LTL Freight Shipping Services
LTL freight shipping stands for less-than-truckload. As the name suggests, LTL shipments are smaller than (FTL) full truckload shipments. LTL shipments typically weigh between 150 and 10,000 pounds and take up anywhere from 2 linear feet of the truck to 24 linear feet. Usually, when the shipment is larger than 24’ of a truck it is more economical to ship it as a Full Truckload, though there are exceptions to this of course – if there is an excess of trucks in the pickup area willing to go to that destination the Carriers naturally become more flexible and negotiable. Usually, carriers in such situations of oversupply will want to charge the Full Truckload $ per linear foot price multiplied by a 20% to 50% premium for an LTL shipment.
How LTL Freight Shipping Can Help Your Business
LTL freight shipping via common carrier is the perfect solution for businesses that need to ship large or heavy items, but don't have the volume to justify a full truckload shipment, or the volume to justify purchasing their own delivery truck or, if not volume, they don’t have the geographical concentration of clients to justify buying their own delivery truck. LTL (less than truckload) shipments are consolidated with other LTL freight shipments going to the same general area via the common carriers spoke and wheel network system, which helps keep costs low. Plus, you'll only pay for the space your LTL shipment occupies on the truck, so you benefit from the lack of otherwise wasted space of an FTL.
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 shipping method is used to most cost-effectively get products to the end client (the receiver), usually in other states, in a timely and reliable schedule.
Once you exceed 150 lbs., parcel carriers such as UPS, FedEx, or USPS cannot handle the freight properly. Shipping LTL freight means you will have to palletize and package your LTL shipments to a higher standard that is able to withstand the bruises and bumps of a Spoke and Wheel distribution system and its transfers from one truck to the next, but to your client, that means the freight arrives in the same condition as you shipped it.
Why I Have to Choose LTL Freight Shipping
Once you exceed 150 lbs., many LTL carriers cannot handle the freight properly. Shipping LTL freight means you will have to palletize and package your LTL shipments to a higher standard, but to your client, that means the freight arrives in the same condition as you shipped it.
LTL Freight Shipping Benefits
LTL freight shipping offers many benefits for businesses that need to ship goods. Some of the benefits of LTL freight shipping include:
Cost Effectiveness of LTL Delivery
Less than truckload shipping is a much cheaper shipping option than any other way, such as air freight, via a direct dedicated truck, or via a company truck that you own and operate.
LTL Shipping is the More Flexible Way to Ship
LTL carriers 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 such as 28’ or 24’ straight trucks with liftgates, to receivers that do not have enough room to accept a large truck, such as homes, schools, and ranches. And, they can use their large trailers to deliver to industrial and business clients with professional warehouses. They always try to fill in all the shipping needs from the shipping public wanting to ship personal goods or moving goods to industrial concerns shipping directly to other businesses. In recent years you’ve even seen, on the sides of LTL common carriers, for instance, ABF’s U-Pack program and Estes’ SureMove program.
LTL carriers (LTL Freight 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. If you book LTL shipping using our system, you do have the option to buy third-party insurance to be sure you have enough insurance when shipping common carriers. LTL shipping on your trucks means exposing your entire business to ALL the liabilities of having a large truck on the road, and unfortunately, the insurance companies do not protect you against many risks, or against your or your employee’s negligence.
Expertise in Shipping
LTL 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. Also, they can tell you how to package your LTL shipments 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 LTL carrier. Industrial shippers who know what they are doing will first hire a box company to design the packaging to the highest standard they can justify in terms of the thickness of the cardboard, then will load a standard pallet full of their product inside in that box and ship it around the country on a “test run.” Machines or other sensitive shipments must be crated, and often are crated in wooden crates lined with foam to protect from electronic or other products from shock. Shipping extremely sensitive cameras, machine parts, or electronic goods require custom-made foam inside of crates. We often recommend the famous “Made to Order, Made to Last” camera cases, lens cases, batter and charger cases, monitor cases, and other customized cases that Innerspace Cases of North Hollywood have made for the movie and film industry for many years but now makes for anyone who has a need for a case to hold a valuable cannot fail piece of equipment. They even make a case that you can carry onto an airplane, or check if you want to, to hold extremely sensitive electronics or lenses or machine parts. It is often impossible to truly insure such goods without a known specialized package designer like Innerspace Cases manufacturing the box.
Tracking and Technology
LTL carriers and their brokers generally have the technology to track your shipment by PRO number (affixed to the Bill of Lading by a driver at pickup), Bill of Lading number, Purchase Order number, Sales Order number, etc., provided the driver puts that number on the Bill of Lading. With FreightRun, all the LTL freight tracking information is online, and updates can be emailed or sent to you via text.
How to Ship via Less Than Truckload Shipping
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 the use of heavy-duty boxes, crating or palletizing, binding the freight onto 4-way pallets, and shrink-wrapping it. Emailing us a picture of your product and its packaging, the box details, and whatever other details you can provide, will at least determine if your packaging is coming close to the NMFC standards and if it can be insured with Supplemental Insurance which still requires sufficiently rigorous packaging.
LTL Shipping Quote
Register at FreightRun.com, then follow the instructions and you can easily obtain instant LTL freight quotes from multiple common LTL carriers on the spot. To get an LTL quote you need to know the weight and dimensions of each box or shipping unit you want to send out. Also, you need to tell us if you are shipping from a shipping dock or if this is a residence or otherwise needs a liftgate to get the freight onto the truck. You need to know where it is going also – if the delivery site has limited access or if it is rather a straight industrial dock that a 53’ truck can easily back into. 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 and can save thousands of dollars to a regular business sending 4 or 5 shipments per day..
Bill of Lading
BOLs (Bills of Landing) for LTL freight shipments are legal documents that must be accurate. This document describes what you are shipping, the exact weight and dimensions, characteristics of the freight (e.g. is it hazardous), who is paying the freight bill, whether the freight was shipped undamaged, and how it was received (damaged or in good condition).
When you use our LTL freight services, we will prepare a Bill of Lading for any shipment for you but it is your Bill of Lading and ultimately your legal responsibility (if you are the shipper) to be sure its details are accurate. But if you are not shipping with FreightRun, you should ask the carrier you are utilizing exactly what should be on the Bill of Lading, and perhaps they can provide for you the form for you to fill out. Of course, a full description including the NMFC (national motor freight commodity classification number) must be on most bill of ladings, its weight, and piece count. If the shipment is hazardous then obviously there are many other details that need to be on the Bill of Lading, and the Carrier must be informed in advance of the type of hazardous product you are shipping and other details. An emergency 24-hour number must be put on the Bill of Lading, and the BOL and the freight itself should both be attached to an MDSS Material Data Safety Sheet. Driver must be certified to handle hazardous materials also and should be able to show you that certification. There are other requirements. Work with Freight Run or another experienced hazmat Carrier or Broker. Often good to talk to the Carrier’s Hazmat department directly and to have them approve the Bill of Lading before using it. Make sure you provide them with the MDSS so they can have the details in hand to advise you.
Keep in mind, if you put inaccurate information on a Bill of Lading the driver/carrier is not the first party responsible. You are! 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. The lawyers have a field day with any truck accident, so much so it has caused a crisis in our industry with increasingly narrow insurance policies being written and increasingly higher rates due to expensive litigation and high payouts.
Various LTL Shipping Services
There is regular service for common LTL carriers, which is business-to-business, dock-to-dock service – but then there are special services available, such as:
Expedited shipping - is a type of shipping that guarantees faster delivery times;
Inside delivery - inside delivery is a type of shipping method that involves delivering goods directly to the customer's door;
White glove delivery - freight is delivered inside a building and pallet and packaging debris are hauled off by the LTL freight carrier and that is included in the LTL freight quote;
Special delivery to distribution centers and grocery warehouses - the carrier delivers your freight, with other shippers’ freight, to these warehouses and distribution centers, which typically have some unreasonable delivery requirements that the LTL carrier knows and is prepared to deal with on our behalf.
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.
Ask us about it and we will make sure your shipper’s and/or receiver’s requirements can and will be met by a common carrier or suggest a contract carrier option if necessary. Ship freight easily with us!
LTL Freight Tracking
LTL freight tracking is a process that allows you to keep an eye on your shipment as it moves along its route. With this system in place, you can rest assured that your goods will arrive at their destination on time and without any issues.
There are several benefits of using LTL freight tracking. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that it enables you to stay informed about the status of your LTL freight shipment at all times. This means that you can make arrangements for alternate freight shipping if there are any delays or problems with your original order.
In addition, LTL freight tracking can help you save money. By knowing exactly where your shipment is at all times, you can avoid costly last-minute delivery charges. You can also plan and make sure that the LTL shipping process will go smoothly.
There are several different ways to track your less-than-truckload shipment using LTL freight tracking. The most common method is through the use of an LTL shipping manifest or bill of lading.
Another way to track your LTL shipments is through online tracking tools. These tools allow you to see the current status of your LTL shipping as well as a detailed map of its route.
Finally, you can also track your LTL shipment by contacting the freight company directly. Most companies have a customer service line that can provide you with up-to-date information about your order.
Which LTL Shipping Services Do 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;
Business to Residential Deliveries;
Liftgate freight at pickup or delivery;
Touch freight or no-touch freight, including assembly freight;
LTL white glove services of various kinds;
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 and Costco, hospitals, nursing homes, automobile distributorships, airports, construction sites, homes, trucking terminals, export or import terminals, or a mix of one or more of the previous.
Want to Get an LTL Freight Shipping 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. 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.
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 less-than-truckload shipping and therefore can get you up and going – with a great discount – much faster than the alternative and much more cost-effectively. Get instant LTL Freight Quotes online.
With us, your less-than-truckload freight is part of a large multi-million-dollar basket of business, so freight shipping 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 share their experiences on how the individual carriers and contract 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 - no matter if you're interested in national carriers., local carriers or regional carriers. The cheapest freight shipping options are not necessarily the most cost-effective way to ship in the long term unless your LTL freight is truly not time sensitive and is packed so well it cannot possibly be damaged.
LTL freight shipping costs can vary according to shipping requirements, the characteristics and NMFC number of the freight you ship, how you package it, freight density, etc. It 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. With FreightRun you can ship LTL freight easily. Choose our freight services and we'll take care of your truckload shipments. Shipping LTL was never as easy.
How Much LTL Freight May Cost
It all depends on so many factors. We try to simplify the process by providing you with an easy free-to-use LTL freight calculator. Give it a try and contact us if you have any questions.
Suggestions for Successful LTL Freight Shipping
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, and discuss your LTL delivery requirements and available LTL delivery 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 carrier inspects your LTL 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 less-than-truckload freight quote in advance. 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 generated BOL if you are shipping with FreightRun if it meets your company’s requirements; if not you need to copy certain parts of FreightRun’s BOL to your own company’s custom BOL. Discuss the details with us, please.
You choose the vendor, the Carrier, at Freight Run. Freight Run, per its Agreement and Terms with you, is not responsible if the Carrier fails you. We will attempt to help you, and to advocate for you, if the Carrier fails you but please keep in mind the Carrier failing is not the same as Freight Run failing. We give you the best price we can in return for you taking responsibility to make sure your shipment is packaged properly, described properly, etc and the Carrier takes the rest of the responsibility for moving the Goods from Point A to Point B according to their Tariff, which we can provide you with upon request. Any claims you must handle directly with the Carrier, though we can help if you would like.
Sign up for shipment updates via email or text. We try our best to provide the best freight services, so shipping LTL with us should be a smooth and easy process if the carrier performs to your expectations and requirements.
What Does "LTL" Mean and How is It Different from FTL Shipping?
LTL freight meaning is less than truckload freight and refers to when a trucker consolidates small shipments from many different shippers to make an almost full truckload. The trucker then moves the LTL shipments to the same geographical area or various destinations en route to the final destination. This type of freight shipping is great for small businesses.
LTL freight typically moves via common carriers (LTL carriers) that have shipping rates and fixed rules and regulations that were initially approved by the government regulators in charge of the marketplace many years ago. On our website, you can check the list of the best LTL carriers.
FTL freight shipping, on the other hand, is more for businesses that need to deliver big shipments. You can get shipping rates for both LTL and FTL Shipping on our website.
Why FreightRun LTL Services Are Better Than Any LTL Carrier Can Provide
FreightRun offers virtually every common LTL service and we offer our clients 99% of all common LTL Shipping Companies on the market and instant LTL freight quotes for your freight shipments. 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 rates national carriers, local carriers, and regional 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 to protect your LTL freight.
Many carriers are denying claims based on the reason “insufficient packaging” by which they mean “insufficiently tough packaging.” Given the tight capacity of the common carrier trucking network now, when shipping common carriers, shippers and freight payers must attempt to “bomb-proof” your LTL shipments.
In addition to normal LTL services, FreightRun can also do direct shipments via cargo van and truck and combine them with aircraft to speed the shipment to the destination. We can provide different special services for your special needs.