Is the cheapest freight shipping quote always best?

When it comes to freight shipping, we know small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are always searching for the best freight rates for their specific needs. In fact, it’s no wonder that two of the most commonly searched freight terms are “cheapest freight rates” and “best freight rates.” But it’s important to note that when it comes to freight shipping, there’s often a large difference between the lowest rate and the best rate!

Ready to learn how to get the best freight quote for your business? Read on as we cover everything you need to know in order to select your best option.

How to get a freight shipping quote

Quoting your less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping can be a time-intensive process. Let’s face it — no one wants to waste time requesting freight shipping quotes from each individual freight carrier! Luckily, when you partner with a third-party logistics (3PL) company like Unishippers, you can quickly compare freight shipping rates from a number of carriers on one quick quoting system. This helps ensure you have easy access to all the information you need to pick the right LTL quote without wasting valuable business hours requesting quotes from multiple carriers.

Is the cheapest freight quote always the best option?

The short answer? No! While we understand the importance of having access to affordable shipping rates, deferring to the cheapest LTL freight quote could actually end up costing you more time and money in the long run. Of course, no business owner wants to pay more for something than they absolutely have to. But when selecting a freight quote by cost alone, you could be disregarding other important factors that ensure your shipment arrives at its final destination on time and on budget.

What else should you consider when selecting an LTL quote?

Depending on the unique needs of your business and customers, when comparing freight quotes, you’ll want to analyze factors other than price alone. Remember these other important considerations when selecting the best option for your freight shipping:

Carrier quality

All freight carriers are not created equal! Even if a carrier offers low freight rates, it means nothing if your shipments are consistently delayed, damaged or lost. In addition to increased shipping fees, these challenges could also end up costing you valuable customers. That’s why it’s important to evaluate the reliability of the carriers you choose — consider things like carrier capacity, technology offerings (such as shipment tracking) and access to customer support. Learn more about choosing the right freight carrier.

Most 3PL providers make comparing freight carriers easy with online tools like Unishippers’ transportation management system (TMS), which lets you instantly compare costs and delivery options from our vetted network of 65+ top LTL freight carriers.

Transit time

Sometimes the cheapest freight rates are offered by carriers with unpredictable transit times — often leading to long delays. That’s why you need to consider how quickly your freight must get to its final destination. While some carriers are able to deliver your freight faster than others, remember that the faster your freight needs to be delivered, the higher your rate will be. When it comes right down to it, you may be better off paying a higher rate up front for fast, reliable service rather than saving on the front end but dealing with delays and angry customers down the line.

Special requirements

If you have special requirements for your LTL freight, you’ll need to select a shipping provider who can meet them. Depending how and what you ship, you may require specialty freight services like hazmat shipping or sealed divider service. By understanding the services you’ll need — and which services each carrier offers — you can ensure you select a qualified carrier for your specialty shipping and that you’ve factored any additional shipping fees into your final LTL quote.

Insurance coverage

A low LTL shipping quote doesn’t mean much if you end up experiencing loss or damage — especially if the carrier doesn’t offer insurance! One way shipping companies can reduce their prices is to lower the amount of coverage under the carrier’s liability. That’s why it’s important to know the difference between carrier liability and shipment insurance and make sure you understand the benefits of freight insurance.

Even if you do decide to select a freight quote based on price alone, don’t forget that the accuracy of your final quote is still up to you! If you don’t provide complete, accurate information about your shipments, your LTL quote likely will not be accurate either. Download our Guide to Accurate Freight Quotes and learn how to avoid common mistakes on your next freight shipping quote.

Your best option? A 3PL partner that puts you first!

You deserve more than just a shipping provider — you deserve a shipping partner! Working with a 3PL partner like Unishippers means you get access to a dedicated team of shipping experts who can help you select the best options for your freight shipping. SMB shippers love Unishippers for our access to affordable freight rates, but they also love us for our comprehensive carrier network, trusted shipping support and easy-to-use, time-saving technology. Get a freight quote today to get started!


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