The Depth of a Simple Question

man-talking-on-tin-can-phone

The Simple Question

There are questions in shipping that have more depth then what could ever be expected.  One such questions is, “Are there any other fees?”

If you’ve seen our proposal then you know it’s very well detailed — to the extent that we even include “tips” in the “Optional Charges” section.  (We believe it’s important to help the customer budget properly for the evolution.)

When this ‘other fees’ question is asked it indicates to me any/all of the following;

  • They are comparing quotes from different companies and want assurance that our pricing is, indeed, complete.
  • They didn’t read their proposal.  (Our online proposal tracking system allows us to see 1) what content was viewed, 2) for how long, 3) how many times and 4) the last time it was viewed.  These results have proven to me what I suspected for a long time — most people spend very little time reviewing the details of their move.
  • For the trust-based person, it’s a trust-based question.
  • They are getting their finances in order.
Email vs. Phone Call

If the question is asked in an email, it gives me time to respond accordingly – plus it’s documented.   However, if the question is asked over the phone, along with a volley of other questions, then it’s possible the answer might not be complete — and it’s not documented.

Any information withheld is not because of guile or deceit, it’s because my answer is based on the question and the context it was asked in.  Or, it was a simple omission — and that’s exactly what contracts are for.

The Answers

Now that you know the multiple nuances of the question, here’s the answers:

  • If the volume exceeds the quoted volume.
  • If a second pick up is requested.
  • If custom crated is required.
  • If a piano or other excessively heavy item is being shipped.
  • If storage is needed beyond what’s allotted at either the origin or destination.
  • If insurance is requested.
  • If tips are given.
  • If additional insurance is needed to cover the additional storage.
  • If port fees are not included.
  • If customs duties are not included.
  • If customs inspects the shipment.
  • If payment is made by credit card, wire transfer, cashiers check/money order, or if payment is sent UPS or FedEx….all these forms of payment involve fees.
  • If the delivery truck or container cannot be parked within X amount of meters from the door.
  • If the delivery is above the second floor without an elevator.
  • If the piano or excessively heavy item is being delivered above the first floor.
  • If a shuttle truck is needed for a container delivery.
  • If there is a second delivery.
  • If complete unpacking is requested.
  • If one needs to sort through their goods at the warehouse.
The Conclusion

Now you see what goes on through my head when I’m asked, “Are they any additional fees?”

It’s not a simple question when you want to give an honest answer.

 

Gross Volume 101

The industry standard in partial shipment billing  is based on the gross volume – the outside measurements (length x width x height) of a pallet or crate.

The gross volume is always more then the sum of it’s parts because 1) the pallet that the items are stacked on takes up space and 2) most often the stacked boxes do not form a complete cube.

Consider the two LEGO shipments below.

Imagine the pallet on the left is 48″ x 40″ and the boxes are stacked 48″ high – that would make the gross volume to be about 54 cubic feet or 1.54 cubic meters.

If you add just ONE book box (which is only 1.5 cubic feet) to the top of the stack, then the whole gross volume increases to 66 cubic feet or 1.88 cubic meters.

The amount of “wasted space” from the pallet and the unused space at the top amounts to 27% — that’s a considerable amount of space to be paying for but not actually using.   (The pallet itself is only 6 inches tall but it’s about 7 cubic feet.)

From surveying websites, it seems the accepted “wasted space” with regular household goods is 10% to 20% of the packed volume.   That means a stacked/palletized 300 cubic foot shipment would have a gross volume of 330 to 360 cubic feet.

 

A Great Example.

Often young people want to ship their bed and a dozen boxes.  When calculating the volume of each item it might come out to 100 cubic feet, but from the way it gets stacked on the pallet the gross volume could be much, much more.

Why?

Because the bed is long and the gross volume is based on the outside measurements.

 

If you have any questions, please contact us at AliyahLift@gmail.com.