cross border shipping

How to avoid hidden shipping fees

One of our brand promises is “No Hidden Fees“, we achieve this promise by:

1. Pushing our clients to give us as much information as possible at the time of quoting.
2. Giving our clients the ability to pick and choose any extra services they require when quoting through our online portal.

We find that when customers do not provide us with all the correct information at the time of quoting they risk incurring extra fees at pick up or delivery. Once these fees are incurred, it might seem like they were hidden at the time of quoting, but in reality, they weren’t, we just had no idea that something extra was required because this information was not given to us.

By default, we quote every shipment like it will be moving from dock to dock, within business hours and we assume it will be loaded or unloaded within a reasonable time frame. We have no way of knowing this won’t be the case unless we are told by our customer ahead of time.

Have you faced these issues before? Here is how you avoid them moving forward:

1. Correct Dimensions, Weight and Freight Class

Re-class and re-weigh fees do not come up until after your shipment is delivered which is why they are frustrating to deal with. However, don’t forget: each 100lbs costs more money to move because trucks have weight limits and even a few inches difference can affect which freight class your shipment falls into. Freight class determines how workable the freight is inside the trailer which is why it affects the rate.

Many shippers guestimate weight, dimensions, piece count and freight class. This might seem okay when you are trying to ballpark a rate but it is not a good idea when the freight actually has to move. If we send a truck in thinking that the shipment is very light and it turns out to be heavy, it will affect all the other shipments on the trailer. Not to mention it can affect our compliance with the weight regulations set out by the government.

2. Details, details, details

Include as much detail as possible to ensure your quote comes back accurate.  If you know that something isn’t standard about your freight or your pick up/delivery locations then make sure you tell these things to your trucking company at the time of quoting. It might be tempting to hide weird requirements to save some money on your quotes, but chances are you will end up being re-billed once your shipment is audited. Things like: no dock, forklift use, long truck lines, after hours only accessibility, appointments, limited availability, etc, will cause your rate to change.

4. Written Confirmation

If your carrier is promising something to you then make sure you get these promises in writing.  A lot can happen from the time of quoting to time of invoicing, and there are legal documents that can be used against any verbal promises made to you (ie. scale tickets, in and out times, etc.).

3. Waiting Time & Limitations

Make sure your shipper and consignee are ready to handle the truck as soon as it arrives, trucks usually have another shipment lined up before and after yours.

4. Commercial Invoices

Best practice is to provide your commercial invoice to your trucking company at the time of booking your shipment. Give your broker and carrier a chance to set this up ahead of time to ensure customs have what they need. This also gives you time to revise your paperwork in case something is missing. If given to your carrier too late then everyone involved will be scrambling to clear your shipment and customs will most certainly want to check things out.

5. Read the fine print

The best trucking companies do not hide behind 20 pages of terms and conditions. Always read the fine print on your freight quote. After all, these are the terms and conditions you are agreeing to when you book your shipment.

6. Know your accessorials

Here is a list of common value added services:

Inside Pick Up or Delivery – this means the driver has to go inside a building

Power Tailgate Use – if there is no dock this is one of the only ways to unload the freight

Residential Areas – is this a residential address? or is this business located in a residential area? trucks cannot access these areas the same way they can access commercial areas

Trade Shows/Exhibitions – trade shows usually mean weird pick up/delivery hours, and long wait times

Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Pick Up or Delivery

After Hours Pick Up or Delivery – keep in mind every carrier has a different idea of business hours so it’s a good idea to confirm, Moto considers 8AM to 5PM business hours

Appointments – again every carrier is different, at Moto we consider any pick ups/deliveries that only have a 2 hour window an appointment

Detention – you have a certain amount of time to load and unload shipments based on your shipment size, always find out ahead of time how much will be given free

Re-Delivery, Missed Pick Ups, Dead Calls – if a truck is dispatched and the freight cannot be loaded/unloaded you will be charged

Storage & Undelivered Freight – unfortunately we cannot store shipments for free after the first 24 hours so its a good idea to make sure your consignee is prepared to accept your freight

In Bond Fees – we have no control over Customs and what they decide to inspect at the border, but if you do not provide paperwork you are signing up to pay these fees

T&E / Personal Goods Fees – sometimes the product you’re shipping might have to MOVE in bond, its a good idea to clarify these things prior to it crossing the border

Please feel free to reach out to us at or 604-757-2441 if you have any other questions.