We’ve all been there.
You’re trying to get a quote for a customer who’d like to do business with you, but you’re missing that one piece of information you really need to quote the job right — shipping costs.
You can’t tell them what it’s going to cost because you don’t know what it’s going to cost you in the first place! Super frustrating for you as the business owner, and it’s hard to get your business flowing when you constantly stumble on pricing.
The solution is knowing where and how you can get a reliable freight shipping quote.
In this post, we’re going to dive into just that topic and get you the information you need so you can make swifter, more profitable shipments a reality for your customers.
What is a Freight Quote?
You wouldn’t go to the store and buy a cart full of groceries without having at least a rough idea of what the final cost would be, just like you wouldn’t want to agree to ship your freight without knowing the shipping cost.
A quote, which is just an estimated (but should be as accurate as possible) price for a product or service, is really important for business planning and more importantly, your bottom line.
Imagine this — you get a bad quote and undercharge your customer for shipping. Great for the customer, not so much for your business. You lose money on the sale, and you probably aren’t too happy about the hassle of paying out of pocket to cover the extra shipping costs.
What’s the solution?
Getting a well-informed quote.
In order to have the most accuracy possible, you’ll need to provide correct and up-to-date information for your freight quote.
Typically, a freight quote will need you to provide the following information:
Size or shipment type (LTL or FTL)
Origin of the freight
Destination of the freight
Contents of your shipment (pallet count, piece count, and commodity classification)
Size and weight of your shipment
Accessorial pricing (extras you may need)
The more information you can provide your carrier (that’s us!) for your freight quote the more accurate your quote will be, and that means less of a headache for you when you get the final bill.
Types of Freight Shipping Quotes
No two freights are the same in our books — and no two freight shipping quotes are, either. That’s why it’s important to understand both the different types of freight shipping methods as well as which kind of freight shipping quote you’re looking for.
Get ready to arm yourself with the information you need to get the quotes you need.
LTL Freight Quote
For smaller shipments that don’t need to take up an entire dry van or flatbed, typically ranging in size from 150 to 20 000 pounds, LTL shipping is the most common solution.
LTL refers to ‘less than truckload' shipping. Freight sent by LTL is usually consolidated, which just means combined with other freight loads into one flatbed truck or dry van. This can be a real money saver for small businesses or those who have inconsistent shipping needs.
LTL freight quotes are the way you can find out how much your LTL freight will cost you to ship.
It’s important to note that LTL freight can vary greatly in price in comparison to FTL (full truckload) shipping. That’s because LTL shipping could have anywhere from one to half a dozen pallets, whereas FTL is the whole truck (all in the name, right?)
Arguably, the most important metric for LTL freight quotes is freight density.
Freight density is a measure of weight, area, and volume. It’s a standardized price classification system in the shipping industry. Freight class determines how workable the freight is inside the trailer which is why it affects the rate.
When you’re using an LTL freight quote calculator, you’ll want to keep a few tips in mind:
Know your freight density class.
Know your speed and timing to avoid delays, as LTL shipments take longer.
Choose a carrier that will ensure your shipment is handled with care and efficiency — that’s where we come in.
Know your accessorial pricing.
Full Truckload Freight Quotes (FTL)
A somewhat obvious flipside of an LTL quote is a full truckload freight quote.
FTL, or a full truckload, is simply having the whole truck for your shipment. For many businesses, this is the best shipping method for their needs. That’s why finding a full truckload freight quote that is accurate and comprehensive is key.
Many people choose FTL shipping because it’s:
- Faster and more direct
- More secure than LTL (your shipments change hands fewer times, so there are fewer chances to make mistakes)
- More simple to price (no need for freight classing like in LTL)
That being said, you’ll still want to keep in mind that there are key factors that will affect your truckload freight quote.
In order to get the most accurate truckload freight quote, you need to understand how the following factors affect this estimation as outlined in the table below.
How it Affects Freight Quote
How far your shipment needs to travel is a key factor in mileage due to the driver’s time and the actual fuel needed for the trip.
Fuel Costs or Surcharges
Due to the shifting nature of fuel costs, a carrier may have fuel costs that rise and fall according to the market prices.
Depending on what lane (a route that a carrier typically covers in a schedule) your shipment travels in, it will affect your truckload freight quote. Traveling from one major hub to another may be less expensive when compared to a small town due to the regular schedule a carrier must meet.
Market prices and capacity
Just like anything else, truckload freight pricing can fluctuate due to supply and demand. In this case, things like holidays can increase demand while the ‘supply’ of truck drivers or trucks may remain the same, therefore increasing the cost of the shipment.
Lead time and scheduling needs
Needing something sent out last minute may cost you more than if you have a few weeks' notice to give a carrier.
Accessorial pricing and needs
Sometimes you just need more service for your shipment. Whether that’s an after-hours pick-up or delivery or detention, it will add to your quote.
So as you can see, you need to understand how your truckload freight quote is affected by these various factors in order to plan your shipment to be as efficient as possible.
Pallet Shipping Quote
Next up in the world of shipping quote possibilities is a pallet shipping quote. Pretty much no matter what type of shipping you’re doing, you’re going to run into pallets.
These handy portable platforms are how most items get shipped out. For items loaded onto pallets, called palletized shipments, you’ll have your freight packaged up and usually shrink-wrapped or strapped onto the pallet to some extent. This protects what’s inside and stops your shipment from sliding around in the truck. Properly packaged freight is especially important for LTL shipments.
One of the major benefits of using pallets is that they can maximize space inside a trailer. The ease of unloading pallets can help shipping efficiency greatly because of their consistency across industries and regions.
Pallets can be wooden, metal, or plastic and typically hold up to 1000 kg (2204.62 lbs) at a time. Usually, these are a standard size of 40 inches by 48 inches, so that carriers can have a standard size to work with for both the purposes of loading and unloading.
Usually, pallet jacks or another kind of forklift are used for heavy lifting. If you have fragile cargo, however, using crush cones is important so everyone handling your order knows not to stack another pallet on top.
Before you get a pallet freight quote, it’s important to understand if palletization is right for your shipment and what the benefits of pallet shipping can be.
Getting a pallet shipping quote may be the right move if you:
- Are shipping using an LTL method
- Have a multi-piece shipment that needs to remain together. Need to protect the items inside your shipment
- Need drainage and circulation for the contents of your shipment
- Want speedy loading and unloading, as well as storage
Keep in mind you will need to find the most appropriately sized pallets for your shipments and to load them with the heaviest items at the bottom. A complete label with all the information needed should be as visible as possible to avoid mixups and to avoid your pallet shipping quote giving you a headache later on.
Freight Forwarder Quote
If you’re looking for the costs of someone to provide an extra layer of security during the transportation process by overseeing the logistics — then you’re looking for freight forwarder quotes.
By working with a freight forwarding service (like Ship Moto), you are passing the burden of managing your logistics as shipments travel from the manufacturer or market to the final point of distribution.
Think of it as us taking care of the communication, updates, challenges, and questions that can arise in the freight forwarding process. Now that’s why we like to call us your extra strength shipping relief!
When you choose Moto Transportation for your freight forwarder, you get:
National partner carrier network coverage
Easy portal access for instant freight forwarder quote online
Tracking that’s easy to access
99.9% damage-free and 94.9% on-time shipments.
But not to get ahead of ourselves, you’ll want to think about a few things when you start getting freight forwarder quotes assembled, such as:
- Since you’re not going to a carrier directly, there will be extra costs associated with freight forwarding. Watch for surcharges and ask about them if you’re not sure.
- Watch for which tier of freight carrier your forwarding company is working with. Tier 1 carriers imply more speed, security, and quality of service, while Tier 3 are the budget carriers.
- Ensure you understand what the terms of your agreement are to avoid cargo ending up short of its intended destination.
By paying attention to these aspects of your freight forwarder quotes, you’ll be able to ensure you’re getting the best deal for your needs.
International Freight Quote
All aboard! This kind of freight quote is all about how your shipment travels around the world (or just a short trip over the border) to reach its destination.
When an international freight quote is involved, you can assume it’s because your freight is moving from its origin in one country to its destination in another, sometimes passing through other countries along the way.
This can be a complex game of Tetris involving different modes of transportation, different currencies, laws and regulations, and various carriers. Just like in the game, one wrong move can cause a chain reaction that can make shipping a nightmare.
That’s why it’s important to know what goes into an international freight quote.
Commonly, international freight is moved through a variety of channels including sea, land, and air, and typically sees the following process after you’ve gotten your international freight quote:
Export haulage: Getting your shipment from its origin hub to the place it will depart internationally from is a key part of the export haulage process.
Export customs clearance: Before your freight leaves the originating country, it must pass the process of export customs clearance.
Import customs clearance: Once your freight arrives at the border of its destination country, it will have to pass customs clearance processes for that country.
Import haulage: Once the shipment clears customs, it heads to its final destination.
Not only is sending freight a complex series of movements but sending it internationally requires careful planning and knowledge of customs rules.
That’s where a customs broker can come in. A customs broker is someone who clears shipments of imported or exported goods. They are responsible for ensuring that the items meet all the regulations, laws, packaging, and other requirements that are mandated by law. Finding a broker you can trust isn’t easy, but we work with a few trusted brokers that will help you make sure your international shipments are compliant and will arrive with ease at your intended destination.
Flatbed Rate Quote
If you’re shipping items that don’t need to be enclosed, or can’t be loaded or unloaded from a traditional trailer dock, or is outside the size of a regular dry van, you’ll want to consider getting a flatbed freight quote.
For bulky or oddly-shaped shipments, flatbed trucking can be really helpful as you can load and unload the trailer from any angle or side using a forklift rather than having to load solely from the back, as is the case with a dry van.
While flatbed shipping can be handy, getting a flatbed freight quote right can be tricky. You really need to understand the particulars of your shipment in order to make sure that the flatbed freight quote you’re getting is as accurate as can be. Because of the nature of flatbed shipping being more physically taxing for loading and unloading, it can be pricey to ship using this method.
Three other things that will affect your flatbed freight quote include:
The region you’re in or shipping to.
The type of freight commodity.
The current market conditions.
Knowing these particulars well will help make sure you have the most accurate flatbed freight quote.
Freight Quote Calculators
Like we mentioned off the top, you wouldn’t buy anything without knowing the price, so why would you blindly ship something without knowing how much it will cost?
That’s where a freight quote calculator comes in handy.
These calculators allow you to get quick estimates that can help you in your logistics planning, as well as business planning so you can make sure your shipments are profitable.
When it comes to freight rate quote calculators, you have one for every kind of shipping — from international freight quote calculators or LTL freight quote calculators, there is a way to find out how much your shipment should cost you.
Freight rate quote calculators typically ask you similar questions no matter what you’re sending, but there is a key difference between freight rate quote calculators and freight quote density calculators, so let’s get into them so you know where to start.
Freight Rate Quote Calculators
A freight rate quote calculator will tell you how much you can expect to pay for your freight to be shipped, as well as any particulars on extra fees for your specific needs.
Keep in mind that any quote can promise you it all for less, but things like accessorials can be tacked on after the fact and leave you with a bigger bill than you’d hoped, so always include as much information as possible when using a freight rate quote calculator.
Freight Quote Density Calculators
On to that other important calculator — a freight quote density calculator.
Since freight density is a measure of weight, area, and volume, it helps standardize the pricing on LTL shipments.
You’ll need your freight class prior to using a freight rate quote calculator because it dictates costs for any LTL freight.
A freight quote density calculator will typically ask you for the following things about your shipment:
- Total weight
Just remember that the freight class from most calculators is an estimate, and to find the true class, you’ll likely need to contact your carrier with your NMFC number to get an accurate class. — That’s the kind of service we offer at Moto Transportation!.
Freight Quote Tracking
Have you ever reached out to a potential supplier or business partner, only never to hear back or get an answer again?
That sucks, and we feel you in that frustration.
Nobody wants to feel like they’re being ignored, plus not getting a freight quote on time can be a huge problem thanks to the domino-like effect of logistics planning.
The solution is using a freight quote calculator that gives you instant freight quote tracking, or even better, instant freight quotes so you don’t have to wait until it’s too late to know what transportation of your shipment is going to cost you.
Freight quote tracking allows you to know where in the process you are and usually involves some back and forth communication with the carrier. If you are lost in the process, reach out to the freight quote phone number provided by your carrier.
Freight Quote FAQs
Can you get online freight quotes?
Yes, you can! There are tons of options out there to get online freight quotes but we would be lying if we said we didn’t think our online freight quote calculator was the best one because of how much detail we ask for in our calculations.
Is there free freight quotes online?
You should never have to pay for a quote you need. It’s practically a crime in our books. That’s why we ask for as much detail and information upfront in order to provide you with the most accurate instant online freight quotes we can. Oh, and it’ll be a free freight quote, don’t worry!
Can you get a freight quotes comparison?
When you’re hoping to get a freight quote, you may not know what the best option is for you. You might not know yet if you need a dry van or a flatbed, or if you’d rather pay a bit more for a shorter shipping time by FTL or need to keep it under budget with LTL. By using our quote calculator, you could run a series of scenarios that might work for you.
Not into that idea? Give us a call and we’ll help you figure out what could work best for your shipping needs, and we can help you with a freight quote comparison.
Are there any extra fees to include in a freight quote?
Yes, sometimes there are extra fees to include in a freight quote. Things like after-hours pick-up or delivery, or if your freight class was incorrectly stated on the quote, can change the initial quoted price. These are called accessorials, and they have their own pricing most of the time, so be aware of all you need before you begin the freight quote process.
Get Started with Online Freight Quotes Now
Well, that should answer any questions you may have about the freight quote process — whether it’s a freight quote calculator you’re after or just the lowdown on everything to do with types of freight quotes and what they mean, we’ve covered it here.
Now you can go forth and get the best freight quote for your shipping needs and who better to help you with that than us.
Just get in touch with our team, and we’ll be happy to help you from questions to quote to shipment completion. Then, you can rest easy knowing you’ve got over a decade of experience behind your transportation needs to help make sure your shipment reaches its destination on time and damage-free.