If there’s one thing a shipper wants to do is pay extra, especially for something unnecessary or unexpected. It’s no different in the world of LTL shipping. Yet incurring extra charges on shipments is quite a common occurrence, though an easily avoidable one.
Additional freight charges typically result from incorrect shipment classification/weight (referred to as reclass/reweigh), or accessorials that aren’t properly accounted for.
Reclass/Reweigh (or RC/RW for short) is carrier jargon that simply means your freight is larger or heavier than you declared so you’ll have to pay more for it. Thinking about this, it’s so easy to avoid making this kind of mistake. All it takes is due diligence to make sure that all your goods are weighed and measured accurately, not just once but at least twice for certainty. This should be standard practice and should be done all the time for everything that will be shipped.
On the other hand, accessorials refer to any kind of extra work or service that carriers have to provide to complete the delivery process and bring your shipment to its ultimate destination. Much as they want to stick to the original charges, they aren’t philanthropists after all, so anything they do extra, they’ll charge you extra too.
Do you need a truck equipped with a lift gate because you have no dock for unloading? You’ll be charged extra for that. Is your shipment COD (Cash On Delivery)? That’s another extra charge for you. Are you delivering to a remote area, or a location with restricted access like a school, a prison, a military or government facility, a private residence, a church, a nursing home, or anything else along that line? That’s more extra charge for you, and so on.
We know you want to minimize costs because that’s what all business entities aim for. However, it’s always better to know upfront what the real cost of shipping your merchandise is, rather than find out about it later when your budget has been all laid out and additional charges will just screw everything up.
To ensure there won’t be any unwelcome surprises, it will all boil down to information, that is, complete and correct information regarding everything about your shipment. This includes the following:
Correct Measurements, Dimensions and Weight:
It all begins with accurately measuring your shipments dimensions (length, width and height) and weight. If you provide incorrect figures and your freight turns out to be bigger or heavier than what you indicated, make no mistake about it — you will surely need to pay more.
To ensure that the appropriate type of truck is provided for you, be sure to describe your shipment as vividly as you can. You don’t want them to show up with a step-deck when what you need is a flatbed, right? Or worse, you don’t want them to provide you with a regular truck when what you need is a refrigerated one. When writing your descriptions, don’t ever assume that the carrier will know for certain what you’re talking about. Be as descriptive as you can so there is no room for misinterpretation and wrong conclusions.
Pickup Points and Delivery Location:
Check all the locations relevant to your shipment so you can be familiar with any limitation that can cause any delay or problems. Make sure that the type of truck you choose will have no trouble going to and from the pickup and/or delivery spots.
Scheduled pickup or delivery (vs. anytime within the specified day of pickup or delivery); residential area pickup or delivery (vs. pickup from or delivery to a commercial area); hazardous goods; tailgate. These are just some of the more common special services that you will need to specify in your original quote request.
If you exclude these important details, you are setting yourself up for a big headache. Instead of knowing beforehand how much a carrier will charge for a particular special service, you will risk selecting who you think may be the best carrier for the job, only to find out later that the carrier has low quotes because they charge high fees for special services. However, by including all these special conditions and requirements, you’ll have better chances of getting the best rate because the quotes of the carriers you’ll be choosing from will already include their rates for such services.
Taxes and Fuel Surcharges:
You know these charges are part of your shipping cost so there’s no use ignoring them and pretending they don’t exist. Your carrier will never make the mistake of missing these charges and when they add these to your final bill. You can easily be looking at a cost that’s around 20 – 40% higher than what you were (unrealistically) hoping for.
If you are shipping goods across borders, you will need a customs broker who will take care of all the paperwork needed to clear your shipment and get it into its destination. Don’t leave this to chance. You should have a customs broker in place so there’s no risk that your freight will get delayed in customs and cause you more extra unnecessary fees.
There you have it. By providing complete information to potential carriers, you’ll be able to receive correct quotes for your shipment, minus any surprise charges. And if you take the time to compare carrier rates so you can choose the best one, we’re sure you can forever say goodbye to those instances when you receive your final freight bill and say — ‘this is not the cost that was quoted!’ contact us for questions regarding proper freight classifications.