Residential shipping with Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) is a great alternative to hiring movers, but there are some key differences that should be noted before you ship freight from or to a residence. In this Freight Paper we’ll discuss the basic facts about residential LTL shipping, as well things to keep in mind to avoid unplanned additional charges such as liftgates and limited access charges.
The first thing to keep in mind with LTL residential shipping is that LTL is NOT small package shipping like you’ll find in post office shipping, or UPS. Most LTL shipments will be over 100lbs and packaged using pallets, crates, or bundles. Check out our freight shipping guide if you need a primer on the basics of LTL shipping.
A residential delivery fee is an additional service offered by the freight carrier for any and all shipments that are picking up or delivering to a residence. As LTL shipping uses dry vans and larger trucks, sometimes it can be difficult to maneuver residential streets. Both pickup and delivery will be separate charges for most carriers – so there will be a residential pickup charge as well as a residential delivery charge. This charge fluctuates depending on what freight carrier you are using to move your shipment, so ask your freight broker how much residential fees will be before you ship. If you’re quoted with residential pickup/delivery before you ship, the information will be on the Bill of Lading used at pickup.
Because most LTL shipments are loaded and unloaded on docks, a liftgate will be needed for ALL residential pickups and deliveries. The carrier will need this information before making the pickup/delivery because not all trucks have liftgates on them. A special truck will need to be dispatched to accommodate the residential streets as well as liftgates, so it’s important to have this information on the BOL before pickup or delivery is attempted. Same as the residence charges, liftgate charges will be applied for both pickup and delivery, unless you’re using a carrier that does not have an additional charge for liftgates. If you are shipping to residences often, it’s a good idea to find a carrier that will not charge for liftgates each and every time. Talk to your freight broker about finding a carrier that waives residential fees, or has a special FAK between the broker and carrier.
Before the freight carrier makes a residential delivery or pickup, they will call the shipper/consignee to confirm the pickup or delivery time window. Because residences are not proper businesses, their hours fluctuate more than the standard 8am-5pm offices. This makes it vital to have the correct contact name and phone number on the BOL. It’s important to note the appointment for residential freight because this will add an extra day of transit in most instances, and possible further delays if the carrier can’t get in touch with the shipper/consignee to set the appointment. Setting the delivery appointment can only be done by the carrier, and is included in the residential charge, making it different from a notify consignee accessorial.
A common misconception with residential LTL shipping is that the freight carrier is a moving company, and will come into your house, pack up what you need to move, and put it on their truck. This is absolutely false. LTL freight carriers are NOT white glove movers. Because of liability issues, LTL carriers and their drivers cannot enter a residence under any circumstances. For residential shipping, the freight will need to be packaged and on the street or porch for the carrier to handle the freight. However, there is an additional service that can be paid for called Inside Delivery. Contrary to its name, the freight carrier STILL can’t take the freight inside your house. Instead, Inside Delivery can be used to pick up or delivery freight to a porch or garage – closer to the house than the street or curb.
In today’s world, many people work from their home office. But in LTL shipping the physical address determines whether a location is residence or business. So even though you run your business out of your home, the freight carrier considers that location a residence, and the residential pickup/delivery fee will apply. Be sure to let your freight broker know if your business location is a residential address. This will help avoid any shipping delays.