How to Ship Furniture
Once you’ve sold your item, or you have a very serious buyer, your thoughts have probably turned to, “How do I ship it?” Well, we’ve compiled a list of things you should be aware of and some resources for shipping agents that should guide you through what can sometimes be a daunting task.
Packing your item
Items that can be boxed
If your item will fit in a box, then this is the easiest method for packing. Bubble wrap will be your best friend. Make sure that all edges and corners are well padded because these are the areas most likely to be damaged should the box be dropped.
Some people use Styrofoam peanuts to fill up the rest of the box but we like to be a little more environmentally friendly and use scrunched up newspaper instead.
We’ve found when shipping artwork that frame corners are invaluable (if you’re handy you can fashion your own from cardboard or if you’re like us, you’re lazy so you can buy them from your local framing store).
- Disassemble the item as much as you can. i.e. take legs off chairs and tables (if they’re supposed to come off, of course.)
- Secure moving parts. Tape drawers and doors shut. Make sure you wrap brown paper around these things so that the tape doesn’t damage the finish of the item. You can also use folded up cardboard to wedge wobbly sliding doors or shakey drawers tight. Remove and pack any glass carefully.
- Put all loose hardware into a ziplock bag and write a quick note about where they go so the buyer doesn’t get a headache when reassembling.
- Wrap entire piece in bubble wrap paying special attention to corners, legs and areas that may rub against other items in the box.
- Find a box that fits the item as snugly as possible. This is not only saving in packing material, but also when shipping. Bulky items such as chairs or tables are charged based on volume so the smaller the box the cheaper the shipping cost. Pack with scrunched up newpaper or Styrofoam peanuts, seal well and if there are multiple boxes, indicate that the boxes are 1 of 2, 2 of 2, etc.
Recycling note: If you end up with a box full of Styrofoam peanuts, instead of throwing them out, take them down to a UPS, Mailboxes, Etc. and donate the extra packing material. These companies will gladly accept donations.
Large or unusually shaped items
We’re going to use a couch as an example of this because we’ve found this is the most unwieldy of items that we’ve had experience shipping.
- Remove legs wrap them in brownpaper. If you’re going to use newspaper then make sure it’s then secured in a plastic bag so the newsprint doesn’t rub off on the upholstery.
- Now for the fun part, you need to buy some mover’s stretch plastic wrap. It’s not expensive (around $6 a roll). You may need someone to help you because you’re going to have to start wrapping the couch in a giant cocoon of plastic. Think you’ve got enough on there? Think again! Make sure you’ve covered all the corners and edges, and make sure all the upholstery is covered to eliminate the chances of mud or grease getting on it during shipping. Tuck the legs and additional hardware into the ‘coccoon” so they don’t get lost.
- Wrap some large sheets of corrugated cardboard around the package to cover all sides, and secure with nylon strapping and packing tape.
General rule of thumb for handling costs is $30 for medium sized pieces (chairs, side tables) and $60 for larger pieces. You should add this to the shipping cost so you’re not out of pocket.
There are many options for shipping items, but for now we’ll highlight a few of the ones we have had success with.
National – city to city
If you’re shipping from one city to another within the same country and your item is under 100lb in weight and 30” high x 47” wide x 82” length I suggest sending it via Greyhound Parcel Express. It is the least expensive option, but with the lower cost comes greater effort on your part. You’ll have to drop the item off at your local Greyhound Depot and the buyer will have to pick it up from the Depot on their end.
If you need to ship internationally or don’t have the time or patience to deal with the do-it-yourself aspect of shipping and timing is important, then you can use a freight company to ship for you.
Lushpad has sourced a great service called freightquote.com. They will find you the best deal for shipping and timing and give you an additional discount if you let them know you’re shipping an item listed on lushpad. You can contact them directly for a quote through their site, or you can contact Karen, our personal representative at freightquote if you have any questions.
Note: We’re working on integrating a shipping quote option into our site so it will make it even easier for you.
There are some additional hoops to jump through for international shipping, but don’t despair, it’s not as bad as it seems. The important thing you need to know is that there will be duty fees and taxes (that the buyer usually pays) on items shipped over the border. A brokerage company can deal with this for you, or if you use freightquote they will look after this for you.
Some things to keep in mind when shipping internationally.
- Be sure you know in advance what duties and taxes may be applicable, so there are no surprises when your item arrives.
- Declaring something as a gift when it isn’t, is illegal.
- If you are importing something with a value of $1600CAD or higher, you may want to utilize a broker or the brokerage services of the carrier to avoid delays at the border.
- If your item is manufactured in North America, it is likely duty free under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
- If you item is valued at less then $20.00CAD, duties and taxes will not be applicable. However, a declaration is still required at the border.
A recommended brokerage company is A&A Contract Customs Broker they can help you with shipping from USA or Canada to anywhere in the world.
Shipping to Canada you can find helpful information here.
Shipping to USA you can find helpful information here.
A Duty Tax Calculator will also come in handy for budgeting fees.
White Glove Service
For an item that is very valuable and you want to make sure it will be lovingly handled from your door to the new owner’s, then Plycon Van Lines has been recommended by Chuck Hamsher, owner of Purple Moon and regular lushpad lister.
Plycon will handle everything for you including the packing. You can contact them directly through their web site.
To insure or not to insure?
We’re going to say INSURE! INSURE! INSURE! Make sure your item is covered for the cost that the buyer is paying plus shipping. You’d hate to be out of pocket if the item arrives in damaged condition.
Tagged selling furniture