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Understanding LTL and Parcel Shipping: What’s Best for My Small Business?

Warehouse worker handling a parcel

As a business owner, you will need to look for a secure and economical way to send your products to your customers.

Most e-commerce business owners are familiar with the sky-high fees of small parcel carriers like FedEx, DHL, and UPS. Don’t even get us started on sending oversized or bulky parcels!

Small businesses can opt for parcel shipping or less-than-truckload (LTL) freight. To figure out which method is best for your business, consider:

  • Package dimensions
  • Shipping weight
  • Transit times
  • Final destination

To help you make the leap, we rounded up the best reasons why you should go for either LTL or parcel shipping.

Before we get to their advantages, let’s take a look at how LTL and small parcel shipping differs:

What is Parcel Shipping?

This shipping method involves smaller packages that are less than 150 pounds. Think about the parcels delivered to your front door whenever you make an internet purchase by USPS, FedEx, and UPS.

Parcel shipping is a great solution for brands that ship individual or small orders that go directly to the customer.

If you need to scale up your business to ship larger volumes to big retailers, you’ll need to look into LTL shipping.

What is LTL Shipping?

Less than truckload shipping deals with larger and bulky packages. With LTL shipping, you can ship out oddly-shaped packets without any problems.

LTL shipments are usually sent in pallets and stored in non-damaging spaces.

Since your shipment occupies only part of a truckload, you’re essentially paying for the used space instead of paying per pallet. This makes LTL a cheaper option than parcel and FTL shipping.

LTL vs. Parcel Shipping: 6 Key Considerations and Advantages

1. Package Dimensions and Weight

Consider the size and weight of the cargo you’ll ship out. You’ll also need to think about the size and shape of your packages.

Most business owners prefer LTL to easily ship out pallets that are 150 pounds or more and oddly shaped.

2. Transit Times

If you’re planning to ship out a highly time-sensitive package to a single customer, parcel shipping will be the better option.

However, for ground service shipments, LTL carriers usually make the delivery in half the time.

3. Ease of Tracking

Since parcel shipping goes through more checkpoints, sellers and customers are updated on the location of their packages more frequently.

4. Security and Damage Prevention

Individual parcel shipments are smaller, which means they’ll be packaged along with other shipments. Parcel deliveries are more likely to get lost and damaged.

LTL packages are secured in highly protected pallets. LTL trailers are designed to prevent loss and damage.

5. Final Destination

For more localized shipments, say the 10th floor of a commercial building, you’ll probably get a better deal with a parcel carrier.

LTL is the best choice if you want all your pallets delivered to one location. It allows you to ship more items in bulk to save money compared to shipments per package.

6. Delivery Fees

For packages that weigh more than 150 pounds, are oddly shaped, and are above the minimum weight threshold, you should opt for LTL shipments to get the bang for your buck.

LTL carriers usually charge every 100 pounds, and you can even get discounts for heavier loads.

Parcel carriers have expensive additional charges, especially for services like weekend delivery, express deliveries, and personal information corrections. Parcel shippers, however, offer a cost-effective solution for single package shipments.

LTL vs. Parcel Shipping: When to make the switch to LTL Shipments?

Parcel shipping is a great option if you’re just starting out.

However, as your business grows, you’ll want to scale up and increase the security of your shipments while keeping services economical.

Consider making a move to LTL when you start:

  • Shipping out more packages;
  • Selling higher value and fragile products;
  • Shipping larger and heavier pallets; and
  • Dealing with bigger retailers.

At GoShip.com, we can assist you in finding reliable LTL freight carriers with affordable rates.

All you have to do is get a quote through our self-service platform, and we’ll connect you ASAP to the best LTL carriers in the country.

Get a Quote at GoShip

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4]

 

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