This post outlines what information transportation companies need when a shipper requests a freight quote. It is always amazing to me how m any times I am asked a question such as, “What is my rate to ship from California to Florida?” Some variation of a question such as this is asked repeatedly by first time shippers. While quoting may seem like an obvious process to some, this post outlines the main information transportation companies need to get you an accurate price the first time around specifically for expedited ground or air freight. The main items we will need to know are piece count, weight, dimensions, commodity, ready date, requested delivery date, pick-up and delivery zip codes, and special requests otherwise known as accessorials.
Whether it is pallets, boxes, cartons, drums, rolls, or something else. We need to know how many pieces we are shipping. While this may seem obvious, we may also need to know how many pieces are on 1 pallet. For example, if you are shipping one pallet of air freight, transportation companies are going to want to know how many pieces are on that one pallet. The reason for this is because pallets are often broken down to the carton level to fit on smaller air craft. If that 1 pallet consists of 50 cartons, you can break it down and open up flight options. The pallet is then rebuilt once it reaches destination. If you can break down the pallet to the carton level, you open up more flight options which can help reduce your cost. While your initial though might just be to say it is 1 pallet. It is better to say it is 1 pallet that consists of 50 cartons, this will save you cost.
In order to determine your best cost, you need to provide your transportation company with proper dimensions so they can determine the amount of space they will need on the equipment. If you do not provide dimensions, most transportation companies are going to protect themselves by over exaggerating what those dimensions might be thus causing your rate to go up.
This goes hand and hand with dimensions. Expedited ground and air freight pricing is determined by either actual weight or dimensional weight. Dimensional weight is the theoretical weight of a package determined by its length, width, and height. The reason this calculation exists is because light weight, low density packages are unprofitable for carriers when charging by the lb. You will always be charged a per lb rate at either your actual or dimensional weight (whichever is greater) for this reason, to get an accurate rate you need to provide both the actual weight of your freight as well as the actual dimensions. If you do not provide this info your freight will be re-weighed and is subject to change.
Before a transportation company can agree to ship your items, they must first know what they are shipping. If it is hazardous or dangerous or overly fragile or over sized, it will affect how the piece can be moved. To avoid potential delays, always disclose what the commodity is.
Ready Date and Requested Delivery Date
Another area that seems so self-explanatory but is often overlooked. In order to correctly quote a price, the transportation company needs to know when the freight will be ready and what day and time you want it delivered. This is crucial to deciding how to route the freight to ensure service. The more information you can provide, the better the transportation company can do for you.
Pick-up and Delivery Zip Codes
States and countries are big places. If I had a dollar for how many times someone asked me what the rate is from China to California, I would be a rich man. It is important to narrow down the geography and provide postal or zip codes to your transportation company. This helps determine the best routing for your freight to ensure on time performance and most economical rate.
Special Requests- Accessorials
You and your receiver are the only ones who know what you need for a successful pick up or delivery so it is paramount you communicate special needs before pick up. These can include requests such as liftgate, inside pick up or delivery, before or after store hours, white glove delivery, debris removal, two men needed, residential, etc… Any type of service that is beyond just a dock to dock business delivery during normal business hours needs to be communicated. This will help avoid any type of delay or extra charges.
After being in the transportation industry as many years as I have, there is one thing I constantly tell my customers. It is better to over communicate than under communicate. The more information I have in front of me, the better I can do for the shipper and the receiver, and the lower I can make your rate. Follow these simple steps when requesting a freight rate and you should never see unknown charges on a freight bill again.
By: Erik Bendiksen-Senior Account Executive-ExpeditedFreightQuote.Com