3 LTL Freight Fees That Are Actually Worth Your Money
01/19/2023 — Jen Deming
Keeping shipping costs low should be a goal for any LTL freight shipper, and is a smart tactic to successfully manage business expenses. What you may not know is that there are some scenarios where spending a little bit more can actually be beneficial. In certain cases, paying extra for an LTL freight fee may help avoid headaches, improve service, and create more efficiency. Let’s take a look at three scenarios where the fee is worth the extra cost.
Spend on: Freight Insurance
Probably the most important added fee that is worth the cost is extra freight insurance. The fact is that despite your best intentions (and packing procedures), your freight will at some point encounter damages and loss. Thinking that you’re safe with a claim payout from the carrier will lead to trouble.
We hate to break it to you, but payouts are usually pretty low, and don’t often approach the actual value of your shipment. The process is slow, tedious, and complicated - it's very easy to make a misstep that can jeopardize the approval of the claim. If you do acquire approval, your payout is based on dollar per pound and freight class, which can complicate things. Lower freight classes typically have lower dollar per pound payouts, so a discrepancy between actual shipment value can make it challenging to recoup your losses. Other freight classes, especially those that include used items, may not be covered at all.
Freight insurance usually comes at nominal cost with major extra coverage. The payout is based on the actual value of your freight, and you won’t have the responsibility of proving that it was the carrier that caused damage to your shipment. You also won’t be so hard-pressed for time in submitting a claim, and your payout will be faster. A quality broker should offer options to add on insurance coverage to your loads. When requesting a quote, just make sure to mention that you’re interested in additional coverage - for a minimal fee, you should be protected.
Spend on: Special Services
It’s always a smart idea to make sure your warehouse is well-stocked with proper loading equipment, and that your staff is adequately trained. But, sometimes you simply don’t have the resources.
Shipping locations without docks, small teams with low staff, and limited access businesses or special loads all warrant the extra money. Carriers offer a slew of extra services that cost money, but can be a life-saver depending on what you need to safely move your load. Liftgates, refrigerated trucks, and conestogas all fall into this category. You can also request driver assistance with loadings or delivery. While this isn’t a typical responsibility for the driver, if you’re willing to pay a little more, you can secure the extra help.
The most important thing about adding on these premium services is planning for the extra cost so that your invoice isn’t a surprise. Make sure you quote accurately, and include any additional options at the time of your request. If you’re unsure whether something may come with a hefty price tag, consult your broker or the carrier directly - especially since these services usually vary in cost across carriers.
Spend on: Carrier Appointments
Certain types of businesses require very specific shipping procedures and protocols. This happens often with high volume shippers that have trucks arriving all day long. These businesses frequently require appointments for delivery and pick-up. Grocers like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, and mass box stores such as Walmart and Target fit into these categories. Appointments help curtail truck pile-up and keep perishable goods stable.
Some businesses are designated as limited access, and may also operate within restricted shipping hours, like schools, universities, prisons, churches, or construction sites. Appointments can help ensure arrivals fall within that open window and avoid unexpected deliveries that may disrupt business operations or cause scheduling issues.
Neglecting to follow any business’s shipping and receiving protocols may result in a driver being sent away, which will likely incur missed appointment or redelivery fees. If you are shipping fresh produce and other perishable goods, any major delays are disastrous, resulting in damages to the load. Make sure you know whether or not your load will require appointments, and schedule them in a timely manner. Be extra mindful of any new locations you may be working with, and make sure any changes are communicated between all shipping parties.
Don’t be afraid to spend when the circumstances are right
It’s important to be budget-minded, but the most successful shippers know when to shell out versus when to save. If you need freight insurance, special services, or appointments for arrival, it makes sense to pay just a bit more to ensure less headaches down the line. These extra services ultimately help your freight - but you need a plan. PartnerShip can help determine which “extras” make the most sense for your business.