Have you found yourself querying phrases like “How much for a drop trailer” on your favorite search engine? Not sure whether you need a standard drop trailer or a double drop deck trailer? Considering using a drop trailer service, but not sure what benefits it offers over other transportation solutions?
If any of this sounds familiar, then this guide is for you. Below, we explain what a drop trailer service is and outline the benefits of this transportation solution. We also provide important information like drop deck trailer dimensions.
What Is a Drop Trailer Service?
At times, trucking and logistics terminology can be somewhat confusing. Fortunately, this is not the case when it comes to drop deck semi-trailers. A drop trailer service is precisely what it sounds like — the trucking company will drop the trailer at the delivery location as opposed to waiting around for it to be unloaded.
When scheduling transportation services, shippers or receivers have the option to request drop trailer services. This service, like any other, comes at a cost.
However, this cost is factored into the delivery quotes that shippers receive. More importantly, opting for this extra service can actually lead to long-term savings and several other benefits, which will be discussed in greater detail below.
How Do Drop Trailer Services Work?
When you arrange for drop trailer services, the carrier will leave the trailer at the delivery site. This setup gives the shipper the freedom to load the trailer at a time that fits their schedule.
Likewise, receivers do not have to scramble to unload a shipment as soon as it arrives at their facility. The driver benefits because they can simply drop their trailer and proceed to their next destination.
Typically, companies participating in a drop trailer program will already have an empty trailer on site. This arrangement means that drivers can drop off the trailer containing the shipment and then connect to the empty trailer before proceeding to their next destination.
Keep in mind that most companies have a maximum drop trailer window of seven days. This window means that the carrier will return for their equipment within one week of the drop-off date.
Some carriers have even shorter drop windows. Therefore, receivers must ensure that they unload the trailer within a reasonable amount of time after it is dropped at their facility.
With that being said, drop trailer services are quite easy to use. If you are a shipper, simply ask your carrier about using these services. They will be able to provide specific details about the cost of their program.
If you are a receiver, you may need to discuss the availability of drop trailer services with both the shipper and carrier, especially if they cover a portion of transportation costs.
Shippers and receivers should also notify the carrier if they need specialty trailers. For example, standard drop-deck trailers will be either 48 feet or 53 feet in length. These trailers are versatile enough to accommodate many types of cargo.
However, if a shipper needs to transport heavy machinery or other tall cargo, they need to request a double drop deck trailer.
When Are Drop Trailer Services Commonly Used?
From the carrier’s perspective, drop trailer programs make a ton of sense. By investing in additional equipment so that their trailer to truck ratio is two-to-one, carriers can bolster their revenue streams.
While dropped trailers do not generate as much money as in-transit trailers, they produce more revenue than trailers that are not currently in use.
Shippers and receivers often request drop trailer services to increase their fulfillment capabilities and flexibility. If a receiver routinely has dropped trailers on site with products, they will be able to fulfill orders faster and provide a better purchasing experience for consumers.
Average Drop Trailer Service Cost
Drop trailer costs will vary based on a wide array of factors. The primary factor that impacts the cost of drop trailer services is the length of time that the equipment is left at the facility. Most carriers charge per day for drop services.
Another factor to consider is the type of trailer that you request. Drop services involving a standard trailer will be cheaper than a double drop deck trailer.
The latter is only used to haul particularly tall cargo. Therefore, most carriers do not have many of these trailers in their fleet. As a result, they charge more when clients request they leave that type of trailer at the receiving facility.
6 Benefits of Drop Trailer Services
Now that we have covered the basics of drop deck semi-trailers, let’s outline 6 advantages of using this service. The benefits of drop trailer services include the following:
1. Load-Time Flexibility
Attempting to coordinate a warehouse’s schedule with the arrival time of a shipment can be a logistical nightmare. If a driver encounters a delay, the warehouse team will need to stop waiting and start fulfilling orders or engaging in other productive activities.
However, they must stop what they are doing and get to work unloading new shipments as soon as they arrive.
Drop trailer services eliminate this headache because they allow warehouse personnel to unload trucks at their convenience. If they are in the middle of fulfilling a time-sensitive order, they can complete that task before unloading the trailer that just arrived.
2. Better Service Levels
Modern drop trailer programs have a positive impact on drivers and carriers as well. When drivers are not delayed by warehouse-related unloading issues, they can efficiently proceed to their next shipment as soon as they disconnect from their trailer and obtain another one.
This setup minimizes driver delays and helps them make the most of their allotted 11 hours of daily drive time.
3. Reduced Shipping Costs
A drop trailer program can be a major cost-saving tool. It allows shippers and receivers to eliminate many hidden shipping costs, such as:
When shipping and receiving facilities delay drivers departing the facility due to loading/unloading inefficiencies, they are “detaining” them. Carriers charge shippers a detention fee for the lost productivity caused by these delays.
A layover fee is charged when trailers have to be unexpectedly left at a shipper’s facility overnight due to warehouse inefficiencies. These unscheduled drops can wreak havoc on a carrier’s schedule, which is why they normally charge hundreds of dollars for a layover.
Driver Assist Charges
If a driver has to assist warehouse staff in unloading or loading the truck, the shipper will be charged a driver assist fee. This fee usually ranges from $100 to $150.
When shippers and carriers participate in a trailer drop-off program, they can avoid all of these fees. As long as they load or unload the trailer before the driver arrives to pick it up, shippers can avoid incurring any fees at all.
4. No Need for Extra Equipment
Signing up for drop services does not require shippers or carriers to invest in any new equipment. Dropped trailers can be loaded or unloaded in the same manner as trailers that are attached to trucks. This setup means that companies can start leveraging a drop trailer without investing in new equipment or changing their receiving operations.
5. Increased On-Time Delivery Rates
When using drop services, companies typically arrange for loads to be delivered several days earlier than they would if using normal shipping solutions. As a result, businesses are less likely to encounter fulfillment or supply chain issues.
This arrangement means that they can increase their on-time delivery rates and provide better service to customers.
6. Better Control of Schedule
By transitioning to a trailer drop delivery model, businesses can regain control of their schedules. They can make adjustments on the fly to fulfill customer orders while also ensuring that they unload trailers before the pickup deadline.
Put simply, drop trailer services provide businesses with the flexibility they need to become more competitive in the modern marketplace.
Should My Business Use Drop Deck Semi Trailers?
If your company wants more unloading flexibility, is looking for a way to avoid detention and layover fees, and does not mind paying a little more for shipping, then drop trailer services might be a great option.
However, these services are not suitable when perishable goods are involved. That is why the majority of drop services involve flatbed or drop deck trailers only.
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