If you believe some of the misconceptions about LTL shipping, you may end up very frustrated or, at the least, paying more than you should to ship your items this way. We want you to know the truth about LTL shipping so you can make an informed decision about using this option for your freight shipping. Let’s take a look at some of the myths surrounding this sometimes misunderstood method of shipping:
Myth 1: LTL Pickup, Delivery and Transit Times Are Guaranteed
Reputable LTL carriers do not guarantee specific pickup or delivery times—they provide a time frame for picking up and delivering your items. The time frame is an estimate based on your location and our overall schedule. If you’re located in an area in which trucks come and go often, your time frame can be much smaller and more accurate than if you’re in a remote location. When you schedule your next shipping job, make sure you understand your shipper’s policies so you can know what to expect.
Myth 2: A Large Discount Is Better Than a Good Rate
Your carrier may grant you a large discount so you have little incentive to look elsewhere. While your discount may seem like a great deal, you need to think this through. What rate is your discount based on? If your discount is based on a very high rate, you may be paying more with your big discount than you would pay for another carrier’s smaller discount that is based on a lower rate.
Myth 3: My LTL Freight Class Will Never Change
LTL shipping rates are based on freight classifications. Just because the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) board has not changed your freight class recently does not mean that it will never change. You should check occasionally, either on your own or through your shipper, to see if your freight class has been updated. If you want to confirm the exact classification for your freight and how this affects your overall shipping cost, feel free to contact TSI.
Myth 4: Dimensional LTL Pricing is Bad for Me
When shipping is based solely on weight, you pay more to ship a heavier item, regardless of its size. It’s that simple. However with dimensional (DIM) pricing, your cost is based on the dimensional weight (density) of a package. You will be billed for whichever is greater—the actual weight or the dimensional weight. In general, the denser or more compact your product is, the less expensive it is to ship. Conversely, you’ll pay more to ship lighter, larger packages under the DIM system.
How does DIM pricing affect carriers? DIM pricing is not just a way for carriers to make more money, but it allows shippers to use the space in LTL vehicles more effectively. How does a switch to DIM pricing affect the average customer? By charging more for larger packages, DIM pricing encourages customers to reduce the overall size of packages as well as the amount of packing material. Customers can save money by packing items more efficiently.
Myth 5: Fuel Costs Cannot Be Negotiated
While many customers negotiate rates and discounts for various services, they may not realize that transit fuel costs and surcharges are negotiable. Shipping regularly with the same carrier may confer a “special relationship” status that you can leverage to get a discount on fuel charges. While obtaining a discount may be easier for large companies that make a lot of consolidated shipments, it never hurts to ask—regardless of your company’s size.