Why Sometimes You Should Switch to Full Truckload From Less Than Truckload?

Posted On 5th June 2016

Sometimes the freight has to be there or "heads will roll" - maybe yours - or at least you'll have a major issue because your client's factory has to shut down. Or perhaps your sample materials miss the salesman appointment in Peoria. Or worse - perhaps all or just a part of the pieces of your exhibit are missing from the skid for the trade show though the BOL was signed clean - as a result, your whole show team's efforts and travel expense has been wasted - and a primary chance to show off your new products has been blown. These are critical shipments - don't risk them by shipping common carrier LTL.

What is a Full truckload (FTL)?

Full truckload (FTL) transportation is the movement of large quantities of freight that fill an entire trailer or truck. FTL shipments typically weigh more than 10,000 pounds and are moving more than 500 miles. This type of shipping is generally used for larger, heavier items that cannot be broken down into smaller shipments.

FTL shipping is different from less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping in a few key ways.

First, with FTL shipping the shipper has exclusive use of the entire trailer, so they don’t have to share space with other shippers.

Second, FTL rates are based on the weight and distance of the shipment, whereas LTL rates can also be affected by how much space the shipment takes up in the trailer (known as a “cube”).

Finally, FTL shipments are typically delivered faster than LTL shipments since they don’t have to be consolidated with other shipments en route.

If you have a large or heavy shipment that needs to be moved quickly, FTL shipping may be the best option for you.

Reasons to Switch From LTL to Full Truckload Shipping

There are many reasons why you might need to switch from LTL to full truckload shipping. Perhaps your business is growing and you now have more products to ship. Maybe you have a larger order that won’t fit into an LTL shipment. Or maybe you just need your product to arrive faster than LTL can deliver.

Whatever the reason, making the switch from LTL to full truckload shipping can be a big decision for your business. Here are a few things to consider before making the switch:

1. How much product do you need to ship?

If you have a large amount of product to ship, then a full truckload may be the better option. LTL shipments are limited in size, so if you have a larger order, you’ll need to switch to full truckload.

2. How fast does your product need to arrive?

LTL shipments can take a few days to arrive at their destination. If you need your product to arrive faster, then full truckload is the way to go.

3. How much can you afford to spend on shipping?

Full truckload shipping is more expensive than LTL shipping. If cost is a major concern for your business, then you may want to stick with LTL.

4. What are the dimensions of your product?

LTL shipments have size and weight limits. If your product is too large or too heavy for an LTL shipment, then you’ll need to switch to full truckload.

5. What is the value of your product?

If your product is valuable, then you may want to consider full truckload shipping. LTL shipments are often handled by multiple carriers, which can increase the risk of damage or loss. Full truckload shipments are typically handled by one carrier, which can decrease the risk of damage or loss.

Making the switch from LTL to full truckload shipping can be a big decision for your business. But if you take the time to consider your needs, you can make sure that you make the best decision for your business.

In these circumstances, you should consider booking a contract Full Truckload Carrier, instead of LTL or even expedited "guaranteed" LTL. The major common carrier guarantees are not ironclad: most of them just charge you the regular price rather than zero if they fail to make the guarantee date.

In these circumstances procure a direct and dedicated truck (or find a freight broker to do it for you). The truck picks up at the origin and drives the most direct route possible to the destination. No stops except for gas and food if time allows. Further, no other freight will go on this truck - that would only possibly delay or slow down your delivery.

If you are not an experienced shipper, go with a freight broker that does such do-or-die shipments daily - and knows precisely which expedited carrier to use for the lane you are shipping in.

On these shipments it is good to have a strict "no later than" delivery time set up in the contract; and heavy hourly penalties for lateness. Make the deadline in the contract to be always ahead of your real deadline! If a shipment requires extra drivers get them. But everything must be written. You must stress your requirements in writing, and they should be on the Bill of Lading for the driver(s) to see and of course, you should email them in writing to your broker from the outset.

A note on price - if your shipment just needs a normal transit time but it needs to be "guaranteed" then you might not pay that much more - check for the online Full Truckload Pricing Calculator to get an idea of the average price. Extra drivers and expedited freight is extra money, but it isn't outrageous.

If you have questions, comments or extra tips, please share them below.