6 Costly LTL Freight Shipping Mistakes Small Businesses Must Avoid

In life, we all make mistakes. However, when you make certain freight shipping mistakes, it can cost you dearly. Fortunately, the team at On Track Freight Systems has outlined a few common freight shipping mistakes and common freight shipping pitfalls that you can avoid. 

Let’s take a closer look at the most common freight shipping mistakes and shipping errors that can lead to additional fees and unhappy customers. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at On Track Freight Systems. 

Improper Packaging Freight Shipment Can Be a Costly Mistake

When you use improper packaging for your freight or shipment, you increase the chances of it being damaged or lost by freight carriers. Because of the complexity of the LTL shipping industry, your shipment may be handled several times en route to the final destination.

As such, it’s imperative to properly and securely pack your freight securely on crates or pallets. A few notable tips and best practices for packaging and moving freight include:

  • Avoid having a loose stack. Your pallet should be tightly bound by stretch wrap, shrink wrap, as well as a strap to avoid shipment damage.
  • Minimize any gaps between deck boards. Work to achieve as narrow spacing between gap boards as possible. This can prevent damaged freight caused by the forklift.
  • Avoid shipping pallets with broken boards. Faulty or damaged pallets are one of the most common culprits of damaged freight.
  • Avoid protruding fasteners. Make sure any fasteners are below the surface or flush before your freight is loaded.
  • Use sufficient rate and size capacity for your shipment. One of the most common shipping mistakes is using a pallet that isn’t large enough to support the freight’s size and/or weight.
  • Not using a four-way forklift entry pallet for LTL shipments. It’s important that the pallet is raised a minimum of six inches from the ground. This will allow access by the forklift from all four sides.

Not Confirming Shipping Addresses Are Costly Mistakes

Before labels are printed, you should always verify and reverify the client’s shipping address to ensure prompt delivery. Far too often, trucking companies are given the wrong address, which can result in redelivery costs and missed delivery costs. 

While one wrong address may not be a major deal, several can quickly add up and result in you paying more than necessary. At the same time, continually having issues over the address can reduce customer satisfaction and lead to unhappy customers. 

In the end, it’s up to you to ensure you are shipping the freight to the right address. Failure to do so can lead to you not meeting your customer expectations. 

Getting Freight Classes & Weight Information Wrong

Incorrectly guessing the freight class or providing the incorrect weight are both very common mistakes made by shippers that can lead to higher costs. In many instances, the shipper fails to have the right scale, which prompts them to estimate the exact weight and arrive at an improper freight class.

If you don’t have the right scale, you should take the weight of the pallet and add the weights of all of the boxes. And if it’s possible, you should weigh the wrapped pallet to be as accurate as possible.

 Failure to do so often results in the freight shipping carrier reweighing your pallet. When this occurs, the carrier will usually charge a fee for doing so.

Getting the right freight class is equally as important, and selecting the wrong freight class can be just as costly. If you choose a lower class with hopes of a lower price, and it’s wrong, the carrier will have to reclassify it, which will result in a reclassification fee. 

The moral of the story is simple, make sure you properly identify your freight with precise accuracy. This can prevent you from having to pay additional fees for the entire shipment. 

Not Using Freight Insurance Can Be Extremely Costly

When you’re shipping less-than-truckload, it’s always a good decision to choose freight insurance. And freight insurance is different than carrier liability. While carrier liability will cover freight to a specific threshold, freight insurance will reimburse you for the entire value of the damaged freight or lost freight.

Simply put, supply chain accidents do happen. And if you’re shipping regularly, the likelihood that your freight will be lost, stolen, or damaged increases.

 In the event the freight insurance seems too expensive, simply consider the cost that will be required to replace it.  When you compare the two, you’ll see the freight insurance is a small price.

Failing to Ensure the Accuracy of the Bill of Lading

One of the most important documents you’ll receive when shipping LTL is the Bill of Lading. This legally binding document is between the carrier and shipper. At the same time, the bill of lading will provide the driver with all of the details of the shipment required to ensure the goods arrive intact. All shipment or freight bill of ladings will include:

  • Full names and addresses of both the carrier and shipper
  • Date of shipment
  • Freight class
  • Exact shipment’s weight
  • Piece count
  • The declared value of the shipment
  • Description of shipment and items being shipped
  • Account numbers or PO
  • Hazmat notice — if it includes hazardous material
  • Any additional special shipping options or instructions.

Considering the legal nature of the BOL, it’s important your employees are carefully filling it out and verifying all information to avoid issues like having the wrong piece count. Failure to ensure this key document is accurate can result in missed deadlines, paying more money, shipping delays, and more.

Choosing the Wrong Freight Carrier or Shipping Company

In many instances, the shipping company you choose will have more face time with your clients than you do. As such, it’s imperative to get it right! 

However, choosing the best New York or New Jersey trucking company can be tough due to the number of carriers. Here are a few things you should look for or require in the LTL shipping partner you choose:

  1. Check the company’s professional track record. You deserve a shipping partner who will act as an extended arm of your business. 
  2. Make sure the company has tenure. Because anyone can grab a truck and say they are a trucking company, only the most customer-centric and reliable are able to sustain growth. 
  3. Ask for testimonials. Simply put, ask the trucking company for a list of customers who will be willing to provide testimonials. 
  4. Ask about the company’s customer service. No matter where you’re shipping, problems may arise. And when they do, it’s imperative the trucking company can provide a swift resolution. 

Contact On Track Freight Systems to Save Time & Money on Freight Shipping

When it comes to shipping freight, the team at On Track Freight Systems will be with you every step of the way. In addition, we will offer guidance and assistance to help you avoid some of the most common mistakes. 

Contact On Track Freight Systems today for the best freight shipping rates.