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By Mike Daniels

I like independent publishers operating out of their homes or small offices with no loading dock to use Liftgate Trucks for the delivery of their books.  When books are shipped from most book manufacturers they are packed in boxes that are stacked on pallets and shrinkwrapped to hold them together on the pallet. Then the complete pallet of boxes is loaded on to the trailer of a big tractor-trailer truck.  The semi-truck usually drives to a local terminal where it is unloaded and pallets are separated by destination. At the terminal the pallet is then loaded on board another trailer destined for a major city near your location.

If the publisher does not specify a Liftgate Truck for residential delivery, the tractor-trailer will just go directly to your address expecting to find a loading dock and forklift waiting to unload the pallet(s). If the driver shows up at your house or office and there’s no loading dock, then you, your staff, friends and/or neighbors will have to climb up in the truck to remove the boxes one by one from the trailer. That’s IF the freight company has insurance and will allow it.  If not, your delivery will be delayed as the driver will simply refuse to deliver and take the books back to the terminal where they will then have to unload them on to a Liftgate Truck for later delivery.

What is a Liftgate Truck you ask? Thanks for asking! A Liftgate truck is a smaller delivery truck that has a tailgate platform usually hydraulically operated that’s attached to the back. The driver moves the pallet of books from within the truck to the Liftgate using a Handjack and lowers the complete pallet to the ground. The driver then uses the Handjack (mini-hand operated forklift) to move the pallet into a garage, storage area, etc. If the complete pallet won’t fit in your garage or your residence is on an incline it may not be possible to just move the full pallet from the drop off point to the storage area. If that’s the case, the pallet will have to be broken down box by box and hand carried inside. That’s why some freight companies also have “Inside Delivery” service available. Yes, there is an additional fee for a Liftgate Truck. Usually around $150 give or take. And yes, there is another fee for “Inside Delivery.” If it’s not specified prior to delivery and the driver has to hand carry books in to your home and/or upstairs then chances are good you’ll be receiving an additional delivery charge.  Check with your book manufacturer or freight company for estimated delivery costs to your location and be sure to explain exactly where the books will be delivered to avoid delays and problems.  Don’t be penny-wise and “pound”-foolish! A box of books usually weighs around 40 lbs so give yourself a “lift!”

Mike Daniels is the Great Plains Territory Manager for Four Colour Print Group, a well respected resource for quality book manufacturing where he consults authors  and publishers on the production  of their books. He’s a published author, editor of Peaks & Planes magazine, is a Past President of CIPA, current President of the  CIPA Education and Literacy Foundation and serves on CIPA’s Board of Directors. PH: 303 325-7876  or mdaniels@fourcolour.com

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