Choosing Smartly: FTL or LTL for Your Small Business

Flatbed TruckingSo, you have determined the basic parameters — the items to ship and the weight of the package. You have also thought long and hard about the time element. How quickly your client needs the package is quite clear.

Now that you have set a budget for your shipment, you still have to determine how you will send it out. Before you talk details about handling of some of the more fragile items, you must decide on the trucking service first.

What’s LTL?

If you are not familiar with the lingo, you might think LTL is an online acronym. It is a shipping term actually, and means “less than truckload” shipping. The modern trucking industry is more flexible than it used to be. In the United States today, packages weighing as much as 10,000 pounds go through the LTL route.

Because of this mode of transport, trucking shipments have become more affordable. Trucking companies may not work as fast as air, but freight carriers are definitely very reliable, and can move items as heavy as those that used to be possible only by water transport.

The LTL carrier is touted as more cost-effective than the other mode of shipment, which is FTL. It is popular among the budget-conscious, and usually preferred by startups and small business entrepreneurs.

What’s FTL?

When you call a flatbed trucking company to ask about FTL or full truckload, the difference will become clear. Whereas LTL freight carriers ship items from more than one customer, FTL vehicles do not leave for their destinations unless they have a full load. If you are a small business with a shipment that will occupy only a portion of the space but need a dedicated transport, then FTL is the way to go.

Once you have established your shipment parameters, you have to think carefully about the freight transportation that suits your needs and available budget. You are fortunate there are so many trucking options for you these days.