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Q & A: What do I need to know about LTL Freight Shipments?


Since many of our table bases and table tops are either very large, heavy or both, it's often better to ship orders via what is called "LTL Freight", which stands for "Less-Than-Truckload Freight". This simply means that the items are strapped to a pallet, and shipped on a semi-truck, rather than boxed individually and shipped via a ground service such as UPS or FedEx (though we should note, both UPS and FedEx have freight divisions). In any case, there are a some options and terms with freight shipments that you should know about before placing your order.

Bill of Lading: The bill of lading is simply the shipping label, it's the paperwork that tells the driver the origin and the destination of the shipment. It also contains information such as whether or not a lift gate is required, or if a limited access truck is required. See below for more information on lift gates and limited access.

Consignee: The consignee for a shipment is the person or place to which the shipment is being delivered. If you place an order with, you are the consignee for your order.

Delivery Appointment: Unlike with ground shipments such as UPS or FedEx, you can specify delivery appointments with freight shipments. If you'd like a delivery appointment, give us a call to place your order. The freight company will call you a day or two before the shipment reaches you, and you can make an appointment for a specific date and time window. This is very helpful if, say, you need to hire an installation crew, and want to make sure that your order arrives at a specific time. Please note, that specifiying a delivery appointment usually delays delivery by one day, so it is not a good option if you are in a hurry. Please also note that you cannot speed up a shipment with a delivery appointment, for faster delivery, you'll need an expedited or guaranteed option.

FOB Destination: FOB stands for "Free on Board", and is simply the point at which ownership of the shipment changes hands. When you pay a shipping charge to, and we coordinate the shipment, it is considered "FOB Destination", meaning that the owner of the shipment changes from to you when your order is delivered.

FOB Origin: This is the opposite of "FOB Destination". FOB Origin comes into play when you use your own shipping company, or when you will-call and order and pick it up directly at one of our warehouses (meaning you do not pay a shipping charge to In this case, ownership of the shipment changes from to you at the origin, or where you (or your freight company on your behalf) picks up the order.

Freight Forwarder: A freight forwarder is a company that accepts shipments, and then redirects them to new locations. For example, does not ship internationally, but we can ship to your freight forwarder in the United States. Your freight forwarder can then send the shipment internationally to whichever country you need.

Guaranteed Delivery: With freight shipments, we'll usually know ahead of time approximately how many days it will take for your order to travel from the shipping warehouse to your location. However, this is an estimate provided by the freight company, and may or may not be perfectly accurate. If you have a specific deadline, you'll want to order over the phone, and ask us to specifiy guaranteed delivery. This means that the freight company promises that your order will reach you in a certain number of days. Guaranteed delivery is an extra charge (variable, depending on the distance and the freight carrier), and is usually only necessary if you have an urgent, hard deadline.

Inside Delivery: This term is fairly self explanatory. With inside delivery, the delivery driver will bring the shipment inside, rather than dropping it at the curb or at an unloading dock. Inside delivery is an extra charge, and can usually delay shipments by a day, as the trucking company needs to make special arrangements. Inside delivery does NOT include installation or unpacking.

Less-than-truckload (LTL): Less-than-truckload shipments are, as the name implies, shipments that do not take up an entire tractor trailer (that are less than 10,000 pounds). These are shipments on pallets.

Lift Gate Delivery: A lift gate is the motorized platform you often see on the backs of large delivery trucks. These are used to raise and lower the pallets when loading and unloading shipments. If the location to which you are shipping your order does not have a forklift or a commercial loading dock (the type you see at grocery stores & depots, where tractor trailers back up to a dock), then the delivery truck will need a lift gate so that they can safely remove the pallet from the truck. We do not charge extra for adding a lift gate, since most cusotmers do not have a commerical loading dock or forklift handy!

Limited Access: Limited access simply means that it is not feasible for a semi-truck to go to the shipping destination, so the shipment carrier will transfer your pallet to a smaller truck to finish the trip to your location. This can be true of places that are very remote, such as a restaurant up in the mountains. You may also need "limited access" if your shipping location does not have a parking lot that a semi-truck can navigate, as most places prohibit the truck from blocking traffic by parking in the street. There is a long list of situations that require limited access, such as (but not limited to): deliveries to country clubs and gated communities, deliveries to schools and churches, or deliveries to remote areas. Limited access is an additional charge (charged by the freight carrier), that we have to add to your shipping charges. It is always better to add limited access before we ship your order. If the carrier has to add it later, the cost goes up. If you think your order may require limited access shipping, please contact customer service to let us know before you place your order, otherwise you may end up paying more for shipping.

PRO Number: The PRO number is simply the tracking number for a freight shipment. PRO stands for "progressive rotating order", and the format can change depending on the freight company.

Those are the most important terms to know when shipping table bases via freight carriers. Of course, if you have any questions regarding shipping, please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing, or by calling our customer service representatives at 1-800-258-2320.