The key to saving money when shipping freight begins with organization and preparation. By understanding what to expect when dealing with freight shipping, you are a step ahead of the process. Start with these steps for getting a load ready to ship, along with tips on how to reduce your shipping costs.
The sooner you start preparing the better!
In order to get the best freight rates, you want to begin the process of preparing a load as soon as possible. Depending on what you are shipping, this might involve packing, wrapping, and putting your freight on a pallet for a dry van load. If you have a flatbed haul, such as heavy equipment, you’ll need to gather the make and model, along with the size and weight of the load. Once you have a prepared the load and have a solid plan regarding the size of your load, it is time to find freight rates. By taking these steps before you contact a company for freight rates, you save yourself a lot of backtracking.
Choose Your Haul Type
Are you shipping freight by the full truckload, which includes 26 pallets or 46,000 pounds? Or do you want to ship a partial load using less than a truckload (LTL) trucking services? Either is possible, but you will need to know which type of hauling service to request.
Select a Trailer
Decide on the type of trailer you will need for your load. If the load requires weather protection and security, a dry van trailer is the way to go. However, your load will have to fit within the confines of a 53-foot trailer with walls. If you are transporting an oversized load, heavy equipment, or vehicles, then a flatbed trailer is your sole option. Tanker trailers are required for liquids and bulk commodities, such as corn or grain, in unprocessed form. A refrigerated trailer is necessary for freight that must stay at a certain temperature, such as frozen meat or fresh fruit. Understand the basic type of trailer you’ll need so you can get a more exact freight rate.
Determine the Distance
The biggest determining factor for freight rates is how far a shipment needs to be transported. Obtain the shipping and delivery destination addresses before you contact anyone for a freight rate. Trucking companies will calculate the exact mileage based on either practical miles or short route miles. Practical and short route miles differ in the number of miles it takes to deliver a load. Typically, short route miles cost less than practical miles, by as much as five percent less.
While you may be apt to choose freight rates based on short route miles, keep one thing in mind. Carriers that pay practical miles are commonly considered to be better-paying trucking employers. These top paying companies are able to attract higher quality drivers who are more experienced and ready to stick with the company for the long haul. What that means for you is typically a more professional fleet handling your freight load and representing your brand in front of your customers.
You could contact individual trucking companies or independent contractors in order to get shipping rates for your load. However, time is of the essence and you want to secure a rate quickly to avoid last-minute shipping surcharges. The easiest route to take is to contact a shipping agent, such as Loadstar. We will do the heavy work of shopping around for freight rates for you. Our team has a network of hundreds of carriers throughout Canada and the US ready to assist you. This enables you to get the best competitive rates possible.
Insure Your Load
Whether you are hiring a trucking carrier or working with a shipping agent, you need to protect your load. This is where freight insurance comes in. Trucking companies will have their own liability insurance coverage. However, you will also want to make sure whomever you select to haul your freight has enough cargo coverage to cover the value of the freight that you are shipping. Consider adding coverage if your load value exceeds your coverage limits.