If you are looking for a flexible, cost-effective way to ship your freight, LTL may be the right choice for your business. But before we dive too deep into when and how you can benefit from LTL freight shipping, let’s take a look at what exactly LTL freight is.
What is LTL freight shipping?
LTL is the industry term for “less-than-truckload” shipping – in other words, a shipment that does not take up an entire truck. LTL freight allows small and mid-sized businesses to minimize their freight shipping costs and improve efficiency by combining their shipments, with each shipper paying only for the portion of the truck they use.
LTL freight shipments typically consist of crates, oversized parcels or 1-6 pallets. If your shipments meet that volume, you may be in the market for LTL freight shipping.
When to ship LTL
LTL is the ideal choice for your freight shipments that weigh greater than 150 pounds and less than 15,000 pounds but don’t require a full truckload.
In addition, LTL can help you save money on heavy shipments compared with parcel shipping and may be your only option for packages that are oversized.
How pricing is determined for LTL freight shipments
If you are considering LTL freight shipping, you are likely wondering how pricing for this shipment type is determined. Shipping rates for LTL freight are based on:
- The weight of your shipment
- The dimensions of your shipment
- The origin/destination of your cargo
- The service type, such as standard/weekend guarantee, expedited shipping, tradeshow service, retail shipping and others
- The freight class, which is determined based on the density, stowability, handling and liability
These are the standard factors that contribute to how much your LTL freight shipment will cost. There are also additional accessorial charges that can impact the price of your shipment, including:
- Redelivery – This fee may be applied if the carrier attempts to make a delivery but is turned away by the receiver
- Liftgate pickup or delivery – If either you or your freight receiver does not have a dock, a liftgate may be necessary to load or unload your shipment
- Inside pickup or delivery – If your freight needs to be picked up or delivered inside a commercial location rather than a receiving area, there may be an additional fee
- Vehicle not used – If your shipment is not ready when the driver arrives for the scheduled pickup, you will be charged a fee
- Appointment, notify or check call – This charge is added when your bill of lading instructs the carrier to contact the recipient to set up an appointment
How long does it take to ship LTL freight?
In most cases, LTL shipping takes an average of one to five days. There are several factors that can impact LTL delivery times, including weather, road closures and traffic – which is why, unless you pay for guaranteed service, LTL freight offers only best estimates on delivery times.
The advantages of LTL freight shipping
LTL freight shipping provides flexibility, efficiency and cost savings by allowing you to:
- Only Pay for the Space You Need – With LTL, freight weighing more than 150 pounds can be shipped for a fraction of the cost of a full trailer because you only pay for the room on the truck your shipment requires.
- Save Warehouse Space – You don’t have to store items in your warehouse until you have enough product to fill up a whole truck. When you ship LTL, it frees up the warehouse floor, allowing you to use your space more effectively.
- Easily Track Shipments – LTL carriers provide tracking information including pick up, on-time or delayed status and delivery confirmation. Also, your LTL shipments can be tracked by the bill of lading number, PO number, shipment reference number, and others.
- Leverage More Service Options – LTL freight shipping offers flexibility with a variety of service options to meet your needs, such as:
- Standard/weekend guarantee for shippers who cannot afford for their freight to be delayed.
- Day/time specific critical guarantee and expedited shipping for shippers who have freight that must be delivered on a specific date, within a short time window.
- Sealed divider service for shipments that could be easily damaged from handling.
- Retail shipping for businesses that manufacture and/or distribute products to retail stores and warehouse distribution centers.
With so many benefits, LTL is typically the easiest, most cost-effective way for your business to ship freight. Unishippers has partnered with more than 30 of the top national, regional and local freight carriers to offer the best rates, flexibility and Platinum Service for your LTL freight.
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Freight Class Tips to Know
When you schedule a shipment without first determining the proper freight class, there’s a good chance your shipping quote won’t match your final invoice. By taking time to understand the freight classification system, you’ll be able to classify your freight correctly and avoid surprises down the road.