Typically, when you buy a product or service you know exactly how much you’ll be paying. With less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping, that’s not always the case. After your shipment has been completed, additional charges, also known as rebills, can be added to the price you were initially quoted. Because of how complex LTL shipping can be, rebills are a fairly common occurrence in the LTL industry. Delays that keep the driver waiting, inaccurate freight measurements or weights, incorrect paperwork, or unexpected equipment needed to load or unload your cargo can all result in unpleasant surprises on your invoice. And they can be substantial. Reclassification and reweigh fees are among the most common fees shippers will see.
It’s essential for LTL carriers to know the freight class and weight of everything in their trucks. The class helps determine how freight should be priced, handled, loaded, and packed into a truck. If carriers don’t know the exact weight, they could unknowingly break federal or state laws limiting the amount of weight allowed on certain roads. Plus shipping more weight is simply more expensive for the carrier.
Once they have the freight at their facilities, carriers check to make sure the class and weight on the bill of lading (BOL) matches the actual freight. If it doesn’t, then they charge a fee for reclassification and reweigh. The cost of shipping may also increase, possibly significantly, depending on the new weight and class.
To avoid reweigh fees, be sure to weigh your freight, including the packing materials and pallets, on an accurate scale. It’s a good idea to take a picture of the scale clearly showing the weight as documented proof in case there’s a dispute with the carrier.
Determining freight class is somewhat more complicated. That’s why Koho has a detailed section on our website dedicated entirely to the topic.
In short, there’s a system called the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC). There are 18 classes, beginning with class 50 and ending with class 500. The cost of shipping increases as the class number gets bigger. The four primary factors that determine NMFC class are density, handling requirements, ease of packing, and value. Flour and sand, for example, are generally class 50, because both are easy to pack, low value, and very dense. Gold dust and ping pong balls are 500 - gold dust is extremely valuable and ping pong balls are easily crushed and have very low density.
The official source of this system, and a place to go to determine the class of your freight, is the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA). You’ll have to purchase a subscription in order to look up your freight’s class.
Or you can use Koho, where we automatically estimate your freight class based on your provided dimensions and weight when you enter your quote request so you can be sure you’re getting accurate rates. If you’re still not sure, you can get in touch with one of our experts and they can help you confirm that you have the correct freight classification.