How to make your LTL freight shipping costs as predictable as possible

Transcript

5 tips for keeping your LTL freight costs as predictable as possible

While shippers can’t control the rates that their carriers charge for LTL shipments, they can avoid most unexpected fees and charges. Just about anyone who has been shipping LTL freight for any length of time has been surprised to receive an extra bill from their carrier after their shipment has been completed. These charges can throw your supply chain budgets out of balance, leaving you scrambling to cover costs you never knew you would incur.

Understanding where additional charges come from is essential to staying on budget. In almost every case, these charges can either be avoided entirely or at least paid as part of your original quote. Here are five tips for keeping your LTL freight costs as predictable as possible.

#1 Provide Your Carrier Accurate Information About Your Freight

The main factors in how much carriers charge you for your LTL freight is the size, weight, and freight class of your shipment. 

Don’t just estimate: use accurate tools to measure and weigh your freight as it will be shipped - that means including packaging. If the carrier determines that the actual weight or size of your freight is not consistent with the details you provided when you got your quote, they will adjust the cost of the shipment and add additional fees on top of that.

Same goes for freight class. The variances in cost among different freight classes can be significant, so it is very important to provide the correct freight class if you want a quote that reflects what the actual cost of your shipment will be.

#2 Check and Double-Check Your Bill of Lading

An accurate and easily legible bill of lading (BOL) is absolutely essential to ensuring that you only pay the quoted price for your shipment. The BOL serves as a contract between a shipper and a carrier and contains all the information required for a carrier to complete a shipment.

A zip code with a numeral that appears to be some combination of a 4 and a 6 can result in a shipment going to the wrong location. An incorrect phone number can lead to a missed pickup or delivery. Be sure to check and double-check every detail of your BOL to make sure everything is correct and clear. And it never hurts to have more than one person take a careful look.

#3 Prepare for Pickups and Deliveries

There are a variety of fees carriers charge for a pickup or delivery that doesn’t go as planned: detention, truck order not used (TONU), and redelivery fees are some of the most common. 

Detention fees are charged when a driver has to wait an excessive amount of time at the location of a pickup or delivery. Delays can be caused by a disorganized warehouse, not having the shipment ready at the loading dock or outside waiting for the truck, or a shipper not being where they need to be to meet the driver. 

TONU fees result from a truck showing up at a pickup location but not actually being able to pick up the scheduled freight. This most commonly occurs when a business is closed when the truck shows up, or a shipper forgets when a truck is supposed to arrive and isn’t there to meet the driver.  Redelivery fees are basically the same thing, except at the delivery location. 

All of these can be avoided. Be prepared on the dates your shipment is scheduled to be picked up and delivered. Have your freight packaged and waiting in the right place for the truck and make sure there’s a person designated to meet the driver and deliver or complete all of the necessary paperwork, such as the BOL and the proof of delivery.

#4 Tell Your Carrier What Accessorials You Need

Accessorials are additional services that carriers provide beyond simply picking up and delivering freight. Carriers charge a fee for each of these services. However, if you’re not familiar with LTL shipping, you may not know what might cause carriers to charge extra fees.

Many of these fees are related to the pickup and delivery locations. There are limited access fees for locations that are difficult for a truck to get to, residential delivery fees, and liftgate fees for locations that do not have a loading dock or a forklift to load or unload freight. While you can’t actually avoid paying these fees, if you tell your carrier what accessorials you need when you get your quote, you’ll know in advance what the full cost of your shipment will be.

#5 Work with a 3PL

Third-party logistics companies (3PLs) assist organizations and other companies with their supply chains. They are staffed by logistics professionals who can help you navigate LTL shipping, ensuring you avoid mistakes that can cause extra fees. They also leverage the shipment volume of all of their customers combined to get favorable rates from the LTL carriers they work with.

3PLs like Koho offer an online platform where you can centralize your LTL shipping management, from automatically creating shipment documents like BOLs the moment you make your booking to filing insurance claims on damaged freight. Koho also offers you the ability to instantly get quotes from multiple top carriers so you can get the best rates. Visit gokoho.com to learn how Koho can help keep your LTL shipping costs predictable.

Image of trucks lined up in a parking lot

5 tips for keeping your LTL freight costs as predictable as possible

While shippers can’t control the rates that their carriers charge for LTL shipments, they can avoid most unexpected fees and charges. Just about anyone who has been shipping LTL freight for any length of time has been surprised to receive an extra bill from their carrier after their shipment has been completed. These charges can throw your supply chain budgets out of balance, leaving you scrambling to cover costs you never knew you would incur.

Understanding where additional charges come from is essential to staying on budget. In almost every case, these charges can either be avoided entirely or at least paid as part of your original quote. Here are five tips for keeping your LTL freight costs as predictable as possible.

#1 Provide Your Carrier Accurate Information About Your Freight

The main factors in how much carriers charge you for your LTL freight is the size, weight, and freight class of your shipment. 

Don’t just estimate: use accurate tools to measure and weigh your freight as it will be shipped - that means including packaging. If the carrier determines that the actual weight or size of your freight is not consistent with the details you provided when you got your quote, they will adjust the cost of the shipment and add additional fees on top of that.

Same goes for freight class. The variances in cost among different freight classes can be significant, so it is very important to provide the correct freight class if you want a quote that reflects what the actual cost of your shipment will be.

#2 Check and Double-Check Your Bill of Lading

An accurate and easily legible bill of lading (BOL) is absolutely essential to ensuring that you only pay the quoted price for your shipment. The BOL serves as a contract between a shipper and a carrier and contains all the information required for a carrier to complete a shipment.

A zip code with a numeral that appears to be some combination of a 4 and a 6 can result in a shipment going to the wrong location. An incorrect phone number can lead to a missed pickup or delivery. Be sure to check and double-check every detail of your BOL to make sure everything is correct and clear. And it never hurts to have more than one person take a careful look.

#3 Prepare for Pickups and Deliveries

There are a variety of fees carriers charge for a pickup or delivery that doesn’t go as planned: detention, truck order not used (TONU), and redelivery fees are some of the most common. 

Detention fees are charged when a driver has to wait an excessive amount of time at the location of a pickup or delivery. Delays can be caused by a disorganized warehouse, not having the shipment ready at the loading dock or outside waiting for the truck, or a shipper not being where they need to be to meet the driver. 

TONU fees result from a truck showing up at a pickup location but not actually being able to pick up the scheduled freight. This most commonly occurs when a business is closed when the truck shows up, or a shipper forgets when a truck is supposed to arrive and isn’t there to meet the driver.  Redelivery fees are basically the same thing, except at the delivery location. 

All of these can be avoided. Be prepared on the dates your shipment is scheduled to be picked up and delivered. Have your freight packaged and waiting in the right place for the truck and make sure there’s a person designated to meet the driver and deliver or complete all of the necessary paperwork, such as the BOL and the proof of delivery.

#4 Tell Your Carrier What Accessorials You Need

Accessorials are additional services that carriers provide beyond simply picking up and delivering freight. Carriers charge a fee for each of these services. However, if you’re not familiar with LTL shipping, you may not know what might cause carriers to charge extra fees.

Many of these fees are related to the pickup and delivery locations. There are limited access fees for locations that are difficult for a truck to get to, residential delivery fees, and liftgate fees for locations that do not have a loading dock or a forklift to load or unload freight. While you can’t actually avoid paying these fees, if you tell your carrier what accessorials you need when you get your quote, you’ll know in advance what the full cost of your shipment will be.

#5 Work with a 3PL

Third-party logistics companies (3PLs) assist organizations and other companies with their supply chains. They are staffed by logistics professionals who can help you navigate LTL shipping, ensuring you avoid mistakes that can cause extra fees. They also leverage the shipment volume of all of their customers combined to get favorable rates from the LTL carriers they work with.

3PLs like Koho offer an online platform where you can centralize your LTL shipping management, from automatically creating shipment documents like BOLs the moment you make your booking to filing insurance claims on damaged freight. Koho also offers you the ability to instantly get quotes from multiple top carriers so you can get the best rates. Visit gokoho.com to learn how Koho can help keep your LTL shipping costs predictable.

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