The Best Way to Ship: Furniture
Updated: Mar 14
More and more small stores are selling furniture online. Whether it's handcrafted, rustic shelves, an upcycled chair, or vintage resale - it’s a popular eCommerce trend. But figuring out how to ship your furniture can be a bit of a nightmare. Don’t fret. In this blog, we’ll help you find the best way to ship your furniture. To do so, we’ll cover…
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How to Ship Furniture
The best way to ship furniture depends on your item. Your items weight, size, and dimensions are deciding factors on which method you use. If your item is smaller or lighter, you can use standard ground services from carriers like UPS, USPS, or FedEX. If it’s heavy or large furniture, LTL Freight services should be your go-to.
Let’s talk a little bit more about when it’s best to use carriers ground services and when to use LTL Freight.
Pssssst, over here 👉 : Don’t worry. If you’re not familiar with LTL Freight, we’ll talk about what it means and when it’s best to use. 😁
Best Way to Ship Smaller and Lighter Furniture - Carriers Ground Services
Small and light furniture like lamps or small tables can often be shipped via carriers ground services. Like UPS Ground. Furniture that can be flat packed can also be shipped using these services. However, the package still needs to weigh under the carrier's weight limit.
Carrier ground services are often more affordable vs. other options for shipping small furniture. And if you use Ship.com, they’re even cheaper. All Ship.com users have access to up to 77% off UPS Ground. So your small business could save huge amounts on shipping costs.
That being said, each carrier has dimension and weight limits for ground services. So your package would need to fit within these limits for it to be the best option. Below, you’ll see the weight and dimension limits for shipping furniture with USPS, UPS, and FedEx.
Carrier Restrictions for Shipping Furniture
Package Weight Limit
Max Length and Girth Combined
108 inches for most services / 130 inches for UPS Retail Ground
Best Way to Ship Large Furniture - LTL Freight
If you’re shipping large furniture like a sofa, chair, or dining table, LTL Freight services will be your best option.
LTL simply means “Less-than-truckload”. It’s a shipping service that’s great for sending large items that you can’t send via standard ground services. And it’s perfect for BIG furniture.
Popular carriers like UPS offer multiple LTL Freight services. Obviously, the more expedited the service, the more costly it will be. Therefore, the regular ground LTL freight service will do just fine for small sellers.
However, it’s important to note that LTL services make quite a few stops before delivery. As a result, this can slow delivery down. Plus, your furniture shipment will be sharing space with other packages. So it’s vital that you pack your item as best as possible to prevent damage.
How Much Does it Cost to Ship Furniture?
That depends. The cost of shipping furniture will differ based on the size, weight, and dimensions of your item. Also, the distance your package is traveling and the service you use will impact the cost.
The further your item travels and the heavier it is, the more expensive shipping will be. Selecting a faster or more specialist service will also cost more. And the bigger your package, the more you’ll end up paying for dimensional weight.
All that to say - there’s never a definite cost. It depends on multiple factors. However, there are ways you can save money when shipping furniture. Here are 5 tips on how to do that. 👇
5 Ways to Save Money When You’re Shipping Furniture
1. Make sure you measure correctly!
This is always going to be the number 1 rule for any shipment. You need to make sure you measure your furniture’s dimensions correctly. Otherwise, you may end up paying more for your shipping than you need to.
And since you're shipping furniture, even minor measuring mistakes can end up costing you quite a lot. So double and triple-check your measurements!
2. Flat pack your furniture (if you can)
If your furniture is flat packed, it’s more likely to fit in a smaller box. And by using a smaller box, you can save on shipping costs. Or you can stack the furniture to save space.
Either way, do all you can to reduce the size of the box required. Then, you’ll save yourself some $ on shipping. Plus, I’m sure your customers will love assembling the flat-pack furniture. I mean, who doesn’t love the challenge of an Ikea style flat-pack? 😉
3. Remove detachable parts of your furniture to save space
If you can’t fully flat-pack or disassemble your furniture, then remove parts that can be detached. For example, you could remove the legs when packing a chair. This will save you a ton of room and you’ll be able to ship in a smaller box.
Because your package will be more compact, you then won’t need as much filler material to protect your item. That’ll reduce the weight further and as a result, it’ll lessen the cost.
4. Take out extra shipping insurance on each item of furniture you send
This may seem more like a way to give away your money. But just stay with us on this one.
Did you know 1 out of every 10 items shipped in the US are damaged? So, if you’re shipping regularly, something will go wrong with one of your packages. And if you’re shipping high-cost items like furniture, it’s a HUGE risk to not get extra insurance.
Big carriers like UPS include free shipping insurance for items with a declared value of up to $100. But most furniture will cost more than that. Therefore, it’s a smart move to get additional insurance. Otherwise, you’ll likely find yourself replacing and resending expensive furniture that costs a bomb to ship. No thank you. 🖐️
Want to be more informed on shipping insurance? 👉 Check out our guide to shipping insurance so you can confidently choose the right cover.
5. Access HUGE discounts on rates by using a shipping platform
Shipping platforms have access to HUGE discounts with popular shipping carriers. By using shipping software, you can get the cheapest rates available. And you’ll save hours by not having to search for them yourself.
Ship.com users can access the highest USPS and UPS discounts around. That includes up to 77% off UPS Ground. So if you use UPS Ground to ship your furniture, you could shave tons of money off your shipping costs.
How to Pack Furniture for Shipping: Best Practices
Packing furniture for shipping is about striking a fine balance. You want to try to reduce the size of the box you're to cut shipping costs. But you also need sturdy packaging, as well as infiller like molded styrofoam and corner guards to protect your item.
Below, you’ll find some of the best practices for packing your furniture for shipping:
👉 Use a heavyweight cardboard box
First of all, you need to make sure your box is sturdy and secure. If it’s a larger piece of furniture, use a heavyweight cardboard box.
👉 Disassemble and flat-pack your furniture
Remember, by packing your furniture flat and unassembled, you can save on shipping costs.
And by using the smallest box possible, there’ll be less room for your item to move about in transit. As a result, it’s less likely to get damaged. Plus, you won’t need to use as much filler material. Ultimately, that’s going to reduce the weight of the package and your shipping costs.
👉 Protect your item with plastic film and corner guards
A smaller box may mean less need for protective filler materials. However, we are dealing with fragile items when it comes to furniture. With that in mind, it’s still super important to add protective cushioning.
Be sure to wrap your furniture in a plastic film. This is going to stop your item from getting scratched or marked. And to protect the corners of your furniture, cover them with sturdy styrofoam guards.
👉 Use molded filler materials to brace your box
To add even more protection to your box, add molded cardboard or styrofoam.
Remember, if you’re using a service like LTL freight, your item will be sharing space with other packages. So it’s crucial to pack your furniture as well as possible to stop it getting damaged.
👉 Add straps on the outside of very heavy boxes
If you’re shipping a piece of furniture that’s pretty heavy, strapping the outside of the box is a smart choice. This adds further security to prevent damage while in transit.
👉 Always use signature confirmations
Ok - porch pirates probably won’t try to run off with a large, handcrafted dining table. But requiring a signature on your packages is always a good idea.
Furniture is expensive. And it’s costly to ship too. By requiring a signature, you can be sure all the packages you send have got to your customers safely. Plus, some high-value items require signature confirmation to be covered by shipping insurance.
Conclusion - The Best and Least Expensive Way to Ship Furniture Depends on Your Item
“Furniture” is a broad category. So the best way to ship furniture depends on the size and weight of your item. If it’s smaller or lighter and compact, carrier services like UPS Ground are a great choice. But if it’s larger or heavier, it’s better to go for LTL freight.
As for the cost of shipping furniture - that also depends on multiple factors. However, you can save on shipping costs by choosing the right service, packing smart, and accessing shipping discounts from platforms like Ship.com.