5 Common, Costly LTL Shipping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

July 30, 2019 by Meyer Baron
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The most common LTL freight-shipping mistakes happen when people try to do something that seems perfectly logical to them. Common logic, it seems, doesn’t always work in the world of freight. Taking a proactive approach, FreightCenter does its best to help you avoid making these mistakes (and paying the price for them).

Here are five common and costly LTL shipping mistakes, a brief description of how to avoid them, and links to more in-depth information on the subject.

Mistake #1: Guesstimating the shipment’s weight

While it may seem logical to take your best guess at your cargo’s weight, that’s a decision that can come back to bite you in the wallet. Carriers are precise. They weigh the completely packaged cargo digitally. Your guesstimate could be right on the nose, or it could be way off. The further off it is, the more it will affect the cost of shipping your cargo.


If your business ships on a regular or semi-regular basis, you should look into buying a digital freight scale. Scales are available online, and a good scale will pay for itself in three to six months. If you’re an occasional or one-time shipper, you can find a public scale in your area on Google. Call first to make sure you have access.

Go deeper

Weight, Weight… Don’t Tell Me!

Mistake #2: Approximating dimensions

Carriers use lasers to precisely measure the height, width and depth of every shipment. And precision matters. Let’s say you’re using a pallet that you purchased thinking it measured 48”x40”, but it actually measures 50”x41”. Not a big difference, right? But once the depth is added to the calculation, that slight difference in measurement could be enough to put your shipment in a different freight class.


Don’t trust the dimensions quoted on the pallet, crate or other device you use to contain your shipment. Measure it yourself. Also, measure your shipment AFTER it’s been packaged, because that’s how the carrier will measure it. Always round up, so, 48-1/2” is 49”. When using a pallet, measure to the outer edges of the pallet, not just the space taken up on it by the cargo.

Go deeper

Call us 800.716.7608. Speak with a shipping expert about how to measure your shipment.

Mistake #3: Ignoring accessorials and optional services

From its origins, freight shipping has been a commercial service intended to pick up and deliver freight at a loading dock. Everything else is extra. Need a lift gate because the item is heavy and you don’t have a loading dock? It’s extra. Not located in a commercially zoned area? That’s extra, too. And this is just the beginning.


When you use the online quote system on freightcenter.com, there are check boxes for most accessorials and optional services, so you can add them to your order before you get your quote. To make sure you don’t leave anything out, our Account Managers will be happy to review your order with you and discuss any options you might need or want.

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Accessorials & Optional LTL Shipping Services

Mistake #4: Entering the wrong freight class

Getting the freight class correct can be tricky. Getting it wrong can be expensive. Thousands of items have been assigned a freight class by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association. New items are added all the time. But some items are covered by obscure sub-classes and others are not classified at all. Unless the class of your cargo is crystal clear, it’s better to leave freight class to the experts.


If there is no class for an item, it is known as Not Otherwise Indicated (NOI). For NOI items, freight class is determined by the cargo’s density. The caveat here is that both the weight and dimensions must be correct, or the computed freight class will be wrong. In most cases it’s best to consult a shipping expert, such as one of FreightCenter’s National Account Managers, for the correct freight class.

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Getting Freight Class Right

Mistake #5: Packaging cargo improperly

Improperly packaged LTL shipments can lead to damage of yours or another shipper’s cargo. In some cases, the packaging might be so bad that the carrier refuses to take the item. We do know that packaging is not intuitive for everyone. That’s why we published 5 Hilarious Packaging Fails And How To Prevent Them. Enjoy a good laugh, but then get down to taking packaging seriously.


From choosing the right type of container to selecting the appropriate way to securing the shipment in or on the container, packaging is a big subject. You’ll find valuable information by clicking the “Go deeper” link below. Also, we encourage you to send a photograph of your packed shipment to your National Account Manager to get their thumbs up before completing the booking process.

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Practical Freight Packaging

We’re dedicated to your shipping success

We understand that you don’t need or want to be a shipping expert, you just need your shipping handled. You can count on our experts to help you navigate your shipping needs – whether its LTL or Truckload. We’ll take care of you every step of the way so you can make the best decisions for your business.

Give us a call 800.716.7608.

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