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How To Ship Furniture: Pros & Cons of Using LTL vs Moving Companies

how to ship furniture
How to Ship Furniture LTL – CC image courtesy bfi Business Furniture Inc. via Flickr

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when you are looking at how to ship furniture, and it’s important to identify the details of furniture shipping using the less-than-truckload method sooner rather than later.

There are numerous professional moving companies offering white glove service that can be hired to package your furniture, take it up or down stairs, and much more. This isn’t a blog about that. This is a blog detailing the pros and cons of shipping furniture via LTL vs employing a moving company.

The most common form of furniture shipping in LTL is the shipping of single pieces. Nobody wants to hire a full moving company to ship one chair. You can save time and money by packaging your furniture, securing it to a standard pallet, and having the LTL carrier come pick it up from you driveway.

There is no reason to make an appointment with a moving van and movers, for one small piece of furniture.

It’s important to note that you don’t have to ship just one piece of furniture per pallet, or that you can only have one pallet per shipment. A standard LTL shipment can usually hold up to 6 pallets before you have to venture into the world of volume shipping quotes, so if you have multiple pieces of furniture going to the same location, feel free to package them together.

And now the explicit question: how to ship furniture via LTL. First, you need to package the shipment. Correct packaging of a shipment will help prevent damage during transit. Depending on the fragility of the item, you can wrap it in blankets or other secure material, place it in a box or crate, and if possible, secure the box to a pallet.

The pallet makes it easier for the carrier to maneuver it from one terminal to another (if you need a primer on the basics of LTL, download our Beginner’s Guide to Freight Shipping).

If you are shipping from a residence or place without a freight dock, you’ll need to get the furniture to the street. We suggest working with a freight broker in this instance, as they can help with residential services and help you avoid unwarranted additional fees, outside of your initial freight quote.

It’s also important, depending on the value of the shipment, to consider freight insurance. This will cost a little extra, but if your furniture is valuable, it can be worth it in the case of loss or damage.

When it comes to how to ship furniture, keep in mind that LTL is not the best way for certain pieces. If your furniture is particularly fragile or expensive, you should hire a professional furniture shipping service.

Good packaging can go a long way in protecting furniture, but an LTL shipment will be moved on and off trucks and docks multiple times. Keep that in mind when you’re determining the best way to move your furniture.

The good news is that LTL furniture shipping can oftentimes save you money. If a single scratch would ruin your furniture, don’t ship it LTL. That’s too risky. But if you’re moving something a bit sturdier, contact a freight broker, and see if it’s worth it to get an LTL quote to ship your stuff.


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