R2 Logistics

How to Quote LTL Freight: An Introductory Guide

How to Quote LTL Freight: An Introductory Guide

Adopting less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping practices can be a savvy way of reducing freight costs and improving the efficiency of your business operations. But of course, if you want to take advantage of this shipping strategy, you need to learn about it. And that includes understanding how to quote LTL freight.

The good news is that it’s easier than you might expect. The following steps will guide you through the entire process:

Gather Details About Your Shipment

You’ll first need to collect some information about the goods you intend to ship. Identify the basics, such as the types of goods or materials you intend to ship, how many units will be involved, and where they’ll be delivered. Having all of these details at the ready is crucial, as you’ll need to provide them to your carrier(s) in an upcoming step.

Determine the Class of Your Freight

With the fundamentals taken care of, your next step is to classify your LTL freight. The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) system helps carriers categorize goods into different freight classes based on a variety of factors. These include the following:

  • Density
  • Stowability
  • Handling
  • Liability

Cargo that takes up a lot of space, has an irregular shape, or requires special handling will typically be of a higher class. The highest-classed goods have very low densities and high values.

There are several online tools available to assist with determining the ideal classification for your brand’s products. But you can also choose to work with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) to streamline the process and ensure proper classification. A great 3PL will also handle many of the subsequent steps below, making it a good alternative if you want to avoid the hassle of managing your own shipments.

Calculate Weight and Dimensions

Next, you will need to measure the weight and dimensions of your freight. Round up to the nearest whole number, and make sure that you include your pallet dimensions as well (if applicable).

Though rounding up is permitted, accuracy is key here. If you provide a carrier with measurements that are entirely incorrect, the resulting LTL quote will be thrown off as well. Depending on the circumstances, you may even encounter shipping and delivery delays due to the error. As such, it’s crucial that you always double-check all of your calculations.


Compare Multiple Options

By now, you are ready to find a carrier. It’s best to research multiple providers at once, as you’ll be able to compare rates, transit times, and service offerings.

Other factors to keep in mind include the following:

  • Carrier reputation
  • Reliability
  • Coverage area
  • Specialties

For instance, if you are shipping refrigerated goods, you’ll need to focus on providers that offer temperature-controlled services.

While you don’t need to evaluate dozens of carriers, you should check out at least four or five different providers so you can get a good sense of pricing and service offerings.

Request Quotes

After you’ve narrowed down your list to a few reputable carriers, provide your LTL cargo information and obtain quotes. Again, be detailed with the information you provide and ensure everything is accurate.

Most carriers can provide quotes within the same day. However, such estimates are usually only valid for a few days. Demand, cargo volume, fuel costs, and other variables are always fluctuating, which can impact the price of hauling your goods.

Negotiate Your Rates

Many times, you can negotiate for even better rates. Providers need to maintain healthy margins so they can turn a profit, of course, but they may be willing to offer discounts if you commit to shipping a high volume of cargo.

In some instances, you may even be able to access discounts by agreeing to favorable payment terms. For example, many carriers use net-30 payment terms, which means you have to pay your invoice within 30 days of receiving it. If you agree to pay sooner (i.e., net-15 or upon receipt), carriers might lower your bill.

Simplify LTL Quoting With a 3PL

Learning how to quote LTL freight can pave the way for long-term cost savings and better supply chain efficiency. And though that can take a while, the good news is that there’s an even easier way to streamline your LTL freight management strategy.

At R2 Logistics, we work with an expansive network of carriers and can find you the best LTL rates on every shipment. Connect with our team or request a quote online today.