In this article, I show you my 3 best furniture shipping options I use for long distance shipping.
Also, learn about packing larger items for furniture shipping services so your old or new furniture pieces arrive in perfect condition.
Whether you are relocating from New York to Florida or build/sell furniture online, this article contains all the information you need.
So, let’s get started with a list of useful shipping tools.
Tools and Materials for Shipping FurnitureTape Gun
Flat Screen TV Box
Corner Foam Supports
Truck Bed Extension
Home Depot Large TV Box
Corner Foam Supports
How to Ship Furniture Video Guide
There are several things which are difficult to fully explain with words and images, so be sure to check out the video tutorial below!
Shipping Furniture Across Country
In order to maximize my profit margin, I pack and ship the furniture I build instead of using furniture movers.
Consequently, this reduces deliver fees, improves deliver times, and reduces delivery fees.
As a result, I need a reliable method to send my high-value furniture pieces cross country.
Otherwise, I lose money, waste time calling the better business bureau, and my daughter can’t take dance lessons. Just kidding..
But seriously, a poor shipping process decreases my profit margin.
Most importantly, shipping mishaps produce unhappy customers.
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 a single piece of furniture across the continental united states?
Well, it depends on the size of the item I ship.
As a general rule of thumb, I organize my furniture shipments into 3 categories:
- Table tops up to 80″ x 45″ x 2″ (Length x Width x Thickness) and under 100 pounds.
- Large pieces of furniture with multiple pieces.
- High value, delicate items such as a family heirloom 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 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.
Shipping 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 fits within the following categories:
- Fits in a standard TV box
- Less than or Equal to 80″ x 45″ x 2″ (Length x Width x Thickness)
- Under 100 pounds
- Has Moderate value
- Not a family heirloom or an item which cannot be replaced easily
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.
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.
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.
Shipping Furniture Cost
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.
Shipping Furniture using Uship
When I have very large furniture such as a live edge walnut epoxy dining table, I use a freight shipping company with white glove services such as Uship.
Uship offers many additional services at a fair price to help with freight shipments.
To summarize, Uship makes it easy to ship furniture across the country by providing flexible options to fit most furniture shipping needs.
Ultimately, Uship carriers specialize in shipping furniture and other large items such as appliances.
How Does Uship Work?
The Uship process provides multiple furniture deliver options and excellent customer service.
Also, I outlined the process using a real shipment of a dining room table I built for a customer.
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 with a typical delivery time at no additional cost.
The picture below depicts the price I received for the table I shipped with Fedex in the previous section.
When I enter the details, I begin receiving bids from independent delivery drivers and carriers who offer full-service delivery.
So, online marketplaces such as this prevent unnecessary price increases.
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.
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.
After I finished constructing the top, bottom, sides, and ends of the box, I gathered the shipping materials needed to secure the items.
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.
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.
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.
The driver left with his truck loaded down with furniture.
Less than 24 hours later he delivered the table to my customer in perfect condition.
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
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.
And, I get to install the item I delivered myself.
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.
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.
In addition to shipping furniture, I use it to haul large wood slabs & lumber.
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.
Well, I hope this article showed you how to ship custom furniture and provided you with value.
- DIY Walnut Slab Epoxy Table
- Filling Wood Defects with Epoxy
- How to Attach Table Top to Base (Easily Disassembles)
Frequently Asked Questions
The best way to ship furniture depends on the size. For small to medium size furniture, use Fedex or UPS. For large pieces of furniture, companies like Uship offer more flexibility and cheaper prices.
It costs from $200 to $850 to ship furniture with Fedex.
The best way to weight furniture for shipping is to disassemble and weigh the individual items. Next, weight the box or shipping crate. Then, add these numbers to get a final weight.
The best way to transport long pieces of wood or furniture in a pickup truck is to use a hitch mount bed extender.