Shipping freight shares some interesting qualities with life, mainly, they can both (at times) be a pain. They can also be glorious.
There is little more satisfying than the hand-raised victory dance that accompanies a particularly difficult delivery. I’m not kidding. I’ve seen dancing in this office because freight picked up or delivered.
But yeah, sometimes things can get tough. We’ve got a full archive of Freight Papers to prove it. But like life, most of the time in freight you’ve got to push through.
Grit your teeth. Squeeze those eyes shut. And just do it. Who knows, maybe you’ll reach your moment of cathartic glory on the steel podium of a liftgate.
So here’s 5 shipping mistakes you might be making. Maybe you’re making one, maybe all five, but addressing these freight mistakes will make your life easier, and bring you one step closer to the glory of a successful LTL shipment.
1. You’re not using a freight broker
This is not a shameless plug for FreightPros (even though we are the best freight broker if you’re into freight brokers). A freight broker can offer you so many things that you didn’t even know you’re missing. Better rates. Customer service. Customized TMS. The list goes on and on.
2. You’re not getting insurance
In life as in freight, not having insurance is a bad idea. It’s like my dad told me when espousing the merits of defensive driving: “It’s not you I’m worried about…it’s everyone else.” He said that when I was 16, so he was clearly lying. I was a road-terror on par with Mad Max, but you get the point. Mistakes happen in life and freight. Get insurance. It will be worth it in the long run.
3. You have crazy expectations
Don’t take it personally. All of us have crazy expectations from time to time. Remember that LTL shipping deals in estimated times of transit. Just because something is supposed to deliver on Tuesday doesn’t always mean it will deliver on Tuesday. Sometimes it might be Wednesday (or later).
But hey, maybe it’ll be Monday! If timing is your thing, take advantage of guaranteed shipments and hot shipments. Set your expectations correctly, and you’ll be more flexible in an industry that requires it.
4. You’re not using pallets
LTL is not Fedex. It’s not Amazon. It’s not a good idea to ship fifteen boxes, untethered, floating willy-nilly in the back of a semi-truck in not one, not two, but probably five different trucks from five different terminals.
One of those boxes will probably not make it. True story. Consolidate your freight on a standard pallet. It makes everyone’s job easier, from broker to carrier, and gives you a better chance of a perfect shipment.
5. You’ve never heard of “The 2 Hour Window”
This is not some lost Alfred Hitchcock film. An LTL carrier requires a MINIMUM of two hours heads-up to make a shipment. That’s a minimum. In shipping, the more planning the better, so plan ahead in contacting your broker and carrier for pickups.
If you call at 4pm on a Friday and frantically need to have freight picked up, chances are it’s not going to happen, at least not without the help of a hot shot carrier, and those can be pricey.