The extra costs that occur on an LTL shipment’s bill of lading, called accessorial fees, are not really hidden costs. They are fees for added services that some loads require by the nature of the cargo. They are fees on top of the initial quote that LTL freight companies charge.
LTL shipping costs can vary widely, for both temperature-controlled or dry cargo, even for the same exact shipment. Why? Because each LTL load is part of a larger shipment, and how it affects that shipment can change from carrier to carrier. Accessorial fees can change depending on what you are shipping, how soon you need it picked up and delivered, and how well you have prepared the freight. Below is a list of potential, often overlooked, add-on costs.
Blind Fee: Blind fees are charged for shipments that do not list the customer's name or do not list the receiver on the bill of lading.
Possible Fees: The added charge for a blind fee averages approximately $120 per shipment.
After Hours: There are some distribution centers and warehouses that only accept shipments after normal business hours. Make sure you clarify this with your receiver or pick up location so you aren’t surprised when you get the bill and you have an accessorial fee for this service.
Possible Fees: After hours pick up or delivery can cost a shipper anywhere from $150 to $600!
Sort & Segregate: Carriers will charge additional fees for having to sort product while unloading, a similar practice to paying for lumber fees but instead of an outside contracted service, it is usually handled by the driver.
Possible Fees: You can be charged per piece or a minimum flat rate.
Overlength Shipment: There will be a fee for overlength product, and these vary. Some use the over 14 linear feet rule, sometimes 20, depending on the size of the trailer.
Possible fees: It can add anywhere from $85 - $350 to the bill.
Liftgate Required: If your shipment is delivering to a residential destination and not a warehouse or business with a loading dock, you will most likely need a truck with a liftgate. A liftgate allows the items coming off the back of the truck to be lowered to ground level by way of a mechanical lowering system.
Possible fees: This will usually cost extra, anywhere from $85 to as much as $400.
Limited Access: Shipments that are difficult for a carrier to get in to because of limited loading or unloading areas, security checks or sign-in requirements are considered "limited access" shipments. Make sure you inquire ahead of time so you are not surprised by added fees to your bill. A few examples of limited access areas are funeral homes, amusement parks, airports, government offices, medical facilities, and restaurants.
Possible fees: If you’re not sure, check to see if your location is a “limited access” one since this can cost as much as $450 extra.
Incorrect BOL: If there is any information on the bill of lading that is incorrect, or the shipper does not use your bill of lading, you may encounter additional charges if a new one has to be created.
Possible fees: Revising a bill of lading is not a huge cost but a common one. Fees can be between $20 - $34 per BOL.
A shipper that knows what to ask and what information to provide when requesting a quote for an LTL shipment makes it a win-win situation for all parties involved -- no hidden fees, just total cost.
Note: These are only estimated fees. Actual charges will vary depending on individual shipments.