LTL freight is a ballgame, that if properly performed, can be an extremely profitable, and simple to manage. If done wrong, can create a nightmare, and a headache too big to drive to hospital to fix. What is LTL, and why do you need to understand the game? Simple, because running cheap freight to get you out when the LTL lanes coming out can pay you way more than that .85 cents you just got paid.
Some people like it, some people don’t. Less-than-truckload freight is any freight that is under 20k lbs, and or less than half of the trailer interior space. Typically 12 pallets or less is my general rule. Now the kicker, for those customers who tries to mandate LTL freight gets to destination within 4 days, guess what, the carrier has 14 days to deliver the LTL load from the date of pickup. You cannot mandate a truck deliver within a specific period or day, unless you are paying for the whole truck. That means if you have an LTL load and you need it off by day after tomorrow guaranteed, you have gotta pay the rate for the whole truck, and with LTL, and guaranteed delivery, you could be in the $3-5 per mile in cost, direct to customer.
Now, with that being said. Less than truckload guys, can have multiple picks and multiple stops, with some having as high as 9 picks and 12 stops, it is work, but rewarding. Most run specific lanes, and can dominate the lane’s market very quick by the function of this type of freight. Not only can they run LTL, but they may get a 20 pallet load, under 25k lbs, and pick up another 6 pallets, for 3500, for a quick 500 mile jaunt that make the carrier the same as the full load…..turning a $2 a mile load into a $4 per mile load very quick.
Space available is the basic principle of understanding how much freight that can fit, legally, within the dimensions of the trailer being used to move the product to the receivers from the shippers. It does add the work load, to all corners of the operation, due to the extra planning. Most are so use to the standard, and are just too lazy to put in the extra work, cause they are ready to leave the drivers to it at the 9-5 location, that can get 2 hours worth of lunch, not thinking that, adding the single extra stop per week for each truck could add a large paycheck for the operators that are trying to maximize their earnings because they took the time to be smarter than the operational staff they utilize. Yes, it does take a mindful driver, who sees what is available, calls dispatch and says I have 4 pallets available on the bottom, and can load another 6 across the top, my max loading weight will be around 10k lbs….just as an example.
With LTL, all team players must understand the process, and the driver should be knowledgeable enough to know how to load, where to load, and how a load can or cannot be stacked. The driver will most likely be the primary loader and unloader, at any facility. Most companies will not assist with reloading if partial has to be unloaded and reloaded. However, just from picking up one little few pallets, is not a big deal, but could be a difference of 250-1500 bucks just to move it a few hundred miles, without upsetting the final destination time or delivery. That paycheck could be done weekly, and over a course of the year can add up to ($250 avg per extra, 1x per week, 50 working weeks) $12,500 gross at the bare bone minimum 1 per week, and a charge of just $250…..That is a big difference with only one truck……now see how many you can get with the fleet, half of the 50 trucks? That would be a big $312,500 for the fleet owners, getting the minimum 1 at $250, on only 25 of the 50 trucks weekly………
Your pocketbook can thank me later.
I recommend every experienced guy to run LTL from time to time to keep them sharp. This also allows the carrier to maximize the income of a truck, by just adding a few pallets here and there. An extra few loads, and pickups never hurt anyone.
LTL loads are shipped everywhere, all the time, I have no clue how many loads at any given time there are……however, a smarter man than I once said, for every full truckload sold, there are at least 150 LTL loads available for the picking, you just got to find them….and make your money.
Prepaid freight, fast loading, and a casino steak dinner