Call Before Delivery vs. Appointment

A woman on the phone scheduling an appointment

[Edited May 2023]

Call Before Delivery vs. Appointment: A Subtle Yet Relevant Difference

It’s not uncommon for our clients to ask us why a driver didn’t call them ahead of delivery when they specifically wrote this request in the special instructions section of the bill of lading (BOL). 

If you’ve ever had this happen to you or if you’re simply worried that it might, read on and learn how to avoid any confusion regarding your freight shipment!

A call-ahead service is a request to have the driver call the delivery location anywhere between 5 minutes and 2 hours before delivery. As obvious as that may sound, drivers are not allowed to use their phones while driving. Using a phone can result in hefty fines for both the driver and their company. 

It’s important to remember that for this reason, it is entirely up to the driver’s discretion whether they actually do call or not.  A call ahead of delivery is a free service that most drivers will perform when they get a chance, but, since it’s free, it is by no means guaranteed.

The appointment for delivery service is by far a more reliable option. This is a charged service that carriers make sure to perform in a timely manner. Your delivery contact person (consignee) will receive a call once the shipment arrives at the delivery terminal in order to schedule the delivery, at least 24 hours in advance.

Business woman on the phone while taking notes
businesswoman making an appointment by phone

The appointment service will delay your delivery by at least the aforementioned 24 hours due to the nature of the service. The carrier contacts the consignee a day in advance to schedule the delivery, and the consignee then requests a suitable date and time for the driver to come. This date can cause further delays depending on the consignee’s schedule

One important thing to remember about appointments is that if the delivery date is far enough, it is possible that the carrier will charge for storage services after 24 or 48 hours, depending on the carrier.

Amazon appointments are a different kind of additional service. Amazon requires an appointment for every delivery going to one of their facilities. Amazon appointments are scheduled through their online portal and are strictly controlled by Amazon. Carriers have no control over when their appointments will be scheduled. 

That’s why sometimes Amazon deliveries can be delayed by one or two weeks. That is also why carriers sometimes (more often than not) wait until their trucks are full of Amazon-bound cargo before they schedule one appointment for all of the shipments at the same time. 

Those are the basic, although very important, differences between call-ahead and appointment services. Hopefully, this article will help you avoid any potential miscommunication or misunderstanding with the carrier or your shipping partner in the future.

For any additional information or to start booking immediately please visit our LTL shipping page! There, you’ll be able to find anything else you may need!

Happy shipping! 

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