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Forum topic by barringerfurniture posted 01-18-2014 11:24 PM 2248 views 1 time favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View barringerfurniture's profile


223 posts in 1675 days

01-18-2014 11:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question shipping crating packing large furniture

Hi everyone.

I’m trying to get my ducks in a row in terms of shipping large items like coffee tables, bookcases, etc. and was interested in learning how others do this.

I’ve never shipped any of these larger pieces. Many of them are within UPS size/weight restrictions but my question there is whether or not UPS will ship a wood-crate package (I plan on crating my larger items myself and scheduling a pick up). Also, I don’t think I trust UPS or USPS with large, fragile items. Maybe others here can change my opinion.

Mainly, I want to know if anyone can recommend a shipping company they’ve worked with or regularly use? I live/work in Sacramento, CA and plan on being able to ship anywhere in the country.

What are some ballpark or example prices for shipping large furniture that has been packed/crated already?

Thanks a bunch for any feedback or advice.

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA

15 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile


8162 posts in 2540 days

#1 posted 01-18-2014 11:28 PM

Shipping business to business addresses may save on shipping costs.

View mahdee's profile


3870 posts in 1730 days

#2 posted 01-19-2014 12:02 AM

Hi, google freight companies in your area and contact them. Most of them are very reasonable and will insure your product. Be sure to know how to crate your work and label it so it is handled appropriately. Some will do sidewalk delivery, but picking up at a designated drop off areas have a lot cheaper rate (this is a city option).
Take care


View barringerfurniture's profile


223 posts in 1675 days

#3 posted 01-19-2014 12:03 AM

waho6o9, Really? Do you mean shipping from my business address to a client’s business address as opposed to their residence?

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA

View barringerfurniture's profile


223 posts in 1675 days

#4 posted 01-19-2014 12:04 AM

Thanks for the info mrjinx007.

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA

View barringerfurniture's profile


223 posts in 1675 days

#5 posted 01-19-2014 12:17 AM

I have a website that has an online store where people can order standard pieces and shipping costs are automatically added upon checkout.

In this situation, do merchants usually charge a flat shipping rate that will cover them, regardless of the distance to be shipped?

In other words, I’m wondering if I should charge a shipping fee that will cover me clear across the country even if the piece is only being shipped, say, 200 miles from my shop.

I don’t think my online payment system accommodates varying shipping costs depending on distance.

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2813 days

#6 posted 01-19-2014 12:21 AM

Sam Maloof makes comments in his coffee table book about how he shipped his chairs.

There can be huge variances is shipping rates, company to company, even between offices of the same company. It would be worth your time, in my view, to invite reps to your shop and discuss with them what your needs are, how you see the future, and learn how they can serve you. Ask about liftgate service. And what other possibilities there are for extra costs and how you can anticipate them.

They like to get and keep customers.

Be sure to interview more than one and let them all know that is what you’re doing.

Yes, I agree with waho.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View barringerfurniture's profile


223 posts in 1675 days

#7 posted 01-19-2014 12:28 AM

Thanks for the help Lee.

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA

View tncraftsman's profile


92 posts in 3102 days

#8 posted 01-19-2014 12:42 AM

Search for freight brokers in your area. Best thing to do is to get a sales rep on site and show him what you make. Best case is if you can negotiate a contract to ship your wares. Example, bookcases between a certain size and weight would be X, tables between a certain size and weight would be xx, etc. Overall freight companies aren’t very interested in shipping one-offs. They want to fill trailers and make as few stops as possible.

There are several companies that specialize in shipping furniture.

Sometimes moving companies will ship individual pieces.

I’ve had moderate success with IMO you can find a better deal but it takes more time to list what you sell. The buyer needs to be flexible

Preparing for shipment is a job in itself. Freight handlers and transportation are not friendly to furniture.

If you have standard sizes a cardboard company could make custom boxes for you.

Whenenver I ship I use foam, cardboard and shrinkwrap. Strapping to a pallet sometimes make it more appealing because the package is easier to move.

Let us know if you find a cost effective solution. Don’t be surprised if shipping a large or bulky item costs 25% of your sales price. I’ve lost many sales because shipping blows it out of the water.

Based on my experiences and glancing at your work it might cost anywhere from $100 – $300 to ship freight.

Don’t forget to price your time in the packaging. Could take an hour or more to do it right.

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2001 days

#9 posted 01-19-2014 12:47 AM

UPS ships wooden crates. My first big project was a mahogany blanket chest for a niece and it got shipped UPS from GA to MI. I don’t know if it went UPS or UPS Freight though – I just crated it up and took it to the UPS store.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2638 days

#10 posted 01-19-2014 12:56 AM

I met a man that was motor cycling from California to Wisconsin. His brother had his bike shipped to California and flew out. They met up, rode for a week then the brother delivered his bike and went vacationing with his wife for the week. He shipped the bike on a moving van. Someone like Beacon of Mayflower. Some big name. He said it wasn’t too bad. They packed the bike. he delivered it to the depot and they packed it , shipped it and delivered it.
I bought some shutters that are large. They came in a triple wall cardboard box with stiff corners added on all sides. Inside they used closed cell foam to center the part. They banded everything with the Nylon straps or bands. It was marked top freight, fragile, etc. I imagine the packing cost as much as the product.

I have used a local shipping company to receive thing from Oklahoma city and to ship to Dallas TX. They don’t package they had me deliver to their depot and pickup at their depot. It was pretty reasonable though. It was plenty but when you look at gas alone it was cheaper than driving parts from here to Dallas.

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2001 days

#11 posted 01-19-2014 01:09 AM

Forgot to mention this place. You tell them what you want to ship, where you want it to go, and shippers bid on the chance to do the job for you.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1313 posts in 1898 days

#12 posted 01-19-2014 01:46 AM

I actually had to ship a pretty large 4’x8’ crate of templates from Texas to Minnesota for my job. It wasn’t easy, but it was far less confusing second time around. But, it is one of those things where you show up to ship something and ask them for help and they look at you like you aren’t speaking english. Then you say “I need to ship this big huge box to Minnesota. I have no idea how to do it. Since you are Fed Ex, I assume you can ship large boxes, correct? OK, then please help me do it”. Sort of a a spell it out for them thing. I assume they are pretty used to the automated stuff, so just showing up with a huge box sort of throws them off. Once they grasp what you are trying to do, they are generally relatively helpful.

I found that I did have to drive to a Freight shipping location, which sort of resembles a combination of a prison, a jail, and an airport. It took about an hour from arrival to departure. I shipped a 4’ x 8’ x 6” thick crate weighing around 200 lbs on two different occasions. I believe the cost was around $160 each time. That was without insurance and without any special “fragile” charges if they exist.

That has been my real-world shipping experience. If you think this is going to be happening frequently, I think Lee’s advice on having some reps visit you is a good idea. I might give that a shot if I were you.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Darrell Peart's profile

Darrell Peart

362 posts in 3551 days

#13 posted 02-15-2014 12:00 AM

I have been shipping furniture across the country for over 20 years. I have numerous horror stories to tell.
Its not easy to find a good shipper.

Here is a little of my shipping history

Lyle Logistics – shipped with them twice once they put a dent in a dining table top and another time a dining table that was going to Texas ended up in PA.

WDI - took over two months to ship a bed from Seattle to LA – with considerable damage (ruined) to it upon arrival – I had to refund my client the entire price of the piece.

Craters ad Freighters – did a great job for many years but they raised their prices considerably a few years back

PLYCON - have had good luck with them for years but lately there seems to be a communication problem with them – they don’t respond to requests for a shipping quote or pick up. I have been told they will fix this problem (fingers crossed) PLYCON has an office in Torrence CA and regularly go up and down the west coast and ship to all points in the 48 states and to some locations in Canada.

With the exception of Craters and Freighters these are all blanket wrappers. I would not recommend building your own crate to save a few bucks – shippers usually will not insure things unless they crate or blanket wrap it themselves.
I would not go with UPS or FEDEX or such – they are not in the business of shipping fine furniture.

-- Darrell Peart - Seattle - - author G&G Design Elements for the Workshop

View AandCstyle's profile


3023 posts in 2220 days

#14 posted 02-15-2014 01:42 AM

Depending on the size and shape, you might contact Greyhound (yes, the bus company). I have been told they can be quite reasonable. FWIW

-- Art

View PunitShah1's profile


1 post in 653 days

#15 posted 07-06-2016 06:21 AM

From your question I can completely understand your situation. I have also gone through the same problem. It is very important to select the right company for shipping such heavy and valuable items. I want to suggest that after choosing the right company, you also need to check whether the company is using the right packaging material for your heavier items or not. You should also have the knowledge of the boxes and its strengths that will be used in shipping your important things.
Below is the blog from where you can find which box is suitable for packaging and shipping your Items.

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