When shipping household goods, you have a variety of service options to choose from. It is important to know exactly what kind of service your shipping company provides, so you are able to properly prepare your item for shipment. The two major types of services you will encounter when shipping household goods are moving services and freight services.
Moving services are generally provided by household moving companies. While these companies typically only offer full household or office moves, they may do smaller shipments such as individual pieces of furniture or appliances.
When shipping your household goods using a traditional moving service, you will not be required to palletize or crate your shipment. However, you should make sure to double check with your shipping company for advice on preparing your shipment. Moving companies typically offer different types of moving services.
Most people don’t know that freight service is another way to move your household goods. While most freight shipments are for commercial goods, freight services are available to transport your items during a move. Click here to view uShip’s Ultimate Freight Guide.
Think of a freight service as a moving company that only provides transport from one place to another (your old home to your new home). Freight services are typically only curb-to-curb, pickup and delivery. You will be responsible for packing (in accordance with freight transport guidelines), loading and unloading your items. Choosing a freight services over a moving service is the cheaper option, if you’re willing to do the work.
Pro Tip: Freight companies are like cable companies- they will typically give you an eight hour window for delivery time, so plan accordingly.
When you move your items through an LTL freight service, your items will likely be shipped with other shipments. Depending on how far your items are going to travel, they may transfer between trucks several times before reaching their destination. To avoid any loss or misplacement you want to be sure and pack your items as concise as possible, labeling each item clearly.
Pro Tip: Look into each option, gather quotes for both LTL and FTL if you can, and ask your prospective freight transport companies which option may be best for your move.
The most important thing to remember when shipping your household goods as freight, is that you will need to properly package your items before shipment. This usually means that you will have to crate or palletize your shipment. Your freight company may offer you this service or can refer you to a packaging company. If you are feeling ambitious, you can palletize freight yourself.
Packing Tips for the Ambitious:
- For larger pieces- if the item can be disassembled, disassemble it.
- We recommend crating more valuable and/or fragile pieces.
- Use sturdy, double-wall boxes for all items that you are able to box.
- Label EVERY box with your name, phone number and the address of your new home.
- Palletize ALL of your boxes together, stacking the heaviest boxes on the bottom and light ones on the top.
- Use cling wrap to hold all of your items together. Do not be shy with the wrapping- use enough to make sure your items will remain in place no matter what driving conditions they may go through. We recommend using a colored cling wrap as freight transporters typically use clear. This way, if anything is damaged or replaced during transport a change of color will be a clear sign of tampering.
- When loading your items onto the truck you want to load large pieces of furniture first, stacking them right up against the back wall of the truck.
- Next load your pallets, grouping everything together.
Freight services usually do not include loading, unloading, inside pickup or delivery, but you can usually request these services from your freight company for an added fee. If you want to avoid this added fee, don’t let the transporters carry your items inside.
Pro Tip: When you can, transport breakables yourself to ensure a safe arrival.
Choosing a Freight Carrier for Your Move
When you list your move as freight on uShip you will have the option to book a freight carrier based on instant quote rates or list it for bids in our marketplace. Both options are simple and cost-effective, so it’s really about what you are comfortable with.
Pro Tip: Freight transporters will want an estimated weight for your shipment, but they will also be glad to help you estimate the total weight, so just ask!
Before deciding on one freight transporter, take a look at all of your options. We encourage our shipping customers to compare transporter’s reputations, customer-rating and transport history along with their bids. uShip conveniently lays out all of this information in each freight transporter’s carrier profile.
All freight carriers are required, by law, to have registered operating authority from the Department of Transportation. Verify that your prospective transporter has a registered DOT/MC number listed. We suggest your go the extra step and look up their registered DOT/MC number with the Federal Motor Carrie Administration. Visit the FMCSA’s SAFER system to do so.
Another resource is the FMCSA’s Company Snapshot; here you can look up each carrier’s transport records by their DOT/MC numbers of by their name. It is important to do your research and know the carrier you are trusting with your belongings BEFORE you accept any bids or book any quotes for your shipment.
What You Need to Know About Freight Insurance
The FMCSA requires all freight transport companies to carry a minimum amount of coverage. This coverage is included and required, however, we encourage all of our freight shipping customers to obtain extra insurance coverage. Visit uShip’s Cargo Insurance page to learn more.
Each freight transporter’s insurance coverage is public information and you can easily look up their coverage details through the FMCSA’s Licensing and Insurance database. We encourage all of our shipping customers to review their freight transporter’s insurance coverage. Don’t be afraid to ask them details about their coverage as it applies to your shipment- you want to know your items will be protected.
Pro Tip: Check ALL of your items BEFORE signing off on the delivery slip. This will prevent any lost chance to file a claim, if needed.