Do you have a question about how fast your LTL freight will arrive? Our team fields daily inquiries about LTL transit times and guaranteed service, and we’ve put together this basic guide to how most LTL carriers handle transit times.
How long does freight shipping usually take? Many people are surprised to learn that freight transit times are measured in days, not weeks. “May take 3-6 weeks to arrive” is not the standard here! Cross-country shipments are usually 4-6 business days, while intrastate moves are usually 1-2 business days. The exception is shipments to or from the western states of Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakotas. Since these states are less populated, there are fewer trucks and transit times can be 7-10 business days.
Can I make it go any faster? The short answer is no, you cannot speed up a ground shipment. Since your shipment travels exclusively by truck and not air, there is no way to expedite shipping times. Although most of us have experienced the myriad shipping options for small parcels, which include overnight and two-day services, you might not know that that’s only possible with the use of airplanes. It’s just not possible to drive from New York to California in 24 hours. Drivers have to obey the speed limit too!
Is the transit time guaranteed? All LTL transit times are estimates. Again, because LTL is ground transport, it’s not possible to make the shipment move faster to make up for a problem on the road, like weather or traffic. Carriers can offer “guaranteed” services for a fee, which basically means the carrier will make the shipment a priority during loading and unloading. If the agreed upon “guaranteed” transit time is not met, the carrier will reimburse all or a percentage of the freight cost.
In short, when you ship by truck, you can usually expect your shipment quite quickly, usually within a few business days. When you consider that there are millions of other shipments being moved at the same time, each with their own unique route, you can appreciate how swift LTL freight shipping really is!
As the modern day workplace becomes increasingly virtualized, more and more companies are turning to blind shipping as a way to transport goods via freight from another provider without seeming like the “middleman.” Here is how blind ltl shipment works: let’s say company A wants to ship an engine or any product to company B, but company A gets their products from a warehouse in another location. If the customer knows this, they could “technically” just go through the warehouse which would cut out company A entirely. This is where blind shipping comes in. The freight shipper provides their information and the warehouse’s, as well as the shipper’s information to the ltl freight carrier.
The ltl carrier then takes this information and makes the return address the same as the shipper’s, thus it appears as though it came from that location. Then, after the freight delivers, all the right information will be corrected on the bill of lading (BOL). Some freight carriers do not charge at all for a blind shipment, but usually freight shipping blind comes with a $30-$80 fee attached. This is an administrative fee for the extra work involved. If you are a company with stockless online retail, blind shipping may be the right choice for you and prove to be a worthwhile investment.
Summertime is fast approaching, and at this time of year we are often asked about shipping lawnmowers, vehicles, and other wheeled freight. Our knowledgeable sales and operations teams have assembled this guide for shippers who are moving this type of freight for the first time.
LTL freight is the primary way for small businesses and individuals to move large items over long distances. LTL stands for “less-than-truckload.” In essence, your freight is sharing truck space with other folks’ shipments in order to save money.
If you’re shipping wheeled machinery, you will need to crate the item or, at minimum, put it on a pallet. Wheeled furniture must always ship in a wood crate or box. This is partly because ramps and straps to load and tie freight are not standard for all LTL trucks. Additionally, carriers usually won’t accept wheeled freight because it poses a danger to other freight if it’s heavy and mobile. To ensure a smooth pick-up and a safe journey, crate your item. You’ll be glad you did!
Go-carts and ATVs (“All-Terrain Vehicles”) can easily ship as LTL. Go-carts must be crated. ATVs can ship on a pallet if they are over 1600 pounds, but as always, a crate is a safer choice for your shipment.
If you’re shipping lawn mowers, tractors, or roto-tillers, you’ll also need to crate the freight, although some tractors are too large for LTL and must ship on a flatbed truck instead. As a general rule of thumb, if a tractor or mower is over twelve feet in length, it will most likely need a flatbed.
If you’re moving cross-country this summer, you are probably planning to move your car. Unfortunately, automobiles cannot ship as LTL freight. Automobiles and trucks typically ship with specialized vehicle carriers. (You have probably seen the large, stacking vehicle carriers on the highway.) However, LTL freight is still a great option for transporting your other items, whether it’s furniture (again, crated!) or boxed personal items like clothes and books.
At ShippingDiscounts.com, we ship LTL freight for companies as well as individuals. One of the most common questions we get from individuals is, “How do I package my items for freight shipping?” Although we do not offer packaging services, here are some helpful videos from around the web that are useful if you’re packing your own freight.
Building a custom crate:
Remember, when you have a choice of packing materials, it’s hard to go wrong with a box or crate. Pallets are useful, but not every item can be shipped on pallets. Sometimes you can even get a lower freight class and a lower overall price just by packaging your item in a box or crate rather than on a pallet! To avoid damage and maximize your money, we recommend boxes and crates.