Picture loading your products into a 53-foot trailer. It’s nowhere near full as it drives off, but it is at least an exclusive service. It transports your products and yours alone. The full truckload (FTL) carrier will, as icing on the cake, head straight to the end destination. There will be no other stops along the way.
As convenient as it may sound, is there a better option for your small-business budget?
The main benefit of less than truckload (LTL) freight shipping boils down to something small businesses consistently look for: cost savings. But is it right for you?
The key is:
- The size of your shipment.
If you have a substantial amount of cargo―enough to fill an entire trailer―then you’d be better off picking a full truckload carrier. However, going for a full truckload when you can’t fill it, wall to wall, makes no economic sense. No savvy business owner wants to pay for air being shipped (We hope!).
But if your shipment weighs between 151 and 15,000 lbs, meaning it weighs too much for a parcel carrier but too little for FTL, LTL shipping should enter into consideration. An LTL carrier transports goods from many customers on one truck. And as volume is closely tied to price, it tends to be an ideal fit for businesses that move relatively small freight. It also means― and here’s one of those key LTL freight shipping benefits―you:
- Pay only a fraction of the cost.
In other words, you’re not stuck paying for the shipment of air, but can leverage the volume of the carrier’s customer base. You share the space―and cost. For a small business owner, LTL shipping also provides a flexible alternative, allowing you to move small quantities at a lower cost per item compared to FTL and parcel carriers.
The delivery process usually takes longer―sometimes considerably longer―than full truckload shipping since the LTL carrier makes several stops along the way. But LTL carriers also sweeten the deal with services that FTLs have yet to provide. While you save on LTL shipping, you also get to take advantage of services such as:
- Liftgate services
- Residential pickup and delivery
- Notification options
- Non-commercial shipping
- Freeze protection
If you have determined LTL shipping is right for your business, you need to carefully choose an LTL carrier (Get some tips on how to make that decision here). LTL rates alone can be a science.