It seems that in the last few years everyone is getting into the LTL brokerage business. With thousands of brokers across the country and everyone selling essentially the same product while using the same group of common LTL carriers, it is easy to forget or not know that there are other freight options available that decrease transit time, decrease the risk for loss or damage, and increase service and customer satisfaction levels. This post describes the main differences between expedited freight and LTL freight so businesses can choose the mode that is best for them.
One of the main differences between LTL common carriers and time definite ground freight is the transit time. Just like you would expect, expedited ground freight has much faster transit times than LTL common carriers. For one, expedited ground freight counts their transit time in weekdays while LTL common carriers count in business days, not including the day of pick up. This alone can shave 2-3 days off your transit time if you ship on a Thursday or a Friday. Also, when you ship expedited ground freight it will move that night. Many LTL common carriers will wait to consolidate freight in a certain lane which can keep it at the origin terminal for a few days before it even leaves the origin city.
Expedited ground freight travels with team drivers, meaning the truck never has to stop for breaks. LTL freight is often shipped out on a rail container which takes longer to travel across the country then a truck with team drivers. Lastly, LTL carriers will always pick up and deliver on a schedule that is best for them, not what is best for the shipper or their customer. Expedited ground freight is flexible and able to pick up and deliver according to precise guidelines. If transit time is an issue you should always choose to ship via expedited ground freight or air freight versus a common LTL carrier.
Many shippers today utilize an LTL broker technology platform or company. This is a third party company that leverages their large volumes to gain deep discounts with LTL common carriers and pass those savings on to the customer. This is great if price is your main concern and you don’t care about pick-up and delivery schedules or maintaining control over your shipments. When you utilize an LTL broker they are a third party who then has to communicate on your behalf to actually determine where your freight is and when it will deliver. If there are any issues with damages, or missing freight, this can cause incredible headaches for shippers. Just like the old game of telephone you are going back and forth with multiple parties to try and finally get an answer to your question. If you are going direct to an LTL common carrier you likely can’t dictate when a shipment will pick up and deliver. It will deliver according to their driver’s pick-up and delivery routes and many times will be rolled (or missed) if it doesn’t fit in the schedule for the day and their isn’t much the shipper can do to change this.
With expedited ground freight, we control each stage of the shipment from pick up through to delivery. We know where your freight is at all times and can give you an immediate answer to your question. If you need a pick up or delivery at a specific time we can make sure the truck arrives down to the minute. Having full control of your freight from pick up through delivery allows for greater peace of mind with the shipper and increased customer satisfaction from the receiver of the freight.
One of the main reasons I try to steer companies away from LTL common carriers and towards time definite ground freight is the service you will receive from a time definite ground company is far beyond what an LTL common carrier can provide and lightyears ahead of what an LTL brokerage company can provide. In the case of ExpeditedFreightQuote.Com, you will be provided with a dedicated account manager with a minimum of ten years’ experience in the transportation industry. This account manager can be emailed or called directly 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will have full visibility of where your freight is at all times. It is our commitment to have all your freight delivered on time, every time with a personal touch that does not exist in today’s freight industry. Our account managers strive to develop long standing partnerships with the goal of helping your company grow more profitable through a fast and reliable transportation partnership.
This is vastly different than the call centers of LTL brokers or common carriers. Most of these companies operate during normal business hours only and updates are provided by call center staff who only have a reference number to go off of. You have to remember, unless you are a shipper with tens of millions of dollars in freight spend annually you will be a very small fish in a huge pond of freight. LTL common carriers and brokers operate on thin margins with huge volumes. Answering a tracking question or accommodating specific delivery requests are very low on their priority charts.
The level of service you will receive with ExpeditedFreightQuote.Com is essentially an extension of your staff. It is our commitment to be available at all times providing the same contact to make sure you are confident your freight will be delivered on time, as promised.
Just like anything, you get what you pay for. What many companies find attractive about LTL freight is the low cost. Just as you would expect, LTL freight is cheaper than time definite ground freight when you are just comparing numbers side by side. However, with the decreased cost also comes decreased service. Many shippers fail to take into account the hidden cost of LTL freight. Yes, the initial LTL charge may look attractive, however the transit time is going to be longer, service is going to be minimal, and increases in chance of loss or damage is greatly increased when shipping via LTL common carrier or broker. If your deliveries fail to make it to your customer in a timely manner and in good condition, it could result in reduced sales and customer satisfaction levels. Also, moving the shipment through an LTL network greatly increases chances for loss or damage which further increases cost to the shipper. Yes, your freight charge with an LTL provider might look low, but it is important to take into account the big picture and determine if the hidden costs outweigh the potential savings. Where companies can get hurt with LTL companies is on extra charges or what are known as “assessorials.” These are charges such as lift gate, inside delivery, white glove delivery, AM only appointment, PM only appointment, Tradeshow or convention delivery, debris removal, etc… Often times LTL carriers will charge much more for these services than a time definite ground carrier because it cuts in to the driver making their routes. If you have special needs it is often best to go with a time definite option as the total rate will likely be less after including all extra charges.
Time definite, expedited ground freight will be slightly more expensive but the benefits far outweigh the slight increase in costs. The receivers of your freight will be more satisfied with transit times and attentive customer service. Incidences of loss or damage is also greatly reduced. Your staff is also better able to plan and forecast based on precise pick-up and delivery times. It is important to look at the whole picture when deciding if LTL or expedited ground freight is right for you. It has been my experience that shippers who choose expedited ground freight are far more satisfied with their decision because of the increase in control, service, and reduced transit times.
It is important to determine what method of ground transportation is right for you based on your product and customer needs. LTL freight is great if your company is shipping low value goods on flexible schedules. However, expedited ground freight is the way to go to experience fast transit times, personal customer service, and increased control over your shipment from pick up through to delivery. ExpeditedFreightQuote.Com is the leader in providing expedited freight services to companies around the world.
Request a free quote today at www.expeditedfreightquote.com to see if expedited ground freight or air freight is right for you!
By: Erik Bendiksen- Senior Account Executive- ExpeditedFreightQuote.Com