.
LTL Transport offers free, instant online quotes. You can also call us and speak directly to one of our shipping agents. With a 14 year track record of success and thousands of satisfied customers, we are here to be your 3PL. We have a huge network of professional, capable, and trustworthy LTL carriers. Our headquarters in Houston Texas is located right in the heart of the bustling energy corridor and outfitted with cutting edge logistics technology. We’re here to save you time and money and have the right tools to do the job right.
The endless web searching is finally over, you need not make any more phone calls, dead time is a distant memory.
Let us show you why so many businesses turn to us to get fast LTL shipping quotes and for all their freight shipping needs. Contact us today to speak directly with a shipping agent.
In the LTL world, discounts are often a component of volume. The more you ship, the more you save. Although a large, big-box retailer is going to get the best breaks, all is not lost for the small guy. Some LTL carriers offer discounts for certain weight and volume criteria. Ask your shipping agent if your situation applies for discounts.