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How to Figure Out the Cost of Freight Shipping

How to Figure Out the Cost of Freight Shipping

There are a lot of factors that come into play when it comes to how to figure out the cost of freight shipping. Shippers across the country and the world wrestle with this question every day. It can be daunting, but finding out the correct way to factor the cost of your next shipment is significant to keeping costs as low as possible.

If you’re running a small business, understanding how freight costs are calculated and using them to your advantage makes a huge difference in determining your bottom line.

Freight Rates Constantly Fluctuate


Before you begin calculating the cost of freight shipping, you’ll first need to understand how freight costs are determined in the freight industry—a prominent market variable affecting freight rate changes in fuel price.

Supply and demand constantly shift throughout the year, impacting how efficiently carriers can fulfill their trailer capacity. These economic trends in specific markets are known as the four seasons of shipping and are a significant factor in how much carriers charge for shipping at different times of the year.

Keep in mind that rates are just like freight. They’re always on the move. Because these market variables constantly fluctuate, there are no “base rates” for shipments. Due to these freight rate variables, it is hard to call a shipping agent and get an accurate ballpark estimate.

Your Shipment Matters


To correctly figure out the cost of freight shipping, the market factors mentioned above need some additional context, so you can get the most accurate shipping estimate possible. This is where knowing how to fill out an LTL quote form comes in handy. Precise information you provide about a shipment is arguably the most crucial step when figuring out the cost of freight shipping. Inaccurate information on a freight quote often leads to unexpected billing adjustments on your invoice after a shipment is completed, some of which can be rather large.

Properly weighing your freight is vital. Many shippers give rough estimates or guess at what they think something weighs. However, they often turn out to be hundreds of pounds off and very annoyed with an expensive billing adjustment, and nobody wants an unexpected billing adjustment. Remember that carriers will always weigh, measure and inspect your freight shipment. Any discrepancies between your reports and the carrier’s reports will result in a billing adjustment after the completed shipment. It’s highly recommended to invest in a freight scale. It’ll pay for itself because the weight was wrong. After all, you will avoid paying added expenses on your freight invoice.

Accurately measuring the dimensions and density of your shipments is also key to what the freight carrier will charge for shipping. Weight, sizes, and density impact what freight classification will be attached to your freight. You can learn more about what freight class is and why it’s essential by checking out our Easy Guide to Freight Class, and you can easily calculate density with our freight class density calculator. Transit distance is also a common factor in determining freight costs across the shipping industry.

How to Figure Out the Cost of Freight Shipping with FreightCenter


Maneuvering specific and confusing logistics market conditions can create problems for small businesses to find the right solutions and rates for their shipping department. Not following best practices in the freight shipping protocol when getting a quote and preparing your shipment for transit can also lead to unneeded frustration. Partnering with a 3PL offers many benefits to the small business shipper. A 3PL can help take the guesswork out of shipping, freeing you up to spend your time and money growing your business.

A 3PL like FreightCenter can help every step of the way. Our powerful transportation management software (TMS) makes it easier to centralize your search for the suitable carrier, lane, and most affordable prices in the business.

Get a free quote today or call 800.716.7608 and experience the FreightCenter difference.

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