What to Expect When Receiving a Delivery of Natural Stone Panels
Knowing what to expect when receiving a delivery of natural stone panels, or really anything that comes to your home or office via Less Than Truckload (LTL) freight shipping is valuable information to have. For many homeowners that are going to DIY Install their stone walls, receiving a shipment of Norstone natural stone panels might be the first time they have ever received a delivery via LTL Carrier. Here are some general outlines about the process and tips for ensuring a successful delivery.
What Type of Delivery – Residential vs Commercial?
Most LTL carriers will deliver to both residential and commercial addresses, and knowing what kind of address your delivery location falls under is a good first step. The best rule of thumb to follow is that a commercial address is a business location that is staffed under normal business hours (9AM - 5PM) where the carrier can arrive at any point during those hours, Monday- Friday, and make the delivery. If the location is a business, but isn’t staffed the entire day then a call ahead or appointment service can typically be added on to the delivery for a small up-charge (amount determined by the carrier).
Residential delivery charges apply, as you might expect, to deliveries going to residential addresses. With a residential delivery, the carrier will call and set an appointment window on a specific date and show up during that window. LTL carriers generally cannot guarantee that their driver will call 30 minutes before the delivery, so it’s important that when scheduling and accepting a residential delivery that someone is available at the location at all times during the appointment window. Lastly, business that are operated out of homes are still considered residential deliveries.
For most residential deliveries and some commercial deliveries, a forklift or similar equipment is not going to be present at the delivery location, so a liftgate can be used to get the pallet of natural stone panels off the back of the truck. On some very small deliveries, our customers will sometimes opt to forgo the liftgate, and its added charge, and remove the boxes from the back of the truck by hand.
What to Expect (and Not to Expect) At Delivery
Here’s a quick list of things to expect and not to expect at the delivery of a natural stone panel order:
- EXPECT: The trucking carrier will call and schedule a delivery appointment and delivery window for all residential deliveries but not for a standard commercial delivery.
- DO NOT EXPECT: The driver to call 30 minutes prior to arriving at your location. We can add this to the shipping paperwork, and many times the driver will call, but it’s strictly a courtesy and not a guarantee.
- EXPECT: The truck that makes most residential deliveries will be a standard 18 wheeler. If you live in an area that has trucking restrictions, or in an area where maneuvering a large truck could pose some problems please tell your sales rep before your order ships to avoid major issues with the delivery.
- EXPECT: If the delivery is to a residential address and a liftgate is being used, the freight carrier and the driver will get the pallet (s) off the back of the truck, down to the street and typically onto the curb or driveway using a manual pallet jack. Provided the drive way is paved, not at a steep incline or decline, and a reasonable distance in length, the driver will often maneuver the pallet onto the driveway and even into the garage.
- DO NOT EXPECT: The driver will not drive or back their truck onto your property to better position the drop off of the pallets of natural stone panels because they do not want to incur any added liability of operating their equipment on your property. The drivers also have the final say on where they can position the pallets during a residential with liftgate delivery. Safety is the #1 priority, so if they can’t safely position the freight somewhere on the driveway due to an incline, decline, or how its paved they will not do it.
- EXPECT: Always inspect your order for possible damage. While it is rare, if damage is visible when you receive the order, insist the driver give you ample time to open up several boxes and go through the order to document and damage with photos. If visible damage is found, note it on both copies of the delivery receipt prior to signing and contact us immediately to get replacements shipped. If damage is found after the truck leaves and the delivery is signed for, we have up to 3 business days from delivery to document any damage to get it replaced. Never refuse a shipment and send it back on the truck.
- EXPECT: Always read the delivery receipt which you are signing and be sure no services that weren’t specified on your invoice were used or checked on the receipt that is signed. If your invoice did not specify delivery with a liftgate but the driver used a liftgate to make the delivery and the service was signed for on the delivery receipt you will be billed for this added service.
- EXPECT: Most drivers will readily accept assistance, especially when it comes to positioning a pallet in a specific place as part of a residential delivery. A full crate of natural stone panels can weigh around 2500 lbs, so if you are capable, helping the driver push a manually operated pallet jack up your driveway goes a long way towards a successful delivery. Water, snacks, and cash tips are also always appreciated if the driver goes above and beyond what a standard delivery entails.
We hope this guide helps our customers and anyone else receiving an LTL delivery. We’ve been using LTL carriers to deliver our natural stone panel orders for almost 14 years and they offer a good service at fair pricing. With more and more large and heavy products, from sofas to jacuzzis, being bought online and direct from factories instead of local brick and mortar retailers, LTL deliveries will be more and more common as the new economy continues to take hold and dictates how people buy and receive goods. If you have any questions about your delivery of natural stone panels please contact Norstone by calling our main office at 866-717-4548.