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Less Than Truckload (LTL) Freight Shipping

LTL stands for "Less Than Truckload" and describes freight shipments that are too big for parcel carriers like the US Postal Service. uShip is here to help you get what you want: the best freight shipping company at the best rate. We’ll help you figure out how to ship freight, help you get the best LTL shipping rates, and give you some tips along the way. You can always contact us directly and we will follow up with you directly.

uShip’s marketplace makes it easy to find the best shipping options for your needs and your budget. Create a shipment listing with your needs and be as detailed as possible. After your listing is complete, you’ll receive a few direct quotes. You can accept one of those rates or you can take your freight shipment to auction. There, you’ll get quotes from LTL transport specialists as they bid for your business. Your LTL freight carrier will combine your shipment with other LTL shipments to maximize efficiency and reduce costs. The freight is then transported via a hub system, where it is transferred between trucks and freight centers until it reaches its ultimate destination.

How to Ship LTL Freight

Get your LTL freight delivered in just three easy steps!

1 | Create Your LTL Shipment Listing

First, you’ll want to consider your time frame and needs for your shipment. Goods are typically placed on pallets, known as "palletization," and transported by a freight carrier. You’ll want to know what you’re shipping, whether it’s new or used commercial goods, and the weight and dimensions of your pallet. A standard pallet is 40 inches by 48 inches. It will also help to know if your LTL shipment requires a lift gate at pick up or delivery. Include any possible restrictions for locations, including if pick up or delivery is in a residential area.

Warehouse with palletized freight in foreground
Freight truck driving in the mountains

2 | Choose the Best LTL Shipping Company

After your listing is complete, you’ll see some instant rates from our LTL Published Rates Carriers. You can accept one of these rates and be connected and able to communicate to that LTL transport company directly. Keep in mind, these published rates may not be available for all LTL shipments. Whether these rates aren’t available or you’d prefer to take your shipment to auction, you’ll receive quotes from LTL shipping companies as they bid for your business. You’re able to ask questions and talk directly to the carriers while maintaining your privacy. We also encourage you to check out their LTL carrier profile.

Each transporter on uShip has their own carrier profile with their transport history, safety records and customer rated feedback. Review these profiles to get a good sense of the LTL carrier bidding on your shipment. Most transporters have a photo of their equipment on their profile as well as any certifications or licensing they obtain. Looking into profiles and talking with the carriers will help you feel confident you’re choosing the best LTL transport company for your job.

3 | LTL Freight Shipping & Delivery

Once you’ve selected the LTL freight delivery service that’s best for you, contact them directly with any concerns, additional details or questions you may have. Share any third party contact information that can make your shipment run smoothly. While your LTL carrier will have a copy of the bill of lading, it’s a good idea to print out your own copy as well. Have payment completed at the agreed upon time and let us know if you run into any issues. We’re here to help before, during, and after your LTL shipment.

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Line of trucks at warehouse

How Much Does it Cost to Ship LTL Freight?

Freight pricing is based on many factors, such as: the shipment's freight class, density, route, and even how the items are packaged. The cost of LTL freight shipping is considerably cheaper than shipping big items via a parcel carrier.

For an inside look at what it costs to ship LTL freight, visit our cost to ship LTL freight tool. There, you will be able to view LTL freight shipping transactions completed through uShip. This should give you a better idea of what your shipment may cost and some insight to how we work.

Handling and Preparation

LTL freight is more susceptible to damage, since it is handled and transferred repeatedly. If you are shipping your commercial goods as LTL freight, it should be consolidated into one large, palletized shipment. Minimizing the number of individual packages reduces handling time and decreases the likelihood of damage.

If you're shipping a piece of machinery or an auto or boat part, you should fully crate it. Some LTL carriers won't pick up items such as transmissions or motors if they aren't crated. If you're shipping other commercial goods, avoid damage by making sure it doesn't hang over the sides of the pallet. Make sure it's firmly secured to the pallet. We highly recommend using shrink wrap.

Timeline for Freight Shipping

Because LTL freight travels on a hub system and can be transferred several times before reaching its destination, it might take longer to ship than truckload freight. Your LTL freight carrier should provide a timetable with the exact transit time of your less than truckload shipment.

Check out our Ultimate Freight Guide and our LTL Shipping Help Center for further insight into the world of freight shipping.

Things You Should Ask Yourself before Choosing a LTL Freight Carrier

  • Is my shipment less than 10,000 lbs?
  • Am I, or an agent, available to load and unload the shipment?
  • Can I consolidate and palletize my shipment?
  • Am I comfortable sharing trailer space with other freight shipments?
  • Do I understand the timeline restrictions of LTL freight?

Case Studies


National LED Light Producer Illumitex Saves 28% on Shipping with Switch to uShip: Illumitex switched its outbound LTL Shipments over to uShip and saved an average of $100 per shipment. Transparent pricing and detailed invoicing from uShip gave it confidence in its transition.

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Illumitex pink LED lighting
Sports bikes in warehouse

Cranky Ape

Cranky Ape Cuts Overhead in Half After Turning to uShip: CrankyApe needed a cheaper option to ship RVs, powersport, and marine units and equipment to and from its regional warehouses. After testing out the uShip platform for a month, it switched to uShip full-time to source its carriers. By establishing a network of reliable carriers with competitive pricing through uShip, CrankyApe has been able to cut its company fleet by 50%.

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Fusion3 was frustrated by the increasingly expensive, fixed shipping costs for its 3D printers. Through an online search for better options, it discovered uShip. The cherry on top: significantly reduced back-and-forth communication to set up shipments.

Read Full Story
Fusion3 3D printer

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