Over the past several years, the ground transportation industry has seen an increase in shipping rates. The price hikes have affected both businesses and individuals, and businesses that ship via LTL shipping are no exception. Many LTL carriers have done their best to combat the rising shipping costs, but they can only do so much when it comes to keeping costs low. Carrier base rates and accessorial charges can vary significantly between carriers, making it increasingly important to keep an eye on your charges. However, if you’re not careful, seemingly minor mistakes can lead to unforeseen accessorial charges that can raise the price of shipping even more. If you’re new to LTL shipping, or if you are looking for ways to save money, here are a few tips that will help you avoid surprise charges on your LTL shipping invoices:

Be prepared

In recent years, LTL carriers have started charging for called-in pickups that are not ready at the time of pickup. The charges vary between carriers, but businesses can expect to be charged a fee each time the carrier attempts to pick up your shipment. It’s important to communicate with the LTL carrier’s shipping facility to coordinate the correct pickup date and time in order to avoid this charge.

Pay attention to the details

When speaking to an LTL carrier, make sure that you give all of the details about your LTL shipment needs, even if you don’t think it’s relevant. Doing so will help avoid surprise accessorial charges. Does your shipment require a delivery appointment? Is a lift gate required for delivery? These requirements, although they may seem small, can lead to additional charges from the carrier. However, if you let the carrier know these details ahead of time, you’ll likely avoid unforeseen charges on your invoice.

Don’t estimate the weight

When businesses don’t have scales at their businesses, it’s tempting to give an approximate weight to the LTL carrier. The problem is that the freight can, and often is, re-weighed by the carrier. If the carrier notices a discrepancy between the two weights, you’ll likely be charged additional fees. You’ll likely get a charge for the extra weight as well as a charge for the re-weigh service. This makes it especially important to know the exact weight of your pallet. If you don’t, expect to see a price fluctuation on your next invoice.

Don’t guess the class

When shipping via LTL shipping, one of the most important things you need to consider is how the shipment is classified by the trucking industry. In the world of shipping, products are defined by their makeup, and each product definition is given a class. Guessing the class incorrectly is one of the biggest mistakes that businesses make, especially when they’re new to LTL shipping. If you’re uncertain about what class your shipment falls into, talk to the carrier’s customer service team about it so they can guide you through the process of determining your shipment’s class. The worst thing you can do is to take a random guess or rely on what you’ve used before. LTL carriers can and will inspect your shipment to determine the correct class, and if they notice that you’ve given it an incorrect classification, you’ll get charged an extra fee.

When it comes to LTL shipping, most surprise fees on invoices are due to guesswork and a lack of preparation. If you’re unsure of something when it comes to your shipment, one of the best things you can do is to reach out to your LTL carrier and ask for help. If you’ve chosen the right carrier, they’ll be more than willing to help guide you through the process of sending out a shipment via LTL shipping.