Modular Home Delivery

modular home delivery

Modular Home Delivery

Delivery Date

Once your dealer has submitted your order to the modular home factory the order will be serial-numbered and a tentative delivery date will be established (usually about two months from the time your order was submitted). Your dealer will contact you to determine if you will be ready to take delivery on that date. Most buyers are anxious to take delivery as soon as possible, whether they are ready or not. Be careful when agreeing to a delivery date; once a delivery date has been established it is difficult or impossible or expensive to change it. The factory has a lot of money tied-up in your house and they want to be paid. There is limited storage room at the factory for your house. If you have to take delivery before your site-work is completed having multiple modules parked on the site will complicate site-work causing delays and cost overruns. Before agreeing to a delivery make sure you'll be ready to receive the house.

Delivery dates are usually very accurate -  meaning that the promised date is generally the date that the house will be delivered. Things can and do go wrong, so don't push your dealer to schedule the set for the very next day after delivery.  The last thing you or your dealer wants is to have a crane and crew on-site while one of the modules is sitting in rest area in another state while the driver tries to get his truck repaired. I always try to leave a day between delivery and set "just in case". You've waited this long - what's another day?

Arrival at Site

Once the "boxes" arrive at your site, the objective is to get them parked in their predetermined locations. A complicating factor is that the boxes do not always arrive at the same time or in the "right" order. For example, the dealer wants the "A-Box" brought onto the site first only the "A-Box" is still an hour away. Your dealer can't keep the other drivers sitting in the public road blocking traffic so he will just do the best he can with the situation. Assuming that the site has been properly prepared your dealer should be able to get the "boxes" parked as planned.

Modular homes and the delivery trucks are long - up to 90' (see photo at top of this page) and need lots of room to turn. Park your personal vehicles far away from the site. Do not let children and/or pets run around the site. Stay back and enjoy the show!

Inspection of Modules

The modules will be wrapped in plastic shrink-wrap to protect them from the elements during delivery. Your dealer should check the roof area for rips and tears and repair them with tape in case of rain before the set. It is generally not practical to inspect the modules in a meaningful way at delivery. Modules are difficult or impossible to access at this time and are usually loaded with "ship-loose" materials such as vinyl siding, roofing shingles, flooring, etc. Look for obvious damage to the units and report it to your dealer (who will note the damage on a delivery form). The factory understands that some damage and shortages will not be discovered until after the "boxes" are set. That said, report any damage or shortages to your dealer, in writing, in a timely manner.

Paying for your New House

Unless other arrangements have been made, one of the drivers will be designated by the factory to collect a bank check (i.e., "certified check") from you upon delivery of the modules to your site. If you used a modular-friendly lender as recommended, a bank representative will be at the site with a check for the driver. Some banks will not release funds until the house is set on the foundation. Discuss payment options with your dealer before the house is ordered.


Make sure that you have "Builder's Risk" insurance in effect as of the date of delivery. If you have a construction loan the lender will require that you have this policy before they will close on your loan. If you are paying cash for the house it is your responsibility to have a policy in place. Once the truck unhooks from the carrier any damage that occurs to the modules (e.g., tree falls on modules, vandalism, etc.) is on you. Builder's Risk policies are inexpensive and are available through most insurance companies that offer homeowner's insurance.

Off-site Delivery

In certain situations, such as when the site is too small to allow for storage of the units, it will be necessary to identify and deliver the modules to an alternative site and then transport them one module at a time to the crane on the day of the set. In the event that modules can not be parked on your building site, you or your dealer will need to find a suitable storage site where the modules can be parked for a few days (or longer). Ideally, the alternative site should be close to the building site and easily accessible to the delivery trucks.

On the day of the set the modules will be transported to the site one module at a time (AKA “feeding the crane”).

Sound simple?  It's not!  Avoid this scenario if at all possible.

Issues with Delivery to Alternate Site

  • Finding a suitable alternative site is not easy; even if the land owner is willing he will be rightly concerned regarding liability for damage to the modules while they are parked on his land.
  • Site conditions (e.g., snow, mud) may be problematic; who will keep the site accessible?
  • If project is being financed by a bank they will require that the modules be insured while they are parked off-site. Builder's Risk insurance does not cover modules unless they are physically parked on the building site. Obtaining insurance for this situation is both difficult and expensive.
  • Transportation to building site. You or your dealer will need to arrange for modules to be transported to the building site on the day of the set. The original drivers will be long-gone so you will need to find a local trucking company that has experience transporting modular homes.
  • In addition to the cost of the transportation, bringing modules to the building site from another location will slow down the set, increasing the cost of both the crane and the set crew. The set will take longer because the set crew will be unable to “strip the boxes” and rig the lifting cables until the modules are on-site (these tasks are usually completed while the crane is setting-up).
  • Due to delays inherent in transporting modules from the alternative site, the set may not be completed in one day due to darkness (especially when hours of daylight are shorter) which may require that a crane, if available, be on-site for a second day – increasing the cost of the set.

What Can Go Wrong?

The following is a partial list:

  • Delays is shipping due to delays in factory receiving special-order items.
  • Weather-related delays.
  • Mechanical problems with delivery truck.
  • Traffic-related delays.
  • Darkness - modular homes cannot travel after sunset.
  • State Laws - each state has restrictions on when modular homes can travel (time of day, holidays, etc.).
  • Drivers will not cooperate with your plan, usually due to concerns regarding safety or damage to their vehicles.
  • Excavator no-show.
  • Site is muddy or snow covered due to improper site preparation and delivery trucks and/or modules get stuck.
  • Modules arrive in the "wrong" order.
  • Not all modules arrive on the same day.
  • Bank does not show-up with check.
  • Driver hired to transport modules from alternate site may not have experience in moving modular homes, thus creating additional problems.

The Takeaway

  • Allow plenty of time to complete site-work before modules are delivered - rushing the process doesn't save time - it wastes it.
  • Prepare site properly to avoid creating problems.
  • Expect delays in completing site-work.
  • If your excavator needs to be on-site for delivery it is your responsibility to make sure he is there with adequate equipment to move the modules.
  • Arrange with your bank for payment of the modules.
  • Inspect house with your dealer after it is set.
  • Report any damage or shortages to your dealer in writing in a timely manner.
  • Don't push your dealer to set your house immediately after delivery.
  • Allow time for delays in shipping and receiving the house.
  • Have a "Builder's Risk" insurance policy in effect; once the house is delivered you will need your own insurance to cover any damage that may occur at the site.
  • Avoid parking modules at alternate site if at all possible.

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