We here at Willy’s Trucking Service we talk about liftgates a lot, and so we wanted to provide some serious clarity about what they are, when they’re used, and other bits of information you should know if you’re looking to use liftgates for your LTL.
What is a Liftgate?
It’s a lift on the back of trucks used in LTL shipping that moves the freight on and off the truck. Think of it as a freight elevator.
The majority of LTL shipments have a minimum weight of 100 pounds. You throw in that LTL shipments are commonly packaged on standard-sized pallets and you’ve got a heavy and unwieldy bit of freight.
This is where the liftgate comes in handy. If you don’t have a shipping dock available (where you can load and unload the freight using a forklift or other machinery), you’re going to need help getting freight that large off the back of a carrier truck.
While most shippers have access to a forklift and/or loading docks, there is a large group of customers that regularly need liftgates: LTL shipments picking up or delivering to residences.
There’s a lot to know about residential shipping, but suffice to say, a residential pick up or delivery will ALWAYS require a liftgate.
The good news is that most trucks used in residential shipping already have a liftgate on the back of the truck. We usually call these trucks “box trucks” or “straight trucks.”
The bad news is that, like residential shipping, there will be an additional charge for using a liftgate at both pickup and delivery. Usually the charge is under $50, however each carrier will have their own pricing.
So here’s 5 delivery botches you may be making. Perhaps you’re making one, possibly every one of the five, however tending to these cargo missteps will make your life simpler, and bring you one bit nearer to the magnificence of a fruitful LTL shipment.
1. You’re not using a dedicated freight carrier
This is not a shameless plug for Willy’s Trucking (even though we are the best if you’re into freight carriers. A dedicated freight carrier can offer you so many things that you didn’t even know you’re missing. Better rates. Customer service. Customized deliveries. The list goes on and on.
2. You’re not getting insurance
In life as in freight, not having insurance is a bad idea. It’s like my mom told me when teaching me the merits of defensive driving: “It’s not you I’m worried about…it’s everyone else.” She said that when I was 16, so she was clearly lying. I was a road-terror on par with Mad Max, but you get the point. Mistakes happen in life and freight. Get insurance. It will be well worth it in the long run.
3. You have crazy expectations
Don’t take it personally. All of us have crazy expectations from time to time. Remember that LTL shipping deals in estimated times of transit. Just because something is supposed to deliver on Tuesday doesn’t always mean it will deliver on Tuesday.
Sometimes it might be Wednesday (or later). But hey, maybe it’ll be Monday! If timing is your thing, take advantage of overnight and hot shipments. Set your expectations correctly, and you’ll be more flexible in an industry that requires it.
4. You’re not using pallets
LTL is not FedEx nor is it Amazon. It’s not a good idea to ship fifteen boxes, untethered, floating willy-nilly in the back of a semi-truck in not one, not two, but probably five different trucks from five different terminals.
One of those boxes will probably not make it. True story. Consolidate your freight on a standard pallet. It makes everyone’s job easier and gives you a better chance of a perfect shipment.
5. You’ve never heard of “The 2 Hour Window”
This is not some lost Alfred Hitchcock film. An LTL carrier requires a MINIMUM of two hours heads-up to make a shipment. That’s a minimum. In shipping, the more planning the better, so plan ahead in contacting your carrier for pickups.
If you call at 4 pm on a Friday and frantically need to have freight picked up, chances are it’s not going to happen, at least not without the help of a hotshot carrier, and those can be pricey.
After knowing these 5 common mistakes when it comes to shipping your LTL freight, have you made any of them? Are you making them know?
Are you new to this complex industry and this helped you gain insight on what you shouldn’t do? If so leave a comment down below and make sure to stay tuned for more.
Value Over Price in Freight Shipping… Is It Worth It?
Are you a price shopper when it comes to freight shipping? Did you know you could actually be losing money in the long run if you choose your freight shipper based on a better price? Let’s dive into why value should exceed the price every time.
Especially when It comes to shipping your freight effectively, reliably, and efficiently.
The words value and price are not synonymous, especially when it comes to freight shipping. At Willy’s Trucking Service, we’re interested in offering value over price. What does this mean?
First, let’s look at a hypothetical shipper to better explain the difference between value over price in the freight shipping industry.
The Beginners Freight Shipping Experience
Let’s say that you’re a new business owner, one who will need to ship freight on a pretty regular basis (Anywhere from every day, to a few times a week or a few more times a month). How do you start?
You might think the smart move is to find a list of ten or so freight carriers or brokers, blast out your shipping information, wait a few hours for all ten quotes to come back, and then save $15.00 on a shipment that costs $200.00 upfront.
Let’s say that the carrier selected doesn’t provide insurance, and your freight is damaged in transit. Or delayed because the carrier doesn’t have a liftgate. Or held up because of capacity and market woes.
How do you fix the problem? Who do you contact? How do you get to the person who can help you, instead of being transferred again and again? Ask yourself, Are these headaches worth $15.00?
The answer is mostly likely a resounding No!
In the freight world, the lowest price isn’t always the best value. In fact, it rarely is. And this is where a freight shipping carrier like Willy’s Trucking Service comes in. We offer value. We abide by the age-old adage, You get what you pay for. Using a consistent freight carrier helps you avoid additional charges and delays, and can get you special freight shipping rates for future shipments.
You have a team set up for freight tracking, invoice issues, pickup and delivery reports, overnight and hotshot shipping, etc. These are indicators of value, and if you’re a freight shipper, these are what you should be looking for.
Maybe you’re only looking to move one piece of freight; a one-time deal. If that’s the case, maybe you’re willing to deal with the headaches and hiccups of the freight industry for that extra $15.00. But if you’re a shipper that’s going to be continually moving freight, save money in the long run, and partner with a freight carrier.
Find the right value, and the price, well the price will pay for itself. (Especially when you partner with Willy’s trucking service.)
By the way, if you are freight shipping freight and you are in the early stages of learning how a great partnership with a carrier can help streamline your supply chain…
We at Willy’s Trucking Service would like to offer you a Free E-book: The beginner’s guide to freight shipping. This will give you the in’s and out’s from A to Z of the freight shipping industry. to make sure you are checking off your list value over price.
P.S. If you would like great value and amazing freight rates, feel free to download and fill out a form to open an account with us. On our resources page.
When you open the account with us you will automatically get 20% off all future shipments just for being a loyal shipper at Willy’s Trucking Service.
An (LTL) less than truckload shipping rate is based on several different factors. All of which we’ll go over in this article. If you’re unsure of how these relate to your product, just let us know and we’ll help you out!
Typically, an LTL quote will take up less than 12 feet of linear space on a truck. For those of you who don’t have truck dimensions tacked to your office walls, this equates to 6 standard size pallets, not stacked. A standard size pallet is typically 48” x 40” or sometimes 48” x 48”. If your less than load truckload shipment takes up more space than this, you may need a volume shipping quote or a full truckload quote.
Now that we’ve defined LTL, what exactly do we need to get accurate less than truckload rates? It comes down to 3 basic must-haves. Origin address, the destination address, and total weight (or cubed weight which we will go over in a later article). I can’t say this enough: THESE THREE PIECES OF INFORMATION ARE ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. The locations and total weight are self-explanatory.
The actual vs cubed weight may be a bit more difficult to understand and will need this article. (Will be Linked When Available)
Truckload Shipping Rates Example
Another vital piece of information for less than truckload rates is the mention of additional services. The standard LTL shipment is business-to-business and dock-to-dock. If you don’t have a shipping dock or forklift to get the pallets off the truck, you’ll need a lift-gate. (which can cost extra). Residential shipping also costs extra, as do several other things. Check out our Additional Services Cheat Sheet (named terms and conditions) for more information on these. They can change your freight quote and can make a difference in which carrier you select.
Less than truckload shipping has a lot of moving parts, and this article is just a primer. If you’re new to shipping, be sure to download our Beginner’s Freight Shipping Guide.
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.
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.
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.
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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