Your Freight Delivery and how it works (a step by step guide)

Lift-gate Residential DeliveryTruck making a delivery using a lift-gate.

Orders over 50SF or field tiles that cannot ship UPS ground due to the risk of breakage (the crate/pallet supports the stone tiles) ship what is called Motor-Freight (commonly called freight),  another term thrown around is LTL (means Less than Truck Load), which just means you are shipping less than a full-truck load a full truck is about 10,000SF.

This post is to help customers that are receiving a LTL delivery.

Common sense tips:

#1.  You know your area. Please if you have long/narrow roads, wooden bridges that cannot take certain weights, or if it is very difficult for large vehicles to get down your street (aka weight restrictions). UPS freight will stop at the point it can only go as far as. The UPS driver will not risk the vehicle and his career driving a potentially 30,000Lbs vehicle over a ‘light load’ bridge. If this is your home please let us know this ahead of time, so that the products that you have ordered can be delivered to your home without and breakage or any difficulties with the delivery process.  Marble is not a TV or appliance it can quickly weigh 2,000Lbs in a crate.

#2.  Our shipping terms are curbside delivery.  This means the driver will not “officially” go on your property (for cash they often do, there is a gratuity system in this business. Like others when you take a service beyond its agreed terms).  Marble is known to be one of the heavier products that we have to transfer at our company; and therefore we cannot transport it from the curbside to other parts of your home. Please be prepared that when we deliver the marble to your home, it is your responsibility to transfer the marble from the truck to your garage, or wherever you might want to store the marble. This is a very important component to the delivery process, so please keep this in mind.

The process for your shipment is as follows:

  1. You placed an order online for example 150 square feet of tiles, mosaics and trims.
  2. You are sent an email confirmation (this is our primary method of communication so please leave an email. Gmail accounts divert all emails to spam, so when you are sent the confirmation you will not personally receive the message yourself on your inbox, or receive the tracking details for your shipment. Our goal is for this not to happen to you-  we all have one of those, gmail, yahoo, etc accounts; however, this is a $2,000+ order so use a good email account.
  3. Then in 24-48 hours your order ships from our warehouse.  It will ship on a pallet or inside a wooden crate.  (The closer to 300SF the more likely it is to be inside a wooden crate).
  4. We then email you the tracking number and website of where to tracking your shipment.  The tracking number is called a PRO#.  You enter the PRO# into the “enter your PRO#” into the space on the home page and it provides you a detail of your order and it’s progress.  We provide you the tracking number around 3-4pm.  It takes about 10 hours for the freight companies to upload the number into their website, so it is best to check the following morning.
  5. THE TRACKING NUMBER IS IMPORTANT on that website tracking page is the shippers 800 number, you can call them, follow up with your order, ask questions.  You are the consignee in technical speak, so they will only communicate with you in regard to delivery times and your shipment.
  6. Your order ships from our warehouse to the freight companies main distribution center in your delivery area.
  7. The Distribution center calls you.  As of now, they have your order nearby and are ready to load your shipment onto a smaller truck for it to be delivered to you. The distribution center needs to ensure you are home and able to sign for it when they deliver the marble to your home. SO PLEASE leave a number that you will easily pick up at any hour when we need to contact you. If we are not able to reach you, the delivery process gets set back and it becomes a more complicated and time-consuming process on both ends. (I know no one likes to give out their phone number or good email address, but please do-confidentiality is extremely important to us, and we will make sure not to share your personal contact information with anyone outside our company).
  8. The delivery time will be a WINDOW (not an exact time) and that window can be quite large.  You can get a better idea of the time by calling the local terminal and asking them for a better ETA on the day.  Once the appointment time is made between you and the shipping company, then your order is loaded onto a 30′-50′ truck or a Box truck with a power lift-gate.
  9. Order is lowered down to your curbside using power lift-gate – kind of like an elevator on the back of the truck that unloads your order easily and safely.
  10. It is a curbside delivery.  Curbside delivery is a specific freight term.  It means he will not go on your property.  The shipper is not insured to go on your property.  And if you think about it, would you want them?  If they get hurt, you could be held liable for the damages (home-owners insurance).  If you are in NYC this can be a particular issue.  Please consider having the contractor on hand to receive the tile.  I am sure you do not want your shipment outside on the street in NYC any longer than it has to be.  So please co-ordinate this.
  11. The driver has a pallet truck onboard to push the shipment of the metal lift-gate plate onto the curbside (hence the term “curb-side delivery”)
  12. At this point comes signing for the delivery. The wooden crate is secure, the crate would have to be smashed in for it to have damaged the tile.  On a pallet shipment the pallets are banded and shrink wrapped.  For there to be damage the boxes would be torn and banding broken.  If it looks to be in good condition please sign for it.  If it is damaged please sign for it also,  but note on the paperwork “Shipment Damaged” (there is less than 1% chance of this happening).  If you can please take a snap with your cell phone camera of that paperwork with you writing on it “shipment damaged” then email from your phone.  A copy is always a good idea and phones make great copiers these days.
  13. Then you and your helpers move your order indoors once the pallet is pushed of the metal lift-gate.

FAQ’s:

  1. Will they bring the product into my garage?  It is “technically” curbside delivery.  But this is America and unofficially there is a gratuity system for freight deliveries. (There is a gratuity system for most services, this is no exception).  By that I mean “cash”.  This can motivate the driver to do more than his companies official terms.  I know even for my own delivery for $20.00 (now I had a easy driveway) they backed the truck up the driveway and then pushed the pallet into my garage.  For another $50.00 he would have moved it in doors.  It was his last delivery and he had time.  But this is clearly down to a) the driver b) your skills and finesse as a negotiator.
  2. The time window is 6 hours I cannot wait all day, what do I do?  You can (a) catch up on the latest Netflix shows all day, I like House of Cards or (b) on the day of the delivery contact the terminal.  Find out what number stop you are on the delivery.  Ask questions.  If you are number 8 of 8 then you will be last.  Does he have pick ups afterwards?  What time does his shift end?  If you are number five you can call back from somewhere (like work) else and find out the driver just delivered number four, then it is time to head home.  Or even better get the drivers cell phone number.  Call him.  Give him yours.  He does not have to do this, he does not get provided a company cell phone so it is his own goodwill.  Again a lot will depend on a) the driver b) your skills and finesse as a communicator and investigator.  (Please note miss the delivery and he will drive on, if they have to re-deliver you are charged a re-delivery fee that is $125.00)

Please let us know if we have missed anything and of course you can always email or call us 800-308-9359 or logistics@thebuilderdepot.com. Now take me back to www.thebuilderdepot.com please 🙂

Wooden CrateWooden Crate

Wooden Pallet

Wooden Pallet

5 Responses to Your Freight Delivery and how it works (a step by step guide)

  1. Pingback: Making contact with the shipper | the builder depot blog

  2. Pingback: Damage Policy | the builder depot blog

  3. Victoria Baker says:

    This is a condo delivery. The apartment is on the first floor. There is a doorman his name is Richard he will tell you where to leave the tile. Please call me when you are coming

    • Hi Victoria,

      It is curbside delivery, the truck drivers, UPS are not allowed cell phones for obvious reasons, driving, texting, insurance. You will be called in advance and then you will need to leave details with the doorman.

      But it is curbside, they will leave at the curbside. They will not bring inside.

      Unless this is a UPS ground sample order. Unfortunately comments on the blog about orders with no details on your order are a challenge to understand.

      Please contact our customer service department sales@thebuilderdepot.com providing the last 5 digits of your order number or call from 9am to 4pm EST.

      WordPress does not provide us to allow enough details to cover all the possibilities on a blog. But again, I have had curbside deliveries myself. Tracking is the key, watching the order and when it is coming, calling the local terminal. Then talking to the driver, it is not supposed to happen but Walmart tried to leave an electronic item I needed on the 2nd floor curbside. For $10.00 they took it upstairs, for $10.00 more, they unpacked it took away trash and set it where I needed it. America, there is a black market in getting freight things done with a small amount of cash.

      Thank you
      The Builder Depot.
      800-308-9359 (9am to 4pm) or sales@thebuilderdepot.com

  4. I agree with you.

    I will change it to Gratuity, unless anyone can come up with another name. When my mother paid the guys from Walmart to deliver my curbside delivery inside, which was against the company policy. They were so happy with the $20.00 they unpacked her TV, took away the trash and set it exactly on the TV stand where she wanted it. There was no way she could have done that. Both parties were extremely happy.

    So you are correct. It is a gratuity. It goes beyond their current level of service and takes it to another. One they are not paid to do.

    Thank you for your comment.

    The Builder Depot.

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