Copper Run’s prices are always Fair Prices.
Which means that our prices accurately reflect the cost of sourcing and managing the requested freight transportation service, in the cost environment in which the service has been requested – and in the competitive context of the market.
Over the long term: our prices will rise and fall as costs rise and fall.
Over the short term, our prices may fall, temporarily, in recognition of shipping volume, potential cost reductions, and competitive market forces.
How to get an even lower Fair Price
Plan A: Negotiate
Maybe, maybe not
You may seek a lower price by negotiating with us – that might be possible in the competitive context of the market – but we do not quote prices that have built-in fat or much room for movement. However, never say never.
Plan B: Reduce The Cost of Serving You
Probably will work
You will probably be successful at receiving a lower price, from us or from anyone else, if you are able to lower the cost environment in which the service is to be provided.
It is very simple – if you take steps that serve to reduce our costs and the truck’s costs, or that limit the potential for increased costs, then your actions will have the effect of reducing the Fair Price, and we can almost always offer you that reduced Fair Price.
It’s all about helping us help you.
Controlling and Lowering Costs and Limiting the Risk of Additional Costs
There are multiple methods of controlling costs which, alone or in combination, will result in a lower Fair Price for your shipments:
- Increased shipping volume
- Stackable skids
- Turnable skids
- Small / short / light skids
- Accurate weights and dimensions
- Timely payment
- Infrequent cancellations
- Infrequent shipment modifications
- Freight ready to ship
- Paperwork ready and accurate
- After-hours contact
- Avoid rigid appointment systems
- Flexible / long dock hours
The descriptive details for each cost-control strategy:
Tell us, and immediately receive a lower Fair Price
If you are planning to repetitively ship the same Full Load shipment between the same origin and destination repeatedly (at least once per week), there will be operational cost savings that we can turn into a lower Fair Price, and therefore reduced shipping costs, for you.
Tell us, and immediately receive a lower Fair Price
If your skids can be stacked (the lower skid has to have a horizontal flat top, and be structurally capable of supporting the upper skid) and together they stand no more than 108” tall and weight no more than 1,800 lbs., they will use up less space on the trailer, and we can give you a substantially lower Fair Price for LTL shipments.
Even if the combined weight is a bit over 1,800 lbs., there may savings to be had, and we will pass them on to you.
Why pay for space you don’t need to use?
Turnable Non-Symetric Skids
Tell us, and immediately receive a lower Fair Price
Standard industry pricing, and our Fair Prices, are based on 4’ x 4’ “skid spots”. If your skids are smaller than this standard, in either or both dimensions, AND they can be turned in the truck so that the shortest skid dimension aligns with the long dimension of the trailer, they will use up less space on the trailer, and we can give you a lower Fair Price for LTL shipments.
Even when one dimension of your turnable skids is greater than 4’, or when your skids are a variety of shapes and sizes, tell us, and we will look for opportunities to fit them into a smaller floor space, so we can give you a lower Fair Price.
Small, Short, Light Skids
Tell us, and immediately receive a lower Fair Price.
A small and light skid in one that is no more than 4’ x 4’ x4’h, and weighs no more than 500 lbs. If your skids are small and light, and particularly if they are moving between 2 large urban centres, we can almost always give you a lower Fair Price for LTL shipments.
Freight Dimensions and Weight
In a perfect world, you will always give us your complete skid weights and dimensions. Which will allow us to give you the best Fair Price we can.
But we can’t provide a best Fire Price based on unknown information or assumptions. So give us a thorough description of what you want moved, and we will be able to strip out contingency allowances that may have been built into our Fair Price to allow for unknown freight spec’s.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Pay your bills in a timely manner:
We are a freight broker, not a bank.
We have to pay the trucks we source in a timely manner, or they won’t take freight from us. We have no choice. So if you pay us in a timely manner, i.e., in 30 days or less, but certainly not in 45 or 60 days or more, then we can give you a lower Fair Price.
Absent other information, we base our Fair Prices on payment terms of 30 days. We track our customers’ payment histories, so if we see that you consistently pay in noticeably less than 30 days, we will automatically begin to give you lower Fair Prices. Automatically.
On the other hand, if we see that you let payables run out well beyond 30 days, consistently or intermittently, we will begin to increase our Fair Prices to you to reflect our additional costs of financing and managing your debt.
Don’t cancel shipments very often:
You’ll get a rep.
If you cancel a shipment after a truck has been booked and dispatched, we have to pay the truck what the industry calls a “missed pick”, so we have to charge you a “missed pick” fee.
The amount of the fee will depend on how far the truck has driven, how long it has waited, and how likely it is that it can find a shipment to replace your cancelled shipment. The worst time to cancel a shipment is on a Friday afternoon, especially if it is the Friday of a long weekend: the “missed pick” fee will be fair, but it will be large enough to make you wonder whether you just bought an ownership share in the truck.
But as high as it may be, the fee charged in these situations is never really sufficient to cover the true costs to either us or the truck. Everyone takes a financial hit. So if you get a reputation for frequently cancelling shipments, then we will have to pay trucks a premium to accept any of your shipments, and your Fair Price will increase.
Don’t change your order:
If at all possible, changing the size of a shipment after the truck has been sourced, and especially after the truck has been dispatched, is expensive. Reducing the amount of freight does not typically generate a price reduction, but more freight generates a healthy upcharge.
If you reduce the size of a shipment after the space on the truck has been reserved specifically for your freight, and after the carrier has turned down other freight for the truck, you still have to pay for the full space that you initially reserved.
The reason is that there is no guarantee that a carrier in this situation can find freight to fill your unused space. Even the carrier does find other freight, the replacement freight will come with additional costs, and will yield a lower net return. Remember, transportation is the most perishable product or service produced: by reserving but not using the space, you nevertheless did consume it.
If you increase the size of a shipment at the last minute, particularly after the truck has arrived at your dock, you will pay a premium upcharge for the additional required space.
But first, we have to get the carrier to agree to accept the additional freight, since the additional space you now need may have already been reserved for another customer. If that is the case, then to take your extra freight, the carrier has to renege on a promised pick-up for another customer. This can get tricky. Just as you can get a rep if you cancel shipments too often, so can the carrier if it cancels bookings too often.
So if the carrier does agree to take your extra freight, there will be a premium upcharge. There are 3 reasons for the premium: the carrier will have to give you space that had been reserved for another shipper, almost certainly at a higher per-square foot price; the carrier will have to deal with the anger of the customer who’s space it gave to you; and, the carrier knows that, since its truck is at or almost at your location, it will cost you more to pay the truck to leave with no freight than to pay it to take your extra freight.
Have your freight ready to ship.
Again, you could get a rep.
Have the freight ready to ship, properly packaged and secured for transport, and have the paperwork ready, or as ready as possible if it cannot be finalized until after the truck has been loaded.
Just as you can reject a trailer for being dirty, the carrier can reject your freight for being unsuitably prepared for transport.
Shipper / receiver delays at previous stops are the single most common cause of late trucks at subsequent stops, and the impacts of these delays are felt not only by the carrier, but also by subsequent shippers/receivers on the truck’s itinerary. Even though you pay for delays and waiting time, the fee charged does not fully reflect the costs incurred. So for carriers, the most effective way to deal with the chronic shipper / receiver delays is to blacklist those tardy shippers and receivers.
Have your paperwork details in order, particularly for trans-border shipments.
Errors can be very costly, and are usually found after-hours.
A truck cannot legally travel down a highway without a bill of lading that fully describes the freight on board. If your paperwork is incorrect or incomplete, even the smallest detail can stop your shipment in its tracks, and lead to delays and delay charges.
If your shipment is travelling between countries, customs will not clear it with incomplete or incorrect paperwork, so your shipment, and quite possibly the truck, will sit. There will be significant charges for delays, and perhaps even for the truck to leave your freight behind in a border warehouse, or to return the freight to its dock or even to you.
If bad paperwork happens too often, you will get a reputation, and your freight costs will increase. So also will the intensity of the scrutiny of your paperwork and freight at the border by Customs. We have had two customers whose paperwork was so bad, so frequently that we could not get trucks to take their freight until after their paperwork had been approved by their Customs Brokers. The Fair Prices for those customers reflected this cost.
Provide an after-hours contact
Help us help you, 24 / 7
You may not want us calling you when you are at home on a Sunday afternoon, or out for dinner with friends, or catching your breath on second base having just hit a double in a business league baseball game (we actually did this), but you’ll like the alternative even less.
The truck may be about to leave for the border when it learns that your freight didn’t clear customs – if we can’t reach you, your freight will be unloaded and the truck will leave without it. Regardless of how quickly the paperwork omission can be corrected after-the-fact, your freight will be delivered late, and you will be assessed handling charges.
The truck may in the midst of a full inspection at a scale-house in the middle of nowhere when the officer discovers inconsistencies between the freight and its description on your Bill Of Lading – if we can’t reach you, they may unload the freight right there on the side of the highway so the truck can leave without it (we’ve seen that happen, once with show freight that ended up missing the show). To rub it in, you, or your shipper, caused the problem, so you will get to pay for the forklift that comes out to the scale from town to unload your freight.
The truck may be stuck at the border, having left one country but not yet admitted into the next country – if we can’t reach you to get you to correct the information about the freight’s purchaser, the only way for the driver to avoid sitting in a customs compound for the weekend is to drop the trailer right there – what the truck does is wholly the driver’s choice at that point. Sitting for the weekend costs a lot of money. So does dropping the trailer and bobtailing back to it a few days later when the problem has been resolved.
Since 9/11, we are no longer allowed to make minor corrections or additions to customs paperwork on your behalf, regardless of how obvious or straightforward the correction might be. So we need to know that we are able to reach you – it is all part of establishing a Fair Price.
Don’t use inflexible pick-up or delivery appointments.
Use appointments if you must, but offer realistic options.
Appointments may be a very good and very necessary way to achieve and manage the efficient flow of trucks to and from your docks. But just as appointments improve dock efficiency, they decrease truck efficiency. In essence, appointments don’t reduce truck delays, they just move the delays off-site. Pre-determined appointments also eliminate some trucks as candidates for you shipments, simply because their previous commitments mean they cannot be sure to arrive on time.
By establishing dock appointment times, particularly for pick-ups, you are automatically reducing the number of available trucks – any truck that cannot be unloaded elsewhere early enough to arrive at your location at or before the appointment time is automatically off the list – that might otherwise be available to carry your freight. When your reduce the number of potentially available trucks, you negatively alter the supply / demand balance, which increases your Fair Price.
In addition, you are almost unavoidably asking trucks who can get to you in time for your appointment to incur waiting time – they are usually able to get to you sooner, but have to wait until the appointment time – for which they will not receive compensation, unless you are willing to pay more than you otherwise would. If they can load sooner elsewhere, even if for slightly less money, it is to their clear financial advantage to do so.
So appointments increase the cost of moving your freight. When we source trucks for appointment pick-ups or deliveries, the cost of the appointment system to truck operations must be reflected in your Fair Price.
If you are able to avoid appointments, particularly for LTL shipments, it is financially wise to do so. If you can’t avoid having appointments, try to have as flexible appointment system as possible.
Don’t use restrictive shipping or receiving hours.
Short Dock Hours = High Prices.
If your operation is such that you can ship and receive on two shifts, the attractiveness of your shipment and the availability of trucks for your shipment will increase dramatically, the reliability of the service you receive will improve, and your Fair Price will fall. By opening up your shipping and receiving hours, particularly into the evening, you are giving carriers the flexibility to serve your freight needs during off-hours when they are not nearly as busy, and when traffic is not nearly as congested, as during the day. This increased flexibility and productivity results in lower Fair Prices.
By contrast, if your shipping or receiving hours are very restricted, you will limit the number of available trucks to those who can be at your location, without excessive waiting time, during your dock window. For the trucks, this makes it both more difficult, even near impossible, and more expensive to serve you: your freight becomes less attractive, and/or less practical, and your Fair Price goes up.