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If you had to take a guess, what do you think is one of the most common reasons shippers get surprise billing adjustments? If you guessed not including the necessary accessorials, then you are correct! No matter what you’re shipping, each and every single time you send out freight, you need to be aware of the role accessorials play in the process. And it’s a really important role! Not knowing exactly the extent of additional services you’ll need for your cargo from the start can come back to get you in the form of a billing adjustment, even way after the shipment is completed! We’re going to walk you through accessorials, what they are and why you likely need them, so you can ship more affordably and efficiently!

What Are Accessorials?

First things first, what the heck are “accessorials” anyways? These are freight services that go above and beyond the standard services carriers offer. Which begs the next question, what are the standard services? This is referring to curbside pickup and delivery. That means the driver pulls up, loads or unloads freight at the curb, and moves on. But things aren’t that simple all the time. More often than not, a liftgate might be needed, or the location could have limited access. Or you might want the cargo unloaded or picked up inside rather than simply at the curb.

All of these things require extra labor for the driver and have to be communicated properly as accessorials when filling out a freight quote and shipment details. If they are not added during the freight quote and the driver has to add them during the shipping process, such as when loading or unloading, the carrier will charge you a fee after the shipment has been delivered in the form of a billing adjustment. Knowing what add on services your freight needs is very important at the beginning of the freight quote process.

Why You’ll Need Them

You’d be surprised just how many accessorials there are, and how often they are overlooked. For example, are you shipping to or from a home-based business? Many shippers mistakenly qualify a home-based business as a commercial location when it’s really a residential location, which is an accessorial because drivers need to maneuver freight trucks through tight suburban streets.

Even the simplest of shipments could seem like they don’t need any additional freight services but end up needing them. This often happens with the liftgate accessorial. Any freight weighing over 100 pounds will require a liftgate to have it loaded onto the truck and unloaded from the truck.

Shipping temperature-sensitive freight? You will likely need to add freeze protection services to make sure your cargo stays at the optimal temperature and isn’t compromised by cold weather conditions. While the weather where you are might be sunny and beautiful, your shipment could pass through cold conditions during transit.

Services that are actually needed for a shipment but were not requested initially end up being charged to the shipper post-shipment completion. So, you need to be extra careful when filling out a freight quote to make sure any accessorials you need are requested so there aren’t any surprise charges further down the line.

How Do You Know When You’ll Need What?

So, we’ve covered what are accessorials and where they fit into the picture, but how do you know when you’ll need them? And which specific ones are typically needed the most often? Some of the most common accessorials include:

  • Liftgate. Anything weighing over 100 lbs. (fully packaged) needs to be loaded/unloaded by a liftgate if there is no forklift present at pickup/delivery locations. This will cause potential delays in transit time if a liftgate is needed and not requested.
  • Residential Services. Mentioned earlier in this article, if the pickup/delivery location is a residence or home-based business, it’ll need the accompanying accessorial. Many home-based business shippers make this mistake and it ends up costing them additional money after the shipment delivery.
  • Limited Access Location. Similar to residential locations, limited access locations require further labor and coordinating for pickup or delivery. Examples include a government facility, prison, school, etc.
  • Inside Pickup/Delivery. Again, drivers are not movers. They drop off and pickup freight curbside unless otherwise requested. A driver unloading cargo inside for you may seem like a kind act but will result in a billing adjustment. If curbside pickup/delivery isn’t enough, request this.

You can get a closer look at accessorials by downloading our complete Guide to Accessorials, or if you’re looking for something quicker, downloading our handy one-pager Most Common Accessorials sheet that has more information about the accessorials mentioned above.

A Partner You Can Trust

Making sure your supply chain isn’t incurring unnecessary costs from missed accessorials is something every small business operator needs to prioritize. Take control over your costs and optimize your shipping process by partnering with a third-party logistics company (3PL) like FreightCenter today! We help you every step of the way and get you the services you need to ship your freight.

Let our shipping experts help you figure out exactly what accessorials your shipment needs at the start of the shipping process. Start by getting a free online quote or give us a call at (844) 212-7447.

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