Live Unload The Ultimate FAQ Guide 1

Liftgate: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

All information you’re looking for about lift gate is right in this guide.

From basic definition, how it works, sizes to specifications – you will find all information you need right here.

Keep reading to learn more.

What Is A Liftgate?



A liftgate is an equipment that helps unload cargo from a truck by attaching it to the back of the truck.

Often, you shall be charged a separate liftgate fee if you happen to need a liftgate for your unloading operations.

Sometimes it is difficult to unload cargo to the ground, probably owing to its size and weight. Therefore, a liftgate becomes the best option to settle for.

Are Liftgate Complimentary Of The Delivery Service?

Usually, a liftgate is not included in the delivery service, and therefore you will need to pay for it separately.

The price charged will depend on factors such as the location of the service provision.

Your carrier and the weight of your shipment, this cost might range from as low as $40 to as much as $100 or more.

However, you might find a complimentary liftgate when working with some freight carriers AS they might have the liftgate service included in delivery as part of FAK (Freight of All Kinds).

Alternatively, the carrier and broker might agree to offer a liftgate service.

While there are such freight carriers offering liftgate complimentary delivery service, you shouldn’t have your hopes high of getting such services as it’s rare.

Your freight broker will advise you accordingly on the costs of a liftgate for your delivery process.

How Does A Liftgate Work?

Loading using liftgate

Loading using liftgate

Mostly, you can easily notice a liftgate attached to some trucks or trailers as they are significantly visible.

Not only are they large, but they also add significant weight to the vehicle’s weight.

For the liftgate to operate, hydraulic pressure forces a piston through a cylinder, making it rise and lowers the gate.

A switch box is behind all the controls of a liftgate through the use of the “up” and “down” function.

The gate is first lowered then unfolded, thus creating a lifting platform. When offloading cargo from a truck, the liftgate carries the cargo and lowers it to the surface.

What Does Liftgate At Delivery Mean In Drayage?

Liftgate delivery refers to a situation where cargo is dropped off at the final destination using a liftgate.

When selecting delivery options, choose a liftgate delivery service that the truck driver will be responsible for loading and unloading your cargo.

You might be required to move your cargo once it’s off the liftgate. Depending on the delivery service option you have chosen.

Do I Need A Liftgate Service?

The answer to whether or not you will require a liftgate service will not only depend on the size and weight of your cargo.

But also the availability of other options such as forklift or shipping docks.

When transporting heavy cargo, you should probably consider seeking liftgate services to facilitate an efficient offloading process.

A liftgate will also ease the lifting of the cargo to the weight of the trailer.

Alternatively, liftgates come in handy in situations with no alternative options such as forklifts, pallet jacks, or shipping docks.

What Does A Liftgate Service Entail?

A liftgate service involves the use of a liftgate to offload or load items from a track.

The liftgate is normally positioned at the back of the track or under the track.

If you choose a liftgate service, the track driver will offload your items off the liftgate surface.

If it is a delivery, you are not exempted from moving your cargo once it’s off the liftgate, not unless it’s an inside delivery service.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Liftgate Services?

It’s no doubt that liftgates are quite advantageous, and here is how;

  • Eliminates any risk of injuries– Using liftgates lowers the risk of injuries to involved staff.
  • Prevents damage – Liftgates prevent damages to items as it’s hard for the load to fall off from the liftgate and break or get destroyed.

Such accidents might happen when lifting loads without a liftgate and might result in additional costs and losses.

  • Less labor– Machines (including liftgates) are meant to make work easier, and some eliminate the need for manpower.
  • Cost-efficient – Since you will need less manpower, costs will be significantly cut, and therefore you can easily save on costs.

What Is The Difference Between Tailgate And Liftgate?

2020 GMC Sierra AT4


 Liftgate Truck

 Liftgate Truck

While these two have almost similar functionalities. Tailgate is a hatch located at the vehicle’s rear that’s lowered to facilitate the loading and unloading of cargo.

A liftgate is not a hatch, but a closure found at the rear of a vehicle. It can be mechanically operated when loading and unloading heavy cargo.

What Are The Varying Liftgate Service Requirements?

You require liftgate service when loading and unloading heavy material from a truck or trailer.

Liftgate services might be required in the following areas;

  • On construction sites – Liftgate is used to offload building materials from trucks.
  • Lack of access to a loading dock – Facilities that lack a loading dock need a forklift or a liftgate to load or offload a trailer, especially if the cargo weighs more than 150 pounds.
  • Residential deliveries – Furniture, building materials, and other heavy objects will require a liftgate when doing home deliveries.

What Are The Available Liftgate Options For Delivery Trucks?

Before request a liftgate service, it’s important to remember that there are different types, and each serves a specific function.

The functionality will be based on the type of cargo to be handled.

Let’s have a look at the three types of liftgate options below;

Cantilever Liftgate

Cantilever Liftgate

Cantilever Liftgate

This would be the ideal liftgate for use in any terrain as your cargo will remain on level regardless.

You can easily load or unload cargo from the side or back. Owing to the spacious platform as well as adjust the platform’s tilt.

Cantilever liftgates are operated using remote control; therefore, less manpower is needed to man the liftgate folding and unfolding functions.

It is compatible with pallets and carts owing to its unique design options like cart stops.

Tuck-Under Lift Gates

Truck -under Liftgate

Truck -under Liftgate

One of the benefits of a tuck-under liftgate is the easy access to the cargo doors. You will also enjoy easy rolling of cargo into and out of the truck.

This is facilitated by the standards models, which can tilt to form a ramp.

You will find this type of liftgate popular among dock height trucks which can perform the loading and loading function without a liftgate.

Rail-Lift Gates

Rail - Liftgate

Rail  – Liftgate

This will be a suitable option if you plan to load or unload heavy cargo on the streets.

You can easily notice a rail liftgate.

By checking whether a truck has a liftgate lying flat onto the rear of its body when not in use.

Rail liftgates have not only a large platform but also a levelled one that provides maximum stability.

The disadvantage of this liftgate is that it consumes a lot of space at the rear doorway when it’s not engaged.

What Are The Considerations For Choosing A Liftgate?

There are some important considerations you need to factors in when selecting a liftgate. Here are some of them;

  • When using a cart, pallet jack, you’ll want to ensure that the system is compatible with them, depending on the configuration.

A tuck-under liftgate will tilt once they reach the ground to facilitate cargo rolling, while rail-liftgates lack this feature.

It’s important to enquire whether it’s a “level ride” platform (maintains the same level as the truck bed throughout the process). Or a “standard ride” (tilts towards the ground as seen with tuck-under liftgate) platform when choosing your liftgate.

  • Ensure that the liftgate can sustain the weight and dimensions of your cargo. While considering this, don’t forget other factors such as the weight of the driver, pallet jack, or second handler.

Sum up all these, and if you can, allow for extra weight.

What Is A Liftgate Fee?

A liftgate fee is a money charged on liftgate services offered for a location that lacks a loading dock.

A trucker will determine whether or not you will require a liftgate and charge you if applicable.

How Much Does Liftgate Service Cost?

The cost of a liftgate service will vary depending on the weight, location, and carrier you choose.

Normally, the costs might range from as low as $50 to more than $500.You can as well negotiate the fee. If so, you plan to use a specific company for your future shipments.

Why Do Carriers Charge For Liftgates?

Carriers, just like any other business, need to make profits from the services that they provide. What do the liftgate charges cover, you may ask;

  • To begin with, it’s worth noting that not all trucks come fixed with liftgates. Therefore, if you need one with a liftgate, you will have to pay additional costs for it.
  • Secondly, just like you would install a swimming pool in your property to add value, so does a liftgate.

A liftgate is an additional investment that also raises the value of the truck.

Capital will be required to purchase and have it fixed, which explains why you shall be charged for it.

  • Also, you need to remember that a liftgate is a machine. This means that it will need to be serviced and maintained now and then. Thus the fee was charged.
  • As if that’s enough, liftgates add extra work to the driver.
  • Finally, we can’t forget to mention how liftgates have made it convenient to load and unload cargo, thus benefiting buyers.

What Are The Dimensions Of A Liftgate?

Dimensions of a liftgate are diverse and often include; 80” to 89” wide and 30” to 70” deep. Most liftgates are deep enough to accommodate a standard pallet measuring 40” x 48” standard pallet.

Keep in mind that the size of the truck will influence the width of the liftgate.

Given the dimensions of the truck, the liftgate should have fewer dimensions as compared to the truck.

For instance, let us imagine that your truck measures 96” wide. The liftgate you can use should be around 82”.

It is important to always check with your carrier on the size of liftgates available. More so if you plan not to transport on standard 40” x 48” pallets.

What Are Liftgate Limitations On Dimensions And Weight?

Liftgates can be used on cargo that is 96″ wide or less and 48″ deep. Thereby they can conveniently handle standard-sized pallets.

A standard liftgate will handle a maximum of 2500 lbs, and in case of any additional weight, alternative options need to be organized.

It’s important to work closely with your freight broker to get appropriate advice in case this happens.

What Are Liftgate Equipment Safety Considerations?

Here are some safety considerations on liftgate equipment;

  • Be aware of how much your liftgate can handle and the weight of your cargo to avoid overloading.
  • Ensure that you have several chocks in the truck if it lacks cart stops to prevent items from rolling off when moving items in and out of the truck.
  • Avoid using a liftgate for other purposes apart from its designed function.
  • Ensure that the surface does not slip.
  • Carefully note where the liftgate and the truck bed join as failure to notice this might result in avoidable injuries.
  • Always select a liftgate with cart stops whenever you rent as they inhibit items from rolling off.
  • The liftgate and floor of the truck should be uniformly levelled to facilitate easy rolling of cargo in and out of the truck.
  • Avoid placing your hand and feet near the pinch points.

Is Liftgate Service Always Available?

Not all trucks are fitted with liftgates, and therefore, the service is not always available.

You need to plan early and know whether or not you might require a liftgate, after which you will inform your carrier.

If you failed to request a liftgate and the truck comes without one. You will be subjected to additional costs, not forgetting the delays caused.

To avoid all these troubles, be sure to highlight that you will need a liftgate on your bill of lading.

Do I Need A Liftgate Service If I Have A Forklift?

No. A forklift is an alternative option that serves the same purpose as a liftgate. Therefore, you will not need a liftgate if you have one.

With a forklift, the driver will only have to position the cargo at the back of the truck to facilitate the unloading process.

All charges, whether limited access residential or non-commercial, will apply apart from the liftgate fee.

Ensure that your customer is aware that you don’t need a lift gate, which might be included in the total bill.

Sometimes, it happened to shippers, and they are presented with a lift gate fee that they requested nor utilized.

This happens when the driver and consignee choose to include the fee. Because they thought it would be convenient to use a lift gate.

At BanSar, we provide fast and reliable solution when importing from China.

Contact us now for all your freight forwarding needs from China.

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