Freight shipping can be a simple and positive experience... when you know the fundamentals of the process. However, even experienced shippers sometimes make small errors that can cost them a budget, customers, or business relationships. When you state uncertain or inaccurate shipment information, you can be surprised by accessorial charges to your freight. Following some simple steps will reduce the likelihood of this experience and save you money.
An accessorial charge is an additional fee addressed to the shipper by the freight carrier when there were additional services performed beyond the standard pick up and delivery. Basically, freight fees are the price for the extra effort the freight carrier takes to handle your freight. Therefore, the less work you leave for the carrier, the more likely you will avoid surprise fees.
The first step to avoid misunderstanding and overpaying is stating correct shipment information. Make sure to include accurate dimensions, weight, and other load characteristics that affect your final shipment cost. Another important aspect is providing an accurate address and mentioning as many delivery details as possible.
Most of the time, accessorial fees are charged for additional services. There are many extra services carriers can provide, and if you don’t pre-arrange them, they will charge you later. Lift gate service, limited access delivery, inside delivery, hazardous material shipping, and others are all considered extra. So if you need your shipment picked up or delivered to a remote location, or you need equipment when loading freight, make sure to discuss these details with the carrier. Surprising the driver with any extra services can even end up with shipment cancellation.
Due to restricted hours-of-service (HOS) rules for drivers, there is reduced waiting time on shipping docks. Once the pickup time and date are scheduled, make sure to pack and fully prepare your freight for loading, and be on time. This will not only save your budget but also strengthen your reputation as a reliable shipper to work with.