Get an Accurate Freight Quote: What Information Do I Need?

Learn how to ensure that you get the most accurate freight quote possible by providing shippers with as much information about your freight shipment prior to requesting a quote. Find out what details matter, which ones don't, and how they affect you.


Do you ship freight often? If so, it’s important that you get an accurate quote. The best way to ensure that your quote will be accurate is to provide the shipper with as much information as possible about what type of freight you’re shipping and where it needs to go. That being said, there are a few other pieces of information they’ll need from you before they can give you an estimate. In this blog post we’ll talk about which details matter most when requesting a freight quote – and how they effect your quote!

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What Is Freight And Why Do I Need A Quote?

Freight is defined as the transportation of goods. This could be by land, sea, or even air. When you need to ship or transport anything it will likely be at a cost. The freight rate is the amount that an individual pays for shipping and delivery service. If you need to transport something, a freight quote will ensure that the cost and timing are accurate.

Freight rates can be thought of as taking into account two main factors: weight and distance traveled. A shipment’s length, width, height and volume determine its total weight while the miles traveled determines how much it costs per mile or kilometer. The longer you ship your goods over greater distances means higher freight charges since more time is required for delivery service.

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Why do I Need To Get A Freight Quote For My Shipment?

Freight quotes are used to estimate the cost of transporting freight. If a business does not know how much it will cost to transport their goods, they can’t accurately plan out costs for delivering products and services in order to stay profitable.

A freight quote includes information about where the shipment is going (the “origin”) as well as where it’s coming from (the “destination”), what mode of transportation is being used, and any other necessary details such as weight or size. This allows businesses that ship high volumes of items regularly – like Amazon – to optimize routes by having deliveries go through areas with low fuel prices at certain times while avoiding more expensive modes during others.

Freight shipping rates vary depending on destination location; typical methods of shipment (truck, air, or ocean); and the size and weight of an item.

In other words: a freight quote is used to estimate what it will cost to transport goods using several different modes of transportation. Business need accurate information from freight shipping services about how much their freight costs in each scenario. Without this crucial data, they may be forced into higher-cost options when shipping freight and can encounter unexpected or hidden costs such as being re-classed and moved up in freight class.

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What information should I gather before getting a freight quote?

Do You have a Preferred Shipping Carrier?

Is there specific top carriers you like to rely on for efficient container, FTL, or LTL shipping? Are their any business or carriers you want to avoid? It is important to make sure freight quotes have any preferences in mind.

Weight, Dimensions, and Freight Class

It is important to know the weight and dimensions of your freight shipments. It is also helpful to estimate your freight class as this can save time and ensure you get best rates.

Quantity Or Volume Of Freight

It is important to know how much freight you are shipping and how are you securing your cargo are you using pallets, crates, or floor-loading boxes. How many pallets or boxes are on your shipment? If you know the freight volume, it will help you get a more accurate freight quote.

Origin (City) And Destination City Or Country For Freight Shipment.

The Origin and Destination of a freight shipment are important to know for various reasons. It helps the freight company know which route is best for delivery, and this could affect costs. In domestic shipments this can help with millage and fuel calculations especially with truckload freight. In cases when goods are being imported, it’s important to know the customs regulations of both countries. Importance of being aware of any potential risks that could increase in a particular country (i.e. terrorism, civil unrest). When goods are being exported, it’s important to know the export regulations of both countries.

Freight Type (LTL vs FTL vs Container)

Freight shipping is determined by how the freight is being delivered. LTL refers to smaller shipments that are less than a full trailer load and will be picked up at the company’s trucking terminal or warehouse, driven to your business address for delivery, then returned for another pick-up from an alternate location (a round trip). FTL is when large amounts of freight are delivered all at once with a full trailer load.

Container shipping is when freight is shipped in a cargo container, the container is loaded on to a truck and taken to a port to be loaded onto a cargo ship. Many times when you are dealing with ocean freight shipments you will need to contact professionals who are familiar with the logistics process. Two of the most important kinds of businesses to have in your corner are a good customs broker and freight forwarder. It is importation to select the best option for you as these businesses can help you manage your shipment to the point of deliver. It is important to contact an expert if you do not have a lot of experience with container shipping as it is somewhat different than truckload shipping and making sure you or your company are getting the best rates for your shipments and assistance throughout the process.

Freight Service Level: Time In Transit, Number Of Stops

When shipping freight shipments it is important to understand the service level you are purchasing. Depending on the shipping needs of your business you can opt for various transit speeds. Freight shipments can take as little as one day to reach their destination or as long as a few weeks. This is often, due to the distance from point of origin city, the number of stops being made (especially with ltl freight), and the priority at which your shipment is being handled with by the carrier. Often times if you want to save time when shipping you may have to pay more money in order to receive faster service from the carriers and access to benefits that comes with a higher service level. The faster the service the more you should expect to pay as it will effect both FTL and LTL freight quotes.

Are There Any Accessorials That You Will Need?

Accessorials are addition fees or charges accessed by the shipping carriers when additional services are needed to process or deliver a shipment. Accessorials often include a lot of fees, such as fuel surcharges or terminal handling charges. Some common fees are lift-gate, detention, or residential delivery.

If you have accessorial fees, the cost of shipping will be higher. Fortunately, accessorial fees can often be avoided depending on your carrier and destination. To find out more about freight accessorials, see our article What are Freight Accessorials?

At a minimum you should have these pieces of information before getting an accurate quote or negotiating pricing with your preferred carrier. You can always add more specifications in order to be more detailed about your needs.

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How Do I Know If The Price Is Right When Freight Shipping?

When you’re making your decision about which freight company to use based on pricing alone, make sure that it includes everything. Be especially careful of companies quoting low “base price” without any additional costs included in their quote because they can end up doubling what you originally thought when shipping fees are tallied at the end – not an ideal situation when shipping a truck! Choosing a freight shipper should be like choosing who will drive your car across the country – you want to make sure they know the routes, understand the route conditions and rules of the road. If freight shipping is your only option for shipping, use these tips to help get a good quote on freight rates before committing.

– Is freight rate competitive with other freight rates?

– Are all possible charges included in their quoted prices, including accessorials such as fuel surcharges or terminal handling fees?

Now that we’ve learned about how to get an accurate freight quote from start to finish, let’s explore some things you can do when negotiating freight rates so that you don’t overpay!

– Compare freight rates from different companies to find out which is the best freight rate for your needs.

– Negotiate freight rates with a carrier who has offered you what seems like a competitive quote, but keep in mind that they can be inflexible if it’s their first offer.

– Seek freight shipping quotes from multiple carriers before signing any contracts and compare all of them just to make sure you’re getting the most accurate freight quote possible!

What Other Services Can I Request From The Shipper?

Whether your are shipping LTL (less than truckload) or FTL (full truckload) there are a few other services you can request from the shipper. On top of accessorials there are services that logistics companies give their clients access to. Sometimes when booking freight online, by phone, or even by mail you can request insurance on your shipment. Depending on the value of your shipment and a few additional details customers are able to make sure their pallet, pallets or truckload shipment arrive in good condition and on time to the city and business they are supposed to.

When shipping to customers who expect almost instant freight shipping you can sometimes request a delivery guarantee. Delivery guarantees are a promise that many shipping companies in the market offer to their customers to make sure a shipment arrives on time. From the time your small business submits a form online or calls in a shipment by phone to the time your customer is asked to sign the BOL (bill of lading) a delivery guarantee acts like insurance making sure the truck arrives with your pallet within the desired window.

Finally sometimes carriers can help a small business business who is not used to shipping freight by helping them throughout the process and assisting them to generate the necessary paperwork. Don’t know what a BOL is? Ask your shipper, they may have a form template or two they can provide to your business for little or no cost.

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We hope that you found this blog post helpful in understanding the process of shipping freight and how to get an accurate quote. Did we miss anything? If so, feel free to leave a comment below with any questions or thoughts! Don’t forget to share this article if you enjoyed it – even better, give us a like on Facebook because your friends will want to know about these tips too!

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