What You Need to Know About Shipping Kitchens

Brandon Draga

Unless you’re exclusively manufacturing local kitchens, likely, you don’t have your own company trucks for delivery. Many businesses need to contract out the shipping to ensure that your cabinets arrive in their new home in perfect condition. Sourcing your rates from multiple carriers can be too slow, difficult, and time-consuming, especially for such large shipments. 

Less Than Truckload (LTL) freight shipping is the transportation of a volume of products that do not require or fill the space of an entire trailer; typically, LTL freight weighs between 150 and 10,000 lbs. With LTL, there are generally other separate LTL shipments being transported on one truck. For most LTL shippers, most deliveries are likely B2B. But when it comes to manufacturing kitchens, many of these deliveries will be B2C and have a residential destination. Naturally, any time a full-sized transport truck needs to navigate anything other than a freight-friendly environment, there will be challenges. So, what does this mean when you start considering residential shipping? 

Residential vs. Commercial: What’s the Difference?

As the name suggests, residential shipping refers to shipping to or from a residential address, such as a house or condo building, versus shipping to a commercial address, typically designed to accommodate freight trucks. At a glance, the difference between residential and commercial shipping seems clear; however, like much of the shipping world, many variables come into play when carriers designate an address as residential. Arguably the most critical distinction between residential and commercial shipping is that residential shipping carries additional fees.

Why Does Residential Shipping Cost More?              

The short answer: delivery to residential locations requires substantially more work than commercial locations. As mentioned above, commercial locations are typically designed to accommodate freight trucks. This involves space for trucks to maneuver and a dock for loading and receiving goods. Because residential areas usually lack at least one of these two key elements, carriers need to utilize additional services to account for this.

Liftgate

When discussing residential surcharges, a liftgate is typically the most common one. Liftgates are hydraulic platforms that allow pallets to be raised or lowered safely from a truck to ground level, and not every truck comes equipped with one. Liftgates are essential for any delivery or pickup where a dock is unavailable.

Traffic Restrictions

By and large, you need 53′ trucks for LTL shipping. While this is undoubtedly the most efficient way to transport such large shipments, there are limitations on where trucks this large can travel. Often urban and residential areas will have bylaws restricting the size of vehicles that can travel on given roads. As a result, carriers will need to use smaller trucks or rely on short-haul services in these instances.

Inside Delivery

Typically, residential LTL delivery stops at the driveway. However, a customer will require delivery into their residence or home office in some cases, like when delivering a whole kitchen. In cases such as these, carriers will charge for a white-glove service, in which trained delivery people can safely transport LTL items to a given location inside a residential building. Be aware that these types of services come with additional fees due to the extra touchpoint required by the carrier. 

As is often the case, if a shipper fails to book the proper services for a delivery, extra charges are soon to follow. When talking specifically about residential services, one can almost guarantee that a carrier will apply a non-delivery fee and retroactively apply fees for the necessary residential services. As the shipper, you pay more than you need to, and your shipment winds up being delayed. 

How Do You Manage Residential Shipping Fees?

The reality of residential shipping is that there is no real way around paying the fees associated with it. That being said, there are ways to mitigate the costs, reduce potential pain points, and tailor a better shipping experience for you and your customers.

First and foremost, you must double-check all information about the location. As mentioned above, residential services involve specialized vehicles and staff. As such, any residential services you require must be booked with your carrier in advance of the pickup or delivery.

It’s essential to note that what is and isn’t considered a residential area is often up to the carrier’s discretion. Because of this, it is worthwhile to obtain quotes from as many carriers as possible to ensure you aren’t paying unnecessary fees. 

Brandon Draga is a full-time content writer at Freightcom, the leading shipping solution for businesses in Canada. When Brandon is not writing content to help businesses with their shipping needs, he can be found at local skate parks or writing fantasy novels.

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