How to get a quote on your LTL freight shipment
02/24/2015 — Matt Nagel
After your freight has been properly packaged and assembled, it's time to gather information about your shipment to ensure you are receiving an accurate freight rate and transit time. Correctly identifying your freight as less-than-truckload (LTL), tradeshow, or truckload is the first step to knowing what information you need to have ready before getting the quote. In this post we'll summarize the information needed for an LTL freight shipment, which refers to a shipment that does not completely fill a truck, is typically palletized, and weighs over 150 lbs. In order to obtain an accurate LTL freight quote and transit time, be sure to:
- Establish when your shipment needs to be picked up and delivered. – This is basic information that needs to be determined before trying to obtain a quote. If your shipment has a delivery date that’s etched in stone, guaranteed options are available at a higher price. Either way, the more information you can provide about your shipment’s timeline up front, the more options you’ll have available to make an educated decision.
- Know your ZIP Codes! – Origin and destination ZIP Codes are keys to an accurate LTL rate quote. Just as important are the origin and destination types or descriptions - whether your shipment is going to a business, a residential area, or a tradeshow will impact the overall cost and transit time. Getting the ZIP Codes and descriptions for the origin and destination right on the first pass will ensure a smooth transit.
- Determine if any accessorials are needed. – Accessorials are any additional services required outside of the standard shipping procedure. Examples include lift gates, Collect on Delivery (COD), and inside pickup or delivery. Accessorials normally require additional fees from the carrier to insure your shipment has everything it needs to get on or off of the truck and to its destination safely.
- Decide on the amount of insurance needed for your shipment. – Knowing the value of the shipment you are transporting and purchasing the proper amount of insurance is crucial in the case that something unexpected happens to your shipment while in transit. Having this information when obtaining the quote is crucial to an accurate price.
- Calculate the exact weight of your shipment. – Providing an accurate weight is very important when obtaining a quote. Remember to include the pallet’s weight and have your scales tested and calibrated often to be as precise as possible.
- Know your freight classes! – LTL Freight Class refers to the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) and determines the carrier's shipping charges for your LTL freight. Your freight class identifies the size, value and difficulty of transporting your LTL freight and is a must-have for quoting.
Also, if you’re shipment is tipping the scales a little more than you expected and you decide to ship truckload/volume (over 5,000 lbs) check out our post on how to get a quote for your truckload shipment.