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Thread: Anybody ever ship furniture that they've built?

  1. #1
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    Question Anybody ever ship furniture that they've built?

    Hi folks,
    I hope things are going well with you and yours. Things aren't so great for me lately. The health issues are continuing to cause me problems and it's becoming abundantly clear that I may end up having to give up working in the trades sooner than later. I'm seeing my neurologist in the morning because I have some questions for him that I need answered.

    Anyway, I'm in the middle of having to figure out what I'm going to do for an income. A few months ago I decided to try top get a shop set up and working. I've created a few pieces, but only sold three or four so far. I've got some more pieces done, but they're just sitting here waiting for a new home. The problems is that they're larger pieces like blanket chests and a hall bench that I built. I've been considering Etsy which could be a good thing, but shipping is an issue. It would probably cost quite a bit to ship them. Even if I could get the cost reasonable, I'm wondering how I'd be able to package them for shipping.

    Last night I had an idea. It would be hard to find corrugated boxes big enough for the chest. They're roughly 42"L x 18"D x 21"H. I'm wondering if I could possibly build my own crates. Maybe using old pallet wood (which are abundantly available around here for free), and maybe luan or thin OSB or something like that. I could probably put something together pretty reasonably and make a container that would do the job just fine.

    I haven't checked yet, but I know that UPS, FedEx, etc. have size and weight restrictions. So I may have to find some kind of motor freight carrier. But that may get really expensive. So, have any of you here shipped packages in the range of size I described? If so, how did it go?

    Thanks so much in advance for any input. Right now I'm stressing out pretty badly wondering what I'm going to do for an income if I have to quit the trades in the near future.

    Take care!
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  2. #2
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    John back when I had my shop I shipped all over the country I used a trucking co and palatalized my product (Benches and Que Racks) I could ship up to 200lbs for about $65.00 back then (before the big fuel rise) I found a carrier I liked and just agreed to use only them and the rates dropped big time over just going in and shipping on anyone. Might check a few of them out and get quotes make sure you tell them you will contract with them.
    A Turn N Time
    Components for John Smith Organs and the Hobby Organ Builder

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  3. #3
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    Thanks Jay!

    I just checked UPS, and based on 60 lb package the rate from my home which is just north of Deroit to LA was like $135. The chest itself weighs about 48 lbs so I figured 10-12 lbs for container. I may try to build a container that would hold the chest and see what happens. I may contact some trucking or freight companies near me and see what they have to say. If I could get the shipping reasonably priced, I would probably start creating these and selling them on Etsy. I'm sure it would be MUCH better than CL.

    =
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  4. #4
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    john check out freightcenter .com for some pricing.. they like to have a dock to work from though usually for better pricing.. R&R carries seem to be the best price normally.. and skids add up in weight to.. i shipped a cedar chest in a plywood box to Washington state and it weighed twice what the original piece did.. dont remember the cost anymore but get insurance to cover your costs
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
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  5. #5
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    1.Would shipping be less expensive and a lot less troublesome if you could ship products broken down?
    2. would you consider building things like chests that could be knocked down and assembled by customer, nothing too confusing?
    Human Test Dummy

  6. #6
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    John, you may want to check, I've found that UPS (dunno about other carriers) also have a charge for un-traditional packaging (non-cardboard).
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by allen levine View Post
    1.Would shipping be less expensive and a lot less troublesome if you could ship products broken down?
    2. would you consider building things like chests that could be knocked down and assembled by customer, nothing too confusing?
    Then you might as well buy it from China.
    A Turn N Time
    Components for John Smith Organs and the Hobby Organ Builder

    Frog Pond Guitars


    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

  8. #8
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    john doesn't have to sacrifice his level of craftsmanship.
    Human Test Dummy

  9. #9
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    John, I don't know how competitive your pricing is, but with so many online & distance retail purchases requiring S&H, would it be possible for you to simply charge extra (actual cost to you) for S&H to reflect the "Handling' effort on your part to prepare for shipping? To me the "apparent" S&H cost is generally perceived by many as the "postage" cost that appears on the shipping label on the container. Many don't realize the true cost of shipping which includes the prep for ship time, labor & materials incurred by the seller. Large factories with automated shipping that utilize the cost efficiencies of scale & can prep for ship cheaper than small, single owner shops. Your shipping costs may be higher than others, but that should be factored into your pricing.
    Last edited by Al Launier; 05-06-2013 at 02:14 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the input guys.

    I talked to my brother for a while today. He ships a lot of larger items like bikes and such that he buys and sells on ebay. He too mentioned making them in a knock down form that the customer could easily assemble. But I've pretty much got Jay's view on that. If I went that route, the quality and overall craftsmanship goes right out the window. They could go to IKEA and get stuff a lot cheaper.

    I don't know what I'm going to do. Right now I'm just under a lot of stress because of my health situation. I've known since diagnosis, that a wheel chair was a possibility down the road at some time. But in the last week I've gotten some information that makes it look like a chair is more of a probability than a possibility. Right now I'm terrified and I'm trying to keep it together as best I can. Sometimes just bouncing ideas off of people helps me keep my mind occupied and off what may be coming down the road. I have an appointment with my neurologist in the morning that I'm not really looking forward to. But it's a necessary evil.

    Thanks again for the input and listening guys!
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

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