6 Simple Strategies to Help You Save On Your Next LTL Shipment
Less than truckload (LTL) shipping is designed to be a cost-effective alternative to full truckload shipping, especially for small and mid-sized businesses. So then why, you might ask, does it seem like you can’t get a good deal anymore on the same shipments you’ve been sending for years? There are dozens of factors that affect a carrier’s rates, so the answer isn’t always so simple. Fortunately for you, Freight Buddy has worked with many of the top carrier companies in the country for years, and so we’ve picked their brains for a few easy tips that anyone can implement to save themselves a ton of money on their next LTL delivery.
1 . Provide accurate information
You might be tempted to underestimate your shipment’s total weight and dimensions in order to save a few bucks. This could end up being a costly mistake. Most carriers double check their cargo before loading it by using fancy forklift scales and dimensioning machines. If you’re information doesn’t closely match their calculations, you will not only be charged a fee to correct the documentation, you will also have to pay for a load that’s heavier and takes up more space on the truck than was anticipated.
2 . Maximize the space of your shipment
When packing your shipment, pack all the way to the edge of the pallet without going over (you’ll get charged for any overhang). It also pays to stack boxes as high as the carrier allows. If a carrier’s maximum height is five feet, you will get charged for all five feet, even if your goods are only stacked three feet high. Density is incredibly important to consider as well. While we’re not suggesting that you don’t bubble wrap or insulate your sensitive items, you definitely pay for every empty space between boxes. Put your Tetris skills to use and pack them as tightly together as you can. If you end up saving space on a pallet, try to consolidate multiple shipments into one to save even more on shipping costs.
3 . Don’t focus solely on the lowest rates
When comparing different carriers, there is much more to consider than simply the lowest price. Sometimes the lowest initial rate ends up costing you the most. What you may not realize is that some shipping companies tack on lots of associated fees and expenses that drive up the final cost. Be wary of discounted rates too, as they can sometimes be rather misleading if you aren’t familiar with the terms. If you’re newer to freight shipping, it helps to choose a carrier with a simpler pricing scheme. Overly confusing pricing can lead to unnecessary confusion and wasted time, which may ultimately end up costing you more.
4 . Research your carriers
No two carriers are the same. A little bit of research will reveal each one’s strengths, weaknesses, and specialties. Are they national or only regional? Is their focus on expedited or economy freight? Do they specialize in residential delivery? Matching the right carrier to your specific needs will save you money in the end. Another thing to look into is a carrier’s network. You’ll usually pay more on a busy route because they don’t need your business as much. If you can get your shipment onto a backhaul (a truck’s return trip) you can save even more money, as they often offer steep discounts to fill space on the truck for the return voyage.
5 . Package your shipment correctly
If your shipment isn’t packaged properly, you increase your risk of damage, which can ultimately delay the delivery and cost you more time and money in claims. While most people remember to shrink wrap their freight, they sometimes forget to attach it directly to the pallet. If they’re not wrapped together, your load could slide off the pallet and get damaged (or damage other freight). Another thing that people sometimes don’t realize is that freight often gets stacked on top of each other to maximize space. It’s a good idea to put an extra protective layer on top of your shipment to avoid any stacking damage. If your goods are particularly fragile, be vigilant about adding large FRAGILE signs on multiple sides of your bundle so the workers can clearly see it when loading and unloading.
6 . Use a third-party freight broker
If you’re a small or mid-sized business lacking a proper logistics manager, you could benefit greatly by working with a third-party freight broker (Freight Buddy, for example). Also known as a 3PL (Third Party Logistics company), they offer years of shipping expertise and can assist you with rates, carrier selection, invoicing, and much more. They can also save you a ton of money by offering you a discounted rate with one of their carriers. If you don’t ship a large amount of LTL freight, you are typically stuck paying the highest rates. Brokers work with lots of small and mid-sized businesses, and thus handle high volumes of freight on a daily basis. Carriers will offer them steeply discounted rates, which they then in turn pass on to you.
There you have it. While these strategies may not all be relevant to everyone’s unique shipping situation, chances are you found at least one or two of them that you can begin to implement right away. If you’re in need of a freight broker, look no further than Freight Buddy. We’re a leading independent broker who has partnered with some of the top-rated carriers in the country and can offer you unbeatable everyday pricing that most other brokers can’t match. Head over to freightbuddy.com for a free freight quote or give one of our expert customer service agents a call at 800.578.6009. With a friend like us in the shipping business, we’ll help you navigate your way to real savings on your next delivery.