Residential Delivery Guide

Residential Delivery Guide

This is designed to be a brief overview for shippers and receivers on residential deliveries. Note that the carriers define a residential delivery as a delivery to any location which people will legally inhabit, such as single family homes, apartments, condominiums and farms.

Residential deliveries require more labor on the part of the carrier because typically the deliveries take the truck driver out of their normal route to do one delivery, where in their route area they would be capable of doing several deliveries in the same time frame. There is also a tendency for receivers to step out and leave their homes unattended for periods of time which requires carriers to have to schedule appointments.

Here are a few tips to help everyone have a better experience:


  1. When preparing the shipping documents, note that a “residential delivery” is required if it is in fact delivering to someone’s place of residence.
  2. Give a contact name and phone number for the carrier. (Cell phone is best since not everyone is home all day.) They will have to set an appointment for delivery. A carrier will not set an appointment for delivery until the freight arrives in the delivering terminal. Adding “Call for Delivery Appointment” on the BOL ensures a call will be made in advance of the delivery.
  3. Delivery times will require a 2 to 4 hour window for the delivery, if the receiver wants a delivery after 6 p.m. then be sure that is stated at the time of the original quote. Carriers charge a premium for “After Hours Deliveries” Expect at least a $175.00 surcharge for this service.
  4. If the order contains any one piece over 75 lbs this will require a liftgate, be sure to note that at the time of the quote. Carriers are doing this to reduce potential driver injury, consignee injury or damage to the product trying to offload a heavy item from a 40 inch tall truck. The liftgate fee that is charged is much less than the cost of an injury or damaged product.
  5. Get an approximate delivery date from the carrier or 3PL and let your customer know that they will be expected to be available to receive the call to set an appointment.
  6. Advise your customer that extra charges will be incurred if the receiver misses the appointment or asks for additional service. Asking the driver to “just put the pallet over there”, is an inside delivery and can range in price from $35 to several hundred dollars and the pre-paid party on the invoice will be expected to pay those charges, even if you don’t authorize them. If you add, “additional charges must be approved in advance” on the BOL that does not mean the payor does not have to pay those charges. Carriers perform the added supplemental charges to get the shipments delivered quicker. Ultimately this is cheaper than a redelivery fee and the supplemental charge a day or two later.
  7. When possible, take a picture of the shipment and e mail it to the receiver so they know what to expect upon delivery.


  1. When the carrier calls you to set an appointment be sure that you can accept the freight within 72 hours of the call. Carriers will often charge for storage after that time, $25 per day is not uncommon on small shipments.
  2. Be sure that you keep the appointment and have an adult on site to receive the freight; a re- delivery charge will be assessed if the driver shows and nobody answers the door to receive the freight. Note, the carrier will not give credit or pay you if they, the carrier happens to miss the appointment.
  3. If the freight is delivering to a site where a contractor is working and that person signs for the freight without noting any exceptions a claim will not be paid for loss or damage. It is the responsibility of the receiver to inspect the freight before signing.
  4. When receiving freight, inspect for any kind of damage and write it on the delivery receipt – DR – the driver presents to you. (Writing “subject to inspection” will not qualify as written notice if something is later found to be damaged).
  5. Count the pieces if you’re expecting more than 1 piece and note it on the delivery receipt. If a loss occurs, the carrier will not pay a claim unless it is noted in the driver’s presence at the time of delivery.
  6. Look for torn or disturbed shrink wrap or boxes with the arrow pointing down instead of up. Signs that your shipment was torn down in transit and restacked later. If you suspect damage open the carton or crate and inspect it in the drivers presence and make a notation on the delivery receipt. Statements such as “subject to inspection” are regarded as clear delivery and a claim will not be paid.
  7. If you think an item is damaged take a photo of the damage and if you can include the driver or truck in the photo to add credibility to the claim and a frame of reference for the time the photo was taken and be specific in the notes on the delivery receipt about the damage.
    (a) Keep all packing material in the condition it arrived in. DO NOT DISPOSE OR DESTROY THE PACKAGING. This will be needed in the claim process.
    (b) As of April 2015 consignees are required to file the actual claim in writing and via phone within 5 days of delivery to have any opportunity for a claim payout. Filing the claim does not mean you will get payment as the investigation still must occur. (subject to change without notice and can vary by carrier)
    (c) New rules to the NMFC Classification Guide state that if a shipment has no notation of damage upon delivery it is the receiver’s responsibility to prove the loss or damage occurred in the care and custody of the carrier.
    (d) If the item being received has been damaged to the point where it cannot be used then refuse to accept the delivery from the carrier and contact the shipper immediately. Remember that transportation of freight requires the mutual cooperation and responsibility of all parties and it’s critical that all parties communicate the needs and restrictions so that we all have the desired outcome.

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