All right, everybody. Let’s jump into this today. Today we’re going to talk about dreaded rebills, or freight adjustments, or freight rebills. Nobody likes them. They’re a pain in the butt. My team probably likes them the least because they are the ones that have to dispute them on your behalf and get together all the evidence, put it in front of the carrier, and get it adjusted back and get you credited back.
I’m going to go through, I think I came up with 10 tips and tricks to avoid rebills or freight adjustments and hopefully make your life a lot easier, more economical, and less headaches in general. Let’s drive into this. Jeremy with Easy Logistics, as always. Here we go.
Number one, invest some money in a digital freight scale. They even have digital freight scales that print out a receipt that is adhesive that you can just slap on the palette or the box or whatever it is, so that you have a digital receipt of what it weighed out at, whether it’s palletized or just a big crate or whatever. Totally worth the money. I think they’re $300-$500 on Uline, something like that. If you want to connect with me, I can find one for you that would be super adequate.
It’ll make your life a lot easier because every carrier worth his salt today has weight machines on their forklift, so they’re weighing it every step of the process. If your weight is incorrect, you’re going to end up with a freight adjustment after the fact, and nobody likes that.
Number two, put together a well organized item or skew master. It’s basically a list of all your products with a description of the product, the dimensions of the product, the weight of the product, the freight class of the product, and the density of the product, especially if it’s a density related commodity, as the item actually ships. Not just the product, but the product as it’s boxed or the product as it’s palletized.
Having something like this in Excel, and I can send you an example if you email me, will make your life so much easier when and if you have a freight adjustment down the road. A lot of them relate to freight class and density in our experience. Or weight, really. Weight. But this is something that you absolutely have to have. Even better if it’s posted on your website so that you have a digital copy, but at the very least it should look professional and have your logo on it.
Number three, the packing slip that is traveling with your freight needs to correlate to that item master. The receipt of what products are traveling on that shipment for your customer, whether it’s an invoice or just a packing slip or both, generally you have a packing slip, it needs to correlate to the items that are listed on your item master.
If you have two of product A and two of product B, it needs to be easily relatable to that item master so that when we take the packing slip and the item master and hand it back to the carrier, it’s a no brainer to get any type of adjustment that they think they’re entitled to credited back and off the record, so really important.
Number four, use the correct freight class and NMFC code. We run into a lot of shipping managers that don’t even understand freight classes or NMFC codes. I’m constantly surprised by that, but maybe they’ve just been thrown into a position that they weren’t really trained for.
We can help you with this if you’re struggling with freight class and NMFC. I know it’s a pain in the butt. It’s super complex. There’s a lot of options. You have to drill into it to figure out the most correct class, especially if you have density rated products that you’re shipping freight, but we can help.
Or getting access to ClassIT, which we use, can greatly help identify the most correct freight class and NMFC for all your products. We even put it into a drop down menu on our transportation management system. It’s just a drop down. You pick it, it’s done, it auto loads. Easy.
Number five, double check the density of your products, especially if it’s density related freight, which a lot of commodities are, depending on the weight and the dim. It’s just a factor of stowability and handleability for the carrier. Double check it, make sure it correlates to everything else that you have.
If you have it in your item master you probably already know it, but even when you palletize things and put a pallet on there, the density range can change a little bit and the class may change a little bit. Hopefully not, but got to know that.
Number six, over length items. Generally I feel like eight feet is about the cut off for most carriers, but it ranges carrier to carrier. We have a cheat sheet for that, if you ever want access to it, that we can send over to you.
If it’s our transportation management system, if you’re inputting the dims and weights correctly, should auto load any over length fees per carrier. But you got to account for over length because if you have a small, long item and it’s over eight feet, there’s going to be some sort of additional charge, just because it’s suboptimal for trailer loading.
Number seven, be as specific as you can when quoting, booking your freight shipments. That goes without saying, but a lot of people aren’t. Do you need a residential delivery? Is it a business that’s in a residence? Do they have a forklift or a dock high, or do you need a liftgate at that delivery? Is it a nontraditional delivery site?
We have à la carte menu of malls, hotels, storage facilities, jails, you name it. If it’s nontraditional, just be as specific as you can and you’re going to avoid headache, pain, and extra money down the road after the fact.
Did you include adequate insurance, or does the carrier include enough carrier liability? If so, you need to include that. Do you need an appointment or a call ahead for that delivery, so that not everybody’s just sitting at their house waiting for a big freight load to show up if you’re delivering to nontraditional delivery locations? That’s important as well.
Number eight, on the client side, be as firm with your clients about their delivery requirements as you can. More and more of this is being automated, but a lot of people are still talking to their clients about these bigger purchases that involve freight shipping.
You need to be firm but nice with your clients to say, “Listen, where are we delivering to? Is it your house? Is it a traditional business? Do you have a forklift? Do you have a dock high? Do you need a liftgate? Do we need to call you ahead of time so that you can be there, or do you need an appointment?” All these things can add extra money on after the fact, and nobody likes that, least of all us.
Number nine, packing and stowability. How is your product packaged? How is it palletized? Is it strapped? You want to avoid your product spilling over in transit because that can lead to these cubic capacity charges, which are really a pain in the butt.
We used to have a lot of this when we shipped stand up paddle boards because we were handling about 30 or 40% of the industry for a while. They would stack them and then they wouldn’t be strapped or palletized, but they would fall over into the rest of the truck, and that would eliminate the carrier’s ability to load more freight onto that truck, or just create a huge pain offloading everybody else’s stuff.
They’ll stick you with a cubic capacity charge, which basically means now you’re paying for the whole cube of that area of trailer width-wise because your freight spilled all over it. It’s hampering them from making quicker deliveries and more efficient deliveries.
Number 10, train your shipping team, or hire us. That’s a shameless plug, but if you’re going to have somebody in there, it’s not like shipping FedEx or UPS where the machine takes care of everything sometimes. They need to understand freight, they need to understand freight classifications, accessorials, insurance, things of that nature.
If you don’t have anybody in-house, we’re happy to do that work for you. I have a highly scalable team that’s very well trained. We include that in our cost of just you working with us, the shipments, really.
Number 11, again, work with a knowledgeable freight broker or carrier because they can help you. Honestly, our team does a lot of this work for our clients, so there are people out there that are willing to do that just for you using their services and the margin that they make on the shipping.
Ultimately, what you want out of this for rebills and freight adjustments is to eradicate them and eliminate them as much as possible. You’re saving time, money, headaches later on, and just billing after the fact that creates animosity with your clients and your freight broker and your team. The more of this you can handle up front and be organized and educated, the easier it’s going to make your life and the less headaches you’re going to have.
This is stuff that we grapple with every day. I’ve been in this business for 20-plus years now, 16 running my own company. If you’re having troubles wrapping your mind around how to eliminate or minimize freight adjustments and freight rebills, we’re happy to drill into your process and see if we can make some adjustments and help you do better.
I can be reached at 866-854-5341, extension 3, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for being with me. Make it an awesome week and give me a shout anytime.