When moving a house full of large furniture and bulky appliances, you can’t do without large moving trucks and adequate manpower. But if you’re only moving items that fit easily into moving boxes, your shipping options increase exponentially.
How Do I Ship My Boxes across the Country?
Each shipping option available has its benefits and downside. I have put together different ways you can ship your boxes to compare, consider cost and pick the most suitable for you.
1. Hire a Moving Company
This is undoubtedly the best method of shipping your boxes. Moving companies are experts with years of experience and specialized moving equipment to handle your items appropriately and transport them to your new home without any damage.
They are totally responsible for packing your boxes, loading them on the truck, transporting them to your new location, and off-loading packages. You don’t have to bother about the move, and everything will go smoothly.
On the flip side, moving companies may not be a good option, especially if you’re moving a few boxes. You may end up spending more than you should as your items won’t be able to fill the truck entirely.
2. Leverage LTL (Less Than Truckload) Shipping
Moving companies offer services that allow customers to share truck space and transportation costs to ensure maximum efficiency for movers with boxes less than truck space. They pick as many loads as possible from customers along the same moving route.
This shipping method is one of the cheapest ways of moving your boxes across the country. You’ll only pay for the space your boxes occupy on the moving truck.
However, this option is only convenient if you don’t need your items immediately. There’s usually no guaranteed delivery date, and transporting your belongings takes time as your trucks make many stops. At the same time, payments for this service are made based on minimum shipping requirements. So, this means you must pay the minimum price regardless of the weight and size of your boxes.
4. Ship Your Boxes with USPS
United States Postal Service is one of the common solutions for shipping small loads from state to state. Some guidelines you have to follow include keeping your shipment below 70lbs and shipping only unprohibited items.
USPS offers you many options for shipping your items.
- Retail Ground is the cheapest option which costs abt $7.35 per package. But it is available at the post office, and delivery can take up to 8 business days.
- Priority mail is the most common option. This service offers flat rate boxes ranging from $8 to $ 22 based on the size. Packages are delivered within 1-3 business days. However, the length and girth of your boxes should not be more than 108”.
- Priority Mail Express offers similar services to priority mail, but it is faster as items are delivered overnight. The pricing starts at $26 per package.
- Media Mail allows you to send educational materials like DVDs, books, charts, and other printed materials at a very low price.
4. Ship Your Boxes with the Courier
DHL, FedEx, and UPS are some of the most popular courier companies. Because of high prices, they may not be the best option for shipping many boxes, but they are the best choice for moving smaller, valuable, or fragile items to your new home.
Courier companies handle your items carefully, provide insurance for your package and allow you to track the movement of your items in real-time.
The shipping fee for courier services depends on the weight and size of your boxes as well as the distance and level of services you choose. You can read more on the level of services they offer from our previous post on How To Ship A Package.
5. Utilize Freight Shipping Services
Freight companies can be an excellent alternative to conventional moving companies, especially when shipping boxes across the country.
You’ll need to palletize the boxes ( place them on a wood pallet and wrap them) and label the package legibly. The Freight company will provide a truck to load and transport your palletized items to your new home.
It is important to remember that Freight companies only handle transportation; it is your job to load and unload your shipment. You may need a liftgate to lift the pallet unto and off the truck and a pallet jack to move the package. Both devices come at an extra charge.
6. Rent a Portable Container
A portable moving container may be all you need to move your items to your new home. Typically, the pod moving companies drop off small containers in your front yard for you to load the boxes before they pick them up and transport them to your new home.
Pods are a very affordable option. The shipping fee is calculated based on the size of the containers and the relocation distance. If you’re shipping just a few boxes, the cost of shipping will be lower.
7. Ship Your Boxes on the Train
The national railroad corporation renders a shipping service known as Amtrak Express Shipping. It allows you to ship your boxes on the extra space on the train at a very low rate.
To ship with Amtrak, you need to adhere to specific rules:
- Electronics and other fragile objects are not allowed.
- You have to keep the weight of your boxes below 50 pounds and size not more than 36”x36”36.”
- The total weight of your shipment should not be more than 500 pounds.
- You pay an additional $3 if they keep your shipment for over 2days.
Shipping your boxes with Amtrak costs $45 to $85for the first 100lbs and 45 to 85 cents for every pound above 100lbs. It is probably the most affordable way to ship your boxes, but it is essential to consider the cost of transporting them from the station.
8. Ship Your Boxes by Bus
Most buses that move from one state to another have luggage compartments for shipping packages. BusFreighter and Greyhound Package Express offer such services. It is another affordable option for your boxes. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- The weight of your boxes should not exceed 100 pounds, and the size cannot be larger than 30”x47”x82.”
- Because they offer no insurance, this method is not suitable for electronic and fragile items.
- Boxes are usually inspected, so it is helpful to leave them unsealed before the inspection.
- Long-distance shipment over 1000 miles takes 6 to 14 days, while distance shorter than 500 miles takes 4 days.
Shipping boxes with a Greyhound Package Express costs $1 per pound, while BusFreighter charges about 85 cents per pound. Both companies offer door-to-door services that come at an extra fee, but you can opt for the cheap option of dropping off and collecting your boxes at the station.
9. Utilize Rideshare Opportunities
Rideshare is similar to Less Truck Load shipping. Instead of moving companies, truckers with extra space take additional loads of movers traveling their route.
To jump on this service, you need to post your shipment requirements and specify the dimensions, weight, and the exact number of boxes. Other essential details include the exact pick-up and delivery location and the specific dates and timeframes.
The cost is highly negotiable, and shipping restrictions depend solely on the driver. However, it’s essential to research drivers before making a choice.
10. Ship Your Boxes in Your Car
Instead of shipping an empty car across the country, you can take advantage of the space by shipping your boxes inside. Most auto-transporters allow you to ship below 100lbs inside your car without extra charges.
Aside from weight limits, they also have guidelines for the type of items and the number of boxes allowed in the vehicle. It is advisable to check the regulations of the auto-transporter if you plan to move boxes alongside your vehicle. You need a company with policies that suit both the car and the items you intend to move inside it.
How to Pack Your Boxes for Shipping
Regardless of the handling guarantee any of the shipping services offer, you need to pack your boxes properly to protect items, adhere to guidelines and identify your packages easily.
Get the Correct boxes and packing materials
To ensure the safety of your items, you need sturdy, corrugated boxes, especially for moving fragile items. You will also need to keep the boxes below 108 inches which is the maximum length for most shipping comps. M-Pak offers various sizes of corrugate shipping boxes on Amazon.
Additionally, you’ll need protective packaging materials such as:
- Packing peanuts (when shipping)
- Packing paper — newspaper is an alternative but can stain the glasses
- Bubble wrap
- Packing tape
Wrap and place your items in the boxes
Before placing your items in the boxes, ensure they are well wrapped and fill the boxes with cushioning until the items are immobile. Remember to keep the weight below 70 pounds, as most shipping companies do not accept boxes above the weight limit.
Measure and seal boxes with packing tape ensuring there are no bulges. Then, you can address them clearly with a marker or label print.
It is also vital to avoid packing any item prohibited by your carrier to avoid delays or fines.