Comprehensive Guide to the LTL Freight Quote

Less than truckload (LTL) shipping can result in significant savings for savvy business owners. And one of the quintessential parts of the savings is the LTL freight quote. In short, the LTL freight quote is what your shipment should cost based on the information you’ve provided. Let’s take a closer look at the LTL freight quote.

Clearing the Air: LTL Freight Quote vs LTL Freight Rate

Before we dive deeper into the LTL freight quote, it’s necessary to provide clarity on a common discrepancy: LTL freight quote vs freight rate in LTL shipping. Understanding the difference is paramount to invoice discrepancies and avoiding additional charges with brokers and carriers. Unfortunately, these terms are often used interchangeably when discussing LTL freight shipping throughout New York and Long Island.

The LTL shipping quote, however, refers to what your cargo should cost to ship. LTL freight shipping quotes include freight class, total weight, as well as any extra services you think may be necessary, such as inside delivery or liftgate.

On the other hand, your LTL freight shipping rate is what the shipment actually costs. The freight rate can only be figured once the shipment has been delivered, and you’ve received the invoice.  

As long as the information you’ve provided is accurate, your LTL shipping rate and LTL freight quote should be very close. If the information you’ve provided varies greatly from the actual information, your freight rate will be higher because of the extra fees, such as reweighing, etc. 

To avoid these types of surprise discrepancies, make sure you provide accurate information for LTL freight shipping. And if the information for your shipment changes, consider getting an entirely new quote. 

Key Components of LTL Freight Quotes

In general, there are seven key parts that makeup how much your LTL shipment will cost. 

LTL Freight Classification

The LTL freight class is an industry-wide classification system used to categorize cargo sent through LTL freight shipping. The National Motor Freight Association makes these codes available through the National Motor Freight Classification. Ranging from Class 50 to Class 500, there are 18 unique freight classes, and every LTL freight item will fall into a category.

Low-density items, such as ping pong balls, will generally have a higher freight class, which leads to a higher rate. On the other hand, lower density items, such as steel bars, tend to have a lower freight class, which can lead to lower rates. Simply put, cargo with a lower freight class usually has the lower cost per pound. The key characteristics used to classify freight are:

  • Liability
  • Handling
  • Stowability
  • Density 

If you fail to properly classify your cargo, it can result in inaccurate shipping quotes, which costs you additional money:

  • It can result in fines because it may violate a transportation law.
  • You could be overpaying on a higher classification

LTL Shipment Weight

Simply put, how much does your cargo weigh? Because LTL rates are usually structured around weight breaks, the more it weighs, the less you may pay. LTL shipping weight breaks are tiers of costs established by the price per hundred pounds. Once your cargo weight goes up, and you meet the minimum for each tier, the cost per pound decreases. 

Distance of LTL Shipment

Where your cargo is headed or the destination is a critical component of your LTL freight quote for obvious reasons. LTL carriers will usually charge a higher price per hundredweight as the distance goes farther.  

LTL Freight Shipping Minimums

Minimums represent the cost LTL carriers will require to initiate the carry. Most LTL carriers will establish a floor to ensure the move doesn’t result in a loss. And this is the very least amount you will pay or the absolute minimum charge (AMC). As simple as it sounds, any LTL shipment that is below or at a threshold will cost a certain amount. 

Base Shipping Rates for LTL Shipping 

Every LTL carrier works to establish its own cost per hundredweight (CWT) or centum weight. The base rates are calculated considering the gross costs, demand, and volume of the shipment. For instance, one carrier may have a lower base rate for shipping lanes where they have an efficient balance between freight and trucks while another may not. 

Freight All Kind (FAKs)

The FAK classification is a type of pricing arrangement where several products with different classes are billed and shipped at the same freight class. For instance, if you are shipping several items that span from 50 to 100, it’s possible to negotiate a FAK rate of all items at Class 75, which would reduce costs on shipments of higher class with LTL carriers. 

Special LTL Shipping Rates Negotiated

Another line you may see on the LTL freight quote is negotiated discount — if applicable. 

LTL Accessorial Freight Charges

Freight accessorial charges are the additional services performed by LTL carriers that exceed the standard dock-to-dock pickup and delivery. Accessorial freight charges can include a vast expanse of services, but some of the most common include:

  • Inside pickup and inside delivery
  • Residential freight delivery
  • Lift gate delivery
  • Special equipment
  • Limited access

If you know you’ll need additional LTL shipping services— such as a lift gate — you shouldn’t ignore this fact. Why? Because ordering additional accessorial services in advance could result in flat rates, reduced rates, or even no charge. Simply put, it could save you money and reduce your bill of lading. Most importantly, if the carrier doesn’t know they will need extra or special equipment, this can lead to delivery failure, delays, lost time, as well as added fees. 

Contact On Track Freight Systems for Affordable Freight Shipping

Whether you’re looking for less than truckload freight shipping or full truckload shipping, the team at On Track Freight Systems can help. We offer an array of freight shipping services at an affordable rate. Most importantly, we offer free freight shipping quotes!

Contact On Track Freight Systems today for free freight quotes.