Was your last freight bill more than you expected it to be? These added charges are called accessorials. If you don’t know what an accessorial covers, it can come as an unpleasant surprise. As frustrating as that may be, there’s almost certainly a good reason why the invoice exceeded the original estimate.
Why Freight Shipping Costs Aren’t Cut and Dry
Wouldn’t it be nice if freight charges were as straightforward as shopping at Target? In retail stores, the price advertised on the tag is always exact, aside from sales tax. That’s because there are no surprises for the item’s manufacturer. By the time you toss it in your cart, there’s nothing that could possibly add to the company’s expenses.
The world of freight shipping is more like plumbing or similar trade industries. We give estimates, but factors beyond our control contribute to the final bill. These accessorials are necessary to help us recover the costs of overweight shipments, inaccessible delivery locations, and similar factors that add to the expense of a given shipment.
Due to the nature of the shipping process, we typically apply fees after shipments are completed. This is because many accessorial causes occur during the shipping process itself. For this reason, the final bill may look different than our first estimate.
Our previous blog post went over a few of the elements that contribute to shipping costs. Let’s go over accessorial charges in more detail to help you better understand why they occur and how to avoid them.
Larger pallets take up more space in the truck. They also pose a greater challenge for carriers to arrange securely. Any pallets over the standard size of 48”x40” may incur an oversize pallet accessorial charge.
BYX, like every other freight shipping company, utilizes large, commercial trucks. These trucks are designed to be used with loading docks. Unfortunately, not every pickup and delivery location has one. In these cases, a liftgate is used. Liftgates are special platforms that raise and lower shipments directly from the ground.
Needing a liftgate adds a fee, but further fees can be avoided if you communicate the need for a liftgate in advance. This is due to the fact that if a driver arrives in a truck without a liftgate, they’ll be unable to complete the delivery. The result? Hours of wasted time for the driver, plus an added redelivery fee.
Drivers aren’t responsible for unloading vehicles. If drivers are required to load or unload the freight themselves, they need to charge for their additional time and labor.
Ever tried to move a couch through a front door and up the stairs? It’s not easy. Bringing pallets into houses, garages, warehouse etc requires extra time. The added manpower needed results in an added charge.
As mentioned above, commercial trucks are designed to work with commercial warehouses and offices. In residential areas, unloading freight is considerably more difficult. Because of this, residential deliveries take more time and thus cause more expensive deliveries.
Same Day Delivery
Some freight, particularly perishable material, needs to be picked up and delivered on the same day. It follows that same-day delivery takes priority over other, less urgent shipments. It also poses more of a challenge for the company, hence the greater cost.
Freight Not Ready
You know the phrase “time is money?” It applies to every industry, including the trucking industry. If a driver arrives and the freight isn’t ready to be picked up during its scheduled window, the rest of his/her day is thrown off. Every other pick-up and delivery will be delayed. In the worst cases, an entire day’s worth of productivity can be wasted.
To avoid a freight not ready (NR) fee, prepare shipments early. On the flip side, make sure you’re ready to receive incoming deliveries on time.
Truck Order Not Used
Orders fall through. It happens to the best of us, and we get it. That’s why customers can cancel most shipments before a certain cut-off time. If a truck is canceled at the very last minute or the driver is unable to successfully deliver, however, you’ll be charged a TONU (truck order not used) accessorial fee. This is to make up for the lost time/income and expense caused by last-minute cancellations or unsuccessful delivery.
Generally speaking, BYX offers a one-hour grace period if carriers are delayed at a pickup or delivery location. Beyond that, detention charges start accruing, charged in 15-minute increments, totaling $77/hour. While it may sound like a lot, this just barely makes up for expenses of the driver, truck and lost opportunity. Although some exceptions may apply, it’s always best to avoid detention time as much as you possibly can.
The Accessorial Bottom Line
Accessorial fees are a necessary evil. You simply can’t avoid them completely. However, it is possible to avoid some of the most costly charges. Plan ahead and stay on top of your upcoming shipment schedule. Don’t forget to communicate any changes as quickly as possible, either! By taking these steps, you can reduce accessorial fees as much as possible.