10 Ways to Get the Best Freight Shipping Rate

February 15, 2018 by Meyer Baron
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At FreightCenter, one of our major missions is to help you save big on freight shipping. Besides helping you save every day with our heavily negotiated rates, we’ve learned a few tricks over the past 20 years.

Whether you’ve been shipping for years or are new to shipping, we’ve compiled a handy list to give you a better idea of what to keep in mind in order to optimize the process and ensure that you always get the best rates on shipping your freight.

Top 10 Freight Shipping Savings Tips

10. Consolidate Shipping

When FreightCenter analyzes a new client’s shipping history, we often uncover multiple shipments to and from the same location over a short period of time. If you find yourself shipping to the same location on a regular basis, consider consolidating your shipments into larger, less frequent shipments whenever possible.

Our in-depth analysis of thousands of shipments shows that the average shipper can save up to 92%—on average—by consolidating their shipments. In fact, a large percentage of shippers can save 100% by doubling up on their shipments.

For example, at the time of this article, a TWO 250lb pallet shipment (500 lbs total) from Tampa to Orlando is $127.83. Guess how much a FOUR 250 lb pallet shipment (1,000lbs total) costs? $127.83! In this instance, by consolidating two weeks’ worth of shipments into a biweekly FOUR pallet shipment, the saving is 100%. That’s free shipping!

This is just one of many ways we save our customers money every day. Run your own freight shipping quote to see how much consolidation can save your business.

9. Understand Carrier Lanes (Freight Route Imbalances)

For those who don’t understand shipping jargon, I’m going to provide quick definitions for two commonly-used terms and then explain why understanding them can save you money.

  1. Headhaul refers to the initial primary shipment; the order that gets the truck on the street in the first place. Carriers charge you a premium because they don’t need any business in theheadhaul lane; their trucks are often already full.
  2. Backhaul is cargo that is shipped on the return trip. No carrier wants to be paying for an empty return, so backhaul rates are typically discounted significantly.

It is important to know each of the carrier’s backhaul needs so you can try to fill them with shipments while simultaneously steering away from giving them more expensive shipments for their headhaul lanes.

Shippers use FreightCenter.com to find the most competitive rates and transit from the carriers who best service them. No matter which direction your cargo is moving, we do our best to find you a backhaul rate.

8. Understand Carrier Liability

Recently, a customer came to FreightCenter after their current carrier paid them only $200 when a shipment valued at $10,000 was damaged in transit. Their unhappiness was understandable, and also avoidable. Using a freight logistics company such as FreightCenter could allow you to add FULL insurance to your shipment through a licensed insurance company. This reduces losses due to the limitations of the Carrier’s limited liability.

7. Regional or National Carriers?

Finding a carrier that services the distance of your freight can be essential in finding the best freight shipping rates. Companies such as YRC and Old Dominion are excellent national freight carriers. However; if you are shipping a shorter distance, using a regional carrier such as Pitt Ohio or Southeastern Freight Lines will provide faster service at a cost that is often significantly less. FreightCenter.com allows shippers to compare national freight carriers with regional freight carriers so YOU can decide what is best.

6. Minimize Empty Space on a Pallet

Reducing the freight class and minimizing oversize fees on your shipment are two simple ways to save money. To get the freight class as low as possible, make sure the pallet is packed to be as dense as it can be, with no empty space. Tightly pack the pallet edge to edge, but do not exceed the footprint of the pallet. Also, avoid exceeding 60 inches in height whenever possible. Once the height goes over 60 inches, oversize fees kick in. FreightCenter.com can allow you to see any oversize fees up front, thereby eliminating the unpleasant surprise of getting any additional freight charges.

5. Stackable Is the Trick

It is not uncommon for shippers to unwittingly place a pyramid or something similar on top of a pallet. That prevents the carrier from stacking another item on top and labels the freight as being “non-stackable”. This interferes with trailer volume efficiency and requires the carrier to use additional space for the shipment, often resulting in the shipper paying for both spaces.

FreightCenter assigns a freight account manager to every shipment to help guide the shipper through the process of freight shipping, making it as seamless as possible without the shipper needing to know the tricky ins and outs of shipping freight.

4. Spot Pricing Vs. Shipping Rates

While automated shipping rates such as the ones found when getting a rate on FreightCenter are known to save shippers up to 80% more than shipping directly with a carrier, there are many times when additional discounts can be found on top of that.

If your shipment is taking up more than 6 pallet spaces and weighs more than 5,000lbs, FreightCenter can often check its carrier network to see if a carrier is willing to offer a one-time special rate for your shipment. This is what is referred to as a spot rate, and it’s based on the carrier’s available capacity. It is not uncommon to reduce rates an additional 50% by this way.

3. Understanding the Complicated Carrier Rules Tariffs as They Apply to Pricing

Most LTL carriers have a huge and complex book listing all the hidden fees and rules that apply to using that freight carrier. This is called their Rules Tariff. Take a peek inside and you will see postal/zip codes that have extra pickup or delivery fees and locational surcharges such as residential fees or limited access charges. Highly populated cities such as Chicago, New York City and other metro areas have additional fees due to their busy traffic. Some fees are often as high as $300 per end. These fees can be in addition to—and often not part of—the freight rate that you receive.

FreightCenter.com takes away the mystery of these fees and allows you to compare the hidden fees of the carriers against the hidden fees of other carriers. You see the Net Cost of one carrier versus another. Also in your favor, because FreightCenter is a strategic partner with the carriers, some of these fees are waived for us and we pass the savings on to you.

2. Net Cost Vs Line-haul Rate

When you compare different freight carrier shipping rates and try to find the lowest rate, you might look just at the Line Haul Rates and not any additional fees such as fuel surcharge and carrier rules fees as discussed in #3 above.

Discounts can be very misleading. The Line Haul Rates vary greatly from one carrier to another. It is not uncommon for a freight carrier that gives a 60% off their Line Haul Rate to be substantially less than a carrier offering an 85% discount.

Using FreightCenter.com removes the complexity of trying to figure out the “revenue Neutral Discounts” between the different carriers and allows the shippers to look at the Net Cost versus the Line Haul Rate.

1. Use Freightcenter.com’s Technology

People are busier than ever these days and we all know time is money. No one has the time to spend all day calling tons of carriers and comparing the pros and cons of each. The decision can be complicated. On top of factoring in the best freight shipping rates, you still have to decide which carrier will provide the best service. This is why FreightCenter’s technology is #1 on this list.

When searching for the best freight shipping rates and a qualified freight carrier,.LTL (less than a truckload) shipments are frequently scheduled by a shipper who lacks the knowledge, training and technology that would enable them to make the most informed decisions.

FreightCenter removes the need to have your own in-house freight logistics manager or expert on hand. You no longer need to worry about finding the best freight carrier or wonder what freight class you need to use. In fact, you don’t need to think about freight shipping at all, because FreightCenter has already done it for you. We even made the technology ourselves.

But there is more to FreightCenter than our technology. Every shipment you arrange through FreightCenter will have a live account manager or freight expert assigned to help you through the process and assist you in any way necessary to make your shipment as successful as possible.  It doesn’t matter if you ship every day or if you are a first-time shipper. FreightCenter is your smart choice.

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