We need to talk about the trouble with freight calculators. They trouble is…they can easily lead to freight reclasses. They can easily lead to additional shipping fees, and nobody wants additional shipping fees.
It would be fantastic to invent a tool that could easily identify your shipment’s freight class. Enter in a few simple bits of information such as weight, commodity and dimensions, and boom…freight class! Unfortunately, the realities of freight class are too complex for such a simplification.
We’ve talked a lot about explaining freight class, and you can download our freight class whitepaper for more information, but when it comes to shipping calculators, it’s important to understand their pros and, more importantly, their cons.
The best form of a freight calculator is actually a density calculator. FreightPros has one of those! A density calculator can provide you with your shipment’s density number. This number can be matched with your freight’s NMFC code, and then you can find your freight class. A bill of lading with weight, commodity, dimensions, and a proper NMFC code will avoid reclasses all day long.
The problem with most freight calculators is that they don’t take into account the NMFC number. This is a grave mistake. They offer “estimated freight classes” which are fine until you get hit with that $100 reclass.
The carrier doesn’t care what your “estimated” class was, they care about the actual class. Without the correct NFMC, it will be impossible to successfully fight that additional charge on your shipping bill.
So you need to avoid freight calculators…and this is how you find your correct freight class. First, get with your freight broker. They’ll be able to supply your NMFC code. A large number of items are moving to density-based classing, so get your density number based on your dimensions and weight.
Use your TMS to save commonly shipped items under the correct freight class. Put your NMFC number on the bill of lading used at the time of pickup. Finally, enjoy a life free of reclasses.
Freight calculators can be responsible for additional charges above and beyond the initial freight quote. This can cause a headache, and nobody wants that.