Dry Van Trailer:

Usage, Pricing, Services & Freight Quotes.


Sam Boyd

May 7, 2024

Join the community!

LTL Freight:

Guide, Pricing, Services & Freight Quotes.





Join the community!

When you need to ship small-to-medium-sized cargo, LTL freight, also known as “Less-than-Truckload Freight” is the standout shipping method. By consolidating your cargo with other shippers, you’ll typically see significant cost savings when compared to sending a truckload.

In this article, we’ll detail everything you need to know about LTL freight, including its meaning, advantages and disadvantages, and current rates.

And for those readers who require the services of an LTL freight company, we’ll also cover:

  • How to prepare an LTL Freight Shipment

  • How to hire an LTL Carrier

  • Why you should consider an LTL Broker

  • And tell you where to get an LTL freight quote quickly

 Let’s get started.

What is LTL Freight?

LTL (Less Than Truckload) freight refers to shipments that do not occupy the entire space of a truck, typically weighing less than 10,000 pounds. Unlike FTL (Full Truckload) freight, which dedicates the entire truck to a single customer, LTL combines shipments from multiple customers into a single truck, offering cost-effective transportation solutions for smaller shipments.

The sharing of truck space in LTL freight provides several advantages. Firstly, it allows for cost savings, as shippers only pay for the space they use rather than the entire truck. This makes LTL ideal for smaller shipments that do not require a dedicated truck. Moreover, LTL shipments benefit from consolidated transportation, which can lead to reduced fuel consumption and lower carbon emissions compared to individual shipments.

LTL freight is commonly used for shipments that do not require expedited delivery or exclusive use of a truck, making it a cost-effective option for businesses of all sizes.

Industries that frequently utilize LTL freight include retail, manufacturing, e-commerce, and distribution.

Advantages and Disadvantages of LTL Freight

LTL (Less Than Truckload) freight offers numerous advantages and disadvantages. We’ll cover them in detail in this section.

Advantages of LTL Freight:

The benefits of less-than-truckload shipping include:

Cost Savings: LTL freight allows shippers to share the cost of transportation with other customers, making it a cost-effective option for smaller shipments.

Flexible Capacity: With LTL, shippers have access to truck space as needed, without having to pay for the entire truck. This flexibility is beneficial for businesses with varying shipping volumes.

Reduced Environmental Impact: LTL shipments benefit from consolidated transportation, leading to lower fuel consumption and reduced carbon emissions compared to individual shipments.

Access to Carrier Networks: LTL carriers have extensive networks of terminals and distribution centers, providing broad coverage and convenient pickup and delivery options for shippers.

Disadvantages of LTL Freight:

The disadvantages of less-than-truckload shipping include:

Longer Transit Times: LTL shipments may take longer to reach their destination compared to FTL (or Full Truck Load) shipments, as the truck makes multiple stops to pick up and deliver shipments along the route.

Handling Risks: LTL shipments are handled more frequently during transit, increasing the risk of damage or loss compared to FTL shipments.

Complexity: Coordinating LTL shipments can be more complex than FTL, as shippers must consider factors such as freight class, density, and accessorials when determining shipping rates and service options.

Overall, while LTL freight offers cost-saving benefits and flexible transportation solutions for smaller shipments, it may not be suitable for time-sensitive deliveries or shipments requiring dedicated truck capacity.

When is LTL Freight the Best Option?

LTL (Less Than Truckload) freight is often the best option in the following scenarios:

Smaller Shipments: When shipping smaller quantities of goods that do not require the full capacity of a truck, LTL is a cost-effective option.

Flexible Delivery Schedules: LTL provides flexibility in pickup and delivery schedules, allowing shippers to accommodate varying shipping volumes and delivery requirements.

Cost Savings: LTL freight allows shippers to share the cost of transportation with other customers, making it a cost-effective option for businesses of all sizes.

Environmental Considerations: LTL shipments benefit from consolidated transportation, leading to lower fuel consumption and reduced carbon emissions compared to individual shipments.

Overall, LTL freight is the best option for businesses shipping smaller quantities of goods that do not require expedited delivery or exclusive use of a truck. By leveraging the cost-saving benefits and flexible transportation solutions offered by LTL, shippers can optimize their shipping processes and reduce transportation costs.

Industries that use LTL Freight

Multiple industries commonly use LTL (Less Than Truckload) freight due to the cost-effective transportation solutions it offers for smaller shipments. Some of these industries include:

Retail: Retailers frequently utilize LTL freight to replenish inventory at stores and distribution centers, especially for smaller or less-than-truckload quantities of goods.

Manufacturing: Manufacturing companies often rely on LTL freight to transport raw materials, components, and smaller quantities of finished goods between suppliers, production facilities, and distribution centers.

E-commerce: With the growth of e-commerce, businesses selling products online often use LTL freight to ship smaller quantities of goods directly to customers, leveraging cost-effective shipping solutions for individual orders.

Distribution and Warehousing: Distribution centers and warehousing facilities utilize LTL freight to receive and distribute smaller shipments of goods from suppliers to retailers or end customers.

Food and Beverage: The food and beverage industry frequently utilizes LTL freight to transport smaller quantities of perishable goods such as fresh produce, dairy products, and packaged foods between suppliers, distribution centers, and retail locations.

Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals: Industries dealing with healthcare and pharmaceutical products often use LTL freight to distribute smaller quantities of medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, and equipment to hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies.

Overall, LTL freight provides cost-effective transportation solutions for businesses shipping smaller quantities of goods across a wide range of industries.

Important Factors to Consider When Using LTL Freight

There are numerous factors a shipper should consider when using less than truckload (LTL) freight. Here we’ll detail all the most important factors that you should take into account when planning your shipment. Be sure to discuss them with potential carriers to get an accurate freight quote.

Shipment Size and Weight: Ensure the shipment's dimensions and weight fit within the parameters of LTL freight to optimize space and minimize costs. Typically, an LTL shipment is less than 10,000 pounds and does not require the full capacity of a truck.

Transit Time Requirements: Evaluate the urgency of delivery and choose carriers capable of meeting deadlines, balancing speed with cost.

Freight Class and Density: Determine the freight class and density of the shipment to accurately calculate shipping rates and select the appropriate service level.

Accessorial Charges: Consider any additional services required for the shipment, such as liftgate delivery, inside pickup/delivery, or residential surcharges, and discuss them with potential carriers to understand associated costs.

Carrier Reliability: Research carriers' track records for on-time delivery, communication, and customer service to minimize risks of delays or issues.

Insurance Coverage: Verify that the chosen carrier provides adequate insurance coverage for the value of the shipment to protect against loss or damage during transit.

Routing and Transit Times: Evaluate different routing options and transit times offered by carriers to select the most efficient and cost-effective option for the shipment.

Cost-Effectiveness: Compare quotes from different carriers to find the most cost-effective option while considering the balance between price and service quality.

Environmental Impact: Consider the environmental footprint of transportation options and explore carriers with eco-friendly practices or alternative fuel options if sustainability is a priority.

Overall, by carefully considering these factors and discussing them with potential carriers, shippers can optimize their LTL freight shipments to meet their specific needs and requirements.

LTL Freight Rates: How Much Does LTL Freight Cost?

The cost of LTL (Less Than Truckload) freight can vary based on numerous factors, including shipment size and weight, freight class, distance, and service level. However, in the contiguous United States, LTL rates currently range from $0.50 to $3.00 per mile, with additional charges for accessorials, insurance, and other add-on services. These rates are subject to change and should be verified with carriers based on specific shipment details and current market conditions.

Some of the common factors that influence the cost of LTL freight include:

Shipment Size and Weight: Heavier and larger shipments may cost more due to increased handling and space utilization.

Freight Class and Density: Freight class and density impact shipping rates, with higher freight classes and lower densities generally resulting in higher costs.

Distance: Longer distances typically incur higher costs due to fuel and driver expenses.

Service Level: Expedited or time-sensitive deliveries often come with higher price tags.

Accessorial Charges: Additional services such as liftgate delivery, inside pickup/delivery, or residential surcharges may add to the total cost.

To obtain the best LTL rates, shippers should compare quotes from multiple carriers and consider factors such as service quality, transit times, and additional services offered. Or work with a Freight Broker like GuidedFreight and we’ll source quotes from all the top carriers, pass through our high-volume rates, and simplify your workflow at the same time.

How to Prepare and LTL Freight Shipment

Preparing a Less Than Truckload (LTL) freight shipment involves several important steps to ensure smooth and efficient transportation:

  1. Packaging: Properly package your goods to protect them during transit. Use sturdy boxes or containers and secure items with appropriate cushioning materials such as bubble wrap or foam peanuts.
  1. Weigh and Measure: Accurately weigh and measure your shipment to determine its dimensions and weight. This information is essential for calculating shipping rates and ensuring compliance with carrier requirements.
  1. Determine Freight Class: Determine the freight class of your shipment based on its contents and characteristics. Freight class is determined by factors such as density, stability, handling, and liability. Use the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) to classify your goods correctly.
  1. Select Carrier: Choose a reputable carrier that offers LTL freight services and meets your specific shipping needs. Consider factors such as transit times, service quality, coverage area, and pricing when selecting a carrier.
  1. Obtain Quotes: Request quotes from multiple carriers to compare pricing and service options. Provide accurate information about your shipment, including dimensions, weight, origin, and destination, to receive accurate quotes.
  1. Book Shipment: Once you've selected a carrier and obtained a quote, book your shipment with the chosen carrier. Provide all necessary shipment details, including pickup and delivery addresses, contact information, and any special instructions.
  1. Prepare Shipping Documents: Prepare shipping documents such as a bill of lading (BOL), which serves as a contract between you and the carrier. Include details about the shipment, such as item descriptions, quantities, weights, and values.
  1. Schedule Pickup: Coordinate with the carrier to schedule a pickup time for your shipment. Ensure that someone is available to hand over the shipment to the carrier's driver at the scheduled time.
  1. Track Shipment: Utilize the carrier's tracking tools to monitor the status and location of your shipment during transit. Keep stakeholders informed of the shipment's progress and estimated delivery time.
  1. Ensure Accessibility: Ensure that both the pickup and delivery locations are accessible to the carrier's truck and driver. Provide clear directions and any necessary instructions to facilitate smooth pickup and delivery.

By following these steps, you can effectively prepare and manage your LTL freight shipment, ensuring timely delivery and minimizing the risk of issues during transit.

LTL Insurance: and Indispensable Safety Measure for Shippers

LTL insurance, or less-than-truckload insurance, is a type of cargo insurance that provides coverage for goods shipped via less-than-truckload (LTL) freight carriers. It offers financial protection against loss or damage to the shipment during transit.

There are several reasons why a shipper should consider obtaining LTL insurance:

Protection Against Loss or Damage: LTL insurance provides coverage for the value of the goods being shipped in case of loss, damage, theft, or destruction during transit. This helps protect the shipper from financial losses associated with damaged or lost cargo.

Peace of Mind: By having LTL insurance in place, shippers can have peace of mind knowing that their valuable cargo is protected. They can ship goods with confidence, knowing that they are covered in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

Legal Requirement: In some cases, shippers may be required by law or contract to carry cargo insurance. Certain industries or customers may have specific insurance requirements, and failing to meet these requirements could result in penalties or legal liabilities.

Enhanced Credibility: Having LTL insurance demonstrates to customers, partners, and stakeholders that the shipper takes responsibility for the safety and security of their cargo. It can enhance the shipper's credibility and reputation as a reliable and trustworthy business partner.

Comprehensive Coverage Options: LTL insurance policies offer flexible coverage options tailored to the shipper's specific needs. Shippers can choose coverage limits, deductibles, and additional coverage options to customize their insurance policy to suit their unique requirements.

Risk Management: LTL insurance helps shippers mitigate the financial risks associated with shipping goods, particularly high-value or fragile items. It allows shippers to transfer the risk of loss or damage to the insurance provider, reducing their exposure to financial losses.

Overall, LTL insurance is a valuable risk management tool that provides shippers with financial protection, peace of mind, and compliance with legal and contractual requirements. It is an essential investment for any shipper transporting goods via LTL freight carriers.

Reputable LTL Carriers in the United States

Sam: Feel free to chime in on this list

Several LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers are renowned for their reliability, service quality, coverage area, and reputation within the industry. Some of the most reputable LTL carriers include:

FedEx Freight: FedEx Freight is one of the largest LTL carriers in North America, offering comprehensive coverage across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Known for its extensive network, advanced technology, and reliable service, FedEx Freight provides a range of transit time options to meet customers' needs.

UPS Freight: UPS Freight, a division of UPS, is a leading LTL carrier known for its extensive network, state-of-the-art technology, and commitment to customer service. With a focus on efficiency, reliability, and flexibility, UPS Freight offers a wide range of shipping solutions and value-added services.

XPO Logistics: XPO Logistics is a major player in the LTL freight industry, offering a comprehensive suite of transportation and logistics services. With a vast network of terminals and distribution centers, advanced technology platforms, and a focus on innovation, XPO Logistics provides customers with reliable, cost-effective LTL shipping solutions.

YRC Freight: YRC Freight is one of the oldest and most established LTL carriers in the United States, with a history dating back over 90 years. Known for its extensive coverage, strong customer relationships, and commitment to service excellence, YRC Freight offers a range of shipping options tailored to customers' needs.

Old Dominion Freight Line: Old Dominion Freight Line is renowned for its exceptional service quality, on-time performance, and industry-leading claims ratio. With a focus on reliability, innovation, and customer satisfaction, Old Dominion Freight Line has earned a reputation as one of the most dependable LTL carriers in the industry.

Saia LTL Freight: Saia LTL Freight is known for its strong regional presence, reliable service, and competitive pricing. With a focus on efficiency, flexibility, and customer satisfaction, Saia LTL Freight offers a range of shipping solutions tailored to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes.

These carriers are considered reputable due to their consistent performance, extensive network coverage, advanced technology platforms, and commitment to customer satisfaction. They offer a range of shipping options, value-added services, and industry expertise to meet the diverse needs of shippers across various industries.

How to Choose an LTL Carrier

When choosing an LTL (Less Than Truckload) carrier, it’s important to consider the following factors:

Safety Record: Look for a carrier with a strong safety record and a focus on driver training and compliance. You can check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website for carrier safety data.

Service Quality: Evaluate carriers' track records for on-time delivery, communication, and customer service to ensure reliability and responsiveness.

Transit Times: Consider carriers' transit times and service levels to select options that meet your delivery requirements and deadlines.

Coverage Area: Verify that the carrier's service area aligns with your shipping destinations to ensure reliable and timely delivery.

Cost: Get quotes from multiple carriers to compare pricing and find the most cost-effective option while considering service quality and value.

Technology: Look for carriers that utilize technology such as online booking, shipment tracking tools, or electronic data interchange (EDI) for streamlined communication and visibility into the shipping process.

Environmental Practices: Consider carriers' environmental practices and explore options with eco-friendly initiatives or alternative fuel options if sustainability is a priority.

Overall, by carefully evaluating these factors and conducting thorough research, shippers can choose an LTL carrier that meets their specific needs and provides reliable and cost-effective transportation solutions.

Why You Should Work with an LTL Broker

Working with an LTL freight broker like Guided Freight can offer several benefits when arranging Less Than Truckload (LTL) shipments:

Access to Carrier Networks: LTL freight brokers have established relationships with a wide network of carriers, allowing them to quickly find available trucks and secure capacity for LTL shipments, even during peak seasons or in high-demand areas.

Cost Savings: LTL freight brokers leverage their industry knowledge and negotiating skills to obtain competitive rates from carriers, helping shippers save money on transportation costs. Brokers can also consolidate shipments or find backhaul opportunities to optimize routes and reduce expenses.

Expertise and Guidance: LTL freight brokers have expertise in navigating the complexities of transportation logistics, including freight class, density, and carrier selection. They can provide valuable guidance and recommendations to shippers, ensuring smooth and efficient transportation of LTL shipments.

Time Savings: Coordinating LTL shipments can be time-consuming and labor-intensive for shippers. LTL freight brokers handle the logistics and paperwork involved in arranging transportation, saving shippers time and allowing them to focus on their core business activities.

Risk Management: LTL freight brokers help mitigate risks associated with LTL transportation, such as carrier reliability, insurance coverage, and compliance with regulations. They thoroughly vet carriers and ensure they meet safety and quality standards, reducing the risk of delays, damages, or other issues.

Flexibility and Scalability: LTL freight brokers offer flexibility and scalability to accommodate changing shipping needs and fluctuating demand. Whether shipping one-time small shipments or establishing ongoing transportation partnerships, brokers can adapt to meet shippers' requirements.

Single Point of Contact: By working with an LTL freight broker, shippers have a single point of contact for all their transportation needs. Brokers handle communication with carriers, track shipments, and provide updates to shippers, streamlining the process and enhancing transparency.

Overall, partnering with an LTL freight broker like Guided Freight can provide shippers with access to resources, expertise, and cost-saving opportunities, making it a valuable asset for arranging LTL shipments efficiently and effectively.

Get Less Than Truckload (LTL) Services and Quotes

If your company needs Less Than Truckload (LTL) freight services, Guided Freight is here to help. We work with the largest carrier network in America and pass along our high-volume rates to our customers. Benefit from our expertise while lowering your costs and simplifying your workflow. Request a freight quote today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does LTL freight mean?

LTL stands for "Less Than Truckload" freight, and it’s when you combine shipments from various companies to fill a truck, making it ideal for smaller freight but with longer potential delivery times.

Who pays for LTL shipping?

The shipper pays for LTL shipping, covering only the space their freight occupies in a shared truck, reducing costs compared to a full truckload.

Why is LTL so expensive?

Whether a dry van or flatbed is better for shipping freight depends on what is being shipped. Dry vans are ideal for goods that need to be enclosed and secured. Flatbeds are more versatile, allowing for oversized loads and loading from the top, sides, and rear.

Is LTL cheaper than FTL?

Yes, LTL is cheaper than FTL for smaller shipments. You only pay for used space, not the entire truck, but it can be slower due to multiple stops.

When you need to ship small-to-medium-sized cargo, LTL freight, also known as “Less-than-Truckload Freight” is the standout shipping method. By consolidating your cargo with other shippers, you’ll typically see significant cost savings when compared to sending a truckload.

In this article, we’ll detail everything you need to know about LTL freight, including its meaning, advantages and disadvantages, and current rates.

And for those readers who require the services of an LTL freight company, we’ll also cover:

  • How to prepare an LTL Freight Shipment

  • How to hire an LTL Carrier

  • Why you should consider an LTL Broker

  • And tell you where to get an LTL freight quote quickly

 Let’s get started.

What is LTL Freight?

LTL (Less Than Truckload) freight refers to shipments that do not occupy the entire space of a truck, typically weighing less than 10,000 pounds. Unlike FTL (Full Truckload) freight, which dedicates the entire truck to a single customer, LTL combines shipments from multiple customers into a single truck, offering cost-effective transportation solutions for smaller shipments.

The sharing of truck space in LTL freight provides several advantages. Firstly, it allows for cost savings, as shippers only pay for the space they use rather than the entire truck. This makes LTL ideal for smaller shipments that do not require a dedicated truck. Moreover, LTL shipments benefit from consolidated transportation, which can lead to reduced fuel consumption and lower carbon emissions compared to individual shipments.

LTL freight is commonly used for shipments that do not require expedited delivery or exclusive use of a truck, making it a cost-effective option for businesses of all sizes.

Industries that frequently utilize LTL freight include retail, manufacturing, e-commerce, and distribution.

Advantages and Disadvantages of LTL Freight

LTL (Less Than Truckload) freight offers numerous advantages and disadvantages. We’ll cover them in detail in this section.

Advantages of LTL Freight:

The benefits of less-than-truckload shipping include:

Cost Savings: LTL freight allows shippers to share the cost of transportation with other customers, making it a cost-effective option for smaller shipments.

Flexible Capacity: With LTL, shippers have access to truck space as needed, without having to pay for the entire truck. This flexibility is beneficial for businesses with varying shipping volumes.

Reduced Environmental Impact: LTL shipments benefit from consolidated transportation, leading to lower fuel consumption and reduced carbon emissions compared to individual shipments.

Access to Carrier Networks: LTL carriers have extensive networks of terminals and distribution centers, providing broad coverage and convenient pickup and delivery options for shippers.

Disadvantages of LTL Freight:

The disadvantages of less-than-truckload shipping include:

Longer Transit Times: LTL shipments may take longer to reach their destination compared to FTL (or Full Truck Load) shipments, as the truck makes multiple stops to pick up and deliver shipments along the route.

Handling Risks: LTL shipments are handled more frequently during transit, increasing the risk of damage or loss compared to FTL shipments.

Complexity: Coordinating LTL shipments can be more complex than FTL, as shippers must consider factors such as freight class, density, and accessorials when determining shipping rates and service options.

Overall, while LTL freight offers cost-saving benefits and flexible transportation solutions for smaller shipments, it may not be suitable for time-sensitive deliveries or shipments requiring dedicated truck capacity.

When is LTL Freight the Best Option?

LTL (Less Than Truckload) freight is often the best option in the following scenarios:

Smaller Shipments: When shipping smaller quantities of goods that do not require the full capacity of a truck, LTL is a cost-effective option.

Flexible Delivery Schedules: LTL provides flexibility in pickup and delivery schedules, allowing shippers to accommodate varying shipping volumes and delivery requirements.

Cost Savings: LTL freight allows shippers to share the cost of transportation with other customers, making it a cost-effective option for businesses of all sizes.

Environmental Considerations: LTL shipments benefit from consolidated transportation, leading to lower fuel consumption and reduced carbon emissions compared to individual shipments.

Overall, LTL freight is the best option for businesses shipping smaller quantities of goods that do not require expedited delivery or exclusive use of a truck. By leveraging the cost-saving benefits and flexible transportation solutions offered by LTL, shippers can optimize their shipping processes and reduce transportation costs.

Industries that use LTL Freight

Multiple industries commonly use LTL (Less Than Truckload) freight due to the cost-effective transportation solutions it offers for smaller shipments. Some of these industries include:

Retail: Retailers frequently utilize LTL freight to replenish inventory at stores and distribution centers, especially for smaller or less-than-truckload quantities of goods.

Manufacturing: Manufacturing companies often rely on LTL freight to transport raw materials, components, and smaller quantities of finished goods between suppliers, production facilities, and distribution centers.

E-commerce: With the growth of e-commerce, businesses selling products online often use LTL freight to ship smaller quantities of goods directly to customers, leveraging cost-effective shipping solutions for individual orders.

Distribution and Warehousing: Distribution centers and warehousing facilities utilize LTL freight to receive and distribute smaller shipments of goods from suppliers to retailers or end customers.

Food and Beverage: The food and beverage industry frequently utilizes LTL freight to transport smaller quantities of perishable goods such as fresh produce, dairy products, and packaged foods between suppliers, distribution centers, and retail locations.

Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals: Industries dealing with healthcare and pharmaceutical products often use LTL freight to distribute smaller quantities of medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, and equipment to hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies.

Overall, LTL freight provides cost-effective transportation solutions for businesses shipping smaller quantities of goods across a wide range of industries.

Important Factors to Consider When Using LTL Freight

There are numerous factors a shipper should consider when using less than truckload (LTL) freight. Here we’ll detail all the most important factors that you should take into account when planning your shipment. Be sure to discuss them with potential carriers to get an accurate freight quote.

Shipment Size and Weight: Ensure the shipment's dimensions and weight fit within the parameters of LTL freight to optimize space and minimize costs. Typically, an LTL shipment is less than 10,000 pounds and does not require the full capacity of a truck.

Transit Time Requirements: Evaluate the urgency of delivery and choose carriers capable of meeting deadlines, balancing speed with cost.

Freight Class and Density: Determine the freight class and density of the shipment to accurately calculate shipping rates and select the appropriate service level.

Accessorial Charges: Consider any additional services required for the shipment, such as liftgate delivery, inside pickup/delivery, or residential surcharges, and discuss them with potential carriers to understand associated costs.

Carrier Reliability: Research carriers' track records for on-time delivery, communication, and customer service to minimize risks of delays or issues.

Insurance Coverage: Verify that the chosen carrier provides adequate insurance coverage for the value of the shipment to protect against loss or damage during transit.

Routing and Transit Times: Evaluate different routing options and transit times offered by carriers to select the most efficient and cost-effective option for the shipment.

Cost-Effectiveness: Compare quotes from different carriers to find the most cost-effective option while considering the balance between price and service quality.

Environmental Impact: Consider the environmental footprint of transportation options and explore carriers with eco-friendly practices or alternative fuel options if sustainability is a priority.

Overall, by carefully considering these factors and discussing them with potential carriers, shippers can optimize their LTL freight shipments to meet their specific needs and requirements.

LTL Freight Rates: How Much Does LTL Freight Cost?

The cost of LTL (Less Than Truckload) freight can vary based on numerous factors, including shipment size and weight, freight class, distance, and service level. However, in the contiguous United States, LTL rates currently range from $0.50 to $3.00 per mile, with additional charges for accessorials, insurance, and other add-on services. These rates are subject to change and should be verified with carriers based on specific shipment details and current market conditions.

Some of the common factors that influence the cost of LTL freight include:

Shipment Size and Weight: Heavier and larger shipments may cost more due to increased handling and space utilization.

Freight Class and Density: Freight class and density impact shipping rates, with higher freight classes and lower densities generally resulting in higher costs.

Distance: Longer distances typically incur higher costs due to fuel and driver expenses.

Service Level: Expedited or time-sensitive deliveries often come with higher price tags.

Accessorial Charges: Additional services such as liftgate delivery, inside pickup/delivery, or residential surcharges may add to the total cost.

To obtain the best LTL rates, shippers should compare quotes from multiple carriers and consider factors such as service quality, transit times, and additional services offered. Or work with a Freight Broker like GuidedFreight and we’ll source quotes from all the top carriers, pass through our high-volume rates, and simplify your workflow at the same time.

How to Prepare and LTL Freight Shipment

Preparing a Less Than Truckload (LTL) freight shipment involves several important steps to ensure smooth and efficient transportation:

  1. Packaging: Properly package your goods to protect them during transit. Use sturdy boxes or containers and secure items with appropriate cushioning materials such as bubble wrap or foam peanuts.
  1. Weigh and Measure: Accurately weigh and measure your shipment to determine its dimensions and weight. This information is essential for calculating shipping rates and ensuring compliance with carrier requirements.
  1. Determine Freight Class: Determine the freight class of your shipment based on its contents and characteristics. Freight class is determined by factors such as density, stability, handling, and liability. Use the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) to classify your goods correctly.
  1. Select Carrier: Choose a reputable carrier that offers LTL freight services and meets your specific shipping needs. Consider factors such as transit times, service quality, coverage area, and pricing when selecting a carrier.
  1. Obtain Quotes: Request quotes from multiple carriers to compare pricing and service options. Provide accurate information about your shipment, including dimensions, weight, origin, and destination, to receive accurate quotes.
  1. Book Shipment: Once you've selected a carrier and obtained a quote, book your shipment with the chosen carrier. Provide all necessary shipment details, including pickup and delivery addresses, contact information, and any special instructions.
  1. Prepare Shipping Documents: Prepare shipping documents such as a bill of lading (BOL), which serves as a contract between you and the carrier. Include details about the shipment, such as item descriptions, quantities, weights, and values.
  1. Schedule Pickup: Coordinate with the carrier to schedule a pickup time for your shipment. Ensure that someone is available to hand over the shipment to the carrier's driver at the scheduled time.
  1. Track Shipment: Utilize the carrier's tracking tools to monitor the status and location of your shipment during transit. Keep stakeholders informed of the shipment's progress and estimated delivery time.
  1. Ensure Accessibility: Ensure that both the pickup and delivery locations are accessible to the carrier's truck and driver. Provide clear directions and any necessary instructions to facilitate smooth pickup and delivery.

By following these steps, you can effectively prepare and manage your LTL freight shipment, ensuring timely delivery and minimizing the risk of issues during transit.

LTL Insurance: and Indispensable Safety Measure for Shippers

LTL insurance, or less-than-truckload insurance, is a type of cargo insurance that provides coverage for goods shipped via less-than-truckload (LTL) freight carriers. It offers financial protection against loss or damage to the shipment during transit.

There are several reasons why a shipper should consider obtaining LTL insurance:

Protection Against Loss or Damage: LTL insurance provides coverage for the value of the goods being shipped in case of loss, damage, theft, or destruction during transit. This helps protect the shipper from financial losses associated with damaged or lost cargo.

Peace of Mind: By having LTL insurance in place, shippers can have peace of mind knowing that their valuable cargo is protected. They can ship goods with confidence, knowing that they are covered in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

Legal Requirement: In some cases, shippers may be required by law or contract to carry cargo insurance. Certain industries or customers may have specific insurance requirements, and failing to meet these requirements could result in penalties or legal liabilities.

Enhanced Credibility: Having LTL insurance demonstrates to customers, partners, and stakeholders that the shipper takes responsibility for the safety and security of their cargo. It can enhance the shipper's credibility and reputation as a reliable and trustworthy business partner.

Comprehensive Coverage Options: LTL insurance policies offer flexible coverage options tailored to the shipper's specific needs. Shippers can choose coverage limits, deductibles, and additional coverage options to customize their insurance policy to suit their unique requirements.

Risk Management: LTL insurance helps shippers mitigate the financial risks associated with shipping goods, particularly high-value or fragile items. It allows shippers to transfer the risk of loss or damage to the insurance provider, reducing their exposure to financial losses.

Overall, LTL insurance is a valuable risk management tool that provides shippers with financial protection, peace of mind, and compliance with legal and contractual requirements. It is an essential investment for any shipper transporting goods via LTL freight carriers.

Reputable LTL Carriers in the United States

Sam: Feel free to chime in on this list

Several LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers are renowned for their reliability, service quality, coverage area, and reputation within the industry. Some of the most reputable LTL carriers include:

FedEx Freight: FedEx Freight is one of the largest LTL carriers in North America, offering comprehensive coverage across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Known for its extensive network, advanced technology, and reliable service, FedEx Freight provides a range of transit time options to meet customers' needs.

UPS Freight: UPS Freight, a division of UPS, is a leading LTL carrier known for its extensive network, state-of-the-art technology, and commitment to customer service. With a focus on efficiency, reliability, and flexibility, UPS Freight offers a wide range of shipping solutions and value-added services.

XPO Logistics: XPO Logistics is a major player in the LTL freight industry, offering a comprehensive suite of transportation and logistics services. With a vast network of terminals and distribution centers, advanced technology platforms, and a focus on innovation, XPO Logistics provides customers with reliable, cost-effective LTL shipping solutions.

YRC Freight: YRC Freight is one of the oldest and most established LTL carriers in the United States, with a history dating back over 90 years. Known for its extensive coverage, strong customer relationships, and commitment to service excellence, YRC Freight offers a range of shipping options tailored to customers' needs.

Old Dominion Freight Line: Old Dominion Freight Line is renowned for its exceptional service quality, on-time performance, and industry-leading claims ratio. With a focus on reliability, innovation, and customer satisfaction, Old Dominion Freight Line has earned a reputation as one of the most dependable LTL carriers in the industry.

Saia LTL Freight: Saia LTL Freight is known for its strong regional presence, reliable service, and competitive pricing. With a focus on efficiency, flexibility, and customer satisfaction, Saia LTL Freight offers a range of shipping solutions tailored to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes.

These carriers are considered reputable due to their consistent performance, extensive network coverage, advanced technology platforms, and commitment to customer satisfaction. They offer a range of shipping options, value-added services, and industry expertise to meet the diverse needs of shippers across various industries.

How to Choose an LTL Carrier

When choosing an LTL (Less Than Truckload) carrier, it’s important to consider the following factors:

Safety Record: Look for a carrier with a strong safety record and a focus on driver training and compliance. You can check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website for carrier safety data.

Service Quality: Evaluate carriers' track records for on-time delivery, communication, and customer service to ensure reliability and responsiveness.

Transit Times: Consider carriers' transit times and service levels to select options that meet your delivery requirements and deadlines.

Coverage Area: Verify that the carrier's service area aligns with your shipping destinations to ensure reliable and timely delivery.

Cost: Get quotes from multiple carriers to compare pricing and find the most cost-effective option while considering service quality and value.

Technology: Look for carriers that utilize technology such as online booking, shipment tracking tools, or electronic data interchange (EDI) for streamlined communication and visibility into the shipping process.

Environmental Practices: Consider carriers' environmental practices and explore options with eco-friendly initiatives or alternative fuel options if sustainability is a priority.

Overall, by carefully evaluating these factors and conducting thorough research, shippers can choose an LTL carrier that meets their specific needs and provides reliable and cost-effective transportation solutions.

Why You Should Work with an LTL Broker

Working with an LTL freight broker like Guided Freight can offer several benefits when arranging Less Than Truckload (LTL) shipments:

Access to Carrier Networks: LTL freight brokers have established relationships with a wide network of carriers, allowing them to quickly find available trucks and secure capacity for LTL shipments, even during peak seasons or in high-demand areas.

Cost Savings: LTL freight brokers leverage their industry knowledge and negotiating skills to obtain competitive rates from carriers, helping shippers save money on transportation costs. Brokers can also consolidate shipments or find backhaul opportunities to optimize routes and reduce expenses.

Expertise and Guidance: LTL freight brokers have expertise in navigating the complexities of transportation logistics, including freight class, density, and carrier selection. They can provide valuable guidance and recommendations to shippers, ensuring smooth and efficient transportation of LTL shipments.

Time Savings: Coordinating LTL shipments can be time-consuming and labor-intensive for shippers. LTL freight brokers handle the logistics and paperwork involved in arranging transportation, saving shippers time and allowing them to focus on their core business activities.

Risk Management: LTL freight brokers help mitigate risks associated with LTL transportation, such as carrier reliability, insurance coverage, and compliance with regulations. They thoroughly vet carriers and ensure they meet safety and quality standards, reducing the risk of delays, damages, or other issues.

Flexibility and Scalability: LTL freight brokers offer flexibility and scalability to accommodate changing shipping needs and fluctuating demand. Whether shipping one-time small shipments or establishing ongoing transportation partnerships, brokers can adapt to meet shippers' requirements.

Single Point of Contact: By working with an LTL freight broker, shippers have a single point of contact for all their transportation needs. Brokers handle communication with carriers, track shipments, and provide updates to shippers, streamlining the process and enhancing transparency.

Overall, partnering with an LTL freight broker like Guided Freight can provide shippers with access to resources, expertise, and cost-saving opportunities, making it a valuable asset for arranging LTL shipments efficiently and effectively.

Get Less Than Truckload (LTL) Services and Quotes

If your company needs Less Than Truckload (LTL) freight services, Guided Freight is here to help. We work with the largest carrier network in America and pass along our high-volume rates to our customers. Benefit from our expertise while lowering your costs and simplifying your workflow. Request a freight quote today.


Frequently Asked Questions

What does LTL freight mean?

LTL stands for "Less Than Truckload" freight, and it’s when you combine shipments from various companies to fill a truck, making it ideal for smaller freight but with longer potential delivery times.

Who pays for LTL shipping?

The shipper pays for LTL shipping, covering only the space their freight occupies in a shared truck, reducing costs compared to a full truckload.

Why is LTL so expensive?

Whether a dry van or flatbed is better for shipping freight depends on what is being shipped. Dry vans are ideal for goods that need to be enclosed and secured. Flatbeds are more versatile, allowing for oversized loads and loading from the top, sides, and rear.

Is LTL cheaper than FTL?

Yes, LTL is cheaper than FTL for smaller shipments. You only pay for used space, not the entire truck, but it can be slower due to multiple stops.

GET A QUOTE

Transform your supply chain today

✓  Reliable   ✓  Affordable  ✓  On-time   

Trusted by the BRANDS YOu KNOW AND The WORLD LOVES