LTL Shipping: How it Will Benefit Your Business

We recognize these are very hard times for many people.  Our hearts go out to you.  We can’t imagine how you must be feeling. We are working hard to provide excellent service under unusual circumstances, and hope our world can get back on its feet as soon as possible.

LTL Shipping

LTL or (less than truckload) shipping is a great method for small businesses looking to get their product to various markets.  If you are using LTL shipping or are thinking about using this method, there are still more ways to optimize your shipping, saving your company money while at the same time getting your freight to its destination on time.

As your premier shipping company that specializes in packing and crating, here is a checklist that will optimize your LTL shipments.

  • Determine the LTL services that you will require.
  • Be sure to deliver on the deadline.
  • Take control and optimize the process.
  • Work with a company that you can rely on.

Determine the Services you Need

Certain types of freight require certain types of trailers.  In order to get the most out of your LTL shipping, it is critical that you know the specifications your freight requires.  Be proactive, know the dimensions of each shipment.  It will save your company money in the long run; help you find the right company for your business and save you time and unnecessary phone calls and inquiries.

Deliver on the Deadline

It is imperative that you get your freight where it needs to be, on time, every time.  The quickest way to lose business and customers is by being late.  Use shipping services that have warehouse space available in the centres that you are shipping to and can track your packages easily and efficiently.

Optimize the Process

The “last mile delivery” refers to the final leg of the transportation of your freight.  This part of the shipping process is where things tend to go wrong and costs can quickly add up.  Take control of this final step by choosing a shipping service with a wide range of options and by working with your customers so that they can choose a delivery time that works for their schedule.

Work with the Right Company

Working with a shipping company that is right for you is the key to any successful business.  You need a company that has expertise in all areas of shipping and one that you can rely on.  At Cratex, we have over 40 years of experience in the shipping industry.  Our experienced and professional staff uses the most up to date technology to ensure that your freight is tracked from the time it leaves your dock until the time it arrives at its destination.

We understand that every business is different and so are its shipping needs.

Common LTL Mistakes to Avoid

Less than truckload (LTL) shipping is a great way to save money on smaller shipments. If you don’t have enough to fill up a full freight truck, LTL shipping can ensure your goods get to where you need them while keeping shipping costs down. LTL shipping isn’t difficult, but there are some common mistakes that you can make that will increase costs beyond what they should be, or prevent you from getting your freight to its intended destination in a timely manner.

No Insurance

Your shipment is probably not going to be covered by the trucking company that is moving it if something happens. This means that you should be getting insurance to cover your shipment in the event that it doesn’t arrive intact. Accidents and mistakes can happen. If you don’t have insurance to cover costs when an accident occurs, you could end up losing big in the long term. Take the careful route and insure all your shipments before they leave the warehouse.

Managing Expectations

LTL isn’t as sure a thing as standard freight or using your own shipping. This means that there is no guarantee, just because you have your freight lined up to arrive on Thursday, doesn’t mean that it is going to get there on Thursday. You need to build time into your delivery schedule to make sure that you have some wiggle room as concerns time sensitive materials. You may get lucky and have your shipment arrive early, but you might not. Plan conservatively to make sure that your items arrive on or before they need to.

Pallets, Pallets and More Pallets

Remember that using an LTL freight carrier is not quite the same as using a standard commercial shipping service. This means that you need to properly crate and pallet the goods that you are shipping. Freight rates can depend heavily on proper crating and palleting. Make sure your goods are secure by getting custom crates made for your shipment. Once you are all boxed up and ready to go, load your shipment on to pallets so they can be put into the truck quickly.

Timing is Everything

LTL shipping typically does not offer quick pickups or overnight services. Those are more for companies where you pay by the package. If you are planning on shipping something using an LTL carrier, give yourself plenty of time to have the shipment picked up. You can’t expect an LTL carrier to be able to pick up your shipment on a moment’s notice. Well, you can, but expect to pay for it!

Consider a Freight Broker

With LTL shipments, a freight broker can help you to get the best rates because they are working for several people looking to ship freight. Consider using one for your LTL shipments and shop around to see if you can find the best rates.

For Industrial packing and crating of your goods to get them ready for transport, contact Cratex Group today!

Overcoming LTL Challenges

Because of the shortage of drivers, freight is becoming more expensive. This is leading many savvy freight movers to consider alternate methods of getting their cargo from point A to point B. Less than Truckload (or LTL) shipping is one of these methods. If you are looking to shift from having your own shipment to using an LTL carrier, there are some common challenging details you should be aware of upfront.

Pick the Proper Freight Class

If you are unfamiliar with the freight classing system, now is the time to bone up on it. Make sure you understand how the system works so that you don’t end up overpaying for your shipment. Not only will having the proper freight class allow you to avoid delays should you need to have your shipment re-classed after pickup, but it will ensure that you are getting the proper rate for the freight that you are shipping. There are many online resources that can help you determine proper freight class, so take some time and learn the details to efficiently begin shipping LTL.

Finding a Carrier

Finding an LTL carrier may prove more difficult than you might think. Many companies do not offer the service, and the ones that do can quite often be booked. You may need to do a lot of digging in order to find one that is going to be compatible with your freight needs. Know that, despite the fact that they may be difficult to find, spending the time to search for a suitable company is well worth the effort.

You may find a wide range of rates between carriers (depending on pickup, destination, class and other factors). Some extra time and investigation can end up saving you a bundle on freight. Your diligence will be rewarded.

Make Sure of Transit Times

LTL shipments are given a lower priority than other shipments. This means that, when you are shipping using an LTL carrier, your delivery could get bumped back a day or two, maybe even a week. If you are moving time-sensitive cargo, you need to plan conservatively. Always make sure that the worst-case scenario still falls into an acceptable time frame for you. Should it not, you may need to seek other methods of shipping your freight.

Proper Packaging is Critical

Having your goods properly packed up and ready to go when your LTL carrier arrives can make all the difference. You should make sure to have your freight secure within its own crates. Getting custom built crates is a great idea because these can be tailor-made to your shipment. Your shipment should also be properly palleted so that it can be picked up using a fork truck or pallet jacks. Shipping LTL isn’t like using the pay mail order services, and they won’t be able to load your freight if it is not properly packed.

How LTL can Benefit your Business

Every business’ shipping needs are different.  If you are shipping items that are larger than parcel size, but an entire container is just too much, then LTL (less-than-truckload) shipping may be the answer.

Flexibility

Perhaps the biggest benefit of LTL shipping is the flexibility it gives your business.  If you require a larger shipment one month and a smaller shipment the next, the flexibility of LTL shipping can accommodate this.  The other benefits of flexibility include:

  • Allows you to ship freight to several locations in a region of the country, province or city.
  • Allows consolidation of many different companies to create a load, thus sharing the total cost of shipping.
  • Will allow you to ship a variety of different products or freight in the same shipment, if needed.

Cost

LTL shipping is the most cost efficient of all the shipping options that are available.  The main advantage of using LTL shipping is that the shipping cost is shared between a wide range of businesses all looking for a similar service.  If your business does not require an entire truck and trailer to move your product from point A to point B then LTL shipping is for you.

Control

If you are looking for full control over your shipping needs, then look no further than LTL shipping.  Without the volume required to fill an entire truck then LTL shipping will allow you to control the amount of freight that you want to move while at the same time getting your product to its destination in the same amount of time.

LTL shipping also gives your company control over the amount of freight you want to ship and the opportunity to ship to multiple locations.  These features of LTL shipping give your company the flexibility and control of changing your monthly shipping quotas.

Additional Service Options

If you choose LTL as your main shipping choice, you will have access to a wide range of shipping services that go far beyond dock to dock.  These services include:

  • Liftgate loading.
  • Inside or bay to bay pick-up service.
  • Notification options to alert both shipper and consignee of when freight is being picked up or dropped off.

Go Green

LTL shipping is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to ship your freight.  Because LTL pools many different shipments together to make one full load, hence you are sharing the total emissions of that truck load with a host of other companies.  Many companies are taking steps to shrink their carbon footprint and reduce their emissions.  Why not be a part of this growing movement and choose LTL shipping as your preferred shipping method?

If you are looking for the most cost-efficient and flexible way to move your goods, then LTL is the answer for you.

LTL Shipping within Residential AreasCratex Transloading

Choosing a method to ship your freight gets complicated when you are picking up or dropping off in a residential area. Small carriers (FedEx for example) are set up to be able to deliver single or small packages to residences, but what if you need something slightly larger that’s in a wooden crate? That is what Less than Truckload (LTL) freight carriers are for, right?

Well, before you go hiring an LTL carrier for a residential pickup or delivery, keep in mind some of these small details that may make it more complicated than you had originally thought.

Residential Streets Can be Narrow

The first major obstacle for using an LTL carrier in a residential area is the streets. Freight carriers typically have much larger trucks than your typical domestic residential delivery carrier. Getting these large trucks into tight residential areas may be difficult. In some cases, they may end up blocking an entire street while they load or unload your freight. Worst case is that a large LTL carrier just won’t be able to access the home or residence that you need them to get to. It is best to make sure that there is access beforehand. If you are unsure, talk to the LTL line and have them give their opinion.

Are your Items Palletized?

Unlike small carriers, LTL loads are generally picked up on pallets, whether they’re packed in a wooden crate or not. To use standard pallets, you will need to have your freight attached by shrink wrap, bands or other means used to secure it to the pallet. Most LTL carriers just won’t be able to pick up items that are not able to be moved using a pallet jack or similar equipment. Make sure that you have enough freight to be palleted and that pallets can be moved to the street where the trucking line can pick them up.

Lift Gates

Most LTL carriers do not offer door to door service. This means having a pallet jack or fork truck at the curb to get your freight into the LTL line’s truck. You will probably need to have a truck equipped with a lift gate (unless your residence happens to have a loading dock) in order for the freight to be lifted up off the street into the truck. Many LTL carriers will charge extra for lift gate service, so make sure to check with them before having a carrier come to your residence for a pickup or delivery.

Residential Pickup and Delivery Charges

Because of the specialized nature of having items picked up or delivered into a residential area, many carriers will charge extra for both a residential pickup and a residential delivery. Remember to check with your carrier to see if this is the case and to charge (or pay) accordingly.

Cratex Group can help you get your shipment ready for pickup with custom packing and crating services. Contact us today for all of your industrial packing needs!

LTL Shipping for your FurnitureAre you thinking of using transloading services for your next freight shipment? Here are some tips to help you on your way, courtesy of Cratex.

The idea of shipping your furniture typically brings to mind large moving guys in stained T-shirts walking all around your house. While this might be the case if you hire a moving company, it is possible to ship furniture via Less than Truckload (LTL) freight carriers. Using this method is a cheaper alternative to using a moving company. There are some differences in the types of service you should expect, and there is also some additional preparation that might be necessary. If you have a large amount of furniture to ship, or have a furniture manufacturing business, then LTL shipping might be for you.

What Kind of Furniture Do You Need to Ship?

You aren’t going to want to use an LTL freight carrier to ship your antique bedroom furniture. That sort of thing is best suited for a moving company. LTL carriers are best for small items that can be boxed up or crated. Bedroom nightstands, chairs, stools and even mattresses in bags make great items for an LTL carrier to move for you. Bigger pieces need a special touch that LTL carriers can’t offer.

Boxing Up Your Furniture

The best way to get ready for an LTL carrier to pick your items up is to get them boxed or crated. Standard furniture pieces should be able to fit in large boxes. You are going to want to pad those boxes with a packing material like peanuts or foam. Remember to fill up as much of the empty space as you can with packing material to prevent your furniture from moving around inside the truck and while it is being loaded and unloaded.

LTL carriers would prefer to pick up boxes or crates that are on pallets. If you have had a custom crate made for your furniture, then make sure the crates are able to be moved using a pallet jack or fork truck. If you go the pallet route, make sure that your boxes are securely fixed to the pallet using shrink wrap or straps.

Once your furniture is palletized, you are ready for your LTL carrier to pick up your shipments.

Choosing an LTL Carrier

You can call around to freight carriers yourself looking to make your load part of an LTL shipment. But this could be time consuming, and you might not get the best prices possible if you do it this way. There are many freight handling services that can assist you in finding an LTL carrier for shipping your boxed furniture. Consider using one of those services to locate a carrier.

Also remember that if you are shipping from a residence, it might be hard for an LTL carrier to get access. This might be a great opportunity to use a custom industrial packing company like Cratex. They can crate up your furniture then have the shipping company pick up directly from them.

Contact Cratex group today about custom crates and pallets for your LTL furniture move!