Don’t Forget About Shipping: 9 Questions to Ask Before Ordering Your Medical Equipment

The medical equipment company you found on the internet has a great price on the stretcher you need. They appeared knowledgeable on the product and their procedure for refurbishing the stretcher made you feel comfortable that you will receive a quality product. They provide a warranty and can ship your product in a satisfactory time frame. You’re all done…you pay the vendor and wait for your stretcher, good job!

But wait! How will they deliver it?

When ordering medical equipment, especially large items such as stretchers, operating tables, carts, etc., one of the more overlooked details is how you will receive the equipment and what the procedure is. Most new manufacturers have their procedure tweaked so the customer receives the items easily and with the least amount of stress and headaches as possible. When buying refurbished equipment, the methods and procedures can vary greatly.

Ask a few questions regarding your delivery before finalizing the purchase:

Will the product be delivered by a freight carrier (tractor trailer?)

  • Is your facility accessible by a tractor trailer?

I do not have a loading dock, how will they get the item off of the truck?

  • If you do not have a loading dock,  the equipment vendor should, at minimum, quote the shipment with a “lift gate” delivery so the product can be lowered from the truck

How much involvement will the staff have to have when the product is delivered?

  • Usually there are different levels of service provided by the carrier. It may cost more money, but if you want a “white glove” delivery with little or no involvement by your staff, this may be the way to go

What is the best procedure for removing the product from the packaging?

  • Make sure the vendor is as detailed as possible or supply you with written directions.

What should I do if I suspect or see damage to the item when received?

  • This should be clearly stated to you. Do not let the driver leave until the item is inspected. Freight insurance claims are much easier to deal with when the driver signs that there was damage to the freight.

Will the item come assembled or will you have to assemble it?

  • This should be explained up front during the sales process. Instructions should be provided.

Is the item insured?

  • Make sure your item is insured, and if not, that the vendor is taking the responsibility in the case there is damage. If there damage and the freight are insured, who will be filing the claim, you or the vendor? This will vary from vendor to vendor depending on their carriers and their procedures.

Will the freight company call prior to give you a time frame for delivery?

  • Your office may be closed on Tuesdays. Make sure they call first to give you a day and a “window” when they will deliver.

We are on the 7th floor of our building. Will this change the shipping?

  • Make sure you make the vendor well aware of any potential delivery obstacles, including deliveries not on the 1st floor, elevator restrictions, building restrictions, etc. Not divulging these details upfront can lead to a nightmare on delivery day and/or delays in receiving your shipment.

These are the basic questions that you should ask to make sure you get your medical equipment safe and sound, for the price quoted and with the least amount of headaches possible. If you don’t like the answers the vendor gives you, you may want to keep exploring your options.

Thanks for reading,

-Venture Medical

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