I have just shipped an end table to the other coast, a commission. It arrived in rather more pieces than when it left my hands. I built a crate of a type that I have used before with success - strong, firm, etc. I will make a claim on the insurance I specified from the shipper and we will see what happens with that. I got a quote via email from Craters & Freighters of $317.
The cost was $100 for the crate (my charge) and about $50 to the shipper. What would everyone else do? Any help is appreciated.
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor L:
Depending on the size, I usually use old trunks from the second hand/recycle store. The cost is generally less expensive than materials and you may need to add new handles.
Then I go back and screw it every 4-6" with 1 1/4" quick screws. After assembly I caulk the joints on the inside of the crate and put a bead of caulking on the top and screw the top on. The caulking may not be necessary, but it doesn't take long to do.
When packing the items I wrap the piece in bubble wrap first, then shrink wrap it. If more padding is needed I use packing peanuts or blankets (usually just peanuts will do.) When I shipped chairs I screwed a cross support on the inside of the crate so the chair had a support on each side of the back. I shipped six chairs to Tokyo from San Francisco using the above method a couple of years ago and they arrived in perfect condition.
Your strong crate is a tempting target to load on. If you don't tell them not to stack they will. We ship every day all over the country in a crate made from cardboard and 2x4's and have a very low damage rate. We also get paid when one is crushed. We use cardboard pyramids that say do not stack. You have to crush the pyramid to stack on our crates.
I have waited four months for my claim and I was told that they are only liable for $.50 a pound. Do not get rid of the damaged skid/pieces. They expect you or your customer to hold on to the pieces till they are ready to look at them. And by all means – do not pay the invoice on damaged freight from the shipping company. I totally agree with Contributor T - I also started using a moving company. That’s the only way to move cabinets and furniture.
Here's what we do:
1st: Wrap the piece with 1/8" thick foam from 36" or 48" rolls.
2nd: Add corner and edge protectors, throw scrap cardboard on top.
3rd: Stretch wrap with 18" stretch plastic.
3rd: Build “cap" like crates - one for the bottom, one for the top. They are 4 sided, about 4" tall with (2) 4" stretchers each. The top of the furniture piece is the largest and determines the size for both caps.
4th: Bend 275 lb cardboard (from 4x8 sheets) around the sides stapling into the crate "caps" at top and bottom. We now have our furniture boxed.
5th and most important. We recycle old shipping crates and use steel bands to strap our box to the pallet. You don’t want the handlers to be tempted to use anything but pallet jacks and fork lifts. I've asked the drivers and they all like the way we package. I want to make their job easy. The pallet also helps keep taller pieces from tipping and creates a distance barrier around the piece.
6th: Label "fragile" etc. and mark shipping paper work to match. No, it will not keep them from driving a fork into it but it will give you a better leg up when you do have a claim. It was $1200 worth of packaging material and equipment when we started but it was well worth it.