4 Ways To Avoid The Price Hikes of Short-Mile Weekend Shipping


Look, we get it. You want to make the most of your shipping dollars in the most convenient way possible. It’s not your fault that short-mile shipments are so expensive over weekend days. 

You shouldn’t have to choose between cost savings and convenience. But in this situation, you might have to. Short-mile weekend loads can be really difficult on truck drivers as they work to make the most of their on-duty hours. 

Without planning well, shippers with these requirements can find themselves with minuscule portions of their budgets intact. In turn, the margin that these companies were hoping to make dwindles with each transaction, pushing them further toward the red.

But this doesn’t have to happen to you. Not this weekend.

Here at ATS, we route a lot of freight for a lot of companies. Some of them move freight over the weekend, while others pointedly avoid doing so. Either way, every shipper we’ve ever worked with has done whatever they could to avoid price increases. And, today, you’ll avoid some as well. 

When it comes to those short-mile weekend loads you’re looking to move there are four methods for easing the prices of freight with these requirements. Over the years, doing these things has saved shippers, with needs similar to yours, plenty of money. And, they’ll likely help you in the future. 

Four things that will help you avoid paying more than you need to for short-mile weekend freight are:

  1. Consider adjusting your timeframes
  2. Maintain a good network of providers
  3. Offer flexible loading and unloading hours
  4. Add driver-friendly practices to your operations

Let’s talk about each of them. 

1. Consider Adjusting Your Timeframes

The easiest way to substantially decrease your freight rates will be to adjust your timeframes. Although this might not always be possible, when it is, you’ll want to do so. 

Paying a driver to haul a short-mile load over a weekday will be far more affordable than asking that same trucker to do so over a weekend. No matter what.

As such, consider communicating with your consignee to coordinate an adjusted schedule. 

Perhaps next Tuesday for delivery would work better than Monday? This would allow you to schedule a Monday afternoon pick-up — which can be less challenging and more affordable than Monday morning

Maybe your consignee can have people on-site for a quick Saturday morning unload? This, in turn, would make your needs far more convenient for area truckers that want to get the most from their hours of service (HOS).

2. Maintain a Good Network of Providers

Relationships are important in the transportation industry. Only with solid partnerships can companies, like yours, truly maximize their supply chains and budgets. 

For this reason, moving your freight over a weekend — no matter the distance — will be a lot easier with a good network of providers. Good transportation companies are experts in their craft. And, with the wind of their support at your back, cost savings won’t be too far off. 

Communicate your needs, timelines and goals. The right providers will lean on their competencies and expertise to match your requirements to your budget.

Related: How Many Transportation Providers Should You Have? (and how to choose)

3. Offer Flexible Loading Hours

Rigid requirements — especially without proper lead time — make it more difficult for trucking companies to provide their service. For this reason, if you’re unable to shift away from moving your short-haul freight over a weekend, adding some flexibility to your pick-up add drop-off timeframes will help substantially. 

Often, shippers hold to rigid appointment times when sourcing for truck capacity. Doing so makes it hard for truckers to stick to their pre-planned schedules and scheme out their HOS. 

In turn, companies that hold to strict pick and drop appointments see their pool of viable transportation options dwindle as area truckers struggle to make these requirements work with previous offloads, long offload times, and deadhead distances. 

Angling your appointments away from a strict timestamp like “9 a.m. on Friday '' to a wider window of “between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Friday '' will expand your transportation options substantially. 

If this is possible on your end, ask your consignee to do the same on theirs. The results you see will be undeniable. 

4. Add Driver Friendly Practices To Your Operations

The willingness of the overall trucking market is a large piece dictating the price you pay to get your load moved. In recent history — a history that has seen the rise of an unprecedented truck driver shortage and supply chain congestion — this has only become more evident. 

As a logistics professional who’s constantly looking for good carriers with good track records and good intentions, appealing to truckers is crucial. 

When adding a new carrier to your network, they’re not the only one being evaluated. The way you treat them, the things you do to make them comfortable and their job’s easier matters. 

And, in the interest of saving some money on your short-mile loads over the weekend, adding some driver-friendly practices to your operations can’t hurt. 

What do we mean?

To make interacting with your business more desirable for truckers, consider doing any of the following things:

  • Offer overnight parking services. 
  • Give details on where to park and enter the facility.
  • Give accurate shipment details.
  • Consider lighter-weight shipments where possible.
  • Offer driver-accessible amenities.
  • Prioritize driver experience.

If these seem like things you’d be capable of doing, check out our article on this topic for more information! 


Reduce Your Freight Costs With These Tools

Now that you have a better understanding of why it’s so difficult — and therefore expensive — for transportation companies to move short-haul loads over a weekend, and have some tools to avoid paying more, let’s talk about other cost savings tactics. 

Here at ATS, we’re all about helping great companies, like yours, take their shipping dollars further. 

To that end, we’ve compiled a library of tools that we update frequently, including:

If you’d like to be the first to know about helpful pieces of educational content like these as soon as they come out, subscribe to our blog notifications today

Finally, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns you may have. We have a rich history of helping companies move their short-haul weekend freight at price points that don’t break the bank. 

Tags: Transportation Services, Freight Brokerage, Route Planning, Contract Rate Pricing, Spot Rate Pricing

Josh Rivers

Written by Josh Rivers

Josh has been with ATS for over six years, in a number of positions. Today, as an ATS Logistics sales team manager, Josh enjoys helping his team of sales representatives develop the skills their customers need and creating a culture of excellence within a group of talented transportation experts.

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