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Cost of delivery – look out!

Last night I while watching the news on TV, I saw a story on the cost of diesel fuel. Where I live I understand that diesel fuel runs about 60-80 cents more per gallon than what I pay now for unleaded. The news story showed a trucker filling his tank, and the total bill came in around $600!

The story cited the rising cost of oil and increasing demand for diesel in other countries as contributing factors to the rising prices. I am sure that the current value of our dollar has also affected the price at the pump.

Those increasing fuel prices affect the delivery cost of capital equipment. Most freight companies add a fuel surcharge to the cost of delivery. As the price of fuel fluctuates, they adjust fuel surcharges accordingly. One freight company we work with adjusts their surcharges weekly.

So what does this have to do with material handling equipment? Most of it can’t be shipped by one of the package delivery services. The brown truck is not going to deliver a pair of 42″ wide by 144″ tall pallet rack uprights. It is too large and has to ship by a motor freight carrier.

From our website, there are a couple of places where you can find the estimated cost to ship most items with a motor freight carrier. We have a standalone freight estimator, and also link to a convenient pop-up freight estimator from the product pages in our catalog. In the estimators, you only need to enter the origin zip code, the destination zip code, the weight, and the freight class for that product. This origin zip, weight, and freight class is included on every product page in the catalog, and on many other pages as well.

You may ask, why an estimated cost and not the actual cost? Remember those fuel surcharges that change every week? If you obtain a freight estimate today, there is no guarantee that the cost to ship that item will be the same next week.

Many products we sell are kept in stock, but there are others which have extended delivery times, some as long as 6-8 weeks because the product is built to order. From experience we know that any price you get today will not be valid 6-8 weeks later.

This is one of the reasons that we can’t give you a firm freight price from within the shopping cart at the time of the order. When you place an order we contact the freight companies, get a firm freight quote that considers the lead time, and send you an e-mail with the cost to ship your order. You then have the option to cancel the order if the cost of freight adds too much to the total price. Many times for a smaller order that ships by motor freight, the cost of the freight is greater than the cost of the product. We understand that may not work for you.

If you don’t want to go the freight estimator route, you can also fill out one of our product inquiry forms, and request a quote for that product including the freight.

As I started out this post talking about the price of fuel, keep in mind that it will affect the cost of delivering everything. Freight costs will continue to rise and fall as market conditions fluctuate. It can add a significant cost to your requirement which you can’t afford to ignore. After all, there is no such thing as free freight.

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Larry McGeachy has been in the material handling business since 1977. His experience includes everything from working in the warehouse, design and layout work, estimation, quoting, and his current position maintaining the Cisco-Eagle websites.