Questions to Ask To Get the Best Trucking Rates

trucking ratesGetting great trucking rates should be simple.  Most truckload carriers and LTL freight companies have established rates and adjustments based on preset standards.  With a few simple questions, you can find out what they are.  Then you’ll position yourself to take advantage of them.

The best trucking rates don’t come from asking a carrier about rates and discounts though.  They come to companies that ask themselves a few simple questions first.

With that in mind, let’s look at the questions a company should ask before contacting a carrier. Then, we can look at the questions to ask the trucking service.

Questions to Ask Yourself

A good rate meets your need. A great rate meets your need and delivers value.  To get great rates every time, ask yourself these questions before you call a carrier.

Is this a one-time need, or will it be ongoing?

The answer to this question establishes both your immediate and long-term need.  It also clarifies whether you should work directly with a carrier or if you’d benefit from working with a third-party logistics broker. An ongoing need may require flexibility in both delivery location and services. For a need like this, a business might need a larger national or international carrier.

One factor to consider here: while companies that ship large amounts of freight might be able to get great low rates, a smaller volume shipper might not. Frequent but low volume shippers may find a freight broker can get them lower rates.

Am I shipping locally, regionally or nationally?

Some carriers ship within specifically defined areas while others ship all across the country.  If the need always ships within the same lane, it may be possible to arrange great low rates.  For needs that vary, low negotiated rates could be lost in the time spent contacting multiple carriers. For a varying need, a freight broker can provide pre-negotiated rates and save a company a lot of  time.

What am I shipping?

Will ever shipment require a full truckload?  Or will some shipments benefit from LTL or partial truckload services? Volume is one consideration.

Another consideration is whether you’ll always need to ship the same type of freight.  Will it always require a dry van?  Or will hotshot, refrigerated or flatbed services be in your future?

This may be the simplest question to answer.  To get the most benefit, answer it for the immediate need, the need one year from now and the anticipated need three years from now.

Now, once you’ve answered these questions, consider whether it makes sense to work carrier direct or with a freight broker.  It might be worth looking at both if you’re not sure.

Questions to Ask to Get Great Trucking Rates:

  • What is your service area?

Find out if they cover all the areas of service you need.  As a followup, you can ask if they ever hand off service to a partner carrier if you need to ship beyond their area.

  • Are there any discounts available?

Find out upfront how they handle their rates.  You can also ask if there are any times when rates are lower.

  • What is your claims process?

If you would have to handle all claims yourself, consider the cost in terms of time and money to manage a potential claim.  If the rate is low, but the risk is high, it may not be the best trucking rate.  This question helps to look at rates from a wider, more comprehensive view.

  • Do you provide shipping reports?

Like the question above, if you have to compile all your data, you’re losing valuable time.  Or you won’t identify the areas of cost savings.  Consolidated data makes savings opportunities apparent when reviewed.

 

Ask these questions and you’ll find the best trucking rates for your business.  Of course, if you’re looking for fast and simple, you can always leverage the resources of a freight broker.  They coordinate, schedule, and manage your shipments, in addition to providing already negotiated low trucking rates.

How To Avoid Truckload GRIs

No more truckload GRIs Every year it seems the truckload industry introduces another round of general rate increases (GRIs).  2016 was no different.

While GRIs may seem inevitable, they’re not.  Our customers didn’t see their rates rise this year.  That’s the advantage of working with a 3PL.  Our business model doesn’t require GRIs.

Here’s why:

Leverage

Our database contains thousands of truckload carriers based around the United States.  When they partner with us, they know they have to compete to win your business.  In this way we get aggressive rates we pass along to you.

Access to so many carriers also means special services like hazmat or refrigerated truckload (“reefer”) aren’t unique.  We have our pick of carriers.  These often includes carriers in your location – that helps keep costs down too.

Logistics Software

We use a proprietary logistics software to quote, manage, track and analyze every shipment.  This means we can get more done quickly.  A lean and efficient office allows us to keep overhead down.

We use the software to organize carriers, consolidate invoicing and expedite claims.  It allows us to create freight quotes fast and track shipments with multiple carriers immediately.  All of this translates into valuable time savings.

Through technology we turn the old saying “time is money” into a fact.  In this case, that money is the money you save.

Industry-experience

A professional staff makes all the difference.  They understand your questions and logistics needs, can create money-saving strategies and prevent costly problems.  You might even find truckload isn’t the most cost-efficient way to ship your specific load.  Partial truckload may make more sense.

Experience is the reason a live voice answers your call.  When you call us you won’t find yourself connected to an industry newbie.  You’ll be on the phone with someone prepared – and able! – to give you answers.

No More GRIs

Partner with a 3PL and you’ll say good-bye to GRIs.  A stable of carriers ready to bid on your business combined with logistics strategies will give you control over freight costs.  Plus, a 3PL can get it done faster and easier.

For more information on how a 3PL can help you business click here.

How to Maximize Supply Chain Savings

Truckload rates look to rise and impact supply chain costs even as volumes are down for the first part of 2016 . supply chain truckload shipping

If you’ve shipped truckload, maybe price pressures have brought you a little savings.  Now’s not a time to take a wait and see approach.  Take advantage of the slight dip to maximize your supply chain savings.  Here’s how…

Do a Comprehensive Logistics Review

Many companies have big savings hiding in their supply chain.  A comprehensive logistics review will reveal them.

This analysis goes beyond rates.  It looks at what shipped, how it was shipped and where it was shipped.  The information uncovered creates opportunities for strategic thinking to reduce logistics costs.

It also identifies areas where savings exist.  Claims is an area we often find huge savings opportunities.  Partial truckload shipping in place of LTL and truckload is another area of big opportunity.

You won’t find any of these without the review.  If you haven’t analyzed your supply chain in awhile, click here to contact us and learn more about Longshot Logistics’ complimentary logistics review.

Identify Customer Requirements

Now it’s time to plan.  Start by evaluating your customers.  Do any have special requirements?

Some of these might be hazmat, reefer, or flatbed.  Some customer’s may need additional services.  If you can anticipate these in advance, then you can make sure you’ve got the services lined up and priced to your need.

It also gives you an opportunity to find other areas of cost-savings.  Will you ship more truckload or LTL?  Does it make sense to find a carrier who can do both?  Will you ship local, regionally or cross continent?

Based on the answers to these questions you can build a plan in advance to lower the costs.  This way you don’t have to negotiate rates when the best direction of your focus is meeting your customer’s delivery schedule.

Find a Supply Chain Partner

Ok, so you’ve identified areas of savings and planned for future needs.  Now use that information for leverage.

Find a logistics partner who will help you strategize, build the plan and secure your rates.  If you decide to go carrier direct, you’ll have to do this yourself.

If you look to a third party logistics partner, or 3PL for short, they’ll do the work with you.  A 3PL will do the analysis, review the data and help you plan for the future.

Another advantage of the 3PL is their database of carriers.  Rather than relying on one carrier, they give you access to dozens.  In some cases, they have a database of thousands.  In instances like these, carriers actually bid on your business.  That keeps your rates low and helps to avoid GRIs.

For example, Longshot Logistics is a truckload 3PL who can provide complete logistics management and LTL services as needed.  For more information, contact us.

3PL Companies – Truckload Services Made Simple

a 3PL truckload freight imageFor a  3PL, booking a truckload delivery is checklist simple.  The resources and expertise of a 3PLcreate big benefits for both SMBs and larger enterprises.  They know how to plan, coordinate, and schedule the shipment so it gets out the door and delivered on-time and on-budget.

But a 3PLs services don’t end there.  Beyond shipment tracking, they can consolidate and analyze data to create strategies to make future shipments even more cost-effective.  Here’s how they simplify truckload booking and the benefits they bring.

The 3PL Checklist

All a 3PL firm does is book and manage freight.  They know the information they need.  They know the questions to ask to avoid unexpected surprises.

To arrange the paperwork and process the form efficiently, they need some basic information.  This includes:

  • Company and Contact Name
  • Phone number
  • Pickup location (City and State)
  • Drop off location (City and State)
  • A description of the load
  • Total estimated miles traveled
  • Total number of pallets
  • Shipment weight estimate

With this information, they move to the next step on their checklist.  That’s a few questions they’ll need to ask to identify special requirements.  These might include extra equipment you need, special classifications such as a hazmat load, and important delivery deadlines.

They might also ask if it’s a one-time shipment or will be multiple deliveries.

A 3PLs benefits really start with this next step.  They will plan the shipment.  They arrange the paperwork to make sure all the details are captured.  They coordinate and dispatch the appropriate personnel.  And they oversee the entire process.

The success of a truckload booking depends on the accurate and timely processing of forms.  A 3PL firm’s expertise allows them to do that for you.  And their expertise translates into big savings for businesses of every size.

Truckload Savings #1

3PLs save time.  For a company that doesn’t ship truckload often, they know the information needed and eliminate the back-and-forth with a carrier during the information gathering process.

They also have an extensive list of carriers that ensures they can find the service a business needs.  This eliminates the need to call around to find a carrier.  One call and you have the answer.

Plus, as subject experts they know the common problems that can occur and how to avoid them.  By avoiding common truckload booking pitfalls, they eliminate headaches and staff time spent on unnecessary problems.

All of this translates into faster revenue turn around.  Your product gets out your door and delivered faster.

Truckload Savings #2

 You could call this headache savings.  Or you can look at it as saving your customer service time for your customers instead of avoidable problems.

Look at it this way, when your truckload shipment delivers on time and without problems, you have happier customers.  And your staff can focus more on customer communication and solving customer problems rather than freight and delivery issues.  Happy customers always translate into repeat business and bigger revenues.

 Truckload Savings #3

A 3PL has access to dozens or more truckload carriers.  This means when you work with a 3PL you have access to all the services you might need.  It also means you can find the carrier with the lowest rate.

Beyond rates, a 3PL may also offer strategies to lower the cost of freight.  For example, a pallet based shipment may find big savings shipping partial truckload instead.  Partial truckload ships dock-to-dock like truckload.  Unlike truckload, it ships same day and requires a lot less planning.

And partial truckload may also offer substantial cost-savings.

To learn more about how a 3PL like Longshot Logistics can help you, or to learn more about partial truckload, click here.

When to Choose Partial Truckload

Truckload or Partial Truckload shippingNot every truckload shipment should ship truckload.  Sometimes partial truckload makes more sense.

That may sound like heresy coming from a truckload provider.  I don’t see it that way.  I see it as good customer service.

Partial truckload also goes by the terms “load-to-ride” or “volume LTL”.  It gives you the best of both truckload and LTL services.  Here’s a few reasons it may make more sense than truckload.

You need to deliver – fast!

A lot like LTL freight, partial truckload ships same day.  You call, get your quote and book it.  This gets your shipment out the door and on its way to your customer.  It’s a great solution for urgent shipments or when you just need to get your product out the door and on the road.

Like truckload freight, it goes dock-to-dock.  It doesn’t run through a hub like common LTL freight.  This means you can get your truckload shipment out the door same day.

Easier Load Booking

It requires less planning than full truckload.  This can save you a lot of time and energy coordinating pick-up and delivery.   Plus, quoting is a lot simpler.

Lower Costs

Partial truckload works on a fixed rate based on space used and weight.  This removes class from the equation.  As a result, in many cases a full truckload shipment broken into two partial truckload shipments will cost less.

The only way to find out it to ask your carrier.  If your carrier doesn’t offer this service, you can call around or contact a 3PL.

How a 3PL Makes Truckload and Partial Truckload Simple

Not all truckload carriers offer partial truckload services.  For that matter, not all LTL carriers offer these services.

A business can call around or search online to find a partial truckload provider.  But really, who has the time for that?

A 3PL like Longshot Logistics eliminates all this work.  One phone call gives you access to a host of common carriers and every service to meet every need.  And a 3PL professional logistics representative can  help create a strategy to meet your time and cost requirements.

Is partial truckload an option for every truckload  shipment?  No, of course not.  But in those cases where it does, the time and cost savings make it worth your while.

If you think 3PL services might benefit you, click here to learn more.