There’s a difference between a “freight quote” and a “freight rate” in LTL shipping. Understanding this difference is key to avoiding additional charges and invoice discrepancies, both with the carriers as well as the freight broker. So let’s break down how a freight rate differs from a quote, and hopefully we can avoid unplanned shipping charges on your bill.
The difference between a freight quote and a freight rate is lazy terminology. This makes it all the more frustrating to your average freight shipper. Simply put, a freight quote is what the LTL shipment SHOULD cost based on the information given by the shipper.
This includes total weight, freight class, and any additional service like liftgates or inside delivery. A freight rate is what the shipment ACTUALLY costs after the invoice has been received from the freight carrier.
This may seem obvious, but sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably by brokers and shippers alike. Most of the time, it’s not a big deal. If the information used to get the freight quote is correct, then the rate will match the quote, and there won’t be any problems. However, if the weight is incorrectly reported, you’ll end up with a reweigh and your invoice will reflect the additional charges. Same goes for a reclass.
Another reason for the quote being different from the rate comes from services signed for at the time of delivery. Most of the time, this means a liftgate was used at delivery and signed for by the consignee, but was not included in the freight quote cost. You can learn more about residential delivery practices here.
Bottom line, to avoid surprise discrepancies between your freight quote and your freight rate, always make sure to quote with the correct shipment information. If the information changes after you’ve received the quote, get another one. And always inform your consignee which services have been paid for upon delivery, and which ones have not. Don’t rely on the carrier to make the distinction.