Shipping furniture can be a tedious task for shipping companies let alone individuals like you and me. Sometimes it gets difficult to manage and understand the process of packing and shipping furniture especially since it’s a several-step semi-complicated process. But worry not! In this article we take you step-by-step through the whole process: from wrapping and boxing your furniture to picking the right shipping method that remains cost-efficient.
Let’s talk about costs first. The cost of shipping furniture can vary immensely based on several aspects. So let’s delve into those cost-affecting aspects:
How much should I expect to pay for shipping furniture?
There is no set price for shipping a couch or a chair, but there are several ways in which you could better understand how much shipping certain furniture through certain shipping methods is supposed to cost you.
Take the size of the item you intend to ship for example. The dimensions of an item will affect the size of the shipping box or crate you’d need. Small items like lamps or vases can be wrapped and boxed in relatively small cardboard boxes while larger items, like a bed frame, for instance, would need a larger wooden crate to be shipped in.
The larger the shipping box, the higher the shipping cost. This is because the box will take up more space in the truck or ship it’s being shipped in so shipping couriers charge more for that.
In relation to the size of the box you’re shipping, the weight of said box has the same direct effect on costs. Similarly, in terms of weight, the heavier the furniture you’re shipping is, the more it takes up out of the truck or ship’s weight capacity. So to compensate for that, couriers charge more for heavier items.
Another apparent aspect that directly affects shipping costs is how far you intend to ship your furniture. That in combination with the weight and the size of your shipment should give you a clearer understanding of how much you should expect your shipment to cost you.
Keep in mind that international shipments will cost way more than locals shipments would. That’s mainly because of the shipping methods used.
Method of transport
Speaking of the shipping method, another thing that can affect your costs is how your furniture gets shipped. As we’ve mentioned, local shipments cost way less than international shipments do.
Consider the following: you’re shipping a few items from your apartment in the city to your new place in the suburbs that’s about 4 hours away. You’d probably use a moving van which will cost you way less than freight shipments. If you’re moving to a whole other country, you’d most probably ship your furniture on a plane or a ship and that would definitely cost more than land shipments.
This can incrementally affect the cost of your shipment but it affects it nevertheless. Picking the right courier for your shipment could also play a role in the overall cost of your whole shipment. Different couriers charge different prices for the same shipment. That’s because each courier has their own methods, fees, and rates. Picking the fitting courier is definitely something you want to take your time with.
Consider the fitting method for shipment first and then find a courier that provides shipment through that method at a rate you’re comfortable with.
Sometimes you’ll have to ship your furniture through several couriers to reach your destination. This usually negatively affects the cost in terms that several tiny shipments would probably cost more than one bulk shipment. However, sometimes, it would be necessary to break your shipment up into several smaller shipments instead of one, especially if one method is not fitting for all.
You might also want to consider insuring your furniture as it’s shipped which may add some extra costs but will eventually save you a lot if any of your items are damaged or lost during shipment.
And now that we’ve covered the main costs and how you should expect them to be affected, let’s talk about the packing.
How do you safely pack your furniture for shipping?
Packing your furniture in a manner that minimizes damage while shipping is essential for a happy unpacking once they’ve reached their destination. Some shipping companies could offer to pack your furniture for you for an added cost. If, however, you’d prefer to pack your furniture yourself to keep everything in order, here’s how:
First things first, you need to disassemble all your furniture. When we say disassemble, we mean that you need to take apart any pieces that may get damaged during shipment. For example, with a table, you’d want to take apart the legs and any drawers as well as any knobs or accessories that you think might be damaged on their way.
This minimizes impact points and hence minimizing damage to any fragile pieces during their shipment.
Order your boxes and crates
Next, you want to order enough boxes or crates to pack all of your stuff in. Here you want to consider the number of items and their sizes. A shipping company could help you with assessing the number and type of boxes you’ll need to pack everything neatly in.
You could also buy cardboard sheets and create make-shift boxes for irregular items to make sure that everything is cradled properly and safely. This can be easily done by cutting up cardboard to fit the sides of your furniture and securing them tightly with packaging tape.
You want to start by wrapping the large pieces of furniture first. Layer styrofoam sheets around your furniture and secure the styrofoam down with packaging tape. Next, wrap the smaller pieces in either foam or bubble wrap and secure those with tape as well.
Styrofoam and bubble wrap can be bought anywhere or provided through your courier.
As you wrap your furniture, you want to make sure that every part is covered and adequately padded so that nothing gets damaged during shipment.
Box everything up
The next logical step is to place everything in boxes. If you’re using regular cardboard boxes, you’ll want to place your furniture in and stuff the sides of the box so that whatever is in is secure and doesn’t have any room to move around.
If you’re wrapping your furniture in cardboard sheets instead of placing them in boxes, especially if they have an irregular shape, you’ll want to cut up your cardboard to fit the sides of your furniture.
Then at the corners, you’ll want to wrap another layer of cardboard on top of the existing layer so that the corners are warped in instead of pointy. This will help protect your furniture even further.
When it comes to the lid on open-top boxes, you’ll want to cut up a layer of cardboard that’s a little wider than the box so that you could fold down the lid’s sides to securely close down the box.
Secure your boxes
The last thing you want to do to make sure that everything is safely boxed up is to wrap up the boxes. You could do that by strapping the whole box down with polypropylene or packing tape.
Prepare your boxes for shipment
Now that everything is in place, you want to prepare your boxes to be picked up by the courier. While the courier will probably do that for you, you could measure and weigh your boxes to determine the best shipping method for each box.
This will also give you a glimpse into how much you should be expecting to pay when you compare your measurements to your courier’s rates.
Contact your courier to pick everything up
Now that your role is done, all you need to do is get in contact with your courier of choice so that they could come to pick up your furniture for shipping.
You should always check your courier’s shipping restrictions and rules beforehand in order to avoid having to deal with issues like held-back packages.
Smaller boxes that hold small items can be easily shipped through postal services without needing to go through the hassle of freight shipment. Larger items, however, like the ones that only fit in large shipping crates, will need larger shipping methods. You might need to separate your items into groups that are shipped through different methods.
An alternative to that choice would be that you pack smaller boxes within the larger boxes to have everything shipped at once. This also has the added benefit of having everything arrive at the same time. You also won’t have to deal with several shipping services which may be inconvenient for some.
Another option you may have to all this is to simply contact a moving company that will gladly help you pack and ship your furniture professionally. This also means that you don’t have to worry about furniture damage. They’ll probably offer some sort of compensation if your furniture gets scratched up on the way to its destination.