Getting an accurate quote for shipping can be a confusing process. You need a fast and accurate shipping quote from freight shipping experts. To get this, you will need to know some information about the cargo you are shipping in order to get an accurate shipping quote and avoid surprise bills and charges. Here are some tips on how to start the process by requesting a quote for shipping.
Information you need to request a quote
> Task #1: Know your cargo destination address
To get a quote for shipping, you will first need to know where your cargo is going known as the Cargo Destination. You may not know the full address yet, but providing the city, state and zip code will give enough information for an accurate quote.
By entering the destination address, it gives information about the distance the cargo will travel. This could have a big impact on the cost estimate. Long distances don’t necessarily mean higher prices and delivery time. This is because of commercial routes.
Commercial routes are established shipping routes both domestically and internationally that allow fast and efficient movement of goods. If your destination allows for the use of these shipping lanes the cost and travel time could be dramatically less. You may notice this if you get quotes for shipping to multiple destinations.
> Task #2: Know your commodity
What are you shipping? Produce? Electronics? Raw materials? It is important to state what you want to ship. This is known as a commodity.
Stating what it is that you need to ship is important, because it allows the shipping company to know what the freight class code will be. Freight class is a standardized classification system for commodities transport and results in a National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) class code being assigned to your shipment.
NMFC class codes are a major factor in the cost of your freight shipment. The density and how susceptible the items are to damage determines the class code. Items that need special handling would need more care during the shipment process and would have a different class code than a shipment of zippers for example.
By stating what you want to ship, an accurate shipping quote can be calculated.
> Task #3: Know the weight of your shipment
If you are shipping items that are boxed or bagged, simple weight it individually and add them together. If you are shipping multiples of the same items, you can measure one and then multiply it by your total number of items. You can use a simple postal scale to do this.
If these items are being shipped on a pallet or freight container, be sure to add the weight of those to your total weight. A pallet generally weights about 40lbs (18 kg). You can weigh your pallet or shipping crate individually and add that to the total.
For a multi-piece shipment, add all of the weights together for a final weight value. This is the number you input into the Request a Quote form.
> Task #4: Know your shipment dimensions
Knowing the dimensions of your shipment will allow the freight shipper to determine whether this is an LTL or FTL shipment.
- LTL: less-than-load = this is a shipment of 6 pallets or less and would not fill the majority of the space in a freight truck. Therefore, your cargo will likely share the freight truck with other cargo from different companies. This option is also available when transporting via shipping containers known as LCL or Less than Container Load shipping.
- FTL: full-truck-loak = this is generally a shipment of seven or more pallets or shipments of large items with dimension of similar size. These shipments would fill most or all of the freight truck.
To determine your dimensions, you want to measure the Length, Width and Height of your entire shipment. If you are shipping using an enclosed container, simply measure the dimensions of the container.
If you are shipping by pallet, stack the items on the pallet and then measure the length, width and height of your shipment. If you do not have a pallet yet, tape off a square on the floor that measures 40 inches x 48 inches. This is the length and width of a standard pallet. Then stack your boxes in that square and measure the length, width and height. Then add 6 inches to the height to account for the height of the pallet.
If you have multiple shipments, add the length, width and height of each shipment to get a total value.
Remember to be accurate. If the measurements are wrong you could end up paying much more that your quoted rate.
Where to get quotes for shipping freight
You have several options when shipping freight. There are many types of shipping services out there like freight forwarders, freight brokers, freight agents or working directly with a freight line. Most will provide free shipping quotes, but you want to make sure you are getting the best deal, the fastest service and the customer support you need.
With so many options, which is the best for you and your freight shipping needs? Here are 4 types of freight providers and who they are best for.
- Freight Forwarder – Freight Forwarders, like Mach 1 Global Services, arrange the shipment of freight on behalf of their clients by assisting throughout the entire supply chain process. They connect freight shippers to freight carriers and can store the cargo in their warehouses as it moves from Point A to Point B. They can serve different industries that require special handling of cargo, such as the pharmaceutical, aerospace and construction industries.Freight forwarders book cargo space for their clients directly with land, air and sea shipping providers they often have longstanding relationships with, thereby getting extremely competitive pricing for their clients. They also ship under their own Bill of Lading (BOL) and will complete all necessary forms for you for both international and domestic shipping. This takes care one of the most confusing aspects of freight shipping so you don’t have to.Best for: Occasional or regular domestic of international shippers that want competitive rates, hands-on service, industry expertise, and/or specialized freight services.
- Freight Broker – A freight broker connects shippers and carriers and oversees the shipping process. Unlike freight forwarders, they never take control of the cargo leaving some aspects of the supply chain as the shipper’s responsibility. They can have longstanding relationships with their carriers allowing them to offer competitive rates. Freight brokers primarily handle domestic shipments, but can also offer international shipments.Best for: Occasional and regular domestic shippers that want competitive rates and customer service assistance.
- Online Freight Exchange – A freight exchange is an online service that allows a shipper to get a quote for shipping, book, dispatch and track LTL freight in an automated platform. This is an option for a savvier business owner who understands their shipping needs and does not mind handling it themselves.Best for: One-time shippers or experienced business owners that want complete control of the shipping process.
- Independent Carriers – Shippers can choose to arrange shipments directly with national or regional carriers. For businesses that only need to move small shipments, this method would result in higher rates, but businesses that need to move a large amount of volume can establish contracts with the carrier for discounted rates.Best for: Regular shippers moving large volumes of goods within a specific shipping route or within a specific region.
How to choose the best quote for shipping
Once you have identified your shipping needs, select the freight provider that matches the services and degree of customer service you would like. Then find at least 3 companies to request a quote from. It costs you nothing to request several quotes and gives you the opportunity to compare services and costs.
In addition to giving you the best deal on cost and services, a good freight provider will give you peace of mind that your freight will be handled with expert care and make it to the final destination on time. Mach 1 Global Services offers the latest logistics technology and reporting software to provide you with easy and simple freight quotes, shipment tracking, and much more. Visit Mach 1 Global Services to Request a Quote for your next domestic or international shipment.
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