Guide to Shipping Furniture Across the Country (2024)
Shipping furniture across the country can be challenging, but proper planning and a firm understanding of the logistics can make it more manageable. Hiring a professional moving company can provide peace of mind and make shipping your furniture cross-country simpler. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various shipping options and how to ensure your furniture arrives at your new home safely.
Prepare to Ship Furniture
Before you transport your furniture across the country, take some time to downsize and declutter. Getting rid of unwanted items will reduce the overall shipping weight and help you start fresh. Once you’ve pared down your belongings, follow these steps to prepare your remaining furniture for shipping:
- Measure: Accurately measure your furniture and create an inventory. Note the dimensions (height, width, and length) of each piece.
- Disassemble: Disassembling furniture helps minimize the risk of damage during transit and allows for more efficient packing. Remove any detachable parts from your furniture and pack them separately.
- Protect: Use robust packing materials such as bubble wrap and furniture blankets to protect delicate items and surfaces.
- Document: Take detailed photos of each piece of furniture from various angles to capture their condition, including any preexisting scratches and dents.
Use Furniture Packing Techniques
Follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure proper packing and safe transportation of your furniture.
- Use high-quality packing materials: This includes sturdy cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, plastic wrap, furniture blankets, packing paper, packing tape, and other cushioning materials.
- Disassemble furniture carefully: Disassemble furniture into its individual components. For example, consider removing the glass top from an end table, the cushions from a sofa, or the shelves from a bookcase to avoid breaking furniture during the actual move.
- Wrap pieces securely and protect corners: Wrap each furniture piece with bubble wrap or furniture blankets to guard against scratches and dents, then secure the item with packing tape. Pay special attention to corners and delicate areas.
- Use sturdy boxes for small parts: Store screws and other small parts in clearly labeled plastic bags and pack them into a sturdy box.
- Label each item for easy unpacking: Label each furniture item with its description or room destination. This will make it easier to identify and reassemble in your new home.
Protect Fragile or Valuable Furniture for Shipping
Valuable or fragile items, such as antiques or glass cabinets, require more care than the average recliner or dining room table. Take the following precautions to ensure these items arrive safely.
- Crate delicate items: Consider custom crating for highly fragile furniture pieces. A sturdy crate can provide an extra layer of protection against heavy impacts.
- Use specialty packing materials: Foam padding can be wrapped around delicate areas, while corner protectors safeguard vulnerable edges of your furniture. Custom boxes can be designed to fit the exact dimensions of your furniture.
- Consider professional packing service:. Hiring professional furniture movers to pack antiques, pianos, and other valuable items may be worth the cost. These experts can provide expertise, custom solutions, and specialized packing materials to reduce the risk of damage.
Research Furniture Shipping Options
As you research your options, start by comparing the cost and advantages of self-shipping versus a professional shipping service. The self-service option involves renting a moving truck, packing and loading the furniture yourself, and driving it to your new destination. This is likely the cheapest way to move your furniture, but it requires significant time, effort, and logistical planning.
Types of Shipping Methods
Professional furniture shipping companies are more convenient but slightly more expensive. You can select from the following freight shipping methods, depending on your moving budget, timeline, and furniture size.
- Ground transport: Ground transport by truck or rail is one of the most common choices for long-distance moves, as it provides a balance between the speed and cost of shipping.
- Full truckload (FTL): FTL freight involves shipping your furniture in a dedicated truck. This ground transport option is ideal for larger shipments that would occupy all or most of a truck’s capacity.
- Less-than-truckload (LTL): LTL freight combines your shipment with others on a single truck, typically separated using pallets. LTL shipping is a cost-effective ground transport option if your shipment will only take up a fraction of the truck’s capacity.
- Air freight: Air freight is the fastest option but tends to be more expensive, making it ideal for smaller furniture items or urgent deliveries.
- Sea freight: Sea freight is often used for international moves and works well for large furniture shipments, but it takes longer than other options.
Benefits of Professional Moving Companies
Paying for professional furniture shipping services has several benefits that may justify the higher moving costs:
- Expertise: Professional moving companies are skilled at packing and transporting different types of furniture, including heavy furniture, family heirlooms, and fragile items.
- Insurance: Reputable companies provide insurance for your protection and peace of mind. Federal law requires interstate movers and freight forwarders—companies who organize shipments for the mover by liaising with carriers—to obtain coverage.
- Efficiency: Professional shippers have the resources to ensure timely delivery and streamlined logistics.
- Tracking: Many full-service moving companies offer online tracking, allowing you to monitor your shipment’s progress and create a contingency plan for unexpected delays. Shipping services such as FedEx and UPS offer this service, too.
If you can’t decide between the do-it-yourself (DIY) route and full-service shippers, consider renting a portable moving container from a company such as PODS or U-Pack. These companies will deliver a shipping container to your home, which you can fill at your leisure. When you’re done loading your items, someone from the portable moving container company will pick up your container and transport it to your new address or a nearby storage facility.
Choose the Right Shipping Company
Request quotes from multiple shipping and moving companies for your furniture shipment. Follow these tips to choose the right provider:
- Compare shipping rates: Get detailed quotes from different companies and compare their pricing structures. Consider the services included as well as any additional fees or surcharges.
- Evaluate a company’s customer service: Assess how each company responded to your request for a quote. Ask about discounts and other ways to save money on your move. Prompt and helpful responses can indicate a commitment to customer satisfaction.
- Check customer reviews and ratings: Research each company’s reputation by reading third-party customer reviews on sites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and TrustPilot and comparing company ratings. Look for companies with consistently positive feedback and a track record of reliable service.
- Verify licenses and certifications: Ensure that each company you choose is properly registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and has a valid USDOT number. Check the SAFER database to view safety and compliance information.
- Ask about insurance coverage and the claims process: Accidents can happen during transportation, so it’s important to inquire about insurance coverage. Ask about the types of coverage available, any limitations and exclusions, and the process for filing a claim. You’ll want to thoroughly document the condition of each insured piece through notes and photographs, which will serve as evidence if a dispute arises or you need to file a claim.
If you’re moving to a new state and need to ship furniture cross-country, detailed planning and preparation are crucial. Carefully clean, disassemble, and wrap your furniture, follow our moving tips, and evaluate your shipping options before choosing a company.
We recommend investing in white-glove moving or furniture delivery services from a reputable company for a hassle-free experience. This may increase your furniture shipping costs compared to a DIY approach, but it will save you time and minimize the risk of damage to your belongings.
FAQ About Shipping Furniture
Can I ship furniture with USPS?
You cannot ship most furniture with USPS due to size and weight restrictions. The max weight for USPS parcels is 70 pounds, and the maximum size is 108–130 inches in combined length and girth.
What are the benefits of shipping furniture?
Here are the benefits of shipping furniture:
- Insurance coverage
- Safety and protection
- Timely delivery
How much does it cost to ship furniture to another state?
According to Angi, the average cost to ship furniture to another state is $300–$800 per piece. However, the exact price will depend on your furniture’s size and weight, as well as the distance being traveled.
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