LTL Freight Shipping
LTL or less than truckload shipping is when the shipper, whether that is the manufacturer or distributor of the goods, utilizes a common carrier’s network of terminals, trucks and trailers to ship smaller shipments.
These small shipments usually occupy up to 1/3 of the floor space on a typical 53’ trailer and are transported along with shipments from the common carrier’s other clients.
This LTL method is used to most cost effectively get products to the end client (the receiver), usually in other states.
How LTL Freight Shipping Can Help Your Business
Why I have to choose LTL freight shipping
Once you exceed 150 lbs., many carriers cannot handle the freight properly. Shipping LTL means you will have to palletize and package to a higher standard, but to your client that means the freight arrives in the same condition as you shipped it.
LTL shipping is a much cheaper shipping option than any other way, such as air freight, via a direct truck, or via a company truck that you own and operate.
More Flexible, More Resourceful Way to Ship
LTL truckers must be flexible as the freight they move is so varied. LTL carriers, aka “common carriers”, have different types of equipment they use in different types of deliveries. They can deliver with liftgates to clients who do not have a proper receiving dock. They can also deliver on smaller trucks to receivers that do not have enough room to accept a large truck, such as schools and ranches. And, they can use their large trailers to deliver to industrial and business clients with professional warehouses.
Common carriers have excellent terminal and truck security and safety measures in place. This reduces the chance you will be sued for shipping mistakes such as overloaded trucks that get into accidents, or that your freight will be lost, stolen or damaged. Standard procedures are in place if freight is missing or damaged. Book using our system, you do have the option to buy third party insurance to be sure you have enough insurance when shipping common carrier. Shipping on your own trucks means exposing your entire business to ALL the liabilities of having a large truck on the road.
Expertise in Shipping
Common carriers and their brokers or third-party logistics firms have the expertise to deliver to large distribution warehouses as well as execute inside deliveries to small businesses and even homes. As a shipper, you know how to make the goods. A good common carrier and broker can tell you how to package your product more efficiently and durably. This will enable you to prevail in damage claims when you must prove your packaging was “sufficient” i.e. up to the National Motor Freight Association’s standards, which you accept whenever you ship via common carrier.
Tracking and Technology
LTL carriers and their brokers generally have the technology to track your shipment by PRO number (affixed to Bill of Lading by driver at pickup), Bill of Lading number, Purchase Order number, Sales Order number etc., provided you put that number on the Bill of Lading. Also, they’ve invested in the technology that may integrate with your own software. With FreightRun, all the tracking information is online, and updates can be emailed or sent to you via text.
How to ship via LTL
First review your packaging with one of our LTL experts to be sure it meets ALL the standards of common carriers’ tariffs. This could mean use of heavy-duty boxes, crating or palletizing, binding the freight onto 4-way pallets, and shrink wrapping it.
LTL Shipping Quote
Register at FreightRun.com, then follow the instructions and you can easily obtain a quote from multiple common carriers on the spot. If you ship several shipments per day that are over 150 lbs., provide us with past freight invoices and we can provide you with a “frequent shipper” discount, which is larger.
Bill of Lading
BOLs (Bills of Landing) for less than truckload shipments are legal documents that must be accurate. This document describes what you are shipping, exact weight and dimensions, characteristics of the freight (e.g. is it hazardous), who is paying the freight bill, that the freight was shipped undamaged and how it was received (damaged or in good condition).
When you use our services, we will prepare a Bill of Lading for any shipment for you. But if you are not shipping with FreightRun and do not have experience, you should read our online blogs to educate yourself. You should ask the carrier you are utilizing exactly what should be on the Bill of Lading.
Keep in mind, if you put inaccurate information on a Bill of Lading the driver/carrier are not the first parties responsible. The driver won’t be able to determine the weight of your shipment, so you and your company are liable.
For example, if the weight is understated, and the truck was then in an accident, especially a truck accident that had fatalities, you would be responsible and liable for the misstated weight. It is critical therefore to get these details right.
Various LTL Shipping Services
There is regular service, which is business-to-business, dock-to-dock service – but then there are special services available, such as:
- Expedited shipping;
- Inside delivery;
- White glove delivery - freight is delivered inside a building and pallet and packaging debris hauled off by the LTL freight carrier and that is included in the LTL freight quote;
- Special delivery to distribution center and grocery warehouses - the carrier delivers your freight, with other shippers’ freight, to these warehouses, which typically have some unreasonable delivery requirements which the LTL carrier knows.
There is a whole myriad of special LTL shipping services that require special drivers or trucks – deliveries to prisons, from ports or to ports, to military bases, to farms and ranches, freight going to busy manufacturers which must deliver by appointment only, etc. etc.
Ask us about it and we will make sure your shipper’s and/or receiver’s requirements can and will be met by common carrier or suggest a contract carrier option if necessary.
Which LTL shipping services we offer
The list of LTL freight services we offer includes but is not limited to:
- Normal common carrier shipping;
- Expedited common carrier shipping via cargo van, straight truck, or 53’ van;
- B2B shipping;
- Business to Residential Deliveries;
- Appointment freight;
- Liftgate freight at pickup or delivery;
- Touch freight or no touch freight, including assembly freight;
- LTL white glove services of various kinds;
- Expedited freight;
- Guaranteed shipments;
- LTL refrigerated shipments;
- LTL temperature control shipments;
- Protect from freezing LTL shipments;
- Limited access deliveries to prisons, military bases, container freight stations (CFS), ranches, farms, schools, country clubs, golf courses, shopping malls, mines, quarries, pre-casters or pre-cast concrete plants, hotels, motels, self-storage facilities with or without docks, distribution warehouses such as Walmart, Sam’s Clubs, Costco, and Rite-Aid, hospitals, nursing homes, strip malls, automobile distributorships, airports, construction sites, job sites, homes, trucking terminals, export or import terminals, or a mix of one or more of the previous.
Want to Get an LTL Freight Quote?
If you already have an account with a common carrier trucker, they should have trained you on how to use their software or website. In order to get started with them, you will need to engage them in a long process during which you will be required to show them all the shipments you have done in the past, the bills of lading, and the freight bills. They will give you a general discount level, and they will handle the shipments to the destinations they go to you as best they can.
With FreightRun you can ship almost immediately with a much faster approval process and engage by telephone, email or chat with our expert team members who are well trained in shipping and therefore can get you up and going – with a great discount – much faster than the alternative and much more cost effectively.
With us, your freight is part of a large multi-million-dollar basket of business, so your pricing is usually much better. You have immediate access to our team members who are really like your freight logistics support team – they will stay on top of the carrier as much as possible.
That said, do yourself a favor, and pick a highly rated carrier. Our clients shares their actual experience on how the individual carriers handled their shipments. This real-life feedback will help you carefully choose a carrier that will give you less trouble and most reliably serve your needs. You will most likely have fewer damage claims and a more reliable transit time than if you go with the 3 or so cheaper LTL carriers. The cheapest LTL freight shipping options are not necessarily the most cost-effective way to ship in the long term, unless your freight is truly not time sensitive and is packed so well it cannot possibly be damaged.
LTL freight cost can vary according to shipping requirements, the characteristics and NMFC number of the freight you ship, how you package it, freight density, etc. It really helps to have our team members on your side, advocating for you, during the LTL shipping process.
Register and chat with or email one of our freight specialists.
How much LTL freight may cost
It all depends on so many factors. We try to simply the process by providing you an easy free to use LTL freight calculator. Give it a try and contact us if you have any questions
A Few Suggestions for Successful LTL trucking
- Thoroughly vet your freight with our customer support – send us pictures, previous BOLs and freight bills for similar freight you have shipped before. Tell us and show us how it is packaged, discuss your LTL delivery requirements and available LTL options in detail.
- Obtain a weight certificate and length x width x height pictures of the shipment at the time of shipment. This will help you if the LTL carrier inspects your shipment and finds it to be heavier (eg - you transport any heavy equipment) than what you or your shipper indicated on the LTL BOL.
- Get a freight quote in advance – make sure ALL details are correct – otherwise you are subject to extra charges. Rates are usually based on shipment density, weight and volume packaging etc. but often there are also pallet rates available.
- Make sure the BOL details are correct. Always use the FreightRun BOL if you are shipping with FreightRun.
Sign up for shipment updates via email or text. If it appears the shipping is taking longer than you expected, immediately contact us to help you resolve whatever issue is causing the delay.
What does “LTL” mean and how is it different from FTL shipping? LTL means less than truckload and refers to when a trucker consolidates small shipments from many different shippers in order to make an almost full truckload. The trucker then moves the shipments to the same geographical area, or to various destinations in route to the final destination.
LTL freight typically moves via common carriers who have tariffs – fixed rules and regulations that were initially approved by the government regulators in charge of the marketplace many years ago. Most LTL carriers’ tariffs have 99 percent the same rules, regulations and principles. This is different from FTL or full truckload shipping in which one shipper usually fills a truck to capacity, all going to one receiver.
Secondarily, usually FTL carriers are “contract carriers” and in the past were not regulated as heavily as LTL carriers but today their terms of carriage are negotiated for EACH load – there is no general tariff whose elements are agreed to by 99 percent of the carriers.
Why FreightRun LTL Services Are Deeper Than Any One LTL Carrier Can Provide
FreightRun offers virtually every common LTL service there is because we offer our clients 99% of all common carries. We also have LTL shipping capability with contract carriers. We do not endorse any particular carrier. You choose the carrier and you assume the risks of shipping with that carrier and their tariff (rules and regulations, terms of shipment).
The FreightRun community of clients regularly rate carriers so you can read carrier reviews “in real time” from shippers across the country and choose the most reliable carrier for your purposes. We highly recommend you pay for third-party insurance on ALL your freight shipments, and FreightRun has the most affordable third-party insurance on the market.
Many carriers are denying claims based on the reason “insufficient packaging” by which they mean “insufficiently tough packaging.” Given the tight capacity of the LTL common carrier trucking network now, when shipping common carrier, shippers and freight payers must attempt to “bomb-proof” your shipments. By this we mean if a tired forklift driver hits your pallet of freight at 5 mph your skid should just be pushed on and the forklift tine should not pierce the packaging – the walls of your packaging must be that tough.
In addition to normal LTL services, FreightRun can also do direct shipments via cargo van and truck and combine it with aircraft to speed the shipment to destination.