When you need to mail a letter or a small package, you can drop it off at the local post office and forget about it. However, with large or fragile items like your mattress, furniture, artwork, or antiques, you'll need freight shipping services instead. If you've never shipped anything by freight, it can be difficult to know where to begin.
Navigating the waters of large-item shipping does not have to be complicated or confusing. The whole process is much simpler when you know what factors to consider and what is involved at each step of the process, including:
- Weight and cost minimums
- Freight classifications and rates
- Crating your shipment
- Packing your own boxes
- Handling international shipments
Keep reading for our expert advice so you can confidently hire the best freight shipping service for your cargo.
Weight and cost minimums
Before committing to a freight shipping service, research the company’s minimum weight and cost requirements. Some companies charge the same price for full loads and partial loads and you could end up paying for empty space on the truck if you do not have much to ship. Other companies, including TSI, charge by weight and distance with a lower minimum weight, regardless of whether your items fill the whole truck. Your items will share space on the truck with other cargo travelling in the same direction, which will save you money and also reduce the carbon footprint of your shipment.
Freight classifications and rates
Some shippers base their pricing on specific freight classifications. Any mistakes made when categorizing and classifying your items could result in an inaccurate price estimates, or even unexpected costs at the receiving end on delivery. At TSI, we ship freight of all kinds and use one freight class designation for everything we ship. This means that our price quotes are accurate and our classification process is simple. The main things we need to know to give you an accurate quote are the item weight, dimensions, point of origin and destination. From there, we can talk about other services you might require.
To crate or not to crate?
Crating your cargo is standard procedure when it comes to large item shipping, and for basic freight shipments, you may be required to crate or box your own items. However, if you decide to take advantage of a more comprehensive all-inclusive moving or shipping service, you may not need to worry about step of the process.
Packing your own boxes
Before you decide to hire a local mover or the teenager down the street to pack your boxes for you, consider what is involved in doing it yourself. Your moving boxes must be prepared such that they will hold up to all kinds of weather and road conditions, so keeping your eye on the process is a good idea even if you hire someone to do it for you.
No matter how carefully your boxes are handled, they will only protect your possessions if they are packed correctly:
- Any items that are susceptible to water damage, such as books, photographs and art, should be enclosed in sealed plastic bags
- Wrap breakable items in bubble wrap, towels and other soft materials
Most people consider it common sense to securely wrap fragile items, such as glass, dinnerware and pottery. However, any and all of your possessions will benefit from additional padding. Bubble wrap and crumpled packing paper, when used as a base layer and top layer in each box, can prevent the box from crushing under external pressure, as well as prevent shifting inside the box.
There are a number of other things you can (and should) do to protect any cargo you pack yourself:
- Disassemble any large furniture items that you can. Beds and chairs are good examples.
- Use moving blankets, pads or plastic wrap to protect large furniture items that are prone to getting scratches and dents. Examples of such items include upholstered furniture, chairs and headboards.
- Wrap “awkward” items (for instance, desk legs and curtain rods) in plastic wrap, and bundle them together to minimize the chances of individual pieces becoming lost. Bundling the individual pieces will also make them easier to transport. Follow this approach for large and awkward toys as well.
Commercial entities that regularly ship cargo internationally have standard systems in place for handling their typical freight. They may even have entire departments dedicated to keeping up with international law, tariffs, minimum and maximum shipment sizes, and so on. However, if you are an individual or small business owner who requires both international service and guidance on how to proceed, start with a professional freight shipping service like TSI. We know all the regulations and can help you prepare your shipment so that it arrives at its intended destination with the least amount of stress and anxiety for you.
When you need to transport large or fragile items near or far, don’t rely on the newest company or the lowest quote to get your things where they need to go. The best freight shipping companies have the resources required to give you the best value for your money.