Truck-freight Shipping: How to Lower Your Costs

Should you use truck freight to receive merchandise from your suppliers or to send to your clients, and you suspect you are spending too much, this how-to guide is for you.

There Are Some Basics You Need To Know

Truck-freight pricing is based on negotiation, and the starting point is providing your freight agent or trucking business sales representative with the information he or she wishes to gauge the lowest price.

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To begin, gather the all the info you will need.

  1. Determine loading, unloading environments. Describe the ship-from and ship-to addresses, for example, precise zip code and determine if there will be anything unusual about the truck loading and unloading process at either location. The ideal situation is a loading dock or a fork truck available at both places. Butif hand loading or use of a power lift gate will be needed, you need to know this before you start. Likewise, if the pickup or delivery point is a residential area as opposed to a commercial one, it is important to see this as well.
  2. Identify weight. Next, you’ll have to learn how your shipment will be packaged and exactly what the complete ship weight will be, including any pallets that are used. Most truck freight shipments are comprised of corrugated boxes stacked on wooden pallets and held in place by plastic stretch wrap or fiberglass or steel banding. But if your shipment is individual boxes, drums, crates or something else, this must be a part of your RFP (request for proposal) information.
  3. Limit cargo course. The toughest part of fact gathering is defining the freight class number. There are 18 freight classification levels and each is connected to some pound-per-cubic-foot density. The greater the density, the lower the class number and the lower the shipping cost. 1,000 pounds of books will find a lower freight class number and will cost less to send than 1,000 pounds of light bulbs.

Estimating The Density Of Your Shipment Is Crucial

Before you contact your freight agent or shipping company rep, then estimate the density in pounds per cubic foot of your shipment first. Your representative or agent will need this information to supply you with the best freight class code. (And, the less imagining, the lower the cost.)

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Figuring shipment density is easier than it seems. Begin by totaling the weight of this product including the weight of the pallets that will be used. Then multiply the outside length, width and elevation of the palletized shipment to find the physical quantity in cubic feet. Density is complete pounds divided by total cubic feet, and it is reported as pounds per cubic foot.

The Wild Card: Dimensional Weight

As UPS, FedEx and U.S. Postal Service have dimensional weight factors which could impact your final ship cost, the exact same is true for truck freight prices. If the boat weight divided by the cubic feet yields too low a number, a minimum weight (known as the DIM pounds ) will be substituted. Density is always determined by the extreme outside dimensions of the shipment, and a small box on a significant pallet could accidentally trip a DIM surcharge.

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Your best defense is to fully discuss with your carrier or broker sales rep the possibility of a dimensional weight minimal being imposed. If yes, you may be able to repackage the shipment or switch to a smaller pallet size to eliminate the situation.

Now You Are Ready To Shop For Bargains

If you ship by truck freight many times, you may have already negotiated a master contract with one shipping firm that believes discounts and extra charges.

Butif you are an infrequent shipper, the perfect way to look for a fantastic deal is via an internet freight agent. There are dozens of excellent companies in this industry and you will quickly find their websites using the search term”truck freight quotes.”

In my experience, most freight brokers work on a similar format. You may either enter the shipment information explained above to an online poll or call a customer service number to relay the information to reside individual.

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In any case, you will quickly receive a list of prices from a lot of different transport providers, and those internet prices include a generous discount –in many cases over 50 percent. In effect, the shipping carrier will supply you a volume discount on account of the agent’s involvement and will pay the broker a fair commission for its aid.

A Real World Example Makes The Process Easier To Know

I am in the order fulfillment business and my company uses two big cargo agents: and FreightCenter. In this case, a shipment of 3,000 books published by a vendor located in Saline, Michigan 48176 will be sent to my location in Traverse City, Michigan 49686.

There is a loading dock and fork truck at every place, both areas are commercial rather than residential, and there are no extra services needed (such as COD provisions or call ahead for a delivery appointment).

The books are packed in corrugated boxes and strapped to two 48″ x 40″ pallets and each pallet is 60″ high–as mentioned on the consumer by his printer before shipment. The density is 2 x (48 x 40 x 60) = 230,400 cubic inches, divided by 1,728 cubic inches in a cubic foot, which equals 133.3 cubic feet.

The books weigh 3,000 pounds and the pallets weigh 50 pounds each counting the steel strapping. The dispatch density is therefore 3,000 + 50 + 50 = 3,100 pounds divided by 133.3 cubic feet, which equals 23.25 pounds per cubic foot.

While I provide this information to each freight agent, I get a set of price quotes that vary from a low of $303.49 to a high of $880.42. I confirm the delivery arrangement with the cheapest priced carrier and the broker provides all the documentation needed.

Some Insider Tips You Ought to Be Aware of

First, there is absolutely not such a thing as free delivery. If transport is included in the price of the product that you buy for resale, it would be a wonderful idea to receive your next shipment quoted with and without shipping. You may then price the transportation cost as a standalone transaction to discover if you’re searching for shipping.


Likewise, if you use a fulfillment company or have a drop shipping arrangement with a supplier, you can see if either will share any in-bound or out-bound shipping discounts they’ve negotiated with their shipping company. My fulfillment company provides discount sharing and we have saved our clients and their suppliers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Course codes rely mainly on dispatch density, but you will find course codes pre-established in the National Motor Freight Traffic Association for certain sorts of product, and occasionally those alternate class codes might save you money. Your carrier or broker rep can be a massive help with this circumstance.

Freight reduction percentages as a standalone number can be deceiving. Potential savings can be wiped out with a wrong class code, surprise surcharges and uncompensated transit damage claims. Regrettably, freight-billing errors are common, so it is important to compare the previous bill as received to the initial estimate, for each and every shipment.

The most frequent cause for refusing carrier compensation for in-transit loss or harm is inadequate packaging. Load shifting, vibration and rough handling are unavoidable from the trucking business and the more security you can contribute to the item, the better.

Generally speaking, the best way to lower your costs is through a great deal of comparison shopping and possibly working through a third party like a freight agent or forwarder.


Even if you’re an infrequent truck freight shipper, you can use today’s Internet-based technology to comparison shop among the many excellent regional and national delivery suppliers. The key to success is collecting all the information you need in the perfect format before starting.

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