White-Glove Shipping Services Explained

Sometimes items need extra attention and care to make sure they arrive in the same condition as when they were shipped. On these occasions, white-glove delivery is exactly what it sounds like — top-notch handling that goes beyond standard freight carrier services.

What is white-glove shipping, exactly?

If you think about a "standard" shipment, a freight carrier will collect your products and drop them off at the specified receiving location. With white-glove specialty services, carriers go the extra mile to ensure your delivery arrives with the highest degree of care at its final location..

But within white-glove shipping itself, there are varying degrees of service you can opt for to put your delivery in its right spot versus the nearest door or dock.

Depending on your location or on-hand manpower, you may need extra help boxing, crating or packing your items, or getting them padded and wrapped for pickup. That's where white-glove specialty shipping services come in.

And when your item reaches its final destination, you can select the basic white-glove services like having your items unpacked, and the packaging hauled away, or you can ask the carrier to amp it up by providing assembly, setup or other specialty configuration.

Just remember that each extra touch equals extra cost — so make sure you understand your exact pickup and delivery needs before booking the shipment.

Cost Considerations for White-glove Service

White-glove service assumes your freight shipment needs additional handling and logistics support, so you can expect a supplemental rate beyond the standard shipping fee. Costs are typically determined based on three factors:

  • Physical measurements of the shipment — It's not just the heavier, larger shipments that bear the highest cost, though — irregularly shaped items that are hard-to-handle or require multiple people to carry can also drive up your price.
  • Travel distance — Mileage factors heavily into costs, so the greater the distance between the origin and destination, the higher the rate. Shipments that are located in or near major airports and cities are often rated favorably to those bound for further reaches.
  • Specific delivery location — Like any other shipment, whether the destination is commercial or residential will affect the cost. You'll also be charged if the location within the building is especially precarious — think tight turns, low ceilings or awkward angles — or hard-to-traverse (like up multiple flights of stairs). In fact, most carriers charge by the stair — so every step counts … literally.

Using white-glove services for higher-value items can translate into fewer shipping claims, though — so while you might have to spend a bit extra on the front-end, it certainly saves your time, sanity and money in replacing those irreplaceable items.

Typical Items Requiring White-glove Delivery

Products that could incur costly damage if not handled with special care and consideration are prime candidates for white-glove service. But it comes at a premium, so it's often reserved for items with high monetary or sentimental value, which could have a propensity for incurring damage during normal last-mile delivery. Some of the most-common items requiring extra handling are:

  • Fine furniture
  • Valuable jewelry or heirlooms
  • Fine art and sculptures
  • Tradeshow materials
  • Large household appliances
  • Expensive electronics

Selecting a Carrier and Managing White Glove Freight Shipments

Because you want extra care put into your shipment, you should pay extra attention to the carrier when looking for a white-glove shipping partner. A company's track record and services should be weighed as heavily as costs.

For those needing help evaluating carrier option, a third-party logistics (3PL) partner like Worldwide Express has the carrier network to ensure you pick the best shipping partner possible. Our team also facilitates paperwork and assists with logistics at the pickup and drop-off location.

To get started with a white-glove shipment, request a quote  from the leading specialty carriers available in our transportation management system, SpeedShip®