What is a Receiving Clerk?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 03 April 2020
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A receiving clerk checks and unloads incoming shipments at a warehouse, distribution center, or a large retail store. He or she verifies that the correct types and amounts of items were shipped and inspects the goods to ensure their quality. After examining the order, the receiving clerk stocks or stores the items in their appropriate places. Many receiving clerks are responsible for keeping careful records and contacting shippers directly if a problem or discrepancy is found.

Receiving clerks at large, busy facilities are primarily responsible for manual labor duties. They unload shipments from trucks, operate forklifts and hand trucks, remove and dispose of packaging material, and stock items. In general, a receiving clerk needs to be in good physical condition and have excellent vision. Organizational skills are essential to ensure receiving tasks run smoothly and that items can be found easily when they are needed.

Clerks who work at smaller facilities often handle a larger set of responsibilities, such as thoroughly checking shipments against original order forms to ensure the accuracy of orders. A clerk often opens boxes in the presence of delivery persons to make sure all items are present and undamaged. He or she often signs for shipments and makes payment arrangements as well.


Some receiving clerks, especially those who work at smaller warehouses, also perform shipping duties. They generally review purchase orders, gather and package the appropriate quantities of goods, and place them on outgoing trucks. After loading a truck, a shipping clerk often fills out a standard form and notes any missing items from the original order. The form is sent along with the shipment for receiving clerks at the destination to follow.

The education and training requirements to work as a receiving clerk vary between employers and job settings. Most companies require applicants to possess high school diplomas, or the equivalent, and be able to demonstrate basic math and organizational skills. Some employers prefer to hire clerks who have previous experience in customer service or inventory checking positions. A hopeful worker may also need to pass training courses to earn a forklift operator certification before he or she can start the job. New receiving clerks typically receive extensive on-the-job training from experienced workers for several days or weeks to learn about specific techniques, company policies, and procedures.

A successful receiving clerk may have the opportunity to advance to a supervisory position with enough time and experience on the job. A supervisor oversees all daily activities of the receiving department and develops new policies to improve efficiency. Some workers choose to pursue associate's or bachelor's degrees in business, inventory management, or accounting to improve their credentials and qualify for administrative positions.


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Post 4

Oasis11- Receiving clerks have a combination of administrative clerk tasks when they have to check in merchandise, but their job is also considered a blue collar job because of the heavy lifting that is usually involved.

They usually unload trucks and have to do certain under certain time constraints. Most receiving clerks do not work weekends, and for retail that is rare.

Post 3

Cupcake15-A typical receiving clerk job description includes early morning hours like 5 or 6 AM to 3 or 4PM.

So if you are not a morning person then this job is not for you. Usually a receiving clerk's resume is nonexistent because most jobs just require the ability to lift a certain amount of weight as well as being able to work early morning hours.

In addition, most retailers for this position usually request a criminal background check.

Post 2

SauteePan- A receiving clerk's job description also includes scanning merchandise to put into inventory as well as signing off that the inventory list is correct.

After merchandise is checked in, then it can go to the various corresponding departments in order to get the merchandise out to the floor. They are usually responsible for placing the merchandise out to the stockrooms in order for the merchandisers to place the stock on the sales floor.

Post 1

Shipping and receiving clerk jobs often take place in the warehouse or receiving area of a retail store.

Receiving clerk jobs involve checking in merchandise according to the bill of lading. At the receiving dock is where the merchandise that gets checked is deemed damaged and then it packed up and sent back to the vendor.

This is called an RTV or return to vendor transaction.

A lot of potential theft happens in the retail sector in this area; so many companies have cameras all over the receiving dock to make sure that merchandise is accurately checked in. A receiving clerk’s salary is $10 to $15 per hour depending on the geographic area.

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