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Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions about freight shipping. Please select the category of your question topic below to jump to a list of related questions.

Question Categories

General Shipping Freight Class/NMFC Weight/Dimensions
Quotes/Rates & Fees Bill of Lading Transit Times
Instructions/What to do Packaging/Crating Tracking & Claims

General Shipping

Q: When Should I use a Common Freight Carrier?

A: If your package weighs more than 150 lbs, it is too heavy for a parcel service and you will need a common freight carrier. 
LTL (Less than Truckload) carriers will transport shipments weighing anywhere from 100 to 10,000 lbs.  If your shipment weighs more than 8,000 lbs, it may take up an entire truck which means you will need a FTL (Full Truckload) carrier.  We provide both LTL and FTL freight carriers.
Q: What is the Standard Procedure of a Common Freight Carrier?
A: The standard procedure is a truck driver backing up to a loading dock for the shipment to be loaded by the shipper then driving the shipment to the destination loading dock to be unloaded by the consignee. Any additional services required outside of the standard procedure, may require additional fees called accessorials.
Q: How will my shipment be transported with a LTL Freight Carrier?
A: Your shipment will be transported via truck along with other customer's shipments so that the costs of transportation are shared which makes LTL transportation economical and affordable.
Q: How will my shipment be transported with a FTL Freight Carrier?
A: If your shipment is large enough to take up the entire truck space, it is a "full truckload" and will be transported via truck all by itself. If your shipment does not quite require the entire space, it is considered a "partial truckload" and will be transported via truck along with another partial load.

Instructions/What to do

Q: Do I need to call the carrier after scheduling with you?
A: No, we will take care of this for you. Please do not call the freight carrier or terminal as this will duplicate the pickup.
Q: What do I need to do after scheduling my shipment?
A:  Print 2 Copies of the bill of lading and make sure your shipment is properly packaged. The only other thing you need to do is have your shipment ready along with the bill of ladings on the designated pick up day. Give 1 copy of the Bill of lading to the driver to go with the shipment and the other copy is to be signed by the driver, with pro label affixed, for you to keep. You may also want to send the consignee (receiving party) a copy of the bill of lading as well.
Q: What if my shipment is not ready when the driver comes?
A: Usually the driver will not wait and will be dispatched to come out again the next day. This will delay your transit time and you will be responsible for a duplicated pick up fee if the carrier charges P.A.F for the 2nd pick up. Please have your shipment ready.

Freight Class/NMFC #

Q: What is freight class?
A: Freight Class refers to the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) and it is the category of your freight as defined by the  National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA).
Your shipment's freight class determines the carrier's shipping charges. There are 18 freight classes ranging from class 50 (the least expensive) to class 500 (most expensive).  The class of your shipment is determined by its contents and NMFC item number.
Q: What is a NMFC Number?
A: This is the item number that specifically identifies each type of product that can be shipped by a LTL carrier. The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) assigns NMFC item #'s to all products along with a freight class. The NMFC # identifies what you are shipping and it's freight class.
Q: How does Freight Class & NMFC # affect my shipment?
A:  Your product NMFC # identifies the freight class and the freight class determines your shipping charges. For this reason, it is critical that you know the correct NMFC # and freight class in order to receive accurate freight charges and to ensure that the carrier does not re-class your shipment which could result in a higher shipping charge.
Q: How do I find out my Freight Class and NMFC #?
A: All classes and NMFC #'s are catalogued in the NMFC Tariff for freight carriers. Any freight carrier can look this information up for you.  You may also call the NMFTA direct at: (703) 838-1810 or please visit our freight class page for more details.

Weight & Dimensions

Q: Does weight have to be accurate or can I estimate?
A: Yes, shipment weight needs to be accurate because your shipping charge is based partly on weight.  If your shipment is inaccurately weighed, it is subject to being re-weighed by the carrier which could result in an additional charge. Re-weighing may also delay delivery.
Q: Do I also need to provide the shipment dimensions?
A: You only need to provide package measurements for international shipments as they are based on weight and dimensions. Domestic shipment charges are based on freight class and weight.
Q: What is Dimensional Weight?
A:  Dimensional weight (also referred to as "dim" weight) considers a package's density, which is the amount of space a package occupies in relation to its actual weight. Dimensional weight is used when packages are large in volume, but do not weigh much. For example, the shipping charge of a large box of popcorn or inflated balloons may be based on the dimensional weight because of the amount of space it takes on an aircraft.
Q:  How do I know if dimensional weight applies?
A: If the actual weight of your shipment is less than the calculated dimensional weight, the dimensional weight applies. Carrier's determine freight charges based on either the gross weight of the shipment or the dimensional weight, whichever is greater.
Q: How do I calculate my dimensional weight?
A: For Domestic Shipments:
L x W x H (cubic inches) / 194 = Dimensional Weight.
Example: 30" x 24" x 22" = 15,840 / 194 = 82 lbs. (round up to the nearest pound)

For International Shipments:
L x W x H (cubic inches) / 166 = Dimensional Weight.
Example: 30" x 24" x 22" = 15,840 / 166 = 96 lbs. (round up to the nearest pound)



Quotes/Rates & Fees

Q: What are your Rates and Fees?
A: Unlike most freight forwarders and brokers, we do not charge any service fees.  We pass our discounted rates direct from the carriers on to you. Click here to get instant online rate quotes from all our partner carriers and save 51-73% off regular carrier prices.
Q: How do you get such low rates?
A: We've established partnerships with the leading freight carriers and connections over the past 21 years that have given us the ability to negotiate low rates. We receive large discounts from our partner carriers based on our shipping volume.
Q: Can I go direct to the carrier and ship with them?
A: Yes you certainly can, but you will pay regular prices; unless you are a shipping company, freight forwarder or freight broker and you move enough shipments for them to give you a discount. With our discounts rates, we can save you at least 51-73% off regular carrier prices and we'll completely take care of your shipment and do all the work for you.
Q: Are your rate quotes guaranteed?
A: To ensure that you receive the discounted rate that we have quoted, you must provide the truck driver with a copy of the P.A.F Bill of lading that is provided when you schedule your shipment.  If you do not use our bill of lading,  you will be billed the full shipping price direct from the carrier.
Q: What are accessorial fees?
A: Any additional services required outside of the standard shipping procedure require additional fees from the carrier called accessorials. These include extra services such as: inside pick up, inside delivery, lift gate service, residential delivery etc.

Please indicate any needed services on the quote form and the fees will be included in your quotes.  If your shipment ends up needing any of these extra services and you did not indicate so when obtaining your quote, you will be charged for them when P.A.F is charged by the carrier.

Residential fee: Carriers define a business zone as a location that opens and closes to the public at set times every day.  If you are a business located in a residential zone, (among personal homes or dwellings) or are shipping to or from a residence, the carrier may charge an additional residential fee.  When obtaining quotes through our system, select "residence" for location type and the carrier's residential fee will be included in your quotes.

Inside Pick up & Inside Delivery fees: If the driver is required to go inside (beyond the front door or loading dock), to pick up or deliver your shipment, instead of remaining at the dock or truck, additional fees will be charged. When obtaining quotes through our system, check off inside pick up and or inside delivery and the carrier's fee will be included in your quotes.

Lift gate service fee: When the origin or destination location does not have a loading dock, manual loading or unloading is necessary. This requires a lift gate, which is a motorized platform attached to the back of certain trucks that can raise a shipment from the ground up to the truck trailer or vice versa. When obtaining quotes through our system, check off lift gate and the carrier's lift gate fee will be included in your quotes.

2nd/Duplicated Pick up fee: Any failed delivery attempt will be assessed a minimal fee by the carrier. If your shipment is not ready when the driver comes, it will be dispatched for pick up again the next business day and P.A.F may be charged a duplicated pick up fee, which we may pass on to you. Please have your shipment ready on the designated pick up day.


Bill of Lading

Q: What if I want to use my own Bill of Lading (BOL)?
A: Opting to use your own BOL will result in a void of P.A.F's rate quote and being billed the full price direct from the carrier. In certain circumstances, such as the shipper not wanting the consignee to know that they used our freight service, we can make a special anonymous BOL for you. Please inquire about your situation for BOL arrangements.

Service Transit Times

Q: Are transit times guaranteed?
A: Only "Guaranteed Service" transit times are guaranteed.  All other transit times are reliable but not 100% guaranteed. Please note: transit times do not include the day of pickup.
Q: Can I schedule my shipment and have it picked up the same day?
A: Freight Carriers require a four hour pickup window and usually pick up in the morning and deliver in the afternoon. Sometimes we can arrange same day pick up, however it is not guaranteed. Please contact us to discuss your pickup needs.

Packaging, Crating & Pallets

Q: How should I package my shipment?
A: Your shipment should be packaged properly to ensure that it is delivered safely. Improper packaging may void the carrier's liability for damage. Please view our packaging guidelines & tips for help with proper packaging, crating and using pallets.

Tracking & Claims

Q: How do I track my shipment?
A: Please visit our online tracking page to track your shipment.
Q: What is the Claims Process?
A: Claims are handled directly by the freight carrier. P.A.F is not involved in the carrier claims process and has no influence on the claim outcome. You must file your claim with the carrier within 15 days of delivery or 5 days if there is concealed damage.

If you purchased additional cargo insurance through us, you must file with the carrier and P.A.F. Please visit our online claims page for instructions on how to file your claim and forms.



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