What is Guaranteed LTL Shipping and When Should I Use It?

03/02/2017 — Jerry Spelic

What is guaranteed LTL service? It is a guarantee that your freight arrives by a pre-determined time of your choice on a standard-service delivery day.

It is very important to understand that LTL freight shipments are typically quoted with an estimated transit time. LTL freight carriers all have their own standard transit times, which take into consideration distance, the shipping lane in which the freight is moving and availability of trucks moving between the freight’s origin and destination. As an example, a carrier may estimate that freight moving between Atlanta and Chicago is two standard delivery days. Transit times are generally reliable, but again, are just an estimate so your shipment may be delayed.

The standard LTL freight guaranteed delivery is a 5:00pm guarantee, which means that your shipment will be delivered by 5:00pm on your specified date of delivery. Another commonly used guarantee is a noon guarantee, where your freight must be delivered by noon on your specified date of delivery.

There is also a LTL guaranteed delivery window service, where you specify a time period in which a shipment must arrive (between 1:00pm and 3:00pm, for example).

When should you use guaranteed LTL service?

  • When you are shipping to a retailer that has strict delivery window requirements, or a MABD (Must Arrive By Date). Missing these delivery dates and / or times may result in chargebacks of around 3% of the value of the purchase order. So if an order valued at $50,000 was early or late, you’d pay a $1500 fine. Paying extra for guaranteed LTL shipping is a small investment.
  • When your customer requires just-in-time (JIT) delivery. If you are shipping components to a manufacturer that utilizes JIT methodologies, a delay in your component arriving may delay their production run, or shut it down completely. This may result in a per-minute fine if your late delivery causes a shutdown in production, or you may lose their business entirely.
  • Similarly, if the delivery is required for an installation in new construction or as a repair or replacement. For example, if you are shipping a stainless steel fermentation tank to a new brewery, it needs to arrive when the construction team needs it so that it can be installed and not cause delays to their build-out schedule.
  • When other shipping activity relies on your shipment arriving at a specified time. For instance, you are shipping squishy stress relief balls to a national non-profit association as part of an event sponsorship. These stress balls, along with other sponsors’ promotional items, will be put into “goodie bags” for event participants and shipped to local chapters across the county for distribution. If your item doesn’t arrive in time, it may be left out, and you may lose the brand impact that your sponsorship was supposed to provide.

We have a couple of caveats to pass along regarding guaranteed LTL freight shipping. First, your shipment must happen during “business hours” on “business days.” This excludes holidays, so you should never assume that a guaranteed delivery can take place on a holiday.  Second, it is important to find out if a guarantee is even available for your LTL freight shipment before you assume that one is. Some examples that may exclude a guarantee:

» Collect-on-Delivery (COD) shipments

» Oversized shipments

» Hazardous materials shipments

» Service to some remote areas

If you have questions about when to use guaranteed LTL freight service, or how to find freight carriers that offer guaranteed freight delivery, contact PartnerShip. We can help you stay competitive by matching your LTL freight shipping needs with the correct service option. Contact us at 800-599-2902 or get a quote now!

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