What is an Accessorial Charge? Freight and logistics providers charge for unusual requests, changes or corrections, and anything that will affect their service times, process, or delivery costs. As additional pressure from online shopping, driver shortages and fuel costs continue to put pressure on shipping companies to deliver more products in less time, they need to do everything possible to maximize their time and resources. As a manufacturer, our goal is to help our distributors alleviate these costs by being up front with their customers about them – and to educate everyone to avoid them whenever possible.

Examples of Accessorial Charges

While there are many types of additional fees trucking companies charge, the most common charges our customers experience include:

  • Lift Gate: If no loading dock is available for unloading palletized loads, a lift gate is required.
  • Address Correction / Bill of Lading Correction: Updating incorrect address details can require the driver to go to an incorrect location, wasting time and fuel. Even if the error is caught prior to attempted delivery, new labels and additional processing is required to correct labeling and possibly re-route the package.
  • Residential Delivery: Delivering to a home or apartment building where delivery may be out of the way or prove challenging. Navigating residential neighborhoods often require additional handling and other special services, as well.
  • Inside Delivery: When a driver is required to provide additional services to bring product into the house or building. This may require use of a pallet jack or dolly to transport packages from the truck into the location. Any time a driver does additional work to deliver the product, you’re likely to incur charges.
  • Limited Access Fee: Often charged for deliveries to schools, government facilities, prisons, churches and other locations where hunting down a consignee to receive a shipment or enduring security-related inspections and processes may be required.

Tips to Avoid Additional Accessorial Fees

Nothing is more frustrating than getting a bill after-the-fact. And trying to charge a customer after they thought they already paid in full can add to the frustration. We get that. And we want to help you prevent that from happening whenever possible. But it involves some planning and research prior to sending in your order.

Simple steps to get it right:

  • Ask! Does the customer have a loading dock? If not, note a lift gate requirement on your purchase order. This won’t avoid the charge but will allow you make your customer aware of it before they are invoiced, increasing the likelihood that you’ll be able to recoup the cost.
  • Validate zip codes and correct address information using a validation tool (like the one provided by UPS or this free tool for single addresses). Be sure to note street, road, avenue, etc. correctly. Simple details, if incorrect, can be costly.
  • Double check the accuracy of your data entry. Spelling, numbers, etc. are important!
  • Have customers confirm shipping information on EVERY order. From time-to-time the United States Post Office updates zip codes, so it’s a good idea to verify even with regular customers to ensure your information is up to date.

Getting information up front and verifying accuracy every time you place an order for product or samples will go a long way in avoiding shipping delays and additional costs. Unfortunately, we can’t control when or if a shipping company charges additional fees; please make sure your customers are aware that the responsibility for providing accurate address information starts with them. Together, we can work to provide a cost-effective and efficient delivery process.