5 Tricks for Getting the Best Shipping Rates in 2019

January 17, 2019 by Maren Nader
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FreightCenter is dedicated to helping people get the best shipping rates for their freight hauls. We have learned a few tricks for getting the best deal over the past 20 years in business. Read our insider tips to get the best rate for your shipment.

Or, skip the post and get an easy quote today using our freight quote tool. When you work with FreightCenter, you take advantage of our low rates with top shipping carriers. Get a quote within seconds to see for yourself.

1. Consolidate your Shipments

When FreightCenter reviews a new client’s freight bills, we often uncover multiple shipments to and from the same location within a short period of time. Combining weekly shipments into bi-weekly shipments can save you money. In some cases, the savings exceed 90%.

This can be done by stacking boxes together on one pallet. For example, stacking and shrink wrapping 10 similar-sized boxes onto a single pallet (rather than shipping them individually) has great benefits. Not only will it save on shipping costs, it will also save headaches from trying to track 10 shipments rather than one.

2. Understand Carriers’ Supply and Demand

Carrier lanes, or freight route imbalances, impact the rate you will pay for your shipment. Headhaul and backhaul are two common freight terms that refer to the leg of the trip (initial or return). Understanding each term is important in getting the best shipping rate. Here is what each term means:

  • Headhaul: The headhaul is the initial shipment, or the order that gets the truck on the road in the first place. Carriers charge a premium for headhauls because they don’t have any other business in the headhaul lane. In other words, their other trucks are often already full.
  • Backhaul: The backhaul lane is cargo that is shipped on the return trip. Because no carrier wants to haul an empty trailer, backhaul rates are typically significantly discounted.

3. Get the Right Insurance Coverage

Sometimes we gain new clients who are dissatisfied with the carrier’s payout after damages have occurred to a shipment. For example, we recently spoke with a new customer who came to FreightCenter after their current carrier paid them only $200 when a shipment valued at $10,000 was damaged during transit. We can appreciate why the client was upset – there is a huge discrepancy here. The problem occurred because the client didn’t fully understand the carrier’s liability coverage and, therefore, failed to acquire the necessary freight insurance.

A 3PL (third party logistics company), such as FreightCenter, can help shippers understand their liability coverage needs. 3PLs understand the specific limitations of each carrier’s limited liability policy, and will make recommendations to add additional insurance through a licensed insurance company to ensure the proper value of an item is covered. Freight damage is common during transit due to frequent stops, loading and unloading. Therefore, having proper insurance coverage is an important part of the equation.

More on freight insurance: 5 Things to Know Before Buying Freight Shipping Insurance.

4. Select the Best Carrier for your Route

It’s important to realize that individual carriers are priced differently, depending on where you are shipping to or from. Carriers transport freight similarly to how airlines transport people. Each carrier has their own hubs and routes (known as “lanes”). Just as airfares can fluctuate greatly based on the placement of their hubs and the routes between them, so can carrier rates.

Companies such as YRC and Old Dominion are excellent national freight carriers. Either of these organizations are a great choice for long, cross-country hauls. On the other hand, regional carriers, such as Pitt Ohio or Southeastern Freight Lines, are better for regional shipments. Often, they are faster and less expensive for shipments that only need to travel a short distance.

Our easy quote tool allows you to compare national and regional carriers so you can easily determine what works best for your budget and timeframe. Get a quote and compare rates using our freight quote tool.

5. Understanding Carriers’ Rules Tariff

Most carriers have huge and complex books outlining all hidden fees and rules that affect your shipping costs. This is called their Rules Tariff. There are several factors that can influence these fees. For example, some zip codes have additional pickup or delivery fees and locational surcharges, such as residential fees or limited access charges. Cities with heavy traffic, such as Chicago or New York city, have additional fees due to vehicle congestion. These fees can be as high as $300!

FreightCenter helps clients to better understand these hidden fees by comparing them side-by-side. When you get a quote, you can see the Net Cost of one carrier versus another. Additionally, we are a strategic partner with several major carriers. Because of this, often times some of these fees are waived. Whenever that happens, we pass on those savings to you.

Work with a Third-Party Logistics Provider

As a 3PL, we have access to the best shipping rates and can help you navigate all of the complicated questions that can be associated with freight shipping. Don’t try to figure it out on your own – ask the experts! We pride ourselves in helping our clients find the best carrier to match their needs and budget.

Ready to get started? Give us a call at 800.716.7608 to speak with one of our agents today.

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