The term “white-glove” services refers to assistance provided with an elevated level of care and attention to detail. (Learn more about the term and its origins below.) In specialty crating, packaging and shipping, those descriptions certainly apply, but the term can also mean an extension of typical services.

For example, standard shipping typically involves getting items from their point of origin to their destination, and then letting the customer take it from there. White-glove service can mean that after the items reach their destination, they are uncrated and unpackaged by the shipping logistics company (like Craters & Freighters), and if the items need setup, the company can handle that as well.

Not every shipment needs white-glove delivery service. Any reputable company’s “standard” shipping services are provided by skilled, attentive teams that are focused on protecting items from damage. But for those shipments that do call for white-glove service, it’s important to work with a specialty crating, packaging and shipping company that offers that level of care.

Who Needs White-Glove Shipping Service?

White-glove shipping service can be especially important to certain individuals or organizations. For example, you may need white-glove service if you:

  • Are an individual who owns expensive artwork, antiques, or other irreplaceable items. And “expensive” often means the cost of the item, but things that have minimal monetary value but high sentimental value may be candidates for white-glove shipping.
  • Own an art or antique gallery. Even one delivery that results in damage to a valuable asset can hurt a gallery’s reputation. Consequently, gallery owners tend to utilize white-glove delivery services. Doing so also sends a strong message to customers: We’re committed to getting you your artwork or antique in exactly the condition it was in when it left our gallery.
  • Manufacture fine furniture. High-end furniture items are works of art in their own right. Customers who invest in them expect that they will be delivered with the utmost care and also a high level of respect for the recipient’s home or business environment.
  • Build or remodel high-end properties. Contractors and builders that specialize in custom homes or business spaces often use white-glove services for the delivery of expensive materials like a custom, handcrafted fireplace mantle or a one-of-a-kind marble countertop.
  • Are an interior designer. If you are a designer that works on projects for individuals or companies that call for expensive furnishings, it’s a good idea to use white-glove delivery services. The last thing you want is for a project to be delayed or your reputation tarnished because costly items were damaged in transit.

white-glove services

Preparing for White-Glove Delivery Service

If you choose to use white-glove delivery service, of course you want to do all you can to enable the delivery team to get the items into your business or home safely and efficiently. For example, you should clear a path from the point of entry to the spot where you want the crew to place the boxes or crates. This includes removing rugs, cords and other tripping hazards. From there, you also want to ensure there are no obstacles between the uncrating point and the spot(s) where the item(s) will be placed.

You should also be prepared to assist with covering floors and other surfaces as needed. The delivery crew may prefer to take care of that themselves, but it never hurts to have a plan for protecting your floors, walls, doorways, etc.

Your crating and shipping company will likely require that an adult be present when they arrive with the shipment. Even if they don’t, it’s helpful to have someone there in case any problems arise.

About the Term “White-Glove”

As a company that has a long history of providing white-glove delivery services, our customers will sometimes ask us about the term itself. Different sources have different definitions, of course. The Cambridge Dictionary defines white-glove as “providing a very high level of service, or involving a lot of care about small details.” says that white-glove means “meticulous; painstaking; minute” (as in minute detail).

A definition from The Free Dictionary by Farlex has an element we think is particularly fitting for what we do. They define white-glove as “marked by extra attention or respect.” We feel that respect is critical when handling an organization’s or an individual’s prized possessions, and also when entering their place of business or home. Our crews never lose sight of the fact that the goods they’re handling with white-glove services are especially important to the recipients and the shippers.

As for why the term white-glove is used, many believe it goes back to a time when European nobility required that household staff wear white gloves when handling expensive meal service items made of silver that could be tarnished by contact with skin. And while gloves of any color could achieve that goal, delivery teams to this day tend to use white gloves!

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Ask About White-Glove Services

White-glove services are typically used for costly and/or fragile items. However, cost and fragility are sometimes not apparent to an outsider. This is especially true when, as noted above, an item that does not appear to be expensive nevertheless has high sentimental value.

Typically, a specialty crating and shipping company will tell you about their white-glove offering. However, if they don’t and you wonder if maybe that service is needed for your project, you should bring up the topic yourself.

What Does White-Glove Shipping Cost?

Because of the extra time and effort involved, white-glove shipping costs more than standard shipping. The difference in cost is based on a number of factors, including:

  • The size and dimensions of the item(s) being shipped. How much an item weighs affects its shipping cost, as you would expect. Unusually shaped goods may be more challenging to prepare for shipping and, consequently, involve a higher fee also.
  • The pickup and delivery locations inside a home or business. If a crew must, for example, navigate multiple flights of stairs when picking up or delivering a white-glove shipment, that will factor into the price.
  • The accessibility of the pickup and delivery locations. The proximity to a major city or airport affects white-glove delivery cost.

Whatever the incremental cost increase is for white-glove shipping service, it’s easy for discerning stakeholders to see that it’s a worthwhile investment in the safety of their assets and the convenience of shippers and recipients alike.

Contact your nearest Craters & Freighters location to see if they offer white-glove shipping service in your area.