Shipping and receiving equipment and supplies is a critical operation within the portable restroom rental industry. Businesses requiring monthly or quarterly deliveries rely on fast and efficient shipping methods to receive items that are significant to their operation. Whether your business is ordering replacement parts or larger industrial equipment, one common issue can occur — lost or damaged items.
Common items shipped and received in the portable restroom rental industry include industrial equipment, gloves, valves, fittings, units, chemicals, plastic and paper products, as well as replacement parts. These items are shipped monthly, quarterly or in the case of units and sinks, 2-4 times per year, or whenever the business manager or owner needs more! Not only are these items critical for successful business, damaged goods can often become a hassle to replace if the process is done incorrectly.
So, what procedures should be put into place by the business owner to check for and deal with shipping damage?
It is important for whoever is responsible for receiving shipments — you or an employee — to fully understand the shipping contracts and policies. In the event that an item is delivered damaged, it’s crucial that proper actions are taken to remedy the situation.
Portable restroom manufacturing/distribution companies most likely provide FOB or Free On Board Shipping Point policies which state that the buyer maintains responsibility for the item or items once it leaves shipping dock, warehouse or facility. Sale of the items doesn’t take place until the items make it to the final destination for inspection.
Other shipping policies include Destination Contracts, which similarly ensure the “carrier risk of loss” is set upon the seller if the buyer destination is at a location other than a warehouse or facility. In this case, the seller is responsible for the integrity of the goods and to hold the goods for a certain amount of time until pick-up. The major difference here is: a) the goods aren’t directly shipped to the buyer’s facility and b) the seller is responsible for not only the condition of the goods upon arrival but also responsible for the goods while they are being held.
We cannot emphasize this aspect enough for employees or the business owner in charge of receiving the deliverables. Under FOB and most other shipping contracts, the carrier is fully responsible for the integrity of the goods. If any damage has occurred while in transit to the final destination, a claim must immediately be made.
Most items delivered for a portable restroom rental business are carried by truck or freight, although international items will arrive by cargo ship. In all three cases, the items have spent a long time on the road or sea bumping, sliding or even falling. It is the responsibility of the carrier to replace any damaged items with full responsibility. Be extremely thorough and only task someone who is qualified and experienced with inspecting your goods being delivered.
Don’t be shy about spending adequate time with your merchandise to inspect thoroughly. Check the list once, twice or even three times before dismissing the driver or carrier. Remember, it’s likely that your deliverables have spent a long and bumpy journey in-transit. The sooner you spot an imperfection, the better.
If your deliverables arrive at a shipping center, warehouse or at your business damaged, the first thing you should do is mark the damage on the bill of lading or refuse the damaged goods. If you don’t do that when receiving the goods, then the process becomes more difficult. You will need to file a “concealed damage” claim. To do this, go to the carrier’s website and follow the steps they provide. Send in a claim on the spot. Most claims are void within a window of 3-5 days, so make sure you are accounting for all items immediately.