How to Lower Your Flatbed Shipping Rates

Ensuring you have the best flatbed shipping rates is vital to managing a successful supply chain. There are countless factors in the supply chain that can add on unexpected costs, many of which may be out of your control. Because of this, bringing down the costs of what you CAN control is vital.

Before we go into how to lower your flatbed shipping rates, what are some of the factors that impact the rates in the first place?

  1. Supply and demand
  2. Load-to-truck ratios
  3. Freight weight
  4. Distance
  5. Destination
  6. Trailer type
  7. Fuel costs
  8. Accessorial charges

With each factor known and tracked you can start to put measures in place that will improve your flatbed shipping rates. Without the basic understanding of what impacts flatbed pricing you will be wandering around lost.

But how can you actually lower your flatbed rates? Here are some actionable tips you can start doing today to save costs on your shipping.

Keep Track of Your KPI’s

On-time percentage, order and shipping accuracy, fulfillment percentage, inbound receiving time, cost per unit, and so much more. There are countless measures and KPI’s you need to be reviewing if you want to keep your shipping rates down.

The best way to do this is by developing a scorecard of some sort that you can grade all of your shipping partners by. Additionally, you need to make sure you are communicating these needs. This holds everyone to a level of accountability and results in better service at a better rate.

Flatbed truck shipping freight at a fair rate

Build Strong Relations

The supply chain is built on relationships, there is a level of trust and cooperation needed by everyone involved in order for each step to succeed. Therefore, you want to make sure that you are developing strong relations with everyone involved, especially your shipping provider.

This is a step where partnering with an exceptional 3PL is clearly beneficial. With a good 3PL you only have to manage one relationship with them while they manage the relations with the carriers. Additionally, going back to step one, you also only need one scorecard. Then, the 3PL will have a system in place to track their carriers.

To find more on how to find the best flatbed 3PL check out this past blog post.

Provide Time to Plan

Providing more time to your partnered carrier or 3PL can make a huge impact on your flatbed shipping rates. Even an extra day can result in savings of 5-10 percent or more. There are several reasons that this impacts pricing.

One, is that with more time, more options are able to be found, either by you or the 3PL. This can also play a huge role in providing the best quality shipment as well.

Two, is that the extra time allows your shipping provider to find a truck that is able to backhaul your load. Backhauling is when a truck needs to go back to its originating point after delivering a load. Since they are already heading that way they are willing to take some freight at a lower cost than normal.

And three, providing more time allows you to build better relations. Constantly waiting till the last second and putting in requests hours before they need to be completed causes a lot of strain. The shipping provider will constantly be rushing and jumping through hoops to complete your orders. However, with extra time they are able to go through their own processes that work for them.


In order to lower your flatbed shipping rates, you need to track your KPI’s, build strong relations, and provide time. Additionally, you need to know and monitor the factors that impact flatbed shipping as a whole. Doing this will allow you to bring your flatbed shipping to the next level and truly success.

At HTL Freight, we are dedicated to ensuring all of our customers receive reliable shipping at a rate that works for them. We take responsibility for each load and make sure to keep you up to date so you are never left wondering. To see how we can help improve your supply chain reach out and contact us. Or, to get started today, request a quote.


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If you have any questions, please contact us.

is now

If you have any questions, please contact us.