Recently a church needed an additional eight (8) church chairs for their worship center. The cost to place those eight chairs on a pallet, secure them, and transport them several hundred miles via a national carrier (less-than-truckload freight) was going to be $313.49. Then the church decided they could in fact use 32 chairs instead of just 8 chairs. Since we can fit 40 of these chairs on a single pallet or skid, we still needed only one pallet for this church chair order. The result was that even though the order was increased by 400%, the cost to ship the order increased by only 25% or so, to $417.98. The church asked us to help them understand how these church chair shipping rates make sense!
Well, here is the most basic reason for this seeming disparity. The primary cost for a trucking company is operating a truck from Point A to Point B. That truck will use the same amount of fuel going from Point A to Point B regardless of whether that skid has 8 chairs on it or 32 chairs on it. The cost to the trucking company for their driver and other staff involved in this delivery will not change even though the number of chairs increases.
This is why most trucking companies have a “minimum pallet charge”. This means that even if the trucking company is moving a pallet with only one chair on it, there is going to be a minimum pallet charge. This means also that it may cost the church several times more for shipping than the actual chair! We know that seems “unfair” but remember, it does cost a lot for the truck to get from Point A to Point B!