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Need It Now? Here Are Your Time Critical Freight Shipping Options

Occasionally, despite how prepared we think we are, a deadline totally sneaks up on us and we realize that the standard less than truckload (LTL) freight shipping options just aren’t going to suffice. We need something right now, and unfortunately, we’re going to have to get comfortable paying a little more to get it here in time. Fortunately, in the LTL freight shipping world, you have more time-critical options than you might think.

There are, of course, certain industries such as automobile, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and medical, that rely on these faster shipping options more often than others. There are also specific times of the year, such as the holiday season for instance, that entice far more casual shippers into opting for premium offers. Regardless of the reasons why, it’s important to understand the differences between the various shipping services offered. Let your friends at Freight Buddy walk you through each of these options so you can make a more informed decision about which one is best for your business’s needs.

Guaranteed LTL Shipping

While guaranteed shipping doesn’t normally take a whole day off the transit time, it does ensure that a specific, pre-determined delivery window is met. This service is typically only offered on more direct shipments and can be set for either a guaranteed morning (before 12pm) or end-of-day (before 5pm) window. The cost for guaranteed LTL shipping is fairly affordable (usually no more than an additional 5%) and is thus commonly used by shippers, particularly during peak times such as holidays.

Accelerated LTL Shipping

Accelerated LTL shipping is a fairly new option for most national freight carriers and is a direct response to consumer demand. It offers a slightly faster option for shipping, bridging the gap between standard and expedited offerings. Depending on the distance and type of shipment, this can reduce the transit time by a total of 1-2 days, while costing you on average an additional 15% on top of standard shipping.

Expedited LTL Shipping

Expedited LTL shipping is the most premium option offered by freight carriers and is usually only reserved for the most time-critical of shipments. These deliveries typically travel directly from point of pick-up to the destination with fewer if not zero stops along the way. In particularly urgent situations, intermodal transit is often utilized, combining air and truck freight for example, to get the shipment to its destination as quickly as possible. Common expedited LTL shipping options include same day, next day, and two-day shipping. This kind of speed will cost you upwards of an additional 40% though, depending on just how soon you need your shipment to be there.

Let’s do a freight shipping example

For this example, let’s say we have a shipment consisting of one pallet of auto parts (NMFC class 150) weighing in at 400 pounds. We need to ship it from Freight Buddy’s neck of the woods, Minneapolis, MN (55401) all the way to Boston, MA (02117), a distance of roughly 1,395 miles. We will also assume that our freight is within standard dimensions, non-hazardous, and without needing any other special handling instructions. We put all this information into Freight Buddy’s free freight quote calculator and found the following information:

Freight Service Option Pick-Up Time Delivery Time Average Price
Standard LTL Shipping Monday, Nov. 4 Thursday, Nov. 7 $488
Guaranteed Shipping Monday, Nov. 4 Thursday, Nov. 7 by 12pm $512
Accelerated Shipping Monday, Nov. 4 Wednesday, Nov. 6 $561
Expedited Shipping Monday, Nov. 4 As early as same day <$683


As you can see, each option offers a speedier delivery timeframe than the last. It also, not surprisingly, will cost you more for every minute less you have to wait. So, it’s important to take your company’s budget and needs into consideration before putting off scheduling your next LTL shipment.

Freight Buddy can help take the headache out of last-minute shipping

If you’re still unsure about which time-critical shipping option is right for you, give Freight Buddy a call at 800.578.6009 and our expert shipping agents can help you choose the best service for your business. We’ve partnered with some of the top-rated national carriers to ensure you have the fastest delivery options available. Get a competitive, no obligation freight quote today.