Save Money By Knowing When To Choose FTL Or LTL Freight Delivery

Posted on: 10 April 2015

When you're shipping freight via truck, you typically have two choices – have your freight delivered by a full truckload (FTL) service, or a less than truckload (LTL) service. Some freight delivery companies specialize in one service or the other, but you can also find companies that handle both options. Knowing when to use each method can save your company money on its delivery costs.

When to Use Full Truckload Service

In most cases, you'll use FTL service when your freight will fill the truck (or trailer), or will at least come close to doing so. Because you're paying for the entire delivery on your own, and not sharing it with other customers, FTL is most cost-efficient when you're delivering either one large load, or several loads that, put together, take up most or all of the truck's space. Alternatively, you may occasionally wish to hire an FTL service for a smaller load when it must be delivered quickly. In this case, the fact that you're not sharing the truck with other companies means that your freight will go directly to its destination, with no detours in between. Take this option when your need for speed outweighs short-term cost considerations — for example, when a delayed delivery will be more expensive in the long run than the extra cost of FTL shipping.

When to Use Less Than Truckload Service

If your freight is too large for a parcel service, such as the post office, but too small to fill up a truck, LTL service is typically more cost efficient. As a very general rule, LTL service is most efficient for freight between about 150 and 8,000 pounds – with the upper limit, of course, determined by the size of the delivery company's trucks and trailers. Whatever the size of your freight, an LTL delivery truck's expenses are shared by every shipper with freight in the truck, thereby reducing your company's shipping charges.

On the downside, the shipping company can rarely guarantee a specific delivery time for LTL transportation, so use LTL service for non-time sensitive freight. On the plus side, if you must deliver several small pieces of freight in the same general area, an LTL carrier can handle all of the deliveries with one truck. That saves you time and money, because you only have to load, and pay for, a single truck.

Other Cost Factors

Keep in mind that, regardless of whether you use FTL or LTL service, your costs will be determined in part by the weight and classification of your freight. The National Motor Freight Classification system divides freight into 18 different classes, based on how easy or difficult it is to store, handle and deliver the freight. The higher the freight class, the greater your costs.

For more information, contact a company like Transdel Delivery Service.

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