Preparing your Furniture for Shipping
Getting the most for your money
Today a growing number of online businesses offer free furniture shipping (which can make a substantial difference to the overall price). However, for every furniture company trying to win your business with ‘sweeteners’ such as free shipping; you don’t have to look hard to find another charging way over the odds. The best bit of advice is to make sure that you pay close attention to the small print. If you aren’t happy with the costs the chances are that you can negotiate a discount.
When preparing for furniture shipping, it is essential that you plan well in advance and calculate pick up and delivery times correctly. Any delays whatsoever are likely to cause you both financial losses as well as inconvenience. Correct planning can eliminate all the hassles that all too often accompany furniture shipping.
Most professional shipping companies recommend that you leave at least a week between the date that you wish to have your furniture collected and shipped and the day that you personally plan to fly out of the country. If you are shipping an entire household of furniture than it is usually best to opt for full service shipping which includes all packaging and door to door delivery. If however you prefer to package your own goods then timeliness is essential if you want to avoid additional costs.
If you are shipping large quantities of goods then it is likely that you will need a full load container (FCL). A trucking company will bring the container to your home and wait while you pack or “live load” your furniture into the container.
You will be given a set amount of “free” time to pack the container, usually in the region of two to three hours or so.
After your free time expires you will be charged for each additional minute that the trucker has to wait for you, so make sure that you have enough manpower to load the shipment swiftly into the container. It is advisable to remove all your packed furniture from your home a couple of hours before you expect the container to arrive. If the trucker or shipping company crew members need to enter your home for any reason, the pickup will no longer be classified as a “straight” pickup and the company will charge you additional fees.
It is also essential to pack and label all items correctly, provide a detailed inventory list and avoid including dangerous or prohibited items such as pot plants in your container. This is to avoid delays at both the port of origin and destination port. If your container goes into holding for any reason at the port of origin, you will be charged yard fees, additional trucking fees, and release fees. Most companies also require you to pay your account in full before goods leave the port of origin. If any amount is outstanding when goods reach their port of destination they will not be released. If your container cannot be offloaded at the port of destination for any reason then additional fees will apply for transportation and warehouse storage.
As a general rule, port to port shipping times can take anything from ten days to eight weeks. Shipments along the same continent and shipments to Europe tend to be quick, while shipments to Australasian countries and Africa usually take slightly longer. If you are clearing your furniture through customs yourself then it is essential that you are present at the delivery port as soon as your goods arrive so as to avoid paying additional storage costs. It is advisable to call the port or warehouse in advance to check expected arrival times and whether or not the vessel your shipment is on has actually docked yet.