Freight experts share how to avoid additional LTL carrier fees

May 30, 2024

Less than truckload (LTL) shipping can be an efficient and cost-effective way to get your goods where they need to be. But not if the shipping company, also called the carrier, adds fees you didn’t plan for! Unexpected carrier fees or accessorial charges can be assessed post-delivery if the carrier determines your shipment required services or more space on the truck than was requested during quoting. These charges get in the way of all the amazing savings you stand to gain going LTL.

Thankfully, there are some simple ways to ensure your shipment details are accurate to prevent any surprise carrier fees during the process.

In order to ensure you get the best LTL rate and avoid extra carrier fees, there are three important shipment details you’ll want to make sure are accurate.

Three tips for accurate LTL shipping quotes 

What are common carrier adjustment charges?

At Freightquote, we provide you with quotes based on the detailed information you enter into our system during booking. If, upon inspection, the carrier finds the details of your shipment differ from what you provided—or if the carrier must provide additional services to complete pickup and delivery—additional charges will apply in the form of an adjustment to your order.

These are the three most common reasons for carriers to assess adjustments, or additional unexpected fees, to the shipment quote.

Shipment weight

When it comes to weight, don’t estimate! We don’t like seeing our customers score a great rate at booking only to receive additional fees from their chosen carriers later, so we recommend taking an extra moment to verify shipment weight.

Carriers charge, on average, from $206 - $288 for inaccurate weight.

Avoid rounding or entering your “best guess” during the booking process. Freight weights ending in 0 or 5 often signal estimates. In fact, we see 17% of shipments with weights ending in 0 or 5 are assessed a re-weigh fee by their carrier. Carriers charge, on average, from $206 - $288 for inaccurate weight. So, if you find you’re entering a weight ending in 0 or 5, consider this your sign to double check the information! If you don’t have a certified freight scale to confirm the exact weight of your shipment, don’t worry. We’re here to help with some creative ways to calculate freight weight.

Shipment dimensions

It pays to be precise! After all, when shipping LTL, you are paying for the portion of the truck your shipment requires. Accurate dimensions include all shipment packaging, not just the product or materials themselves. Be sure to measure and weigh your freight with the packaging included when providing information for shipment quoting.

Errors in dimensions will results in the carrier re-classing your shipment and assessing additional fees.

Include an accurate description of the items you are shipping. The weight, measurements, and description of your shipment determine your freight class. Errors will result in the carrier assessing a re-class adjustment, meaning final costs on your LTL shipment will be higher than you expected.

Pickup/Drop off details

Including accurate description of pickup and drop off locations during the quoting process will help ensure you get the best rate for your LTL shipment. This is when it’s important to identify and choose all services that will need to be performed by a carrier outside of traditional dock-to-dock transport, also called accessorials. These services you select are included in your bill of lading (BOL) ensuring accuracy of your shipment details.

Requesting a pickup at a business location that actually turns out to be a residential location could be a costly mistake.

If you are unsure of the pickup or delivery location requirements or details, don’t be afraid to put on your detective hat. Look up or call the location with questions! Requesting a pickup at a business location that actually turns out to be a residential location could be a costly mistake. Your delivery location may forget to mention they have gated access. There are many variables when shipping to unknown locations, so understanding the specifics will help you avoid unexpected fees.

What are freight accessorials?

Freight accessorials are any service that is performed by a carrier outside of traditional dock-to-dock transport. Once identified, the cost of these services is added onto the shipper’s invoice to compensate for the extra work provided by the carrier. While all shipments are subject to accessorial charges, they tend to be more common with LTL shipments.

When identified upfront and added at quoting, accessorials are added into your LTL quote, giving you the most accurate quote possible for the shipment.

Examples of common accessorials

  • Liftgate: A lift gate is a hydraulic lift on a special truck that raises freight from the ground to the trailer. We find that 72% of residential deliveries booked through our online tool require a liftgate to load or unload freight. Request a lift gate when quoting if a loading dock is not available at the pickup and/or delivery location.
  • Limited access: Hospitals, schools, airports, and rural locations are examples of locations that typically have limited access for freight pickups and deliveries.
  • Residential pickup or delivery: Choose residential when transporting goods directly to a customer’s home or to a business operating out of a home, rather than to a commercial location.
  • Inside pickup or delivery: This is a freight transportation service that brings products to the front door or inside the main entryway of a home or business. Make sure this is noted during the quoting process to avoid additional charges.
  • Delivery Appointment needed: If a delivery appointment needs to be scheduled, note that during quoting! Also, be sure that your shipment is ready to be picked up on the scheduled date. If the carrier’s driver arrives and your shipment is not ready, a missed pickup fee will be assigned.

Avoiding unexpected carrier charges with Freightquote

Getting an accurate quote is easy with accurate inputs. And Freightquote is here to help keep you one step ahead of unexpected carrier fees. If you have questions, our freight experts are on standby via chat to help out.

Want to learn more about LTL shipping? Check out our other videos and blogs for more on LTL, as well as other topics to help with your small business shipping. And when you’re ready to ship, Freightquote is here with even more tips and info on how to get accurate quotes, seamless shipments, and real-time updates about your freight.

Start your online quote today