Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, more consumers have turned to online shopping than before. This overwhelming demand for shipping and delivery services caused freight rates to climb even higher.
Because of this, shippers (especially small business owners) are looking for cost-effective ways to deliver their packages. LTL, or less-than-truckload shipping, is one of the best options for minimizing shipping costs. However, you must understand how the LTL rate structure works in order to keep shipping rates low.
LTL shipping use weight, freight class, and distance to calculate the freight rates. The key to lowering freight rates is to package your items well by minimizing total load volume and cubic footprint. Carefully planning your deliveries to ship in bulk, avoiding high tariff days, and extending delivery windows will also lower your LTL freight expenses.
Furthermore, it is crucial to choose a reliable and cost-effective LTL shipping service. An online freight marketplace can help you compare LTL freight companies.
In this article, learn how LTL freight rates are determined and how you can save on LTL freight rates.
Unlike full truckload shipping, less than truckload only charges shippers for the actual space or cubic feet that their package occupies on the truck.
LTL shipments use three primary criteria to determine shipping rates:
Freight class is mainly based on density. Density is calculated by dividing the package's weight by its volume (length x width x height). The denser an object is, the lower the freight rate per pound.
Stackability also affects freight class. Packages that are easy to stack are cheaper to ship.
In short, packages that are stackable and have a higher density are assigned a lower freight class. Lower freight class will give you cheaper LTL freight rates.
As expected, the further your package travels, the more you'll pay for shipping.
As mentioned, your package's weight, density, and dimensions are used to determine freight class. Freight class varies from 50 to 500, and falling into one category will determine the final shipping cost.
It's crucial to measure all information as accurately and precisely as possible. Even a slight discrepancy in measurement and calculation can result in additional fees.
It's also important that you reduce the cubic footprint of your packages. One of the most effective ways to minimize your freight space is to reconsider your packaging. Especially if you use bulky packaging, you may need to reconsider fitting more goods into a single pallet.
When looking into packaging, make sure to avoid irregularly shaped pallets. Carriers will usually charge you extra for the unused sellable space due to low stackability. You'll save more on standard 4x4 pallets since these are easier to stack.
If you want to reduce your LTL shipping expenses, it's critical that you plan your shipments carefully. Instead of sending small packages individually on different dates, consider making a larger shipment to reduce overall LTL costs.
Grouping shipments together can give you more significant price breaks and discounts. On top of that, bulk shipments are more efficient for the LTL carrier, which means you can negotiate better prices.
Shipping in bulk is an excellent option for businesses with non-perishable products. However, it might not be the best option for time-sensitive deliveries.
On top of these considerations, you can plan your group shipments on off-peak seasons to minimize costs even more.
Consolidated shipping involves combining your freight with other shippers' freight in your area. Load consolidation is a great choice if you find other shippers with the same point of origin and final shipping destination.
The consolidated shipping method allows businesses, suppliers, partners, and even competitors to work together to lower shipping rates.
If you find enough shippers that will ship to the same location, you may even be able to fill an entire trailer and avail of a full truckload (FTL) service. FTL shipping is generally the cheapest shipping option for companies with enough products to fill an entire truck.
Carriers have varying regulations on tariffs and surcharges. Contact your logistics carrier for information on hidden fees before booking their services if you want to lower your LTL shipping rates.
Some LTL companies charge more for destinations that are not easily accessible. If the pickup or delivery location is in a remote area, you should expect additional fees and surcharges. Some carriers will also charge more if the delivery passes through a congested highway.
Shipping costs are higher on days when demand for freight services is higher. Because of this, you should plan ahead to avoid these high traffic days as trucks flood the main highways.
Instead of shipping on weekends or close to the holiday season, consider making your shipments on Monday or Friday since these are the slowest days for most carriers.
If you're not sure about a carrier's low traffic days, your carrier may have suggestions on the best days to make a shipment.
As you may have noticed from most of our tips, you need to do a lot of research and negotiations to get lower LTL shipping costs. However, not many shippers have enough time to review and contact all the available carriers in their area.
Because of this, many businesses and individual shippers get overpriced LTL shipping rates. Even worse, some may entrust their packages with unreliable shipping carriers.
To ensure that you choose a reliable and budget-friendly LTL carrier, consider using an online freight marketplace like GoShip.com.
GoShip.com works with thousands of the most trusted shipping carriers in the US. Through the 24/7 GoShip.com platform, you can get an instant overview of the best shipping rates. All you need to do is select a load time and enter your shipping details to get a quote using the online freight calculator.