Just out of Curiosity ... LTL Loads

Michael Ludwig

Well-Known Member
I'm not into running LTL loads, but I know some of you are. Who out there builds LTL loads on the fly?
I see quite a few brokers offering up LTL which is like pick now, and deliver tomorrow. To me it doesn't seem like a reasonable practice, but maybe I'm missing something.


Site Supporter
yeah some brokers decide to sell next day service to anyone that calls in, and then pounds on the carrier when it doesn't happen...

unless it's LTL next day like GTA to MTL, I wouldn't try that, not a great practice at all!


Staff member
Last I checked there was a range of service available for most lanes:
It gets there when it gets there (cheapie cheapie)
Team Exclusive.

You pay for what you get, LTL is not TL even if someone expects the same service time. More often than not the time your customer really 'needs' the shipment is when everything goes wrong with the truck and the other freight on it. Be sure what you're booking is what the client has asked you for. But to pressure an LTL carrier to provide TL service times you're asking for trouble.

Keep well,
The only time we will do something like that is we may have a customer who says they need it there next day say to Chicago, Jersey, New York, etc. and then we will post it to see if there are any carriers whom have some space on the back of the trailer where it is a first or 2nd drop scenario. In this case, we always tell the client this is what we are doing and there is still delay risks involved as it is LTL. We will also give them a direct drive or next flight out option and leave it up the client on how they would like to proceed.


Site Supporter
Like all aspects of transportation, honesty remains the best policy. From a broker's perspective, don't offer the LTL as "deliver sometime this week" in order to get a lower price, and then start ragging at the carrier when it's not there the next day. As a carrier, don't accept the shipment for delivery the next day, when you are just starting to build the load and haven't come close to filling the trailer yet. There will always be shippers who think that their freight takes priority over everyone else's and the LTL rate they're paying should somehow guarantee next day delivery, first thing in the AM. You can try to educate them, explain the nuances of multi shipment loads, customs delays, drivers hours of service, etc., etc., but if that fails, either convince them to pay truckload rates (HA!), take your chances making promises that you know no one can keep, or better yet, walk away and let another provider assume the hassles and aggravation. Again, be honest with your customer (shipper or broker) and with your supplier.


Well-Known Member
Building them on the fly is not necessarily the right way to go. One should have a strategy when doing this as to where they want to service. I used to sell more LTL than I do now, and what was general practice at the time was to take the mileage of the linehaul and divide by 350 to get the service interval. So a 1000 mile run would be 3 working days service for example. Customers knew on every quote what the expected interval was and if they couldn't live with it, I either charged truckload or in some cases offered a bonus to carrier partners for priority placement to meet the customer's interval. But always some sort of premium if the requested service was outside of the standard interval.

Freight Broker

Well-Known Member
Its all about managing expectations on the front end. If you're quoting "standard LTL" service give them a day range and no specific delivery time. If your customer needs "day definite" or "time definite" then of course charge accordingly and hire a carrier with those expectations clarified at the outset. People get into trouble by overpromising, under quoting, and then hoping it all works out. Generally it doesn't..
I work for a 3PL, and often times we tell our customers that moving it as LTL does not GUARANTEE delivery date. Some short runs (less than 500 miles) can get there next day, but not all, and we understand this. Some carriers will in turn give me a FTL rate for next day service, (and that rate is shown to the customer) and other times, if I have 1 - 2 skids, will throw it on the back of an FTL they already have booked and make a few extra bucks. Either way, we find a way to make it work.
Another aspect you have to realize, when shipping LTL it cannot have a delivery appointment - you risk upsetting your customer if the truck gets stuck at the border with customs issues on other people's freight.
Some brokers fail to realize the risk.


Well-Known Member
Most receivers have a provision for LTL freight. If there is a delivery appointment needed on LTL, it's when it's over and above a certain volume so provisions always have to be made for it. As long as the customer doesn't expect expedited TL service for an LTL rate, it's fine.


Well-Known Member
goodness, ShipHappens, we are getting ltl request with deliver dates and times scheduled before they have even sold the freight... Then they expect us to move it with 5 star service but a dollar store rate. Had a demand for delivery 2 days later. When I requested a ftl rate they asked if I was crazy.... kept the answer to myself ;)


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