For most LTL shippers, the majority of your pickups and deliveries are likely business-to-business (B2B). With the growth in home offices, eCommerce, and 3rd party logistic centres, freight shipping is becoming ever more prominent in residential settings.
Naturally, any time a full-sized transport truck needs to navigate anything other than a freight-friendly environment, there are going to be challenges, and with ClickShip now offering LTL at Checkout, freight may now be part of your shipping strategy.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at how best to navigate residential LTL, both physically and logistically.
Residential vs. Commercial: What’s the Difference?
As the name suggests, residential shipping refers to any shipping to or from a residential address, such as a house or condo building, versus shipping to a commercial address, which are 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, there are many variables that come into play when carriers designate an address as residential.
Arguably the most important distinction between residential and commercial shipping is that residential shipping carries with it additional fees.
Why Does Residential Shipping Cost More?
The short answer is: delivery to and pickup from residential locations requires substantially more work than commercial locations.
As mentioned above, commercial locations are typically designed to accommodate freight trucks. Primarily, this involves space for trucks to maneuver and a dock for loading and receiving goods.
Because residential locations typically lack at least one of these two key elements, carriers need to utilize additional services to account for this.
When discussing residential surcharges, a liftgate is typically the most common one you will encounter. 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 absolutely essential for any delivery or pickup where a dock is not available.
By and large, LTL shipping is carried out on 53’ trucks. While this is undoubtedly the most efficient way to transport LTL shipments, there are limitations on where trucks this large are able to travel. Often urban and residential areas will have bylaws restricting the size of vehicles that are able to travel on given roads. As a result, carriers will need to use smaller trucks, or rely on short-haul services in these instances.
Typically, residential LTL delivery stops at the driveway. In some cases, however, a customer will require delivery into their residence or home office. In cases such as these carriers will charge for what is called 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 do come with additional fees due to the extra touchpoint that is required by the carrier.
As is often the case, in the event that a shipper fails to book the proper services for a pickup or 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, as well as retroactively applying fees for the necessary residential services.
As the shipper, you end up paying more than you needed 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, it is imperative that you double-check all information pertaining to the location in question. As mentioned above, residential services involve specialized vehicles and/or staff, and as such any residential services that you require must be booked with your carrier in advance of the pickup or delivery.
To that point, it is important to note that oftentimes what is and isn’t considered a residential area is largely up to the discretion of the carrier. Because of this, it is worthwhile to obtain quotes from as many carriers as possible to ensure you aren’t paying unnecessary fees.
ClickShip Has You Covered No Matter Where You Ship
At ClickShip we can help ensure your shipping journey is a smooth one, whether you need to ship residential, commercial, or more!
Our all-in-one platform offers exclusive rates on a wide array of shipping services for both LTL and parcel shipping, with real-time rates at checkout integrated directly into leading eCommerce platforms and marketplaces. Contact one of our shipping experts Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm EST at 1-877-335-8740 or by email at email@example.com and see how ClickShip can power your eCommerce shipping today!