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The Difference In Shipping A Couch-Bed vs. A Couch

Posted in Blog on May 30, 2016, tagged with furniture, how to, shipping mistakes

If you’ve never had to pack up and move your couch or couch-bed, or even if you have, you may be wondering what’s the best way to prep your couch for the trip. Let’s take a look at the right and the wrong way to get your couch ready for shipping, and what to look for when selecting a shipping company.

How NOT to Ship a Couch or Couch-Bed

Hector and Louise were downsizing, and decided to give their couch and couch-bed to children Melanie and Richard, thinking the gesture would help them save a good deal of money, as they both had recently purchased new homes.

“We’ll ship Melanie the couch and Richard the couch-bed,” said Louise. “Melanie has nothing in the family room, and Richard needs the extra bed for when his mother-in-law comes to visit.”

“Agreed,” said Hector. “I’ll find a cheap freight company.”

A few days later Boris the Mover showed up, wearing frayed workpants a grimy T-shirt. His truck was a few shades grimier. Louise had carefully wrapped the couch and couch-bed, labeling each with the destination address.

“OK, so this one we take to Colorado,” said Boris, pointing to the couch, “And this one we take to Texas. No problem. I give Texas to my brother back at warehouse. Cash now, please.”

Several weeks later, Melanie received the couch-bed (instead of the couch) and Richard received the couch (instead of the couch-bed). Richard’s mother-in-law arrived for a visit about the same time. She complained about sleeping on a couch — loudly and regularly — but there was no choice. On the third day, his mother-in-law developed severe back pain, which she complained about — loudly and regularly. Richard had to foot the bill for her insurance deductible and enjoy her company for an extra four weeks during her recovery.

At Melanie’s house, the couch-bed proved fascinating to her 10-year-old son and his friends. In fact, one day while they were opening and closing the bed, Melanie’s cat got trapped inside for about three hours. Long story short: Eight visits to the veterinarian and $4,400 later, Patches was pretty much back to normal.

The Right Way to Ship your Couches and Couch-Beds

Preparing your couch or couch-bed for shipment helps prevent damage and other issues during handling and transport. Important things to keep in mind:

  • For a couch-bed, the big question is whether to remove the mattress and ship it as a separate item. Although keeping the mattress intact adds weight to the unit (somewhat undesirable), mattresses are hard to stow in a trailer; shipping it separately could expose the mattress to damage. Check with the carrier to see what is recommended — some carriers are equipped to handle mattresses quite easily, while others may not want to accept them as separate pieces.

  • For the issue of removing (removable) cushions from the couch or couch-bed and shipping them as separate items, follow the advice presented above. In most cases, removing cushions will not be necessary.

  • If possible, remove legs from the couch or couch-bed, and ship them either via a parcel shipper, transport them yourself or package them in a shipping box for the carrier. Removing the legs will make the furniture more stable, and obviously prevent legs from breaking during the delivery.

  • Clean your couch or couch-bed thoroughly. If you steam clean the surface, make sure it is completely dry before proceeding to the next step.

  • Put your couch or couch-bed in a polyethylene furniture bag or cover it with a polyethylene shroud to protect it from contamination. Any truck trailer contains dust and possibly dirt, and transport may also expose your furniture to vermin, moisture, UV rays and other environmental stress. The best option for a bag or shroud is opaque in color and containing a UV-inhibiting additive. These furniture packaging items are available online and in many hardware stores.

  • Label your couch or couch-bed clearly with the full destination address, taking care not to enter a P.O. box. Use an indelible marker, print clearly and cover the label with clear tape to prevent scuffing. The carrier will have its own paperwork system for entering the destination address, but there is no harm in adding redundancy.

  • Weight is a major factor in the determination of shipping fees. If you can remove the mattress from a couch-bed and move it yourself, you will save money.

  • Thinking of buying a new couch or couch-bed instead of moving it? The cost of moving your furniture depends on weight, along with other factors. The more delicate, expensive and irregularly shaped the item is, the more it may cost to ship. The key is to get estimates from qualified LTL carriers and then make the correct economic decision. Most often, unless the furniture is in poor condition or has very low value, shipping is more affordable than buying new.

How to Select a Freight Company to move your Couch

As Hector and Louise learned the hard way, the best way to ship a couch or couch-bed depends a lot on the quality of the LTL (less-than-truckload) freight company you select to transport it. Delivery logistics is a complicated process for trucking firms, and requires attention to detail and a solid operation process to prevent missing delivery dates and/or delivering to the wrong address. Other key things to look for in a freight company when moving your furniture:

  • Professionalism. Do the drivers look like pros … or are they dressed like Boris the Mover? When companies take pride in their work and do the work well, it shows in the appearance of their employees.

  • Truck maintenance and violations. When LTL companies they take care of their vehicles, it saves you money. If the truck carrying your couch-bed breaks down on the road, you must endure delays and possibly extra charges. High vehicle maintenance equals reliability, efficiency and affordable rates. Similarly, check the violations record of the firm — when drivers cut corners, it puts your shipment at greater risk.

  • Track record. Look at online reviews and on the carrier’s website for testimonials. Carriers that do great work like to talk about it, and don’t mind if you contact references. Also, see if the carrier has been in business for a while, and if it is a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and/or industry associations — these are all signs of a healthy, solid enterprise.

  • Specialization. Some carriers (like Boris the Mover) will accept any load that comes their way, and let the chips fall where they may. However, other carriers specialize in the transport of furniture items, and others — like our company — take it a step further and specialize in hard-to-move items such as couches, couch-beds, pianos, heavy appliances, entertainment centers, etc. The more experience a carrier has with your type of item, the more likely it will arrive at its destination in the same condition it left.

Since 1989, our company has been moving heavy furniture like couches and couch-beds all across the U.S. Whatever challenge your couch or couch-bed presents, we’ve probably seen it — doorways that are too small, ultra-heavy couch-beds, ultra-large couches, couches with delicate fabric or valuable leather, etc. If you have a couch or couch-bed to transport, please contact us to discuss your requirements or get an estimate.