How to Ask For a Freight Quote

A freight quote, or a shipping quote, is a document that provides an estimated cost of shipping cargo from its origin to its destination. The cost changes based on the information of the shipment, like its weight, dimensions, content within the shipment, and other factors.

In the shipping process, it is always a good idea to request for multiple shipping quotes from different freight companies in order to compare them. By obtaining a variety of quotes, businesses can then pick the best and most affordable offer for the services they need.  

No business wants to spend too much over their budget, so keeping shipping costs low can assist in maintaining a reasonable range of expenses. And in order to receive the most accurate freight quote, companies should give freight forwarders as much information about their shipments as possible. 

But how should people approach the requesting process? 

Initial Preparation 

The first decision that needs to be made, even before contacting freight companies, is which type of freight your shipment is best suited for. Ocean, air, and ground freight all have different advantages and disadvantages, which can factor into your final decision. You can read our previous blog post where we talked about a few key comparisons between ocean and air freight

You should also request for copies of a few documents, like the commercial invoice and packing list, from your supplier. Having these will make the quoting process smoother. 

When to Request for a Freight Quote 

The best time to start requesting freight quotes is around two weeks before your shipment is ready to be picked up. A two-week period allows you to compare several quotes, and it gives freight forwarding companies plenty of time to respond to your inquiries. With that said, some forwarders may not respond at all, so the time frame also acts as a grace period for you to eliminate those unresponsive forwarders as options.     

How to Ask for a Freight Quote 

In the current world of technology, freight companies are now reachable via online forms and emails. Many freight forwarders have simplified templates that ask for basic details to streamline the requesting process. If certain freight forwarding companies do not have an online freight quote request form, you can still always reach out to them by sending them an email with all the necessary information.  

Required Information 

Origin and Destination 

Freight forwarders need to know where your shipment needs to be picked up, and where it needs to be transported to in order to even begin drafting an approximate shipping quote. Including the city, ZIP code, or even the exact address of a warehouse or port can go a long way in receiving an accurate freight quote. 

Package Details 

Another factor that freight forwarders need to take into consideration is your shipment details. The freight quote you receive is dependent on elements such as your shipment’s weight, dimensions, container size, and whether it is a hazardous shipment or not. The freight quote will also be affected if your shipment needs extra licenses. 

Time Frame 

If you need a fast service for urgent shipments that have short deadlines, let the freight forwarders know, as transit time will also affect freight quotes. You can actually reduce significant freight costs if expediting your shipment is not a high priority, as longer transit times usually come with lower rates. 

Shipment Ready Date 

Freight rates are subject to change seasonally, so being able to provide at least an estimate of your shipment ready date will help freight forwarders respond with a more precise freight quote. The more specific the dates are, the more spot on the shipping quote will be. 

Before You Decide

Prior to fully committing to a freight forwarder, do your research and contact different forwarding companies for their freight quotes to understand the ongoing competitive rates. Your freight quote preparation list should include the shipment’s origin and destination, package details, allotted transit time frame, and the ready date.  

Contact SFI 

If you’re looking for a variety of freight quotes, contact us! The experienced professionals at Straight Forwarding Inc. can provide solutions for your shipping questions, and we can ensure that your cargo is transported safely in the shortest time possible, and for the lowest cost.