If you are an amazon FBA seller, you might wonder if LTL shipment might be cheaper than the lightweight carriers like UPS. I have recently faced the same dilemma. I experimented on both and lived (sort of) to have a tale to tell.
I have about 250 units to be shipped to FBA so I am ready for the holiday rush. I have about 1 pallet worth of goods (around 400lbs).
Moving these units via UPS will cost me the same as moving them via LTL carrier. I opted for LTL carrier in this case.
Everything was packed and ready to be shipped on Nov 2nd and the carrier didn’t really pick up the two lots until Nov 6th. My batch is split into two shipments. One of the shipment arrived and was received by AMZ in a timely manner which supported the holiday rush. Then the horror started.
One of the other shipments was just gone. No one really knew where it was and it surfaces up finally on 12/14. It took a good 40 days for one of my lots to show up at the AMZ warehouse, and because of the holiday, the lot is probably won’t get processed until 12/19. This is a bit disappointing because I need a reliable shipping partner for my business to be successful.
Honestly, it was a huge mistakes for me to risk 50% of my holiday inventory on an untested logistics vendor. I think the next logical question is when will using LTL carrier makes sense for small to mid size sellers? From a cost perspective, if you only have 1 pallet, it really does not make sense to use LTL because your pallet will be split into 2 – you might actually pay more for the shipment. Here is a break down of my back-of-the-napkin calculation.
1 Pallet – Bad idea
2 Pallets – You probably will break even with UPS depending on where you are shipping
4 Pallets – You will save a little bit more money
8 Pallets – LTL for sure…