How to Ship a Treadmill or Elliptical

Posted in Shipping on Jan 04, 2013, tagged with sports and exercise equipment

How to Ship a Treadmill or Elliptical

Do you know how to safely ship your exercise equipment? In this article, we’ll provide several pointers to make the job easier and safer, and to help make sure you can resume your exercise routine immediately and seamlessly when your treadmill or elliptical reaches its destination.

Preparing Your Treadmill or Elliptical for Shipment in 8 Steps

To ship a treadmill or ship an elliptical, a great deal of care must go into the preparation and selection of a freight carrier. These machines are relatively heavy (they can weigh several hundred pounds), are oddly shaped, and can be damaged if subjected to impact in shipment and handling.

Get your treadmill or elliptical ready for shipment on an LTL (less-than-truckload) freight shipper by taking the following steps:

  1. Clean your treadmill or elliptical thoroughly.

  2. Take high-resolution photos of your equipment from several angles. The photos will assist when you reassemble your machine, and, if there is any damage, will help pinpoint where it occurred.

  3. Find your user manual and keep it handy as a reference for any disassembly (and later, reassembly).

  4. If the control panel can be removed, do so. Insert it in a poly bag and wrap it liberally with bubble packaging or flexible packaging foam, and then place it in a heavy-duty shipping box clearly marked with the contents. The control panel is one of the most delicate parts of the machine, so taking these steps will help protect it from damage and contamination by dust or dirt.

  5. Remove accessories and parts from the machine (cup holders, handlebars, casters, etc.) if it is practical to do so. The advisability of disassembling these items depends on your comfort level in doing so, as well as the complexity of the machine’s design. Generally speaking, the fewer projecting parts on the machine, the less chance for damage during handling or shipment.

  6. Move the machine from its current location to a staging area (garage, driveway, etc.) so it can be easily loaded onto the truck. Measure all doorways, stairways and hallways to make sure the elliptical or treadmill will fit through the openings! When you are ready to move the machine, make sure there are at least two capable adults doing the lifting. Because of their weight, size and shape, moving exercise equipment requires a bit of skill and strength.

  7. When your machine is in the staging area, tie pedals together and/or to the frame with bungee cords in order to prevent movement during handling and shipment.

  8. Cover the machine with a moving blanket, bubble packaging or polyethylene sheeting to protect it from dirt, dust and other contaminants. Truck trailers can be dusty, and you want to prevent particulates from getting into the inner workings of the machine.

  9. Label the unit with the complete street address of the destination. This will back up the LTL carrier’s paperwork and help ensure your treadmill or elliptical ends up where it is supposed to go.

Selecting an LTL Carrier to Ship Your Elliptical or Treadmill

Don’t feel confident shipping it yourself? Consider selecting an LTL carrier with experience shipping unusually shaped items. You’ll want to select a carrier that:

  • Does business in both your pickup and delivery locations
  • Specializes in heavy, awkward items

These are very important considerations for three reasons:

  1. Cost 
    If your carrier does a lot of business in your pickup and delivery locations, it will have many other orders to combine with your treadmill or elliptical to fill out the truck, and it will be easy for the carrier to schedule the delivery. Because the carrier can efficiently handle the delivery, the cost will tend to be lower.

  2. Delivery Time
    Also because of these efficiencies, your exercise machine will be delivered more quickly, and on schedule. Carriers going to an unfamiliar location will have to wait until they have other loads going to the same place to make the delivery, which can cause delays. If you need the machine sooner, they may be able to accommodate, but it will cost more since the carrier will be sending a partially loaded truck.

  3. Damage
    A carrier that specializes in awkward large-item shipping has experience moving and stowing ellipticals and treadmills. A carrier that usually ships, say, boxed refrigerated items, may not have the right equipment or properly trained personnel to handle your job. Going with a carrier that handles exercise equipment day in and day out greatly reduces the chance of damage.

You typically have two options when shipping with an LTL carrier like TSI:

  1. Motor Freight Service - also known as our curb to curb service. With this service, you will need to box your treadmill as well as help our driver load the treadmill onto the truck. Our truck drivers pull up to the curb near your home or business; they do not go inside your home. This is our more economical method, but with a treadmill, you will need yourself, the driver, and most likely someone else because of the weight. If you have help, this is a great budget-friendly option.

  2. Van Lines Service - will cost you more but you will not need to do anything. Our drivers will pack your treadmill for shipping before loading it in the truck. There is nothing you will need to do but schedule the pickup.

As a final note, make sure your LTL carrier is properly and adequately insured. Your treadmill or elliptical may cost upward of $1,000—not cheap by any means! In the event of a total loss, are you covered? Make sure you understand the nature of your carrier’s insurance coverage, especially in terms of what types of losses are covered and which are not covered. If you identify any coverage gaps, the LTL carrier may be able to obtain additional coverage—or you can do so through a third party. You may not feel the risk is worth the effort or cost to obtain coverage, but at least you will know what your risk is and not have any unpleasant surprises.

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