Guide to receiving freight - Winter Equipment Company

Guide to Receiving Freight

Understand the difference to help you decide which method works best for you.

We ship out a lot of freight shipments to our customers. In fact, most orders ship with a freight carrier due to their size and weight. Receiving a freight shipment is slightly different from receiving a standard UPS ground shipment.


Types of Shipments We Use

We ship our products by UPS, freight (commercial), or residential freight. Items or orders that are more than 150 lb will be shipped by freight (commercial) or residential freight. Residential freight costs more than freight to account for the use of a smaller vehicle and liftgate service.


Freight Shipments

Freight (commercial) shipments require a dock or forklift to unload a pallet from the truck. Even if your address is a commercial address and you have the ability to unload a pallet, some addresses have vehicle restrictions that require residential freight.


Instructions on How To Receive Freight Shipping Deliveries

Winter Equipment online order freight costs are estimated for shipping to a commercial business location that is easily accessible by the general public. Residential freight costs are estimated for shipping to a residential address that requires liftgate service. Our warehouse uses a logistics company to obtain the best freight rate with a reputable carrier. Small products typically ship by Parcel Ground unless the total order weight exceeds 150 lb.

Large products typically require a loading dock or forklift.
Any products shipping by freight truck on a pallet require a loading dock or forklift at the delivery location to unload the shipment. If there is not either a loading dock or forklift, arrangements will need to be made ahead of time with the freight carrier to ensure the shipment can be safely unloaded. These instructions are typically included on the Bill of Lading (BOL), which is the document included with the shipment that indicates the shipping address, quantity, general product description and the freight carrier’s contact information. When a shipment is delivered, both you and the truck driver will sign the BOL and you will be given a copy, which is your receipt of delivery. Please save your copy in the event a freight claim needs to be filed.

Accessorial Fees

Special delivery services can be added for a fee.
Freight companies call them accessorial fees. Making the needed arrangements before the delivery will help to ensure the freight is delivered safely and conveniently the first time. Here are some delivery services offered that require an added fee onto the standard freight rates:

  • Liftgate delivery
    truck will have the ability to lower the pallet down to the ground, so you don’t have to manually lift it out of the truck. The height of truck bed from the ground is approximately 4.5 feet, which can make it difficult to manually lift heavy items out and off the truck. Don’t risk a back injury just to save a little bit of money. If liftgate delivery was requested and the truck does not have a liftgate at the time of the delivery please tell the driver liftgate delivery is required and refuse the delivery. Then contact us so we can follow up with the freight carrier and find out when the delivery will be attempted again with a proper lift-gate truck.
  • Call Ahead
    the freight carrier will call before making delivery. They can call the day before or a couple of hours before delivery. If you have a preference for when the notification happens please indicate at the time of order. Please include a contact name and phone number.
  • Appointment Required
    the freight carrier will call you and schedule a day and a window of time to make the delivery after the shipment has arrived at the local freight terminal.
  • Job Site Delivery
    the delivery location is under construction and there is not receiving staff ready to receive the shipment. Or there is difficulty reaching the site with a standard sized truck and a smaller truck is required. Also indicate if lift-gate delivery is required. Please include a contact name and phone number.
  • Secured/Limited Access
    If the freight truck driver is not able to drive and backup directly to the unloading area at the delivery location, for example there is a security gate they need to stop at before entering, then this location is considered as “Secured/Limited Access.” The freight carrier will charge an added fee in addition to the standard freight rate. This accessorial is frequently needed for government and military facilities. If you aren’t sure if it applies to your location please contact customer service for more information.
  • University/School Delivery
    Freight delivery to Colleges, Universities, Trade Schools, High Schools, etc. will have an added fee. Please also indicate if liftgate delivery is required.
  • Mine Delivery
    Delivery to Mines, Dams, Ski Resorts or other remote locations will require an added fee. If you are unsure if this applies to your location please contact us before ordering.
  • Inside Delivery
    The freight carrier will deliver, unpack and move the shipment to the first floor of your location. If it needs to be moved up stairs or to other floors an additional fee will be charged, please contact customer service to obtain a quote before placing the order. Please indicate if liftgate delivery is also required.
  • Residential Delivery
    Delivery to residential or areas that are not accessible by a standard size freight truck (approx. 53 ft long) will require the shipment to be delivered with a shorter more maneuverable truck. Also indicate if you need liftgate delivery, which is typically also needed for residential deliveries. The shipment will be placed at the curb or the nearest flat area at the end of the driveway. If you need the delivery to be moved any further an additional fee will be charged. To avoid the residential delivery fee you can arrange to pick up the shipment at the nearest freight terminal instead. You would be responsible for moving the shipment with your vehicle to the final destination.


Accessorial fees can range in cost from $25.00 – $125.00 each.
Fees vary by freight carrier, location and delivery requirements. Any special delivery services need to be requested at the time of order. If they are requested after the order has shipped you will be billed for the extra charges. If the freight truck driver tries to make the delivery but is turned away for any reason, there will be a re-delivery fee charged plus the accessorial fee if a special delivery service is required. The more information that is communicated about the delivery location at the time of the order the better. The freight carrier is more accommodating to special requests before a delivery is attempted than after the fact.

Freight shipments must be shipped to the address listed on the bill of lading.
The truck driver can not deviate from the address listed, even if it is only across the street or a block away from the listed location. If for some reason the shipping address needs to be changed after the order has left our warehouse please contact customer service with the necessary information and we will do our best make the update with the freight carrier before the delivery is attempted. The freight carrier will charge a fee for changing the shipping address after the order ships (known as a reconsignment fee). You will be billed for the extra charges.


Receiving a Freight Delivery

You should refuse any damaged or incorrect shipments before signing the bill of lading.
If you see significant damage to the shipment, for example a steel part is noticeably bent over or there is obvious damage that is not a repairable part and will affect the product’s function you have the right to refuse the shipment. Take photos of the damaged shipment on the truck and email them to customer service. Have the driver make notes of the damage on the bill of lading. Indicate the shipment is “Damaged and Refused.” The truck driver will try to get you to sign the bill of lading and leave the shipment, but once the shipment is delivered and signed for the driver no longer has any responsibility for it.

Don’t be rushed.
If the shipment looks to be in satisfactory condition, but you are unsure if there could be concealed damage and the driver pressures you to sign for the shipment please write on the bill of lading “Subject to Inspection. Driver Refuses To Wait.” Also make note on the BOL of any irregularities of the shipment packaging. For example stretch wrap is torn, or skid has broken boards, scratches on product, etc.

Count the number of pieces and compare to the number listed on the bill of lading.
Shipment pieces can be separated during transit so only sign for the number of pieces that are actually being received. Check the packing list for the shipment contents. Once the shipment bill of lading has been signed for you are accepting the products in the condition they are received and the quantity listed.

Please note any acceptable flaws in the shipment’s condition on the bill of lading before signing.
If there is minor damage to the shipment, for example scratched paint, small dents or other cosmetic damage that will not affect how the product functions, and you are comfortable with accepting it as is, these details should be noted on the bill of lading before signing. Also take photos of the shipment still wrapped or immediately after unpacking. Provide customer service the photos and information as soon as possible for further review.

Don’t wait to get help if there is an issue with the shipment.
If damage is found after a shipment is unpacked it is more difficult to file a freight claim and get a positive outcome if there is nothing noted on the bill of lading. Noting the shipment abnormalities on the bill of lading before signing for the shipment will help if there is concealed damage and a freight claim needs to be filed. Freight carriers limit the amount of time you have to file a freight claim. Please contact customer service within 48 hours of delivery for additional assistance. Please provide photos and any other relevant information in regard to the delivery, shipment packaging and product condition. If USA Safety is not notified within the 48-hour window, we will no longer be responsible for damages/shortages.

In general, most freight shipments arrive with no issue.
But in the few instances that there is an issue it is helpful to keep the above information in mind to help protect yourself. Planning ahead to be prepared for the shipment delivery is a good thing. If there any questions about the shipping method or options for your order please contact customer service.



  • The carrier will require that someone is available to receive and sign for the shipment, so when you schedule the delivery appointment, make sure you pick a day that works for you.
  • Freight carriers often give you a pretty wide delivery window on the day of the delivery. For example they may say “we’ll be there on Wednesday between 10am and 5pm”. A good way to free yourself up a bit is to ask if the driver can call you when they are about 30 minutes away. That way you can go about your business and ensure you can be back in time to meet them when they call.
  • Always check the shipment for obvious damage before you sign for it. In the event that there are damaged parts, make sure you note that on the paperwork that the driver will have you sign, and call us as soon as you have the chance. We’ll want to get those replacement parts headed your way as quickly as we can.
  • Be aware of accessibility issues that the driver may face when delivering to your location. They’ll most likely be delivering with a tractor/trailer rig, so if you have a long driveway or the access road to your location isn’t able to accommodate the truck (i.e. – it’s really narrow, up in the mountains, on a dead end with no way to turn around… stuff like that), then they may have to go to a plan B solution. Usually the best option is to meet the driver off the main access road or a nearby parking lot and load it up in a pickup truck that you can then take to your location.
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