There are two primary ways to ship goods by truck: FTL and LTL. FTL, short for full truckload, shipping is the best solution for businesses that have sufficient cargo to fill an entire truck. Otherwise, LTL, or less-than-truckload, shipping is typically the better way to go. For the sake of simplicity, this article will assume that businesses want to ship full truckloads.
Deciding to ship FTL rather than LTL is just the first step. Next, businesses need to find appropriate shipping companies and request ftl trucking quotes. Before taking this crucial step, read on to find out everything business owners need to know about FTL freight quotes and what to expect.
What Are FTL Freight Quotes?
Let's start at the beginning with what a freight quote is and what it isn't. In the shipping world, as in most industries, quotes don't always reflect the exact amount of money that will be charged for a service. They're estimated prices, so although trucking companies try to be as accurate as possible, it's best to look at them as ballpark estimates that will help businesses choose the right shipping provider rather than the final word on what they can expect to pay.
The Importance of Well-Informed Quotes
To offer a well-informed quote, a shipping company needs access to certain information. Expect to provide a basic overview of:
- The size of the shipment.
The equipment required for safe transport.
The freight origin and destination.
The contents of the shipment.
The weight of the cargo.
Providing accurate information is the only way to get an accurate estimate of how much it will cost to ship the goods using FTL services.
Factors That Influence Pricing
Determining FTL pricing is easier than LTL, but that doesn't mean the process is always simple and straightforward. There are several key factors that affect FTL freight quotes.
The most important factor that goes into determining FTL shipping costs is how far the cargo needs to travel. Using the mileage, the shipping company can determine how much fuel will be required for the trip and how long it will take.
Fuel costs tend to rise and fall along with market prices. What that means is that the same cargo will cost more to ship if fuel prices go up.
Traveling from one trucking hub to another is typically less expensive than transporting freight to small towns that are well off of traditional shipping lanes. The reason behind the pricing difference is that shipping out of normal travel lanes makes it harder for truckers to maintain regular schedules.
As with any other service or product, FTL freight pricing fluctuates according to the market. In the shipping industry, demand tends to go up around the holidays when the supply of trucks and drivers is comparatively low.
Requesting quotes at the last minute almost always means paying more. Businesses that want to keep shipping costs low should aim for a few weeks of lead time.
Some shipments come with additional needs. After-hours pick-ups and deliveries, for example, will typically increase a quote.
Take Time to Investigate Options
Businesses need to find shipping companies that they can depend on. Taking the time to investigate options carefully before requesting that first FTL quote makes it easier to find a company that can act as a long-term partner instead of just fulfilling a one-time need.
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