Cost of Shipping Household Goods
Shipping household goods can seem overwhelming when considering all the details that need one’s attention. The cost of shipping such items depends on several different factors, such as:
- Most movers have a fee that they charge per mile of a move. The farther the distance the moving company needs to travel, the higher the cost. This mainly applies to shipping household goods across country rather than internationally.
- Volume and weight. The items’ physical space and weight factor significantly into the cost of shipping household goods. These factors will determine how many trucks are required to move your goods.
- If you are looking to ship household goods on a tight deadline, this can increase the cost, especially if the mover needs to make a special trip just for your move. When there are no strict deadlines, the shipping cost may be cheaper due to the shipping company’s ability to combine several clients’ shipments into one.
- If your move’s pickup or delivery location is in a remote or challenging-to-access place, this can negatively impact the cost of shipping household goods. Being in a site that is easier to reach will cost you less by default.
- Time of year. Shipping rates are often cheaper during seasons with milder weather and safer road conditions. When the weather conditions are unsafe, such as snow and ice, shipping household goods will cost more and be subject to delays.
Always make sure to get an accurate quote when shopping around for moving services. For the most accurate quote, it’s always best to provide as much information as possible to the movers.
You can obtain quotes from up to five FIDI and/or IAM accredited international movers by simply completing the below form.
Shipping Household Goods Internationally/Overseas
Shipping personal effects overseas provides a different set of challenges that need more consideration than an intercontinental move. Careful planning ensures that your international move goes off without a hitch.
As with any moving service, no matter the destination, you must consider distance, volume, weight, timing, location, and the time of year when planning on shipping personal effects overseas. There are two main methods of overseas shipping available:
Shipping overseas using sea freight
The most cost-effective way to ship household goods internationally is via sea freight. When choosing this option, the mover will send a container to your home to load with your personal effects. Once filled, they will pick up the container with a truck and bring it to port, where it will be loaded on a ship and sent overseas.
International moving companies are generally full-service and will arrange for your container to be unloaded and brought to its destination with all the proper documentation needed.
Using sea freight, your mover will present you with two options depending on the amount of stuff you have to move:
- Full Container Load (FCL). This option allows you to use an entire container to ship your belongings. Because you are renting a private shipping container just for your use, this option carries a heftier price of the two choices. With this option, your personal effects are loaded into a shipping container that is dedicated exclusively to your personal and household effects only. The container will ideally be loaded directly at your residence, access permitting, and depending on the final destination will be delivered directly to your residence (depending on the final destination countries regulations, for example in Australia and New Zealand directly delivery of shipping containers is prohibited due to Customs and Quarantine regulations ).One of the main benefits of sole use container shipping is that you can book the sailing dates with the shipping line that suits your schedule and you have the peace of mind of seeing the container sealed at your residence too.
- Groupage (shared container shipping): A groupage service is a great option if you’re shipping a smaller volume of effects to a popular destination. Groupage involves consolidating your shipment with other shipments of personal effects and shipping them together in a container for the same destination. This is a very popular option as it’s much more economical for smaller shipments as you’re only paying a portion of the sea freight costs i.e. the amount of space your shipment occupies in the container. If you don’t have a full container
- Less than Container Load (LCL). This option works out well for those with less to ship to less popular destinations. LCL is often dearer than groupage, as your consignment needs to be crated (placed into a wooden Liftvan) and the destination terminal handling charges (DTHC) can often be very expensive.
Shipping overseas using air freight
A faster yet more expensive method for shipping personal effects overseas is by air freight. The higher cost of air freight is well worth the price tag if you are on a tight deadline, though you will also need to consider how much your belongings weigh as most air freight companies have a weight limit to which you must adhere.
What about my car?
You will need to check before shipping your car overseas if it is street legal to drive at your destination. Different countries have different rules when it comes to licensing and registering vehicles. If all that checks out, you should find an international transport company specializing in shipping cars and trucks. As with your personal effects, you can ship cars via sea or air freight.
What about my pets?
Moving a pet internationally is much harder than bringing a pet along during a local move. Every company has its own set of pet import laws and vaccination requirements. Some countries even require a quarantine period for pets before they can be released back to their owners.
Once that is taken care of, you should check with different airlines about their pet policies or look for a specialized pet relocation service to help move your pet overseas.
The International Moving Process
No matter how little or much you are shipping internationally, making sure you hire the right moving service at least three months in advance to help you with all the proper documentation and coordination for your move is critical. Get at least three different moving quotes, and get an in-house survey performed.
Once taken care of, you need to decide whether you will choose full packing (i.e., the mover packs and moves all of your belongings) or partial packing (i.e., the moving company handles only larger items). At the same time, you are responsible for packing loose items such as clothing, books, etc.
Whether you choose to pack yourself or have the movers do it, make sure to put your choice in writing and send it to the movers so they can plan accordingly. If deciding to pack on your own, invest in freight insurance and keep all vital travel documentation and visas on your person at all times.
When packing suitcases, bags, coolers, or any other type of container, provide a label of the item’s contents, even if it is just a note with the word “empty” on it. All things you are packing must be itemized, numbered, and have an accurate description—plan in advance to take the proper time needed to accomplish this.
Check all the details of the move with your moving company, and get the packing and moving date confirmations from them in writing. When your previous living space is empty, have it professionally cleaned and schedule the hand-off to the new occupant before departing to your new living destination.
Matt is a veteran of the moving industry, a recognized moving expert and is the founder of MoverFocus. Matt holds a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) majoring in Finance and Marketing and Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Economics and History. He also has completed the EiM (Essentials in International Moving) course from the FIDI Academy. His advice has been featured in Reader’s Digest, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, Business News Daily and The SpareFoot Blog Go. Read more.