Hey, this is Jeremy with Easy Logistics again here to talk to you about LTL freight. There’s still quite a bit of search for this term on the Internet, so I figured we’d dive into it and break down what exactly LTL freight is, when it’s needed, how it’s calculated, and then how to get the best rates, obviously.
What is LTL Freight : Weight and Dimensions
What is LTL freight or less than truckload freight? Generally speaking, it’s heavy products or merchandise over 150 pounds that needs to ship on commercial freight trucks. The boxes or pallets or whatever the products are are cumbersome and hard to be handled by one man and a Dolly. They’re large dimensionally, generally, making it harder to handle or needing special equipment.
In general, LTL freight is up to six standard palette positions. The dimensions 40 by 48 by up to about 90-ish pounds depending on how the truck is configured, whether it’s a swing door or roll up truck door. Then you can ship LTL freight up to 12 linear feet of truck space. Anything over that needs to travel volume or partial, generally unless it’s one item that’s ticking over just a little bit.
Then weight-wise, LTL freight is between 150 pounds generally is the bottom of the threshold up to approximately 10,000 pounds depending on the truck and what else is on it.
Generally Palletized for transfer with Machinery
Generally, LTL freight is palletized for ease of pickup, delivery and transfer so that we can use forklifts to pick it up, move it around or pallet jacks. Then obviously, LTL freight compared to ground shipping demands heavy machinery for pickup, translating and delivery machinery like forklifts, paddle jacks, lift gates, which help to pick up and drop down the merchandise if the shipment isn’t going from a commercial dock to a commercial dock type site.
How is LTL Freight Shipments Rates?
Then how is LTL freight quoted or rated? Basically, it’s based off of a variety of factors, including the total weight of the LTL freight shipment, the total dimensions of the products or palettes that are being shipped LTL, the freight classification which can range anywhere from Class 50 to Class 500.
Sometimes density of the pallet or boxes or whatever you’re shipping is taken into account depending on the quantity and class type. Then obviously packaging and handling requirements. Not all the time, but sometimes if it’s easier to handle or cumbersome to handle, that can play into the rate a little bit.
Then the complexity of accessorials, which is just extra services for pickup and delivery. If it’s not going commercial business address dock to dock, you need a residential delivery, you need an appointment set, you need a lift gate, an inside delivery, things of that nature that can add to the LTL freight quote or rate that you get back.
Insurance value or replacement value of the commodity you’re shipping. LTL freight can play a big part as well, especially if it’s really expensive. Then if the commodity is hazardous.
We’ve been moving a lot of electric cargo bikes and electric bikes and even electric motorcycles and ATVs and the batteries are getting obviously bigger and more powerful, and sometimes they even need to be shipped as a replacement batteries, and that could be considered hazardous freight, which needs to be segregated from the rest of what’s on the truck and can make the cost go up exponentially.
6 Tricks for getting the best Freight Rates!
1)Then probably what you’re most interested in is how do I get the best LTL freight rates? We’ve done videos that we’ve drilled into this more in depth, and you can check those out. But the short list, as far as I’m concerned, to get the best LTL freight rates, probably got to leverage a freight brokerage that works with a variety of carriers and spends a lot of money with a lot of different carriers, and you can leverage their buying power to get better LTL freight rates.
2) Beyond that, if you’re spending generally $15,000 or above per month, carriers are willing to give you what’s considered a carrier-specific price, and there are all kinds of ways to negotiate the price down from class reductions to overall deeper discounts to elimination of accessorial charges that would be commonplace without the carriers.
3) My third recommendation would probably be to reduce your packaging dimensions and weights, if that’s possible, especially if your commodity is density-rated like surfboards or bikes. A lot of the other commodities we handle have density ranges that changes class depending on the size and dimension and the weight of the products.
4) Probably my fourth recommendation is just, if it’s possible, ship more units per shipment, because the more you ship, the less it costs per pound and the less it costs per item shipped.
That’s not always possible with the pivot to ecommerce in the freight world, but if you can do it, or if you can incentivize your dealers to buy in bulk and ship them more units, it’s going to cost way less per items shipped.
5) Fifth would be just to reduce the complexity of pickup and delivery, accessorials, lift gates, inside delivery, call ahead appointments, things of that nature. The less of those extra services you need, the lower the price is going to be per shipment, because those things add up pretty quick.
6)Then probably finally is just try and automate the process as much as possible. There’s a ton of freight management software out there that’s super easy to use. You don’t need as many people to operate the department or move all your products because it’s so highly automated and quick and easy to do with one platform or a couple of platforms like the one that we have.
Then ultimately, if you need help with any of this, this is what we grapple with all day long. Give us a call. We’d be happy to help. Show you our best new software and best pricing with the hundreds, if not thousands of carriers that we work with.
It’s my company, we’re looking to grow, and we’d be honored to work with you. So give us a call. Make it a great week.