Shipping Your work


oldgrowth

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I recently opened a line of communication with a potential client for a pretty straight forward commission. The only problem is that they live

in Winnipeg, Manitoba CA and I am in South Carolina. I am not very familiar with shipping my work and wanted hear about anyone's experience with it, pro's or con's and whether or not you would even consider it.

Thanks

Chalie

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Another consideration for the OP is shipping internationally. Might limit carrier choices and what about duty/customs? Insurance might be considerably different when shipping internationally.

Any information on what is being shipped? size? weight? built-like-a-tank/handle-gently? Hard to list pros/cons without an idea.

If international shipping is too expensive with all those consideration and the item is something the client could easily pick up in their car, you could ship to a UPS drop in Fargo and have them pick it up there. Hassle? A bit (there's a popular mall there for Winterpeggers, though). But if you tell them the price of the item and list international to-your-door shipping separately and the cost for a UPS drop, it may help taking the pain of shipping costs out.

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The proposed item to be shipped is a desk, 20x35 and about 30 high made mostly of walnut. A couple of problems that I am seeing is the size, unlike Ikea, I do not make furniture to be "flat packed". I guess I could leave off the legs and have the client glue them on when it arrives, but I am not selling a table kit. The second is that it is in Canada. The shipping is going to be pretty high. When I make furniture for local my clients I can at least deliver it my self most times, and if there is a mishap I can solve it quickly, that does not apply here. Thoughts or ideas on this? I am also looking to see if anyone has any I shipped furniture stories as well?

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  • 2 weeks later...

|I ship using Clark & Reid all the time there not cheap but, they come to my shop and wrap everything up so I don't need to box anything. They insure it if it is damaged in shipping they have it fixed. I ship Windsor chairs all over the country using them with no problems to date. My customers have always be happy with them also and they always pay the shipping. |Just give them a call they will give you a quot so you can pass it on to your client.

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Well, There's shipping, and then there's International shipping - Two totally different animals...

I'm in North Carolina, and to ship a Morris Chair to Alberta, CA, the total was $1400... So, my advice is get a quote first

Thanks for the advise, I did do my homework and you are right, very expensive to ship internationally. Funny thing though,

I really never considered Canada as being international, as far as the shipping goes.

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I've used my local PakMail to ship everything from small tables to chest of drawers and they are great. The packaging is top notch and they always work to get me the best price, sometimes he even delivers them himself. I've never shipped to Canada, but I have shipped a Morris Chair and a few small tables across country very reasonably and with no problems.

good Luck,

Brad

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I've used my local PakMail to ship everything from small tables to chest of drawers and they are great. The packaging is top notch and they always work to get me the best price, sometimes he even delivers them himself. I've never shipped to Canada, but I have shipped a Morris Chair and a few small tables across country very reasonably and with no problems.

good Luck,

Brad

Canada isn't too bad, if you can do everything via UPS - It's once you need to go freight, that it gets complicated, and expensive....

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I have a local Pak Mail here in Charleston and use them often, your right Tree, they do offer a great service.

Size of work to be shipped is definitely a huge factor when shipping internationally and to Canada.

Does anyone out there have any shipping stories to share? I have only recently been offering shipping and would love some

more insight.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Speaking as a Canadian, shipping into, out of and within is more expensive than a similar shipment within the US. I live close enough to Buffalo, that when I have to ship something into the US I take it over the border myself and then ship it from there using UPS, Fedex or whatever.

Freight shipments using common carries can also be very expensive, not because it necessarily cost them that much more, it is because they treat it as a international shipment.

To give you an idea how stupid it can be, in another business I owned, one of my main suppliers was located in Nevada and offered free shipping within the US. I checked to see how much it would cost to have a shipment sent directly to my location and it was approximately $1200.00. I had them ship it to Buffalo and took my trailer down to pick it up, cost me a tank of gas and about 4 hours in time, including stopping at the border to pay the taxes. The cost the supplier to ship it to Buffalo was approximately $400.00.

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Well, There's shipping, and then there's International shipping - Two totally different animals...

I'm in North Carolina, and to ship a Morris Chair to Alberta, CA, the total was $1400... So, my advice is get a quote first

Yes - definitely get a quote first. I would not advise to ship via UPS unless you can do some bullet-proof packing. I made that mistake once - they toss things around pretty freely.

I would also go with a nationally known company like Clark and Reid - Plycon or Craters and Freighters. These companies are much more expensive than UPS but they help me sleep at night knowing that the worst case scenario would be - their truck gets hit by a train and I get paid to remake the piece ( fully insured).

I have some shipping horror stories to tell - a dining table that was headed to Texas and was lost for several weeks and found in a warehouse in Pennsylvania -

Another time a bed left my shop (Seattle) in late November and didn't arrive in LA until mid January - and then with several cross-grain scratches in the crotch mahogany center panel along with a big chunk ( 1" x 6" section) of the leg broken off. My client was furious and refused to accept the bed - I had to pay back $6,500 dollars to my now former client. I had originally asked the shipping company if the bed was fully insured - to which I received a "yes " answer. " Yes " I guess is a relative term - my bed was insured at the rate of produce ( peas - carrots -etc) relative to its weight. I had to really fight with the shippers to just get $1,500 dollars on what I felt was a total loss.

I shipped some office furniture to Calgary a couple of years ago and got a polite call from the Canadian customs that I had done some minor thing wrong - check all that stuff out in advance.

I guess my advice in general would be to ask a lot of questions of the shipper to insure that they will not abandon you if there is problems - use a company that comes to you recommended - that other furniture makers have had a good experience with .

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Yes - definitely get a quote first. I would not advise to ship via UPS unless you can do some bullet-proof packing. I made that mistake once - they toss things around pretty freely.

I would also go with a nationally known company like Clark and Reid - Plycon or Craters and Freighters. These companies are much more expensive than UPS but they help me sleep at night knowing that the worst case scenario would be - their truck gets hit by a train and I get paid to remake the piece ( fully insured).

I have some shipping horror stories to tell - a dining table that was headed to Texas and was lost for several weeks and found in a warehouse in Pennsylvania -

Another time a bed left my shop (Seattle) in late November and didn't arrive in LA until mid January - and then with several cross-grain scratches in the crotch mahogany center panel along with a big chunk ( 1" x 6" section) of the leg broken off. My client was furious and refused to accept the bed - I had to pay back $6,500 dollars to my now former client. I had originally asked the shipping company if the bed was fully insured - to which I received a "yes " answer. " Yes " I guess is a relative term - my bed was insured at the rate of produce ( peas - carrots -etc) relative to its weight. I had to really fight with the shippers to just get $1,500 dollars on what I felt was a total loss.

I shipped some office furniture to Calgary a couple of years ago and got a polite call from the Canadian customs that I had done some minor thing wrong - check all that stuff out in advance.

I guess my advice in general would be to ask a lot of questions of the shipper to insure that they will not abandon you if there is problems - use a company that comes to you recommended - that other furniture makers have had a good experience with .

Thanks Darrell, the stories tell the real truth and I think we all can benefit from this. I am not a big fan of UPS either, they seem to play "warehouse soccer" with a good number of packages I receive, I couldn't imagine shipping a piece of work and have that happen.

The insurance is another big thing too, didn't think about that side.

Thanks so much and if there are any more stories out there please chime in.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Don't have experience in shipping things I've made to clients who have purchased them, but I have a few points to add to the mix.

I once applied for a job at UPS. Their local shipping office stated you need to be able to life, unassisted, 70 pounds. These packages can take any shape, so "no wimps need apply" was the unspoken message. They also stated the maximum they accepted, via regular UPS truck or semi, was 150 pounds. They did not come right out and say it, but anything over that 70 pound amount, they try to ship via their "freight" delivery service, which can run via common carrier instead of UPS-branded vehicles.

(I assume FedEx operates similarly. I haven't looked into it yet.)

#2. I once had an engine shipped to me from Georgia. The seller stated the delivery agency (some local freight company) showed the package as delivered. The agency never showed up at my door. I never got a refund or delivery call from the freight company, nor a refund (or the engine itself) from the seller. There was an option for freight insurance, but it did not cover this for some reason. (after 10 years, I've given up on a refund, and have chalked it up to "life lesson." Investigate the insurance, keep great records, and follow up everything.)

#3. I ran into an old classmate of mine from high school at a reunion a few years ago. He worked (don't know if he still does) for someplace called 'Tazmania shipping,' I believe. I mention this for two reasons. Number one, this company operated no fleet of its own. What they do is arrange shipping with other companies that have space for the shipping. They also seemed to be cheaper than shipping directly through the company in question. reason number two is that you might know somebody within your circle, or expanded circle, or even expanded outer network circle, that can provide a name or number to a reputable shipping agent.

You can also check into companies like Greyhound, or Amtrak. (I once shipped some stuff home from college via the Funky Mutt. I arrived home before it did, and I left after it did. Admittedly it was within the same state, but it's an option.)

(The last item is a wish-list item for most small business guys. You could always hire somebody with a big enough truck to drive your deliveries to the client's door, and even help the client install said delivery. I was going to recommend someone, but my wife said I'm not allowed to drive that far away from home until after the kids graduate from college. :P )

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One of the reasons it is so expensive to ship to Canada is that you are required to declare the value of the shipment, and customs applies an additional duty to the item. So you are getting hit not just with shipping, but duty tax.

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