#1 Comprehensive Guide To LTL Freight Quotes

Brian Smith
May 16, 2024
12 minutes
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#1 Comprehensive Guide To LTL Freight Quotes
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In an increasingly interconnected world, shipping goods domestically and internationally has gotten easier in some ways, and harder in others. When hauling freight or finding freight quotes online, a lot of factors need to be considered, which can make the process time consuming and difficult. While we at Cota Systems® make it easy to get a fair shipping freight quote without any hassle, the best shipping happens when everyone is prepared.

We can help you get the best freight quotes anytime; not only that, but through FreightPro®, you always know where your shipments are. This is especially important when considering LTL shipments. But what exactly does LTL mean, how does it compare to FTL and what do you need to consider when it comes to getting the best freight quotes through our service? In this article, we will shed light on these questions to make hauling and shipping hassle-free and help you earn more money every mile.

LTL And FTL - The Subtle Differences

Truckload is often defined by two terms - LTL and FTL. These terms refer to the amount of space that a shipment takes up on a truck, as well as their weight class. We list the differences and classifications in detail:

LTL means less-than-truckload. This usually refers to a shipment that does not take up the entirety of a truck. Because of this, additional shipments usually make up the difference to get the truck to a full load. When considering LTL shipping quotes, the amount of space the load will take up on the truck will greatly affect the end price.

When planning for obtaining a freight quote for an LTL shipment, the weight (usually measured in pounds, but sometimes kilograms) generally ranges from 150 to 15.000 pounds. Contained within are many different weight classifications; a total of 18 class designations, as specified by the NMFTA, the National Motor Freight Traffic Association.

These 18 classes are numbered between 50 and 500. Smaller products or shipments that take up less space and weigh less are classified on the lower end of that scale, whereas bigger shipments will take up more space and thus also cost more when you get freight quotes online. At Cota Systems®, we will always make sure to find the most efficient way to classify and ship your freight, so you will never pay more than you have to.  We use F.A.K-classification (which stands for freight of all kinds), which ships items of different classifications together, which saves money and time.

Less Than Truckload LTL and Full Truckload FTL

Aside from LTL, there’s FTL, which refers to a full truckload. Products that take up the full size of a truck, with no other shipments included, fall under this category. These shipments fill up the entire trailer and also usually weigh above the LTL classification of 15.000 pounds. Some LTL loads, particularly in the food industry, follow the best practice of being sealed, and are sometimes not shipped with other freight to reduce risk of spoilage or damage, but this is highly dependant on the kind of freight and regulations from the manufacturer - always be sure to research if and what kind of seal is necessary!

When getting LTL shipping quotes from many other brands and systems, the price can increase later on. Thanks to our “No Re-Rate” policy, your freight quotes will never increase - what you see is what you get, which makes planning so much easier. And using our FreightPro™ software makes the process even easier - you can track your shipments, get quotes anytime and see useful reports to help grow your business even faster and help you earn more money every mile.

Why Ship LTL Freight Instead Of FTL?

Knowing this information, you might ask yourself why shipping LTL or FTL should matter at all as long as your freight reaches it’s destination. At Cota Systems®, we know the difference, which helps us get you the best freight company quotes. Both FTL and LTL have their uses which heavily depend on the size of the freight as well as the method of shipment.

The biggest reasons to use LTL over FTL are:

  • If you have freight that does not fill up an entire truck. This saves an enormous amount of money and time, which is one of the biggest advantages of LTL: your freight is being shipped together with other LTL shipments, which reduces time on the road, gets your goods to their destination faster and results in cheaper freight quotes. 
  • Using LTL over FTL does not only save costs, which is perfect for small businesses looking to save money, but is also environmentally friendly as less trips are needed.

Through our software, you can always track the location of your goods for additional peace of mind, and our no re-rate policy ensures that your quote stays the same throughout the entire shipment process.

If your shipment is so large that it would fill up an entire truck, then shipping it all at once as FTL freight would most likely be the smarter choice. In the end, it comes down to how big the freight size is, as well as the classification of the goods themselves. A large amount of perishables, for example, may be easier shipped as FTL freight so the goods stay together and arrive at their destination on time. Non-perishables could be divided up into several LTL shipments, which may reduce costs depending on time constraints, dates and pick up/drop off spots.

This all sounds complicated, but there is no need to worry - when getting a shipping freight quote through Cota Systems®, you can classify whether your freight classifies as LTL or FTL. If you’re not sure or require additional advice, no problem - contact us now:

What To Consider When Shipping LTL Freight

Planning Freight Shipping Logistics

Since LTL Freight does not use up the entirety of a truck, there are a few factors to consider to make sure you get the best LTL Shipping Quotes. We help you run the numbers and find the cheapest carrier through our certified CotaCarriers® network, but preparation is important! The more information you can give us about your LTL freight, the more accurate and time-saving the quoting process will be. Some of the necessary information includes:

  • The weight and size: One of the most important pieces of information when it comes to LTL shipping is the weight and size of the shipment. Before applying for one of our free freight quotes, make sure to measure your freight accurately. To make it easier, you can give us the weight of your freight in either pounds and kilograms. The size is another important factor. We make that process easy too by offering four different size evaluations you can choose from: the # of pallets, the cubic length in feet or meters, and the length. This information will help us determine exactly how much space the freight will take up in the truck to help us route the freight efficiently and hassle-free, and our proprietary algorithm only needs minimal information to provide you with accurate quotes in less time!
  • Pickup and Dropoff: Where you pick up and drop off the load determines a few things. First, the distance between the points can affect the final freight shipping quotes. If the points are hard to get to or are remote, it can have an effect as well. Secondly, we also need information about what sort of place the freight is being picked up and dropped off at; residential areas provide unique challenges different from airports or trade shows.
  • Ensuring the Freight is LTL: While it may be self-explanatory, it is also important to ensure that the final freight you want to get a freight quote for is an LTL freight. When applying for a quote, we allow you to choose between LTL and FTL. Consider the weight and size of your shipment before you get a freight quote to make sure that you choose the right options. A quick reminder: LTL freights usually weigh less than 15.000 pounds and do not take up the entirety of a trailer!
  • The type of shipment: Another important consideration is the type of shipment. Perishable goods need to be delivered faster, which can have an impact on the freight shipping quotes you receive. Stackable and over dimensional goods can affect the final prices as well, as those take up different amounts of space in an LTL freight.

When shipping LTL freight and applying for LTL Shipping Quotes through Cota Systems™, it helps to be prepared and know exactly what you want to ship. LTL shipments have different needs and requirements compared to FTL shipments - we are here to help if you have any additional questions!

LTL Shipments - How We Mitigate Risk Factors

Shipping is never fully without risks - anyone who has shipped freight before will tell you that. Late deliveries, changing hands and more can plague the entire delivery process. At Cota Systems™, we want to put drivers and shippers first and make sure to not only provide you with free freight quotes, but also help drivers make more money per mile with our mobile app to make the most out of their trips.

Even so, a risk factor can never be fully erased, but we have several strategies for shippers and drivers to mitigate the risks. After you receive your free freight quotes for your LTL shipments, you may be wondering how we ensure the correct management of the loads, but also help you save money and time in the process. Below we list some common risk factors and what we can do to help.

Common Risk Factors For LTL Shipments

Damaged Freight and Re-Rates
  • Re-Rates: When you receive LTL shipping quotes from us either through our FreightPro® software or on our website, that quote won’t change. That’s because we use F.A.K to add your freight as LTL shipments to trucks, which avoids offloading at an LTL Hub & Spoke. That offloading can cause re-rates that may end up costing more, which lowers the profit margin and creates undue stress. With us, you won’t have to worry about these issues and can focus on the important things.
  • Damaged freight goods: The world lives through it’s network of trucks; many of our most needed products are delivered over land. According to the Census Bureau, most goods that we use every day in America are transported over land: a whopping 71.6 % in 2017. This amounted to a 10.4 trillion value of the total 14.5 trillion value of goods shipped across the US in that year. If the products that arrive are damaged, went bad or are otherwise unusable, that creates a host of different problems. 
  • Getting freight quotes online through our system eliminates one big factor that contributes to damaged goods: the haul changing hands through different systems, companies and facilities. This alone means that our haul gets damaged 4x less than the LTL industry average, so you can rest assured that your products will arrive safely.
  • Use of different carriers: With daily shipments and constant hauling of freight comes anxiety over which carriers to use. This is especially true with LTL shipments, as those only take up a part of any given truck, which makes managing and watching over the freight more stressful. When receiving LTL shipping quotes through Cota Systems™, we work with our network of certified CotaCarriers™. They are especially flexible thanks to their delivery of F.A.K shipments (which stands for Freight of All Kinds), which provides you with more options, faster delivery and less cost than comparable systems.

These are only a few of the risk factors that we help mitigate with our proprietary FreightPro® software, which lets you receive and compare quotes at any time, track the location of your freight and help relieve the stress that comes with large freight deliveries and the obtaining of freight company quotes.

Obtaining LTL Shipping Quotes For International Shipments

International Freight Shipping and Customs Clearance

Domestic shipping already comes with a lot of different considerations - our free freight quotes system makes obtaining the best shipping quotes for your needs as easy as entering the specifications. Within 24 hours, we will get back to you with an accurate quote - and our FreightPro® software makes it even easier. What, then, when it comes to international shipping?

International shipping can get quite a bit more complicated. There are different ways to ship products and goods internationally - which way you use depends on what freight you have, where you want to ship it to and how time-sensitive it is.

We can help with that too - we are working with our customs clearance partner “Clearit” to provide hassle-free international customs clearance. For more information and to apply, click here!

What To Consider For International LTL Shipments?

The US is a true import powerhouse, an industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars a year, from China, Mexico, Canada and many more countries. Some of the most common goods that are imported into the US are:

A chart showing the type of imported goods into the US and their value.
Source: Investopedia

If you decide to ship freight internationally, a whole new world of issues can pop up that seem tricky to navigate. A lack of transparency, custom holds, expensive delays, lost paperwork and more can make international shipping into a nightmare.

Before you give us a call and chat with us about what your needs are, it can be helpful to think about a few key points and prepare for the task ahead - this will also help us get you international freight quotes that are fair and ensure fast, seamless shipping. Below are some important points to consider:

  • How to ship: There are multiple ways to bring goods to their destination when shipping internationally. Shipping over land is an obvious choice when shipping to close countries; the process is streamlined and doesn’t change too much, aside from customs clearance needs. For further countries or specific goods, shipping over air or sea are additional choices you have when deciding on how to ship.
  • What to ship: As with domestic shipping, the nature of goods in your freight can change how to transport them. Perishable items, mostly fruits and vegetables, for example, can be transported by air or sea, but ensuring they arrive in time means that the fastest option is usually the best. Other options may be cheaper if speed is not a key factor. We partner with ClearIt to offer comprehensive custom clearance solutions that help your goods get to where they need to be on time and avoid the most common customs issues.
  • When to ship: No matter the nature of your freight, time is also of the essence. Certain times of year and destinations are much busier than others and can not only affect the time of your freight arrival, but also the difficulties it will face getting there. Planning ahead is key and we can help.
International Freight Shipment

When shipping internationally, Cota Systems® can help streamline the process and give you some important peace of mind to navigate these challenging tasks. Give us a call or send us an email to ask for help today!

Why Choose To Get Freight Quotes Online With Cota Systems®?

Using all these tips, you should be perfectly prepared to gather all the information you can to get accurate and fast free freight quotes using our online tool, or by calling or emailing us. But we offer so much more thanks to our FreightPro® software and transportation management system. What can you expect when you get a freight quote through us?

Advantages To Using Cota Systems® For Your Shipping Needs

Our online tool makes it simple to get a quote in a very short time. Where other providers take longer and need more info, our proprietary algorithm has been developed so that you need to only provide minimal information and still get a competitive quote for your freight.

If you’d like to use the algorithm to get shipping quotes any time, FreightPro® can help. Using our software, you can run quotes any time using different parameters. That way, you are not only prepared for change, but can stay on top of your needs by accessing a freight shipping quote anytime you need it, no matter the circumstances. Not only that, but our system prevents re-rates, which makes planning a lot easier - your quote is locked in and never changes. As mentioned previously, using our network also helps prevent damage, with 4x less damage than in traditional LTL shipping.

Our team of experts will make sure that you will never have to worry about watching and directing every step of your shipment. If you ever have any questions about your free freight quotes or your experience using Cota Systems®, that’s no problem - our experts are always up-to-date when it comes to the world of freight, ensuring accurate information and a completely seamless shipping experience from start to finish.

Expert customer support, coverage of various shipping needs, accurate quotes and easy tracking through our software means that you can stop worrying and start focusing on growing your business. Give us a call at (760) 230-3502 or email us at so we can start answering your questions today!


Guaranteed Freight Quotes with Cota Systems

Shipping should be easy, but it often isn’t. The world of freight can be hard to navigate, especially when many wires get crossed. There are many factors to consider: how big is my shipment, what does it contain, when do I need to ship, what is my budget? Those questions and many more can take valuable time to think about, which is less time having your freight on the road and less time growing your business.

This is especially true when it comes to LTL freight. Since this type of freight never fills out an entire truck, the management of when and how to ship becomes ever more complicated, especially once you take load sizes and storage into account. If shipping internationally, another host of issues comes up; extensive paperwork, customs clearance issues and more. The tidal wave of steps to take can quickly sweep you away if you’re not prepared - enter Cota Systems®!

At Cota Systems®, we believe shipping can be as easy as 1, 2, 3 without any complications. Skip the worry and supercharge your freight business with our expert team standing behind you every step of the way. We offer freight quotes online in a process that is both easy to navigate and delivers fast results. We clearly communicate what information is necessary for us to provide you with the fastest and most reliable service, and we even offer international customs clearance support - you won’t believe how easy shipping can be!

Through our FreightPro® software, you can then take all your shipping needs to the next level. Not only can you receive quotes at any time for a direct comparison, but you can also track your shipments and receive key reports that allow you to make direct adjustments to the way you ship. 

So what are you waiting for? Request your guaranteed quote now and ship your freight worry-free!

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