How to Ship Bulky Items

Even a heavy, bulky chair can be shipped.
Even a heavy, bulky chair can be shipped. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Not all items you might want to ship—be it a Christmas present or that vintage chair you found at a flea market while on vacation—fit neatly in a box for shipping. When it comes to bulky items not easily shipped via postal mail or parcel company, your best bet is to ship via truck freight, also called less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping.

Choose a shipping company that provides truck freight shipping. Some shipping companies that offer this option include Greyhound Freight, Freight Center and UPS Freight (see Resources).

Ask about pricing, limits on weight or dimensions, and whether items are delivered to the recipient’s address or a processing center in the recipient’s city, where it must then be picked up in person.

Package your bulky item as best you can to protect it from damage during shipping. Put it in an oversized box with packing peanuts or strap it into a pallet and wrap it in heavy-duty bubbled cushioning wrap. Ask your LTL shipper of choice for guidance, as improper packaging may void the shipper’s liability for damages to your bulky item.

Schedule pickup of your item or take it to a physical shipping center nearby. Unless you have a van or pickup truck that can accommodate the item, you’re better off asking that the item be picked up at your home.

Fill out the required paperwork, including information about yourself and the recipient. You’ll also be required to complete a bill of lading, which provides the carrier and driver with shipping information. Make sure you’re given a copy of the BOL.

Pay the amount billed to you. This may be based on an estimated or actual weight, and may include added charges for home pickup and delivery to a residential address rather than a receiving center.

Provide the recipient with information given to you about the estimated arrival of the item. If you are the recipient, make sure you are home on the day the item is to arrive. If given a tracking number, use it to see where in transit your item is, either by inputting the number into the shipper’s website or calling a phone number for the company.

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