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How to Choose the Right LTL Carrier: LTL Selection Tips
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The LTL shipping industry keeps growing, and experts estimate this $38 billion sector to expand even further. More and more shippers and small businesses have started using shipping platforms for their logistics needs. It's become the cheaper option rather than a full truckload. LTL is not only cheaper but easier too because it doesn’t involve working with freight brokers and third parties.

What is LTL shipping?

Less than truckload (LTL) shipping is extremely popular among retailers and small business owners. This transportation mode implies sharing trailer space with other shippers to move your goods. If your items belong to the LTL freight class and you don't need to fill the whole truck, you can confidently choose LTL mode.

LTL shipping is cost-efficient since you only have to pay for the space needed to locate your products. When organizing LTL shipments, it is necessary to count the required deadlines. LTL carriers complete delivery multiple times, which can sometimes take a bit longer.

How to select the LTL carrier?

Even if you are using online services to get LTL rates, there are still two parts involved in the shipping process: shippers and LTL carriers. Essentially, you want to ensure cost-efficiency and a smooth shipping process. That’s why it is important to choose a good LTL carrier for a better shipping experience.

Choosing the right LTL carrier may be challenging. Shippers often get attracted by low rates and forget about all the other factors which shape the LTL carrier image. Depending on your shipping needs, some carriers may suit you better than others. Once you’ve compared freight rates from various LTL carriers, it’s time to select yours. Here are some aspects you should consider when searching for the perfect LTL carrier to work with:

Geographic coverage

Understanding the service area of your LTL carriers will help you decide on the most viable option for your shipment. Regional carriers typically have more freight on the trailer, so shipping cost becomes lower. It is also important to figure out in advance since many carriers do direct pickup and delivery only within their served area. Going extra miles usually results in additional charges. If you get well-familiar with the shipment route, it'll help you with the proper carrier choice.

Transit time

Whether you send or receive freight shipment, transportation speed is an important concern. Therefore, make sure to consider transit times are as mentioned. If your LTL carrier does long hauls, it will most likely take longer for them to deliver the shipment, than for a regional carrier. Advanced planning and scheduling can help you calculate shipping time to avoid possible delays and disruptions.

Shipment tracking

Good LTL carriers have to inform you about your shipment’s location and properly communicate any route changes or delays. Also, some carriers offer online tracking, so make sure to figure out whether this option is available. Shipment tracking is one of the most influential technical factors. Being notified about the shipment location and expected delivery time significantly increases customers' experience.

Freight liability

Every freight carrier ensures a certain amount of freight liability. In most cases, this liability won’t cover the declared value of your cargo in case of damage. That’s why shipping companies recommend obtaining full-coverage freight insurance. Knowing the amount of liability is important for your shipment’s safety. If your freight gets damaged due to various external reasons, you won't have to spend your costs.

Customer service

Essentially, you expect to receive good service. Double-check whether your carrier provides updates, delivers on time, notifies customers in case of any issues, etc. Learning this in advance would save you time, costs, and patience. Besides, many buyers address customer services to get consulted on numerous questions. Make sure you can provide the best customer experience and meet your audience's needs.

Additional services

Many shippers book a shipment because of the low rate and later end up paying much more for hidden services. If your freight has special handling requirements, needs inside delivery, or you’re shipping to a limited access area, make sure to notify your LTL carrier. This will not only save you from additional charges but also help build a better relationship with the carrier. Thus, you'll start to build a strong supply chain and develop a network of trusted carriers.

Ready to choose LTL carriers?

At GoShip, we will connect you with many professional LTL carriers that provide guaranteed service. Compare shipping rates from thousands of freight carriers with our Freight Quote tool!