LTL stands for “Less-Than-Load” or a shipment of several pallets.
A Full load is typically a full 48’ or a 53’ truck.
LTL shipments can be delivered to a home, place of business, storage facility, freight terminal or consolidation warehouse.
LTL shipment costs are typically based on one or a combination of the following:
1) Weight of the goods being shipped
2) Number of pallets being shipped
3) Destination address (distance from shipping location)
4) If you will need a lift-gate or not
5) If being delivered to a residential or commercial address
LTL’s larger than 6 to 8 pallets (depending on the carrier) may need to be shipped in two shipments.
Most freight carriers will only take up to 8 pallets on an LTL shipment. Depending on the particular lots you are purchasing, some pallets can be double-stacked to save you space so that you can ship a few more than 8 pallets in one go.
Double-stacking pallets is sometimes cheaper if the carrier quotes by the pallet (not by the weight).
It may often be cheaper to use a full truck to ship even 8 pallets- especially for local or shorter deliveries.
When requesting an LTL quote please be sure to:
(i) Include your zip code
(ii) Indicate whether the delivery is to a home or business (residential or commercial area and building)
(iii) Whether the location is equipped with a forklift or a loading dock (otherwise you will require a lift-gate)
Generally, pallet deliveries to a residence will require a lift-gate to lower the pallets to the ground. For insurance and safety reasons, trucking carriers do not allow customers to climb onto the truck to manually unload their pallets.
Commercial locations, if not equipped with a loading dock or forklift, will also require a lift-gate.
LTL carriers charge extra for residential deliveries. Typically they will levy a flat fee of between $25-$100. Carriers also charge extra for trucks with lift-gates, typically a flat fee of around $25-$75.
Deliveries are to the curbside or dock. Drivers will not deliver your pallet(s) to your garage or inside your storage space, for example.
You will need to verify the pallets and shrink-wrap before signing the Bill of Lading upon delivery (or make annotations on it before signing it). If your pallet shows signs of having been opened, rummaged through, stolen from or otherwise tampered with during shipping, it is your responsibility to make a note of this on the BOL BEFORE you accept the merchandise. Failure to do will significantly lower the chances of receiving any kind of compensation form the shipping company.
Most often, shipments are sent with minimal insurance ($0.50/lb to $1/lb). If you are shipping very expensive merchandise, please be sure to ask for additional insurance.