Everything you need to know about lumper fees
Getting started in the trucking industry
There seems to be no shortage of fees when you’re in the trucking industry. And, when you’re running a business, it is important to keep your costs to a minimum so you can take home more of what you earn. Keep reading to learn more about lumper fees, including why they happen and our top tips for getting paid quickly.
What are lumper fees?
If you’re new to the trucking industry, you may not be familiar with lumper fees. A lumper fee is a fee you pay if the delivery site uses third-party workers to help load or unload your trailer contents. You’ll find lumper services at food warehousing companies, grocery distributors, and other high-volume distribution centers.
Why do lumper fees happen?
When you deliver goods to a warehouse, unloading can go way beyond dropping off the load. Quite often, shipments need to be broken down onto pallets in specific quantities and verified against a packing slip. This can be pretty time-consuming, especially if you aren’t familiar with the product and pallet configurations. Not to mention, stacking and unstacking boxes is probably not what you or your driver wants to do after a long haul.
Lumpers are most likely familiar with the product you’re delivering and can unload freight faster and more efficiently. They also understand the requirements of the location receiving the shipment. Lumpers may negotiate to team up on more demanding loads. For these reasons, lumpers can save you time and help prevent frustration. It happens all the time: a driver is unwilling to pay a lumper fee and attempts to unload it themselves, only to sulk back and try and negotiate with a lumper to finish the job. This is not a strong position for negotiation.
The pandemic has also increased the need for lumpers, as some companies are short-staffed or prefer to minimize contact with drivers. With social distancing guidelines in place, it may take longer to unload a trailer without additional help.
How much are lumper fees?
You can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars for lumper services. Lumper service availability, the type of work to be done, and the amount of time it will take to perform the job all factor into the lumper fee. As the owner of a trucking business, understanding these factors will help you negotiate a fair rate.
Lumper service availability, the type of work to be done, and the amount of time it will take to perform the job all factor into the lumper fee. As the owner of a trucking business, understanding these factors will help you negotiate a fair rate.Share Tweet!
Lumpers typically stick with one warehouse or grocery chain, so it’s in their best interest to keep the truck driver and the company happy. Too many complaints about overcharging lumping fees or working too slow can take away the lumper’s bread and butter.
It is perfectly ok to negotiate on price and time. If you aren’t in a hurry, you can certainly use that as a bargaining chip. You can also ask the lumper how they calculated their fee. Understanding the logic helps identify opportunities to counter and better prepares you for the next time.
Tricks of the trade
Ask the lumper how long will it take them to unload the freight. Once you agree, you should specifically agree on a time of completion. Lumping can be an opportunistic profession. If other truck drivers are willing to pay a little more to get back on the road, the lumper may delay unloading your shipment for one that is more lucrative. Yes, it’s unprofessional, but it’s also not uncommon.
Make sure the lumper understands the requirements to break down the shipment. Before payment, make sure the receiving company is satisfied with how the lumper broke down the load. If you pay before you verify and the lumper stacked to the wrong height or used the incorrect row configuration, you may be left doing all the re-stacking.
Getting paid for lumper fees
The good news is that lumper fees are negotiable and often reimbursable by the shipper or freight broker. The bad news is that reimbursement can be a painful and cumbersome process. If not appropriately managed, lumper fees become another item to manually account for in your already busy schedule. This takes time away from running your business and making money.
Trucking doesn’t need to be stressful
Take advantage of your free consultation today and see how SmartHop can help you jumpstart your business.