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How your Freight Rate is Determined

Freight rates are determined by a number of factors. As you would expect, weight is one of them. However, size also impacts on the price. As does the distance traveled and the points of both pickup and delivery. What you ship (commodity) will also cause the rate to change. Yes it can sound confusing...

One of our Freight Specialists will work with you to help you identify the correct class and NMFC code for your shipment. This information and a understanding of your service needs will help him identify the best method of shipping your freight.

Providing accurate information about your freight's description, size and weight will help your Freight Specialist determining the best and most economical method of transporting your freight.

The following information is provided to help you better understand how freight rates are determined.

American Freight Companies has accounts set up with regional and national carriers based on our ability to give them a large volume of shipments. To ensure that you receive the American Freight Companies rate that we have quoted, you must provide the driver with a copy of the American Freight Companies BOL. This lets the carrier know to bill the shipment on the American Freight Companies account at the discounts we have negotiated.

As the shipper you have agreed to pay for "all services as actual provided". Please review the following to ensure everything on you BOL is correct. If it is not, you should contact your freight specialist immediately to obtain a re-quote and new BOL.

When reviewing your BOL be sure to check the following:


Number of items being shipped is correct


Total weigh of all items is correct


The dimensions and total cubic feet (space required) is correct


Description of shipment is correct


Freight Class must be correct


NMFC number is correct


Services requested are all listed

If all the information is correct, the charge quoted to you will be also be correct. However, if your shipments weight, sizes, item description (class), or services provided prove to be different (greater) than shown, your account will be charged for "all services as actually provided".


Freight Classes - What you ship determines the you rate you will pay.

The freight industry has established a standard for establishing a freight rate within the United States. This system is known as "Freight Classing" There are 18 different freight classes from a class 55 up to a class 500. All items shipped within the United States via LTL (less than a truck load) freight carrier move under one of these classes. The higher the freight class the higher the rate will be per pound.

A full explanation of how any item is assigned a freight class would be long and complicated to explain. The simplest explanation is; the more dense an item is for its weight, the less valuable the item is for its weight and the less fragile the item is, the lower the class will be and therefore the lower the class and rate will be.

bulletWeight of the shipment
bulletDensity of the shipment
bulletType of packing
bulletValue of the shipment
bulletProduct's susceptibility to damage
bulletLoad-ability and handling characteristics of the product

An example: Boxes of nails are heavy for their size, nearly indestructible and not all that valuable for their weight. Nails would have a very low class rating. On the other hand. boxes of glass chandeliers would be relatively light for the space they would take, are fragile and can be valuable. Chandlers would have a class rating greater than nails and therefore would has a higher class rating and a higher cost to ship per pound.

What is a NMFC number?

This is a numeric indicator that specifically identifies each type of product that can be shipped by a LTL carrier. The National Motor Freight Association presets these product classifications quarterly. It is always helpful to have the NMFC number on the Bill of Lading in order to avoid re-classification and accurately identify each product you ship. You can contact American Freight Companies at 727-450-7800 to determine the NMFC number for your products.

How does pricing work? 

Your price is determined by a few factors.  You must provide accurate weight and measurements of the cargo. It is very important that you properly identify “what” you are shipping.  Every item being shipped via freight has a corresponding NMFC# (National Motor Freight Classification) and Freight Class which are large factors in dictating the cost of your shipment. 

Once you specify “what” you are transporting we can tell you the NMFC# and Freight Class.  For instance, if you are shipping an engine block it would be a Freight Class 85.   Also, the origination and destination points of the item, and what, if any, accessorials you need. 

Accessorials include Residential Pick-Up, Residential Delivery, and Lift-gate service to name a few.  Be aware, your freight may be inspected at the carrier’s discretion to verify weight, measurements, or identity (Freight Class and NMFC#).  If the information you provide is, for any reason, inaccurate you may be re-billed for services that are actually rendered. If you want or need any of these services, be sure to tell your Freight Specialist. If a service is not listed, it has not been paid for.

What is dimensional weight?

Dimensional weight is a standard formula used throughout the freight industry that considers a shipments density when determining charges. Transportation charges are based on the gross weight of the shipment or the dimensional weight of the shipment; whichever is greater. Simply put, dimensional weight is when the weight of a package is inappropriately less than the actual size of the package. For example, a box filled with inflated basket balls.

When do dimensional weight charges apply?

When the actual weight of a package is less than the calculated dimensional weight, carriers charge by the dimensional weight.

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