How to Ship a Piece of Furniture

When you're shipping large items like furniture, you can't always use a standard shipping outlet such as the United States Postal Service or UPS, FedEx and DSL's standard ground or express services because they have size restrictions for shipments (usually no more than 150 lbs per shipment, 108 inches in length and 5 feet in width). These companies do not specifically prohibit the shipping of furniture, but you do have to meet the size restrictions. If your furniture piece exceeds this limit you have to contact a company that specializes in transporting large freight. When you ship furniture there is a higher likelihood of damage as compared to shipping a smaller item, so you have to take extra precautions during the packing process.

Step 1

Contact freight shipping companies to get quotes for shipping the furniture to your desired destination. Popular freight companies include Yellow Freight, UPS Freight and FedEx Freight. These shippers are called LTL (less than truckload) carriers because the cost is determined based on the weight and percentage of the truck that will be used to complete the shipment. You will need to give the weight, starting zip code, destination zip code and class of item being shipped (furniture) in order to get an accurate quote. Book one that meets your needs. Ask the freight company for specific information on how the furniture needs to be packed to fit their requirements. See "Resources" for a freight quoting service.

Step 2

Take the furniture apart before shipping if possible. Unscrew legs from chairs and take extra table pieces out before preparing the furniture for shipment.

Step 3

Wrap all of your furniture pieces in thick bubble wrap and use tape to secure the wrapping. Tape furniture legs and other items to the main piece. Cover the furniture in plastic sheeting for an additional layer of protection. If the furniture is small enough to fit inside a cardboard box, use one in addition to the wrapping. Pack the box with packing peanuts or foam. Find these supplies at a U-Haul store or another local moving company.

Step 4

Secure very large pieces of furniture to a wooden pallet with stretch wrap (after bubble wrapping as above). You can either purchase a pallet from a nearby shipping company, online (see link below) or ask the freight company that you booked in Step 1 to bring one to your home and secure the item for you (an additional charge will likely apply). Ask around at local businesses to see if you can find a used pallet for free or cheap.

Step 5

Put a clear, easy-to-read shipping label on the packed furniture that includes your address, the consignee's address (destination) and a phone number for both parties. If you were given a quote or shipment number, write this number in bold letters on the outside of your packaging.

Step 6

Have the furniture waiting outside at ground level for pick-up by the freight company on the date and time that you agreed upon. You will likely be given a time frame, such as between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. If the item is not small enough to be loaded onto the truck by hand, the company will charge you for lift-gate service.