There are a lot of fees in freight shipping. I know everyone wishes it was as simple as a freight quote; boom, bam, done and done (I know your freight broker dreams of such a time), but then it wouldn't be the freight industry. That should be a motto: If it was simple, it wouldn't be the freight industry. We could put that on the wall of the FreightPros office.
But I digress...
Amidst all the confusion, there are a lot of fees and names for fees and shipping terms and acronyms, enough to fill an entire Freight Dictionary as it turns out. One of these terms is the DRY RUN FEE, and today we're going to talk about it.
A Dry Run Fee is a charge assessed by the freight carrier when a pickup is missed because the freight wasn't ready to ship, the shipper had no knowledge of the pickup, or any reason that results in no freight being picked up. From the latin, drius runnus (this is totally made up), a dry run fee happens when a pickup is scheduled, but does not happen on account of the shipper.
The additional charge is assessed for the driver's time, gas spent on the pickup, etc. Most of these fees are not contingent on any of these factors, so the dry run fee is not more or less expensive if the pickup was one, or twenty, miles from the freight terminal.
The good news is that not all missed pickups are assessed dry run fees. It's up to the discretion of the carriers. However, that doesn't mean that you should play chicken with the carriers in the hopes that you won't get busted. Like with avoiding reweighs or reclasses, the smart thing to do is get everything set up for your shipment before it's scheduled to be picked up.
That means confirming the freight is packaged and ready to ship, even if you're not the shipper. Make sure you've got a bill of lading at the pickup location while you're at it.
Our industry is a time-sensitive one, and dry runs are a waste of time. Hence the fees. Plan accordingly, and avoid additional charges such as dry run fees.