Affordable ways to ship heavy items

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Most of us aren’t often in a situation where we need to send something very big and heavy to a very long distance. Unless you’re running a business that regularly relies on international services for deliveries of industrial equipment or other heavy things, odds are that you’ve never had to think about affordable ways to ship heavy items before. But now that you are moving overseas, you need to come up with a plan for getting your furniture and other belongings to your new address without bankrupting yourself. This is a valid concern for many people because international shipping is not very cheap. And when you’re shipping something heavy, it only gets more expensive. So what can you do to save a bit of money?

What you’re shipping determines what the most affordable ways to ship heavy items are

Not every shipping method is suitable for every heavy parcel you want to ship. Sometimes, it is simply not possible to choose certain ways of shipping. The cheapest option of ground shipping, for example, is not something you can choose when sending things overseas to Hawaii or Europe, or Asia. And international shipping, of course, comes with legal restrictions too. Other times, it is only preferable to go with one option over others. If you’re moving abroad and want to bring your vehicle with you, for example, you should leave international car transportation to professionals specifically trained for that. But assuming you do have a choice, what are your options?

Car interior.
You can ship anything from a piece of furniture to a vehicle.

Parcel shipping vs freight

There are two ways to send large, heavy, and bulky items: as a parcel or as freight. You can send a parcel through a delivery service like USPS, UPS, or FedEx. But freight is usually left up to cargo and shipping companies. Although this depends on the provider, the general rule is that your shipment is considered freight transportation if its total weight exceeds 150lbs. So if you’re shipping something that heavy, turn to a freight transport company.

Modes of transportation

There are different ways to ship both parcels and freight: ground shipping, sea freight, and air freight. They each have their pros and cons. Ground shipping is typically the cheapest but it may take a while. It is also limited in that you can’t reach some places by ground alone. When you’re moving to New Zealand from the US, for example, you’ll need to choose a different method. Shipping by air or sea is almost always an option. Air transportation is faster and typically safer. But it is also significantly more expensive. So choose your method wisely!

Airplane in the sky.
Air freight is quick but not very affordable.

Additional services

How much you pay for shipping something heavy will also depend on whether shipping itself is the only thing you need help with. Many shipping companies offer a variety of additional services like expedited shipping, door-to-door delivery, packing and handling, extra insurance, and more. You’ll pay less if you prepare everything for the transport yourself. But this will require that you put in extra work and time.

Affordable ways to ship heavy items usually require that you do some work yourself

If you want to save as much money as possible on shipping heavy items, you’ll need to rely as little as possible on international moving and shipping companies. This means cleaning and dismantling whatever you’re sending, getting packing supplies, and packing things yourself.

How to properly pack heavy items

To pack your heavy items for shipping follow these steps:

  1. measure what you’re shipping
  2. gather durable packing materials in the right size
  3. put your heavy items in sturdy boxes or crates
  4. fill the empty space in your box or crate with cushioning material
  5. if possible, lift and shake the box or crate to ensure that nothing is moving inside
  6. seal the box or crate with heavy-duty tape, hinges, or nails

Don’t forget to label your heavy items

It is very important to remember that other people will be doing the literal heavy lifting while shipping your heavy items. They must know that what they’re about to lift is heavy. So in addition to writing both the delivery and return addresses on your packaging, label all containers as heavy in clear, large, and legible letters. If the items inside are fragile, make note of that on the packaging as well. If the box must be held a certain way, denote clearly which side should go up. This will all help keep both the people carrying your items and the items themselves safe.

Research the most affordable ways to ship heavy items

There are many companies out there that deal with both postage and freight shipping. And you might be surprised to find out how their rates compare to each other. So when you’re looking for cheap ways to ship heavy items, you’ll need to do some research.

Man searching the internet.
You can find a lot of useful tips online.

Ask for recommendations

You might know someone who has recently been in your position. A friend or family member may have had to ship something heavy in the last few months. They might have some tips for you regarding shipping heavy items. If they were happy with the service they chose, they can recommend it. On the other hand, if they were unhappy, they can at least tell you what to avoid. Finally, they may have some general advice on how to prepare or answers about how long delivery takes.

Read reviews online

To find affordable but reliable shipping and freight services, you’ll need to look into the different companies in the area that offer this service. Of course, every company will tell you that they are the best at what they do. That is why you should turn to online reviews to read actual genuine experiences of former customers. This will give you a much better and more accurate idea of what to expect from a business.

Gather price estimates

To find the most affordable ways to ship heavy items, you’ll want to compare some actual prices. While you can estimate costs based on the weight of the parcel, listed rates, or online calculators, you should still get an actual price estimate directly from a company representative. So, narrow down your options to 3-5 shippers and get estimates from them to compare. Remember not to go with the cheapest but rather the most cost-effective solution – you want to get the best possible service for the lowest possible price.

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