Full Truckload vs Less-Than-Truckload. There are two common freight services that you’ve probably heard of. They are full truckload (TL) shipping and less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping. What are the differences between the two and how do you know which one you’ll be needing to fill out a freight quote for? They may be similar on the surface, but there are more differences between the two than you may think. Learn the difference between full truckload vs less-than-truckload and how it could affect how you ship.
What Exactly Is Full Truckload and Less-Than-Truckload?
Truckload (TL) shipping and less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping are each pretty straightforward to define. If your shipment takes up the entire capacity of a tractor-trailer or you want a dedicated truck just for your shipment, TL shipping is the way to go. If your shipment is too large for a parcel carrier but doesn’t need the entire capacity of one truck, LTL shipping is your preferred choice.
As a rule of thumb, LTL shipping is best for shipments weighing anywhere from 150 to 15,000 pounds. In TL shipping, most ideals for shipments weigh over 15,000 pounds or you have more than 10 pallets to ship at the same time.
Think of LTL shipping as a rideshare for your freight. It will be on the truck with other people’s shipments, sharing space. Think of TL shipping as your heavy freight’s personal vehicle.
Pricing for Truckload vs. Less-Than-Truckload
The biggest difference between full truckload and less-than-truckload shipping is how they determine the cost of shipping for each service. The typical shipment characteristics come into play for both services, namely weight, location, and any additional shipping services. But TL and LTL still have major differences.
For LTL shipments, rates are regulated by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA). They issue National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) codes to simplify the pricing process for carriers and to ensure customers receive unbiased pricing. There are numerous factors that affect LTL freight rates.
Full truckload shipping doesn’t have an association regulating pricing standards. Rather, the market sets the price. The use of freight shipping services varies from industry to industry throughout the year. In turn, this can affect supply and demand. This means that carriers may have issues filling their trucks, or they may have issues fulfilling shipping requests. This is capacity, the level at which carriers can or cannot fulfill shipments. Capacity will cause prices to fluctuate, which includes the cot of fuel.
Benefits of Each
There are different benefits to TL and LTL. Here’s the breakdown:
Less-than-truckload shipping is ideal for small business operators because it’s:
- Cost-efficient – Only pay for the space you need.
- Streamline easier – You can consolidate multiple pieces of freight into one shipment which saves you time and money.
- Eco-friendly – LTL freight carriers easily fulfill optimal capacity levels, meaning more stuff is moving through transit while using fewer resources as well as releasing fewer carbon emissions.
Full truckload shipping has other benefits, such as:
- Quicker – Because your shipment has its own dedicated trailer, there’s generally less transit time.
- Negotiating – Rates are independent, meaning shippers can bargain for lower rates.
- Less risks – TL freight is handled less, meaning there’s less chance of lost or damaged shipments.
Both LTL and TL shipping have their perks. But deciding which one will work best for your business depends on your needs.
A third-party logistics company (3PL) like FreightCenter can help you decide which shipping service is right for you. We have a large network of LTL and TL freight carriers and we leverage these networks to deliver the most competitive rates to our customers. We can find the best rates, the right carrier, and optimal lane solutions that fulfill all your shipping demands.Get an LTL or TL Freight Quote
History of Full Truckloads and Less-Than-Truckloads
At FreightCenter, we opened our doors to assist shippers in 1998. We expanded from country-wide to shipping from the U.S. into Canada, to across the planet, while also assisting with deliveries internationally. FreightCenter has been well-reviewed by both the neighborhood we reside in and the many customers we have assisted over the years. This includes our customers and Built IN referring to us as one of the top Tampa Bay transportation companies.
Get Started Today with Low Estimate Costs for either LTL or TL
Start today by using our free freight quote tool. This helps shippers find the best rate available by analyzing all available carriers and routes for their shipment and you won’t even need to provide too much info. What would be needed are the postal codes of both the pick-up and drop-off locations. In addition, the facility types of each location, along with the dimensions of your shipment. You shall be able to compare LTL rates and get the best one possible for your shipment. Get a free quote today or call 8007167608 to get started. FreightCenter is happy to assist in helping you choose between full truckload vs. less-than-truckload services.