5 Problems Truckers Face Doing LTL Trucking and How to Solve Them

Truck Driver and Dashboard of Big Rig

LTL trucking means ‘LESS THAN TRUCKLOAD’ freight loads.

An LTL freight shipment consists of multiple shipments of various commodities, variable size and weight, to make up one full truck load of freight.

Most trucking companies will use their city trucks to pick up freight from multiple customers and bring it to their dock and arrange it for loading onto a trailer.

The driver then delivers each shipment to the respective consignees.

Sounds simple enough.

However, LTL deliveries can present some issues for the truck driver.

Although it isn’t part of the drivers job, it isn’t unusual for the driver to be asked or expected to assist with the unloading of shipments at his delivery destinations, often without extra pay.


Here are the 5 biggest problems I’ve personally experienced when doing LTL loads.

5 Problems With LTL Freight Deliveries

1. Lack of Space to Maneuver a Truck and Trailer

Busy City Street

Many LTL freight loads originate from load brokers, to help fill the trailer for extra revenue.

Often the driver is required to make these deliveries to receivers which normally don’t receive deliveries from big trucks.

Drivers will arrive at the receiver, park on the street, walk onto the property  to find the loading dock only to find out it is going to be a nightmare to back into!

There are often telephone poles, fire hydrants, dumpsters, employee cars fill the parking lot with only 30′ or so of space to back in a 53′ trailer!

At this point, the driver has a problem.

After the driver then explains his problem to the receiver, the receiver often replies with the famous line, many experienced truck drivers who have done a lot of LTL trucking have heard, ” We get trucks in here ALL the time. You can easily get your truck in here.”

I personally have heard this hundreds of times in my trucking career!

What these receivers don’t realize is that a UPS delivery truck isn’t in the same league as a conventional style big rig with a 53′ trailer!

They just do not realize how much room a truck requires to maneuver into a loading dock without doing damage.

Related > How to Back Up a Tractor Trailer Like a Boss

2. Time Sucker

Time on Fire

It takes a lot of time to peddle an LTL load.

If you have 3 drops in Chicago, it could literally take all day.

Chicago is a huge city.

The average company driver isn’t paid for his first drop (why I don’t know, but that’s usually the standard!)

Each additional drop may pay on the average of about $25. In this case, what MAY take the drive most of the day, would only pay $50! (2 dropsX$25)

Most companies don’t pay mileage for between the drops. If they do, the mileage doesn’t add much onto the net pay.

The LTL deliveries in such a case also costs a driver, his Hours of Service.

The electronic log clock is ticking as the driver drives around to all of the stops throughout the day.

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3. LTL Freight Loads Are Usually By Appointment Only 

Appointment on Schedule

Many LTL receivers receive by appointment only. Grocery warehouses are famous for this.

Delays happen frequently in the trucking business. If a driver misses his appointment, he could have to wait for the receiver to take his freight the next day!

This scenario also presents a low pay out for the driver and eats away at his time and hours of service.

Related Article > Truck Driver Tips For Handling High Risk Deliveries

4. Demanding Customers 

Unhappy Customer

Often the receivers for the small amounts of freight think their freight takes priority over other freight. These customers can be seriously demanding.

They don’t have any concern about any of the other freight on the truck, only theirs.

The customers hound the dispatcher, and the dispatcher hounds the truck driver.

They often want custom express service for the standard LTL trucking rates, like the type of service they may expect from a UPS shipment.

5. Insufficient Pay 

Money stacked up

LTL deliveries can mean a lot of extra work for the driver, for which he is often not compensated for.

Usually pickups and drops pay from $15-30 each to the driver. If pay for LTL work is solely paid by the pick up and the drop, this method will not adequately compensate the driver for his time and efforts.

When compared to highway driving, where the driver is paid by the mile, a few days of driving would pay around $200/day X 2 = $400.

The same 2 days if a driver was delivering 8 LTL shipments 7 X 25 = $175 and maybe about 50-75 in mileage. = $225.

The trucking company will certainly profit from the driver’s efforts and time. But the driver does not.

But, unless the trucking company pays by the hour for LTL deliveries, LTL trucking is something most drivers should avoid.

There’s simply not enough pay for the time invested and the efforts required.

Related > By the Hour Pay For the Trucker

Adequate Pay For LTL Deliveries

In order that the truck driver be paid fairly for LTL pickups and deliveries…

  • Hourly pay is one fair way to compensate a driver. An hourly wage for LTL pick ups and deliveries can be quite lucrative for the professional driver. Otherwise, the driver is NOT compensated adequately.
  • Pay For Each Drop & Pickup . If the driver is paid/mile, they should also be well compensated for EACH LTL delivery, not $10 for each drop and pickup.

Being employed with a trucking company which doesn’t compensate their drivers well for the extra work and time spent delivering LTL shipments, means you are giving away your time for free.

If the trucking company you want to work is primarily an LTL trucking company  be sure the pay is fair.  Before accepting a truck driving job with a trucking company which is primarily an LTL carrier, check out the method of pay for fair compensation.  Think about how much it pays for the work you do. Calculate how much money you will net from your work.

We are in this profession as professional drivers to profit, not for the sake of the carrier’s profit only.

This is your livelihood. The object of the game is to make money.

I want you to make money, not be somebody’s slave doing your job.

Truck Driver Standing Beside Blue Peterbilt

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