What to Expect When You're Expecting a Freight Shipment

October 24, 2016

Getting your first shipment of mailers or boxes is really exciting. You're entering a brave new world, a world that most likely involves pallets, which means you need to be pallet-ready.

When you order with Lumi, we make sure that your packaging is delivered by the best carrier at the best price. At most volumes, box and mailer orders are shipped via freight, meaning they'll be delivered in a freight truck. You can find an estimate of your order's weight in the cart and at checkout.

Once your shipment arrives, it's up to you to get it off the truck and into your space. This guide will help you prepare to receive your shipment, break down your pallet, and start shipping with your new packaging as soon as possible.

1. Know what you'll receive

Receiving your first pallets may be daunting. These can be large, heavy shipments that can take you by surprise if you aren't prepared, so here's what you to expect.

Pallets: Most pallets are around 40 inches × 48 inches and weigh around 35 pounds before they’re loaded, but sizes can vary. At full capacity, they can be loaded up to 6 feet tall and can easily weigh 1,000 pounds.

Receiving boxes: All boxes are shipped flat in stacks that are usually wrapped in an industrial plastic wrap or with cables that you can cut open with a box knife, some serious scissors, or a sharp blade. Low volumes of boxes will be shipped in bundles, without pallets. Shipments that are 130-150 pounds require a pallet, and shipments over 350 pounds require multiple pallets.

To give you an idea of what to expect for your shipment, here are the specs on two of our most common box sizes: 

  • 100 boxes (14" × 12" × 4") = 80 lb 
  • 100 boxes (10" × 8" × 3") = 55 lb

Receiving envelope mailers: If you’re receiving less than 3,000 unpadded mailers, they will most likely arrive in multiple boxes that are around 40 pounds or less. Upwards of 4,000-5,000 mailers puts you in pallet territory. Padded mailers take up more space, so if you’re receiving 2,000 pieces or more, they will probably be delivered on a pallet.

Measure your doors: If your shipment needs to fit into a freight elevator, studio, office, or shop door at any point, measure them to see if a 40-inch-wide pallet can fit. If it doesn't, you just need to breakdown your delivery before it gets inside your building or inside your space.

Consider a storage unit: If your space is just too small or too full to take on your pallet shipment, your best bet may be to get a storage unit and transport your shipment there.

2. Getting it off the truck

The first step in receiving your order is getting it off the truck. 

Loading dock: The fastest, safest way to unload your shipment is straight from the truck into a warehouse equipped with a loading dock. The standard height loading dock is 52 inches tall.

Liftgate: A liftgate (or tail lift) is a mechanical device attached to a truck that lowers heavy items from the truck to the ground and vice versa. This is essential if you don't have a loading dock or forklift available. If that's your situation, let us know and we’ll make sure to deliver your order in a truck with a liftgate.

Forklift: Forklifts are expensive but can be rented from as low as $100/day to $1,000/month. You'll need to be certified to use one, but they are flexible option that can be used even when you're receiving shipments without a loading dock or a lift gate.

Pallet jack: A pallet jack is an essential tool if you plan on receiving pallet shipments on a regular basis. They range from $200 to $400 and they are worth their weight in corrugate. If you work in a shared space, you can even split the cost with your neighbors if they also receive pallet shipments.

Dolly: This is a last resort. If the doors to your space or your elevator can’t handle the size or weight of your shipment, you will probably need to breakdown your delivery before it gets inside your building or inside your space. Furniture dollies can help you wheel stacks of mailers and heavy boxes of tape from your pallet and into your space.

3. Receiving your order

Know your delivery time: Tracking freight orders is more opaque than tracking regular mail, but when your order has shipped, we'll give you any information we have from the carrier about the estimated delivery day.

You'll need to be available to receive your freight shipment, so if you are receiving outside of normal business hours (9 a.m. - 5 p.m.), please let us know and we'll arrange a time that works for you. 

Inspect your order: Your shipment is insured, so before you sign for your delivery or your driver leaves, look for significant damage to your product. If there is any significant damage, take photos and detail it on your receipt. Then sign the receipt (aka Bill Of Lading) and contact us right away so that we can file a claim for reimbursement. The driver will leave a copy of the receipt with you.

There's nothing like a pallet full of brand packaging to make your operation feel super official. Congratulations! If you have any questions about freight orders, we’re happy to help. Just email us at

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