We’ve learned a lot about shipping BIG! Here are some things you need to know about shipping when it comes to our portable walls.
For many of our customers, our crated walls will be the largest shipment they’ve ever received. While other vendors may have delivered large items such as furniture or artifacts, we find that many customers haven’t worked with 18-wheeled common carriers you often pass on the highway. Receiving a shipment via freight (FOB) has some key differences you’ll need to know about before receiving your shipment.
What is “LTL/Common Carrier”?
You may notice that on your quote shipping is listed as “LTL/Common Carrier”. LTL stands for “Less than Truckload”. Unless your order consists of 150 portable walls or more, your shipment will require less than a full semi truck. Most of our customers’ orders are shipped LTL/Common Carrier. This means the delivery is shared with other items on board during its transit. The semi trailer will have different stops at hubs along the way as it unloads and re-loads heading toward your destination to make the trip as efficient as possible.
“Less than Truckload carriers use “hub and spoke” operations where small local terminals are the spokes (‘end of line’) and larger more central terminals are the hubs (also called Distribution Centers or DC’s). Spoke terminals collect local freight from various shippers and consolidate that freight onto enclosed trailers for transporting to the delivering or hub terminal where the freight will be further sorted and consolidated for additional transporting (also known as linehauling). In most cases, the end of line terminals employ local drivers who start the day by loading up their trailers and heading out to make deliveries first. Then when the trailer is empty they begin making pickups and return to the terminal for sorting and delivery next day. Because of the efficiency of this order of operations most deliveries are performed in the morning and pickups are made in the afternoon.” – see the full article on Wikipedia
What Is Free On Board (FOB)?
Pareti ships all products as “FOB Origin”. Free On Board (FOB) is a shipping term used to indicate whether the seller or the buyer is liable for goods that are damaged or destroyed during shipping. “FOB shipping point” or “FOB origin” means you, the buyer, is at risk and takes ownership of the goods once the Pareti ships your product. Pareti will do everything possible to make certain your products are securely wrapped and crated (or palletized if you prefer not to have a crate), but once the items leave our dock we are no longer responsible for any damages that may occur during transit. This means as purchaser, you pay the shipping cost from our warehouse and gain ownership of the goods as soon as it leaves its point of origin.
Since most of our customers are not accustomed to arranging freight, Pareti can quote and arrange shipping for you. Most of our customers prefer this since due to our shipping volume we generally receive better shipping rates. However, you are also free to arrange your own shipping directly. We can provide all measurements, weight, and shipping class information for you, and can even supply you with carriers to help you request your own rates and book your own shipments.
How long does a shipment usually take?
Most of our LTL/Common Carrier shipments take about 2-5 weekdays, although this can vary according to location, weather, road conditions, or other possible interruptions. Most customers find it’s best to build in about 5 days for your shipment in their total portable wall installation or project plan.
Why is crating necessary?
We strongly suggest all shipments are packed in our crating. While this is expensive, we try to keep our crating very affordable considering the size of the crate. (The crates may be reused as well.) This is the best way to ensure your products arrive damage-free.
Since transport requires a pallet and fork lift to move things around, we build sturdy crates to protect the walls. We have found this reduces the chance of damages tremendously. Strapping the walls or palletizing them would be much cheaper, but only in the short run. That’s because with those palletizing methods we run the risk of the walls arriving dinged, damaged, or scratched – especially if they have an applied finish or graphic wrap on them.
Of course, it is always your choice whether to ship your order crated or palletized. Some customers prefer the less expensive option of palletizing and are prepared to make repairs for damages incurred during shipping. Please note that we want you to have the best value possible, so if you choose palletizing as your method of shipping your products we pack items as securely as possible, but we cannot be responsible for damaged items if you decide against crating.
When you order a finish for your walls (paint, graphics or vinyl wrap) we carefully wrap them to protect them during shipment to prevent scratches. Bare walls ship well without this extra wrap, so we use only as much as needed to protect areas like the adjustable feet in transit. (Incidentally, we work hard to create an environmentally friendly product, so we re-use corrugated boxes whenever possible to reduce waste. Consequently, chances are your joiners will arrive in recycled boxes.)
Why are crates expensive?
Due to the weight of the walls in shipment (usually 900 lbs. or more) the crate needs to be strong enough to both protect them and prevent any movement. Our crates are designed for this purpose. We also find many customers reuse them several times, or use them for storing the walls when not in use.
What is “Guaranteed delivery”?
In the trucking industry, “Guaranteed Delivery” means you pay additional money to have an expedited shipment, but that’s with the assumption that all goes well each step of the way. Trade show displays are generally shipped as a guaranteed delivery shipment. Most guaranteed shipments arrive on time and without problems, but we’ve seen a few shipments delayed due to dangerous weather (anywhere in the country, thereby affecting all transit times and connections) or other, rare logistical reasons that seem to have no bearing on the weather or other conditions. Be sure to note the following situations which can affect your guaranteed shipment:
The terms and conditions of most bills of lading release transportation providers (and therefore Pareti Mobile Walls, LLC) from liability for loss or damage arising from:
- an act of God,
- a public enemy,
- the authority of law or
- the act or default of the shipper.
In addition, except in the case of proven negligence, a transportation provider will not be liable for loss, damage, or delay caused by:
- the property being stopped and held in transit at the request of the shipper, owner or party entitled to make such request;
- lack of capacity of a highway, bridge or ferry;
- a defect or vice in the property; or
- riots or strikes
Please note that sometimes guaranteed shipments can be late, so be sure to order your portable walls or trade show display well in advance of your event. In rare cases both our customers and Pareti do everything possible to do our part to get your shipment out on time, and the carrier will be at fault. In events like this, the carrier may reimburse you the guaranteed shipment fee (not the total fee, just the guaranteed uncharge). Neither the carrier or Pareti will be responsible for monetary damages if the products are not at your event on time, or will we provide a refund. Situations like this are very rare, but they can happen, so please be sure to order early, and consider having a contingency plan in place in the unlikely event your items are late or lost in transit.
Receiving a large shipment
Large shipments are generally received at your dock, and a forklift is used to remove the crate from the truck. Many of our customers do not have docks or forklifts. Since our crates are too large for lift gate service (where the crate is lowered from a hydraulic lift on the truck to the ground) some crates must be hand-unloaded from the truck. We provide instructions on how to do this efficiently, and have designed our crates for easy access and fast unloading.
Will the truck driver unload the shipment for me?
Most drivers do not assist with unloading, however some carriers will offer white glove service and carry all items in. We have also located carriers who will ship, deliver, and set up the walls for you. We find this has been a very good solution for companies who either don’t have the personnel to lift and carry heavier items, or who do not want to risk additional workers’ compensation costs or employee injuries carrying in the walls and setting them up. One of our best known customers who ordered white glove service is LinkedIn. With white glove service the walls were received quickly, and set up in the same day, so employees could hang artwork up immediately.
What if I don’t have a dock or forklift?
As a receiver, you must either have a dock and/or forklift to move the crate, or you must hand-unload. At 900-1200 pounds the crate generally cannot be scooted onto a dock, so even with a dock you must have a pallet jack or forklift to remove it from the truck.
How to hand-unload?
Please contact us – we’ll send you a packet on how to efficiently hand-unload and set up your walls.
Be sure to factor in ample time for shipping when figuring your timeline. A general rule is to allow a minimum of 5 business days for shipping + 2 weeks for Pareti’s production process.
Since our walls are custom built for your order, and shipments entail moving very large crates, ample planning is important, so be sure to build in as much time as you possibly can for your order. While we strive to help customers in a deadline pinch, when it comes to manufacturing and shipping, it’s best to allow as much time as possible for safety, accuracy, and ultimately less frustration on your part!
Situations that can make shipping more expensive
Proper planning is the best way to avoid additional fees. In some cases, such as trade show display deliveries, or delivery to a college or university, some fees are unavoidable. But you can also do your part to be sure there are no additional penalties by planning your receiving.
Unavoidable shipping fees may apply to the following:
- Delivering in downtown areas or businesses that do not have a shipping or receiving area
- Using lift gate service (if applicable – generally for walls 7 feet tall or shorter)
- Delivery to a college or university or other limited access areas that make it tough or impossible for semis to turn around, park, or back in/out
- Delivery to a trade show (which is a different shipping class and requires guaranteed delivery)
Additional fees or penalties which are optional or add-on, but mostly avoidable:
- Guaranteed delivery if not shipping a trade show exhibit
- Poorly planned receiving, such as situations where no one is there to hand-unload, or no fork lift available
- Turning away, or requesting a shipment re-delivers another day because no one is there to unload or remove the crate. This can add substantial fees to your original shipping amount.
To avoid unnecessary charges and fees for shipping, be sure to plan ahead, allow ample time for production and shipping. Be sure to discuss the size of your dock (if you have one), whether or not you have a forklift or pallet jack available, or whether you need to hand-unload your order. We can offer tips to help your receiving go smoothly!
Sometimes the unthinkable happens, and the items you ordered are damaged during shipping. Be sure to read our terms and conditions for a full explanation. There are some general rules that apply. First, if your order is completely crated and there is no external damage to the crate yet products have been damaged within the crate, Pareti may be responsible for those items. In situations where the crate has been damaged, (such as fork lift piercing, for example) the carrier may be responsible. PLEASE NOTE: Since our shipping class requires crating, if you opt for palletizing neither the carrier or Pareti will be at fault for shipping damages. In all cases, it is imperative that you take many photos – a minimum of 10 clear photos per shipment, or a walk-around video, so you may document the damages.
It is important to note that there is no overseeing board to determine if the freight company is responsible. Freight companies determine if the damages they caused are indeed their fault. No matter how obvious the damage might be, it is extremely difficult to get the shipping company to pay for damages, even if they are at fault. This is why it is critical to document and photograph everything. Written testaments or witnesses to the damage are not enough. It is also critical to document every single damage on the delivery receipt the driver will ask you to sign. If this is not written in detail, or you simply sign with without noting damages, the shipping company will not cover the damages. This is very frustrating for Pareti and our customers when it occurs, so prevention is key – this is why we strongly recommend crating, since that keeps products in good condition during transit.
Also note that carriers do not pay the full amount for the products they damaged, even if they admit they are at fault. Curiously they will not cover the expense of re-shipping replacement products, and they will not pay for the full value of the products. In some cases you may be able to purchase additional insurance and request the insured amount be above the value you paid – that can help mitigate any loss.
We find the best way to prevent damaged merchandise to carefully wrap all products and place them in a well constructed crate. It is extraordinarily rare for our products to be damaged in crating.