Large, heavy boxes can be a shipping nightmare for some and an outright puzzle to others with regards to how to maximize on cost and efficiency. These large boxes could contain furniture, cabinetry, something vintage, custom golf clubs or hockey sticks, or something else.
To ship these large boxes from seller to purchaser, there are thankfully a few different ways. At the end of the day, the best shipping option for large boxes comes down to cost, distance, and any additional services you may require.
Here are eight best ways to ship large boxes:
1. Postal Service
One of the best ways to ship large boxes is through the postal service (USPS). Any large packages weighing up to 4 pounds can ship with their First-Class Package International Service. USPS sells mailing cartons up to 20 x 14 x 10 inches. Cardboard cartons or boxes from USPS can add some ease to the process of shipping large boxes.
Now, if you have heavier items – weighing up to 70 pounds and measuring no larger than 108 inches around its thickest part – the USPS can handle these via priority mail to certain areas of the US or around the world. Anything larger than the dimensions mentioned will have to be shipped via the USPS Retail Ground service.
Instead of going through the USPS, you may choose a shipping courier as your most economical option. Many couriers can accommodate large boxes, sending them fast and cost-effectively. UPS and FedEx are two of the most popular couriers in the world. They accept packaging weighing up to 150 pounds and measuring up to 108 inches long, or up to 165 inches in length and girth combined.
A lot of couriers can ship oversized packages although you can expect additional charges. This can add up quickly. Full-service couriers which deliver by motor, air, rail, and ocean freights are the next courier option if you need to ship extremely large boxes i.e. appliances, industrial parts and equipment, or automobile components.
3. Trucking companies
Some trucking companies can help to transport large boxes. If not, they may know a company who can. This can be an ideal way to ship large boxes if you’re looking for a more personal one-on-one connection and/or are looking for special care taken – including bracing or cushioning.
The biggest drawback of using trucking companies to ship large boxes is that you won’t get service right to your door. You will also want to ensure your items are insured against loss and damage.
4. Using a freight broker
If you’re a company where you know you’ll be shipping out large boxes over and over, and in large quantities, you may want a freight broker. A freight broker will pair a company’s shipment needs with the right shipper. A freight broker can insure goods, help to track packaging, pay the bill of lading on your behalf, and to ensure your items arrive where they are supposed to.
5. Using a freight forwarder
An alternative to a freight broker is a freight forwarder, which handles all of the same shipping responsibilities and will also provide warehouse storage. A lot of the payments related to bills of lading are also done under the freight forwarder’s name. For some corporations, a freight forwarder could be the better option.
6. Using third-party logistics
Outside of a freight forwarder and freight broker, there are also third-party logistics companies to provide the services of a freight forwarder. They will take care of all steps to get goods from manufacturer to consumer. Third party logistics (3PL) companies can also manage retail-scan packaging prep, inventory management, reporting, and distribution.
As a company owner, to completely assign the responsibility of shipping to another party, 3PL is certainly the way to go. Some companies use third-party logistics as a means to minimize costs or reduce stress while growing and expanding their business.
7. Compare pricing
If you are looking for the best way to ship large boxes, especially if this shipment will be the first of many, you can save by comparing pricing. If you take a large box to the post office and pay the postage rate, it’ll be very expensive. Through a shipping calculator or by comparison shipping, you can discovery inexpensive shipping rates from some of the top courier services in North America.
Choose the destination, know exactly what you’re paying for, and select the services that only you need. There’s a lot that goes into the price of shipping large items – size, weight, where, and speed of delivery. Regardless, comparing pricing is worth it!
8. Most popular large items shipped in the US
A lot of the most popular large items shipped in the US come in large boxes although some do not. The list includes gym equipment, tents, golf clubs, clothing, luggage, appliances, and auto parts. There are also regulations around prohibited items in shipping, especially internationally. Thus, for new small businesses, it’s imperative to check to ensure you can ship your goods to wherever they need to be, whether it’s domestically or internationally.