When you’re trying to find the best shipping options for small businesses, the number of options available can be truly mind-boggling. Yet which small business shipping options are the right ones for your company and products? Many small businesses find that shipping items using a less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier helps them save money while getting their products where they need to go. Here’s a quick look at the five LTL shipping questions to always consider when setting up a small business logistics plan.
5 LTL shipping questions to ask yourself before shipping:
Are your items packaged properly?
When a company uses an LTL carrier, the goods need different packaging than simply tossing a box in the mail. Many LTL companies will require the load to be on a pallet to reduce loading and unloading times. You’ll also want to make sure your products are secure, using tape, blocks, or straps to restrain any moving parts and filling the additional space in the container to prevent shifting during transport.
How do you track your shipment?
There are few things as stressful for your small business logistics department as trying to track down a missing shipment. The time involved distracts your workers from their regular jobs, costing your company both time and money in the process. Don’t underestimate the importance of freight tracking when choosing an LTL carrier.
Are you using the right freight classification?
When preparing a shipment, you’ll determine the correct freight classification to get an accurate shipping rate. This classification is based on the weight, size, density, value, potential liability, and the ease of handling the item. Generally speaking, a lower classification number equals a lower shipping rate. However, if you’ve improperly classified the freight, you may see additional fees for both the corrected shipping amount, as well as the time and effort, took to reclassify your freight by the carrier.
Is the LTL carrier the right one for your company?
LTL carriers have different specialties, which may be based on shipment classification, distance, delivery services, and similar issues. What type of freight do you most often ship? You’ll want to find out the prospective carrier’s details before you begin shipping with them. If your shipments will cover a wide range of specialties and distances, you may want to partner with a shipper that works with a range of LTL carriers.
Which factors impact LTL shipping rates?
There can be a wide range of factors that determine your shipping rates. What’s the classification of your freight? How far is it going? Are there any hazardous materials, pressurized items or similar issues of concern for the shipment? What about ease of handling? These factors all come into play when calculating your overall shipping rate.
It’s important to determine which shipping provider works best for you. GoShip.com’s focus on LTL shipments, low costs, and quality service make it one of the best shipping options for small businesses. Book a shipment from your computer or mobile device right now!
Important things You Should do to Ensure an Efficient and Successful Delivery
Now that you know what to expect from your LTL provider, it’s time to get your products ready for the road.
Yes, as the shipper, you are also responsible for the security and accuracy of your delivery.
Here’s what you should do:
Prepare your documents
When your LTL carrier arrives to pick up your goods, they will typically ask you for the BOL or bill of lading.
The BOL will contain some of the following:
- The shipper’s name
- The number of units being shipped out
- The date of shipping
- The type of packaging the shipper is using
- Some descriptions of the goods being shipped
- The estimated value of the goods
- The freight class you are using
- The dimensions of your goods
There will be other information needed, but that will depend on the LTL shipping company you are working with.
Measure and take note of the dimensions
The dimensions of the goods you are shipping out are one of the most important details that you will need to indicate on your BOL. So make sure to get the accurate numbers of your goods:
Remember: You will need to round up at least an inch for each measurement.
The more accurate you can get in your measurements, the easier it is for your LTL company to give you a quote.
You must give accurate measurements because your LTL company will also be working with other shippers and will need to maximize the capacity of their trucks.
Make the labels legible
Cursive fonts or Comic Sans may not be the best fonts to use when making your shipping labels.
Your LTL provider will be handling a lot of goods at one time. Legible labels will lower the chances of wrong deliveries or overlooked goods.
So make the label as legible as possible, as large as you can, and stick it somewhere that is easily noticeable for the LTL staff.
Making your labels legible also makes it easier for the receiver to take note of and count.
Secure your packaging
LTL providers typically tell their clients to load their goods on wooden pallets or crates to ensure the safety of the items.
Sort the goods from the lightest to the heaviest so the LTL staff can stack them in the appropriate order.
Unline full-truckload shipping, your LTL providers only have a small time window for loading your goods into their truck.
Make sure that you have everything ready and organized the moment your LTL truck arrives.
Why the Above Steps are Important:
Reading this, it does look like a lot to do just to deliver a small number of goods, but it is necessary if you want to ensure the safety of your products.
This also ensures the efficiency of the delivery from your warehouse/store to your client. By doing your part to secure your items, there will be lesser chances of lost packages, delays, and unnecessary charges.