When it comes to searching and actually landing the best LTL (Less Than Truckload) shipping rates around, it can be a bit much to undertake. This is especially true if you’ve never used LTL freight services.
Luckily, I’m here to give you a few pointers that are going to drastically help you negotiate the best LTL rates possible. And the best part is that all of the tips I’m about to give you are very simple and straightforward, yet they are also the most commonly overlooked steps.
I am fully confident that if you follow these steps, you will have no problem finding the best carrier for your needs, and at a price point that won’t leave you scratching your head.
Before you even consider what shipping options you have available and trying to get an idea of prices, you must first know what exactly you will be shipping.
This is important because unlike the majority of other shipping methods available, LTL shipping is usually priced around the dimensions and weight of the freight being carried versus just weight alone. Since the carrier needs to know exactly how much freight will fit on one truck, it is absolutely vital that you have these measurements.
Additionally, you will need to know what freight class that your goods fit into. Freight classes take into consideration not only the weight and dimensions, but also its density, total value of the goods, and what the liabilities that come with shipping the freight.
Once you have all of these details, you will have a better idea of what options are truly available to you.
The next piece of advice that I will give you before we get deeper into this post, is that you need to try out a few different services before making a final decision.
Knowing how to negotiate prices is certainly a good skill to have when you begin your search, but you also need to have some reference from which to base your price expectations. This is only really possible by either doing your due diligence to thoroughly researching potential carriers or testing out each of their services over time.
By doing this, you will have a better idea of what type of prices you can expect, and it will also eliminate some options right away, helping you narrow down your search.
For example, let’s say that you decide to test out a couple of freight services, and the first one charges you $1,500.00 to take a load to a specific destination. Once your contract is up, you start searching again for a new freight service to test. The second service that you test quotes you a price of $2,500.00 for the exact same load and destination, oh and they take a day longer to ship.
Obviously, you are going to turn them down because you know you can get the same service for half the price unless, of course, they can offer something to make it worth double the price.
First, make sure that the carrier you hire is nationally-based. The advantage to choosing a nationally-based carrier service is that they have the ability to cover a large portion of the United States within roughly three transit days, and with fewer stops along the way. This usually equates to lower shipping costs, in addition to faster shipping times.
A majority of the time, you can apply for various discounts from freight services. Sometimes these are offered based on location, type of goods being shipped, and depending on the type of contract that you sign into.
Not all services make these discounts known up front, sometimes you need to ask to speak to your account manager and inquire about any potential offers you might be able to take advantage of. A lot of times, when freight services offer various discounts, it is part of a sort of package deal.
Just as you would for any other contract you are about to sign, you need to pay attention to all of the fine print. There may be hidden fees or other surcharges that you have missed, and they can quickly add up.
When this happens, you are left with your negotiation efforts feeling a bit lackluster.
If you are trying to negotiate the best rates possible from your LTL carrier, you need to do a little research, test out a few carriers, and then build a good rapport with the carrier with who you have chosen to sign a contract. Ask about their discounts, offers, or other specials that they can apply to your account, if eligible.
Take your time and be selective about who you choose to allow to carry your freight. Finding a good long-term logistics solution can be a bit overwhelming, but if you follow the tips I’ve given you, you will be many steps ahead of the competition.