25 Genius Tips for Saving Money on Shipping Costs

25 Genius Tips for Saving Money on Shipping Costs

Written by Willy Schmidt

Willy started with one gravel truck in 2007 and soon added the second truck to the gravel haul. Today (2020) He owns and operates 4 terminal locations in Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Peace River, And Fort St, John with his partner Bernard.

March 9, 2020

Everyone wants to save money on shipping. No great secret there. At Willy’s Trucking Service, we’re committed to helping our customers, and their customers (and really anyone that’s interested in shipping) save time and money on their logistics.

To that end, we’ve compiled a list of 25 Genius Tips for Saving Money on Your Shipping. We’ve categorized them for easy digestion between the General Freight Industry, Less-Than-Truckload (LTL), and Full Truckload, but you’ll find that most of our tips can be used in any form of shipping. So buckle up, call the kids in for dinner, and prepare to save some serious cash next time you ship.

Genius Tips Photo with light bulb

 General Freight Shipping

1. Know Your Industry

The world of shipping is big and bad, and you’ve got to know your enemy. Whether it’s LTL, truckload, or parcel, you’ve got to know the details of your industry before you can master it. Download our Beginner’s Guide to Freight Shipping to get started.

2. Reuse Your Packing Materials

It’s easy to save and reuse bubble wrap, packing peanuts, air pillows, and any other sort of packing materials you might get in your next online retail purchase. Anything you save and reuse is something you don’t have to buy.

3. Don’t Spend Money on Cardboard Boxes

With a little effort and ingenuity, you can find these bad boys in all sorts of places. Hit up liquor stores, grocery stores, and places like Starbucks to help save the environment and cut costs. Brand new cardboard boxes are expensive, and used ones usually work just as well.

4. Make Sure Your Freight is Ready Before Scheduling a Pickup

Shipping is not like calling a cab or Uber. You can’t get your freight ready to ship while the driver is on his way. Make sure your freight is ready to go, or else you might end up with a dry run fee, and that can cost you cash.

5. Know the Difference Between “Value” and “Price”

The lowest price is not always the best value. Sometimes, paying more upfront can avoid additional costs later on. By using a freight carrier, you might pay a higher initial cost, but oftentimes they are an excellent investment further down the line of your shipment, or if/when something goes wrong.

6. Pay Attention to Your Invoices

Don’t assume your freight charges are always correct. Always review your invoices, and don’t be afraid to take your questions and concerns to your broker or carrier.

7. Don’t Always Trust Freight Calculators

LTL shipping quotes are about more than weight and shipping locations. Online freight calculators can give you a false idea about your freight quote, and that can cost you money in the long run. That goes without saying they are a great tool to get an idea of how much you will pay for the shipment.

8. Know the Lingo

Don’t get confused by weird acronyms or definitions in the freight industry. The pages of a shipping dictionary are numerous and can feel never-ending. Get to know your freight terms, and you’ll be able to put them to good use to streamline your freight experiences.

LTL Freight

9. Inspect Your Shipment at Delivery

Make sure to notate any damage on your delivery receipt. Even if it seems like a little thing, a scratch here or there, mark it on the POD (Proof of Delivery). Without notated damage, you won’t be able to file a freight claim for any damage/loss, and this will cost you money.

10. Cut Down on “Stated” Shipping Costs

Nobody likes paying a ton for shipping (obviously). Adjust your prices to include some of those costs, and your customers will be more likely to buy.

11. Shop Around on Volume Quotes

Not all volume quotes are created equal. Some freight companies specialize in large markets, small markets, or particular geographic locations. Start your quote search early, and try to find your best deal.

12. Lighten Up

Weight is a major component of pricing in shipping, so avoid heavy packing materials. Go with packing peanuts instead of wool blankets. Anything you can do to cut down on the total weight of your shipment is going to help you get a cheaper freight quote.

13. Know Your Freight Dimensions

Another major factor in the price of a quote is the freight dimensions. By making sure you know the proper dimensions of the freight it will save you money later on during the reweigh.

14. Cut Out Delivery Appointments

It can be tough but carve out an afternoon to hang out at the house. By giving the freight carrier a large window to deliver your shipment, you can avoid paying extra for a delivery appointment.

15. Get Third Party Insurance

It might cost a little more upfront, but if you’re shipping expensive or fragile items it will make all the difference if something gets lost or damaged during transit. Most carriers have their own freight insurance, but it rarely covers the full cost of a damaged shipment. Getting third party insurance gives you peace of mind and makes filing a freight claim much easier.

16. Consolidate Your Shipment

Packaging items together can significantly cut down on shipping and packaging costs. By consolidating your shipment you can cut weight, density, and a chance of damage or loss. It’s easier to keep track of one piece of freight than it is to keep track of five or ten (especially if they’re small boxes).

17. Pick Up Your Freight at the Terminal

To avoid additional shipping fees like liftgates and residential deliveries, you can always go pick your shipment up from the delivering freight terminal. All you have to do is call the carrier and let them know you’re on their way.

18. Determine if Your Shipment is LTL or Parcel

If your shipment is small enough, you can save money using a small package or parcel shipping instead of LTL. Parcel shipping is a totally different animal than LTL, so it’s important to recognize the difference between the two.

19. Use a Dedicated Freight Carrier

With more and more freight carriers arising, if you were to choose to work with one specifically that covers all your needs than you can strike up a deal.

Truckload Shipping

20. Hire a Professional

Freight carriers can get you better shipping quotes, not to mention they can help out with claims, damage, tracking, and so much more.

21. Ship Early to Avoid the Holiday Crunch

Avoid delays and expedited costs by shipping at least a week early around the holidays. Both LTL and truckload slow down as drivers and carriers take off work for the holidays. Don’t wait to send your stuff.

22. Know-How Much Room You Need

Always know how many square feet of truck space you’ll need. There is always the chance of “Partialling” a shipment to save money, but if you don’t know exactly how much space your freight will take up then that won’t be an option. If you’re using standard pallets (you should be), know your count and if they’re stackable.

23. Don’t Forget About Intermodal

If your freight is not time-sensitive you can save some serious dough by utilizing the rail and shipping your stuff intermodal. You’ll need a broker to help you out with the intermodal process, but by using the rail you can get cheaper freight quotes for your full truckload shipments.

24. Track Carrier Performance

Just like volume quotes, not all freight carriers are created equal. Try different carriers and track their performance to make sure you’re using the right carrier for your freight. Once you find one that you like and that treats you right, stick with them. Having great relationships with owners and operators can get you out of a shipping bind in the future.

25. Take Advantage of Backhauls

When you’re shipping truckload, getting a carrier on a backhaul can save you serious cash. Once again, you’ll need a carrier with knowledge of the trucking markets to get you the best deal on backhauls. Some times of the year are better than others, so ask your carrier if backhaul could work for you.

Let us know which one you found most insightful and come back to let us know which one saved you the most money.

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The Beginners Guide To Freight SHipping

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