How to Find the Right LTL Carrier

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Logistics are important for your bottom line, but what do you do when you need to ship a load that is not full? Do you hurry and find the first shipper who will take your load, or do you take the time to do a little research? If you said the latter, chances are you are getting a better deal on your shipping. Finding the right less-than-load (LTL) carrier can seem complex, but it’s a matter of know what you should be looking for.

1: Shipping Consistency

You probably wouldn’t feel comfortable going to a surgeon who only gets it right a third of the time, and you most likely wouldn’t ride a train that was only on time one out of every four trips—so why would you hire a shipping company that only gets your load delivered on time and to the right place some of the time? The delays and unscheduled downtime could impact a critical delivery, so before you hire you want to make sure the shipper is consistently on time and delivers when and where they say they will. That means working with an LTL shipper who has a large network of facilities and can reach the area you need to cover in the shortest possible time.

2: Experience

Unlike truckload rates, with per-mile rates or a price per-hundred weight plus fuel charges, LTL freights can vary depending on how your company chooses to calculate costs. An experienced shipping company will be able to offer you the best rates and a quick and easy estimate process so there are no surprises, no confusion, and no missed savings.

3: Accurate Estimates

There are many factors that go into calculating costs for less-than-load shipments, but it’s important that you are able to get an accurate estimate up front, before you send your load out with a company. In order to accurately estimate the cost of shipping, most LTL freight companies will use the following criteria:

  • Weight (usually by category)
  • Density (calculated by description on the bill of lading)
  • Freight classification based on the National Motor Freight Classification book
  • Total distance from pickup to destination
  • Base rates per hundred pounds of freight
  • Whether items are a single class or from different classes (i.e., Freight All Kinds, or FAK arrangements)
  • Meeting minimum quantities or weights
  • Any previously negotiated discounts or arrangements to cut down on costs
  • Extra services and surcharges beyond the basic dock-to-dock delivery

Not knowing your options with LTL carriers can lead to as much as a 25-40% increase in your total shipping costs. If you have questions about your LTL load, call West Coast Carriers today to discuss it in more detail and figure out the best way to get the best prices.