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5 Cheap Ways to Ship Heavy Items

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. Choosing the Right Shipping Method for Your Budget
  2. Ocean shipping
  3. Rail shipping
  4. Air shipping
  5. Truck shipping
  6. Flatbed trucks
  7. Boxcars
  8. Tanker trucks
  9. Semi-trailer trucks
  10. Shipping heavy items yourself
  11. Preparing your shipment correctly
  12. Measure everything
  13. Pack smartly
  14. Use packing tape
  15. Consider consolidation
  16. Dimensional weight
  17. Origin and destination
  18. Make sure your carrier can handle large and heavy packages
  19. Conclusion
5 Cheap Ways to Ship Heavy Items

Shipping heavy items aren't cheap. But there are ways to make it easier on you and less expensive on the carrier. You just need to know the tricks. Understanding these methods will help save you a lot of money in the long run.

We have put together a list of ways to help you understand your shipping options and how to reduce costs. These tips will help you save money on shipping without sacrificing quality.

Choosing the Right Shipping Method for Your Budget

There are many different methods of shipping out there for you to use. Here are some of the most common;

Ocean shipping

Ocean shipping is incredibly popular worldwide, especially in Asia. In fact, China alone accounts for over half of global ocean container traffic. Ocean shipping is enormously efficient, but it's still not always available. If you want something delivered quickly, ground shipping is better. However, cargo ships are safer and faster.

Cargo ships are massive vessels designed to carry large amounts of freight across oceans. They're much larger than passenger ships, and some even accommodate trains. These giant container ships can hold up to ten times as many goods as traditional freighters.

The price of a cargo ship depends on how far it'll have to travel and how long it'll be at sea. The longer the trip, the more fuel a ship uses and the higher its cost per ton shipped. Cargo ships also need special equipment to stay afloat during storms or other weather conditions.

All this means that the cost of transporting goods by cargo ship varies widely depending on where the ships are going. For example, a shipment from Los Angeles to New York City will cost about $1,000 per ton, compared with $2,500 per ton if it goes from London to Shanghai.

Rail shipping

Rail shipments are becoming increasingly popular because it allows companies to ship large quantities of goods quickly and cheaply. While most freight moves across the United States by truck, there are several ways to move bulk products. One of those methods is called rail shipping.

The process begins when a shipper places an order with a railroad company. A railcar is loaded up with the materials needed to make the product. Once the train leaves the loading station, it travels to the destination where the product is unloaded.


Air shipping

Air shipping is much cheaper than sea shipping, but it will usually take twice as long to arrive. Shipping costs vary greatly depending on where you live and on package size. You can find out how much your package will cost via the USPS' tracking tool or by contacting a reputable transport company.

The price of air shipping depends on the item's weight, the distance it has to travel, and whether it must go through customs.

If you choose to ship by air, you may be able to get a discount by paying upfront. Some carriers offer discounts if you pay for shipping before the package arrives. It's important to know what kind of insurance coverage and customs documents you need before buying any shipping service.


Truck shipping

Trucking may be the best option for you if you need to ship something quickly. Trucking is often used for small packages but is also great for moving heavy items.

Knowing what kind of trucking service you need before shopping around is essential. There are four main types of trucks: flatbeds, boxcars, tankers, and semi-trailers. Each type of truck has its advantages and disadvantages.

Flatbed trucks

Flatbed trucks are the cheapest way to ship things. They have no sides, so items shipped with them don't require special packaging. Flatbed trucks are typically used for transporting pallets of merchandise. The downside is that they're slow and only fit one item at a time.



Boxcars are similar to flatbeds, except they have walls on all sides. Boxcars are generally used for transporting individual items, like furniture.

Tanker trucks

Tanker trucks are used for transporting liquids. They have tanks on top and bottom, which makes them ideal for transporting hazardous chemicals.

Semi-trailer trucks

They are very similar to boxcars, except they have more room. Semi-trailers are great for transporting multiple items at once.

Shipping heavy items yourself

You can save some money by shipping heavy items yourself. If you're willing to spend the time learning about shipping options, you could potentially save hundreds of dollars. However, this method requires a lot of work.

You'll need to rent a trailer or truck, pack the item carefully, label everything correctly, and then figure out how to send it safely.

It's possible to ship heavy items without professional help. For example, you can use a dolly to move large objects from point A to B. But, you should still hire someone to help you load and unload the items onto the truck.

1. Ask friends and family

Friends and family members might be willing to help you move heavy items. If you ask someone who lives nearby, they might be able to give you some tips about moving heavy objects. You could even ask them to come along and lend a hand.

2. Rent a crane

A crane is a machine that lifts heavy objects. Renting a crane is expensive, but it's worth every penny if you want to save money on shipping.

3. Use a dolly

A dolly is a wheeled cart that helps you move heavy items from place to place. Dolly carts are cheap and easy to use.

4. Use a trailer

A trailer is a large vehicle designed to carry cargo. You can tow a trailer behind your car or rent one. Towing a trailer requires a license, though.

5. Use a truck

If you don't have access to a trailer or a crane, renting a truck is probably your best bet. However, they are not easy to drive, so make sure you have plenty of experience driving big vehicles.

  1. Minimize Costs When Choosing Your Shipment Method

Shipping is not cheap. If you want to save money on shipping, you should consider using the following tips:

Preparing your shipment correctly

Shipping heavy items like furniture, appliances, electronics, and even refrigerators require proper preparation. You don't want to end up paying extra fees for shipping damage. Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing your goods for transport.

Measure everything

The best way to ensure you're getting a fair price for your stuff is to measure everything correctly. If you're sending a couch, ensure it fits into the box. Don't assume that because it looks big, it'll fit inside the container. Also, take note of how much space there is around each side of the piece of furniture. Checking available space will help determine whether you need to use packing material or foam peanuts.

Pack smartly

You don't want to overpack your items. But you don't want to under-pack either. Make sure to fill the voids in your boxes. For example, if you're sending a refrigerator, put heavier items towards the bottom of the box.

Use packing tape

If you're sending something fragile, such as glassware, place it in a plastic bag. Then wrap the entire package in packing tape. Using tape will prevent breakage and save you money on insurance.

Consider consolidation

If you've got several small boxes or bags to send, combine them. Packaging materials like bubble wrap and packing peanuts aren't free, but they add bulk and weight to your shipment. So if you can pack everything into one big container, you might save some cash.

  1. Know All Details About Your Shipment to Avoid Being Overcharged

When choosing a carrier, you must understand all the details about your shipment. This includes knowing what type of packaging you require (if any), the size of the item(s) being shipped, and the destination address.

It's also important to know if you have any special requirements regarding your shipment. Some carriers charge more for certain types of shipments, such as those containing hazardous materials.

While this may seem unfair, it's often done to protect customers from potential damage. By understanding all the details about your order, you can avoid paying extra fees.

Dimensional weight

The term "dimensional weight" refers to how much space something takes up. For example, putting a large book into a small box will take up less space than placing the same book into a bigger box.

In addition to taking up less space, the book will weigh less too, because there are fewer empty spaces inside the box. This concept applies to almost anything that can fit into a container.

You can use the dimensional weight to measure things such as furniture, clothing, food, and even liquids. You can also use the dimensional weight to determine how many containers you'll need to ship an item. When calculating dimensional weight, you must consider the cost of measuring each type of object.

Origin and destination

Knowing the origin and destination of your shipment is another way to calculate dimensional weight. If you're sending something from New York to Los Angeles, you should expect to pay more for shipping than if you were sending something from California to Texas.

The reason is simple: The distance between two locations affects the time it takes for a package to travel from one location to the other.

For example, sending something from New York to California will likely arrive in three days or less. On the other hand, sending something across the country will take at least five days to reach its destination.

This means that when calculating dimensional weight, you should include the length of the trip in your calculations. If you're shipping something from New York to San Francisco, you should add the length of the trip to your estimate. This will give you a good idea of how long it will take for your package to reach its destination.

  1. Choosing the Right Carrier

Choosing a carrier isn't always easy, especially if you don't know where to start. There are many carriers, each offering different levels of quality and cost. Choosing the best one for you requires research, but it is the key to cheaper shipping. Here are some things to consider when deciding on a carrier.


Make sure your carrier can handle large and heavy packages

Some carriers specialize in handling large and heavy packages. These carriers typically offer better rates for shipping large items.

However, make sure that the carrier you select can actually handle these types of shipments.

Many carriers won't accept packages weighing over 50 pounds. Limits on shipment types make sense because the carrier could potentially lose money if something breaks during transit.

Finding a trustworthy and experienced transport company will help save time and money. For example, A-1 Auto Transport is a leader in the transport industry, offering competitive pricing and 30 years of experience for all heavy and oversized shipping needs.

  1. Insurance Coverage

Choose an insurance provider with coverage for any damages that may occur during transit. For instance, if your package gets damaged while being delivered, you'll want to be covered for the repairs. You can find this information online.

You should also choose an insurance provider that covers the value of your shipment. Full value coverage is essential because if someone steals your package, they might try to sell it. In this case, you'd want to have compensation for the loss.

Look for a provider with a low deductible. Most insurance providers charge a small fee every time you file a claim. However, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. Choose a policy with a low deductible to save money on premiums.


Shipping heavy items like furniture and appliances can be expensive. But if you use the right tools, you can save money and still have your item delivered safely. You'll easily reduce high shipment costs by doing your research, choosing the right transport method, and using some tricks to know every detail about what you are shipping.

We still believe finding the right transport company can save you money and time. Contact A-1 Auto Transport for a free quote or any questions regarding your shipping needs.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd,
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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