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How to Ship Custom Furniture

In this article, I show you my 3 best ways of how to ship custom furniture out of state or across country.

Also, learn about packing furniture for shipping and the best shipping company to use.

So, let’s get started with a list of useful shipping tools.

Shipping Tools and Packing Material

Tape Gun
Packing Tape
Flat Screen TV Box
Corner Foam Supports
Truck Bed Extension
Bubble Cushioning
Home Depot Large TV Box
Corner Foam Supports
Shipping Scale

Overview

I ship custom made tables, wall art, and other beach/home decor items to my customers all over these great United States of America.

As a result, it is very important for my items to arrive safely and on-time.  If not, I lose money and & my daughter can’t take dance lessons. Just kidding.. But seriously, it eats into my profit margin.

More importantly, shipping mishaps produce unhappy customers.

Over the years, I’ve learned lessons the hard way when shipping furniture. **Gosh, I wish I could just learn things the easy way**. What can I say, I’m a guy so it’s sort of built into my DNA to do things the hard way by not listening and/or refusing to read instructions.

Ok – enough with my blabbering.
What I’m trying to say is this: I have perfected (or so I think I have) shipping large handmade items and I want to show you my 3 best shipping methods along with packing tips for each.

So, how do I ship custom furniture across country or from state to state? It depends on the size of the item I ship.

As a general rule of thumb, I organize my custom furniture into 3 categories for shipping:

  1. Table tops up to 80″ x 45″ x 2″ (Length x Width x Thickness) and under 100 pounds.
  2. Large pieces of furniture with multiple pieces.
  3. High value, delicate items destined for a location within 400 miles of my workshop.

Furniture Shipping Tips

Before I cover the best furniture shipping option for the 3 furniture size categories, I want to cover 3 furniture shipping tips which apply to each.

Packing Furniture for Shipping

Obviously, packing furniture for shipping is equally as important as choosing a shipping carrier.

As I mentioned, the furniture size determines the shipping option and the shipping option determines how I pack furniture for shipping.

I provide further detail on packing furniture for shipping under the various shipping options later in this article.

Packing furniture correctly simply requires a little common sense.

In addition, the correct furniture shipping packing tools speed up the process tremendously. You can find these at the top of this article.

Record the Packing Furniture Process

Let’s face the facts, accidents happen.  Although I insure each item I ship, it does not guarantee my claim will be approved.

In order to make insurance claims go smoothly, I use my phone to record the item before I start packing it as well as the entire packing process.

Unfortunately, Fedex damaged one of my tables during shipment as shown below.

I filled out the claim form online and Fedex immediately asked for before/after pictures.

Once I sent them the video, I received a check in the mail 2 weeks later. Once they realize I have my ducks in a row, my claims get processed quicker.

I prefer video over pictures b/c still shots (pictures) can be extracted from a video if needed.

Also, the video lets the claims agent know I am organized and have plenty documentation to support my claim. 

If they want to go to war about the insurance claim, I tell them to ‘bring it’ b/c I’m ready.

Most of the time, insurance claims agents push back as a test to see if I am organized. Once they learn I am prepared, they normally process my claim as a normal human being.

Charge for Your Time

I find the little things make or break my profit margin on custom made furniture.  The same principle applies to folks who sell upcycled furniture.

My time is valuable – it is my product and it is finite. Consequently, I charge for my time fairly despite the type of task I perform.

The time I spend packing an item could be spent with my family, writing articles for you fine people, or witnessing the dark side of humanity by reading YouTube comments on my videos from millenials.

If my customer thinks the shipping price is too high, I politely encourage them to arrange for pickup, packing, and shipping themselves. In fact, I’m happy to offload this part of the project.

Ultimately, I add shipping material and the time I spent packing and planning to the price of the item.

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    Method 1: Shipping Custom Furniture with Fedex

    I use fedex and UPS to ship my small to medium size table tops and wall art.

    I ship furniture with Fedex or UPS when the item is:

    • Fits in a standard TV box
      • Less than or Equal to 80″ x 45″ x 2″ (Length x Width x Thickness)
      • Under 100 pounds
    • Moderate value
    • Not a family heirloom or an item which cannot be replaced easily

    Advantages

    UPS and Fedex own an enormous network of trucks and routes that cover nearly all serviceable addresses in the US.

    In addition, they offer cheap shipping prices, flexible pickup times, and affordable insurance rates.

    Fedex and UPS have deep pockets and will cover insurance claims with proper documentation.  However, an insurance claim doesn’t fully replace unique furniture and family heirlooms.

    Disadvantages

    There is a downside to using fedex or UPS to ship custom furniture.

    To put it bluntly, a large percentage of the drivers simply don’t give a damn.

    They sling packages like the New Orleans Saints toss around the Atlanta Falcons. Sorry Dirty Bird fans, I just couldn’t help myself.

    So, the chances of the item getting damaged is high.

    How To Use a TV Box to Ship a Table Top

    Flat screen TV boxes work really well to ship table tops for 3 reasons:

    • Carriers are more careful with a TV box.
    • If the box protects flat screen TVs, it can protect a table top.
    • Easier to predict shipping charges.

    The TV box comes in 3 size options: Medium, Large, and Extra Large. So far, I’ve only used the Medium and Large boxes.

    Additionally, each box has an adjustable size range. This flexibility allows extra padding or additional room for table legs to be added.

    packing a table for shipping

    I pack the item with 3 layers of protection.

    First, I place the item in a mattress pad to keep dirt/dust away.

    Then, I wrap it with foam or bubble wrap.

    For the last layer, I put it in a foam bag which comes with most TV boxes.

    Most TV boxes include corner pads. If not, I purchase them separately as they are very important for protection.

    The corner pads protect the item most, so I secure them in place with a piece of tape as well.

    Once I finish packing the furniture, I place the item in the inner portion of the box and put the outer portion over it

    I tape the seams and wrap it a few times with tape horizontally and vertically.

    Once the item is completely packed, I use a scale to get the weight of the item in order to get the final shipping costs.

    How Much Does it Cost to Ship Furniture with UPS or Fedex?

    The cost to ship furniture with UPS/Fedex varies depending on size, weight, and type of delivery.

    In my experience, the shipping price hovers between $200 – $650.

    For example, this package weighed 80 pounds and the box dimensions were 51″x41″x9″. The total cost was $239.41.

    cost to ship furniture fedex

    Method 2: Shipping Furniture using Uship

    When I have very large furniture for large items such as a live edge walnut epoxy dining table, I use Uship.

    walnut slab dining table

    To summarize, Uship makes it easy to ship furniture across the country by providing flexible options.

    Ultimately, Uship carriers specialize in shipping furniture and other large items such as appliances.

    How Does Uship Work?

    First, I enter the shipment details (source address, destination address, item details, etc.) into their system.

    Next, uship provides a price range including the lowest paid, average paid, and highest paid.

    The picture below depicts the price I received for the table I shipped with Fedex in the previous section.

    ship custom furniture cost

    When I enter the details, I begin receiving bids from independent carriers who specialize in shipping furniture. 

    As they compete for my business, I can ask questions, read reviews, and get a feel for the driver.

    Each carrier has a profile with safety records, customer feedback, photos of their vehicles, and cargo insurance. 

    Additionally, Uship offers cargo insurance.

    Once I choose a carrier, I contact them or they contact me to discuss the details of the shipment.

    At this point in the process, Uship charges my credit card for the shipment.

    The carrier picks up my item, delivers it, and I approve the delivery in order to release the payment from Uship to the carrier.

    So far, this service has worked well for me each time I used it.  

    In fact, I became friends with a carrier and book with him directly for all shipments to the east coast.

    Uship Furniture Shipping Cost

    Uship’s furniture shipping costs vary depending on the destination distance, size of the item, and your location.

    If you live close to a large city or near an Interstate, I suspect you will get more bids on your shipment.

    More bids equates to more competition which leads to competitive pricing. However, a person in a remote location in Montana may not receive many bids.

    For example, I shipped a large walnut dining table from Louisiana to Virginia for 619.58.

    furniture shipping cost uship

    The crate measured 90″x48″x12″ and weighed 300 pounds.

    How to Pack Large Furniture for Shipping

    I build custom boxes to pack large furniture when shipping with uship or personal delivery.

    In other words, I use the same process I cover in this section for the next option I cover to ship custom furniture.

    Obviously, I build each shipping crate based on the size of the item.

    Most of the time, I design the box before I build it.

    For the walnut dining table, I glued foam to the interior of particle board to create a little cushion.

    Then, I cut the top, bottom, sides and ends for the box.

    I secured the outside of the box with scrap 1x4s and particle board.

    Next, I glued the boards to the sheet of particle board and used screws to secure it in place.

    wooden shipping crate for dining table
    wooden shipping crate for dining table

    After I finished constructing the top, bottom, sides, and ends of the box, I gathered the shipping materials needed to secure the items.

    furniture shipping materials

    I design my large furniture to disassemble & reassemble easily, which makes it easier to ship.

    Also, it makes it easy for my customer to move the furniture from room to room or from house to house.

    Be sure to checkout my video on how to make furniture that disassembles.

    I carefully wrapped each piece of the table with bubble wrap and place them on the bottom of the box. Also, I placed corner pads on the table top.

    As a final step, I wrap the items together with stretch wrap to prevent them from shifting and moving around.

    furniture packing and shipping
    wooden shipping crate for dining table

    I don’t have a massive scale, so I weigh each part of the box as well as each piece of the furniture.

    These numbers add up to the approximate final weight.

    wooden shipping crate for dining table

    Uship Driver Pickup

    The driver I used for this project had a truck with a long bed and a truck cap.

    He showed up on time and we loaded the large box into the bed of his truck.

    wooden shipping crate for dining table
    ship custom furniture

    The driver left with his truck loaded down with furniture.

    shipping custom furniture

    Less than 24 hours later he delivered the table to my customer in perfect condition.

    shipping custom furniture
    walnut slab dining table

    Method 3: Delivering Furniture Myself

    I know you heard the old saying of, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” 

    Well, this applies to shipping furniture and it’s the final furniture shipping method on my list.

    When do I choose to deliver furniture rather than ship it?

    • Make the delivery and back home in 12 hours.
    • Keep shipping costs
    • Meet my customer
    • Perform installation

    Plus, I like to get up early in the morning and listen to an audiobook or my favorite JRE podcast episode. Most of my best ideas come to me while I drive.

    I like this method best as I get to meet and chat with my customer, which helps with future business. Also, I get to meet their dogs.

    Epoxy Bar Top using Reclaimed Wood delivery

    And, I get to install the item I delivered myself.

    installing outdoor epoxy bar top

    How to Move Furniture in a Pickup Truck

    Hauling large items in my truck presents unique challenges such as keeping the item out of the weather and the length.

    However, I added 2 things to my Toyota Tundra that solve both problems. These additions have been worth their weight in gold.

    Truck Bed Cap

    First, I added a truck bed cap to protect the items in my truck.

    This addition not only protects the things I haul, but it also makes my truck more economical for family trips than a SUV.

    While the bed cap protects items in the bed of my truck, the short bed doesn’t fit most long items such as a 12’ epoxy bar top.

    Hitch Mount Truck Bed Extender

    I purchased a truck bed extender about 5 years ago for less than 100 dollars and it is the tool I use most in my shop.

    Seriously folks, you need one of these if you own a short bed truck.

    truck bed extender for hauling long items

    The bed extender attaches to my trailer hitch and extends my truck bed. 

    It has an adjustable piece that can be raised or lowered to stay aligned with my truck bed floor.

    hitch mount truck bed extender

    In addition to shipping furniture, I use it to haul large wood slabs & lumber.

    hitch mount truck bed extender

    I also use the bed extender to carry my paddle boards to and from the beach by reversing each end as shown in the picture below.

    hitch mount truck bed extender

    Well, I hope this article showed you how to ship custom furniture and provided you with value.

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    Custom Furniture
    Everything You Need to Know

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      Frequently Asked Questions

      What is the best way to ship furniture?

      custom furniture shipping crate

      The best way to ship furniture depends on the size. For small to medium sized furniture, Fedex and UPS works best. For large pieces of furniture, companies like uship offer more flexibility and affordable prices.

      How much does it cost to ship furniture with Fedex?

      fedex furniture shipping cost

      To ship furniture with fedex, the cost ranges from $200.00 to $850.00 depending on the dimensions and weight of the item.

      How do I weigh furniture for shipping?

      weighing a table for shipping

      The best way to weigh furniture for shipping is to disassemble and weigh the individual items. Next, weigh the box or shipping crate. Then, add these numbers together to get a final weight.

      How to transport long pieces of wood in a pickup truck?

      hitch mount truck bed extender

      The best way to transport long pieces of wood or furniture in a pickup truck is to use a hitch mount bed extender. Additionally, secure the items with straps in the bed and at the end of the bed extender.