Economical cross-border shipping for a large/bulky item.
August 25, 2010 8:35 PM   Subscribe

I need suggestions about economical cross-border shipping options for a poorly thought out ebay purchase.

So, i live in Toronto, and i won an auction for a wood desk on ebay. Problem is, the desk is located in St Louis, Missouri. I paid $370 for the desk, and the cheapest shipping option i've found costs $398. That's a lot to pay for shipping, especially since it's actually more than the cost of the desk.

The options i've gotten quotes for are:

-Navis, and Craters & Freighters (both $390ish)
- The Packaging Store ($490ish)

I also looked into Fedex, but the desk is too big for their service. Also, Greyhound (typically the cheapest shipping option i know) isn't an option, because the seller requires a pick up from the shipper, and because its a vintage desk and i want a shipper that will at least pretend to take some care.

Any suggestions for cheaper options???
posted by Kololo to Shopping (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
how much does it weigh? is it on a pallet? how it is packed? what are the dimensions? are you trying to get it shipped to your house or to a freight hub?
posted by lakersfan1222 at 8:43 PM on August 25, 2010

Have you looked into trucking companies? Often times they'll pack on extra freight to pick up additional money. They'll even transfer your freight from one truck to another if need be. They'll just pick the item up as is, whether it's protected and wrapped, or not.

I did the same thing once. I bought a beautiful couch and love seat at a garage sale in a city I was visiting. When I checked the price of shipping it, the cost was more than what I paid for the furniture. In the end, I used a trucking company. It was the cheapest option. Sorry, I can't remember the name of the company now. Anyway, you'll have to research regional ones in the midwest.
posted by zagyzebra at 8:49 PM on August 25, 2010

oh goodness, you're right, i've left out a ton of details.

The desk itself is 58x28x31 inches. I don't know what the packed dimensions would be. I don't know the weight - i've been guesstimating 100lbs when i request a quote. Its a solid wood desk, so if you have a better guess that's great.

Its not on a pallet, as far as i know. I can have the seller package it for an additional $35, which is cheaper than most of the shipping companies offer.

I am trying to get it shipped to my house - which is a condo building in toronto.
posted by Kololo at 8:50 PM on August 25, 2010

Any chance you know anyone in, say, Buffalo NY to get it shipped to and can take a weekend to drive and pick it up?
posted by wayland at 9:04 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Get quotes from more companies, there are a lot of freight shippers and costs can vary a lot between them.

If you have a willing American friend near the border, it may be cheaper to ship it domestically to somebody and then pick it up there yourself.
posted by Michael M. Tripp at 9:08 PM on August 25, 2010

I also was going to suggest checking shipping costs to Buffalo/Niagara.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:10 PM on August 25, 2010

Shipping it to buffalo isn't really an option. I don't have a car (or a drivers license), and i would be reluctant to try and rope a friend into taking me.

I'm not really familiar with freight shippers, so wouldn't now where to start. For those of you who have suggested it, are there any companies you'd suggest?
posted by Kololo at 9:20 PM on August 25, 2010

old dominion (800)235-5569
posted by lakersfan1222 at 9:22 PM on August 25, 2010

"I'm not really familiar with freight shippers,"

Well, the first time is always an adventure. Isn't it? It's very easy and cheap. Don't get shocked by the estimated cost. Actual cost will easily be a fraction of it.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 9:31 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

a poorly thought out ebay purchase.
Do you really want it? Can you work something out with the seller so you don't have to take delivery?
posted by sanko at 9:47 PM on August 25, 2010

uShip has been useful for me. Not sure if folks will take it cross-border, but you can try! Go with a company that has lots of good recommendations there, and you'll be fine.

You can rent a car and drive down to Buffalo fairly easily.
posted by barnone at 10:37 PM on August 25, 2010

barnone: the OP can't rent a car without a drivers license.
posted by zachlipton at 11:06 PM on August 25, 2010

The OP has friends with a car or DL. Buy someone dinner and call it a daytrip! I bet it'll be cheaper than duty and cross-border transport.
posted by barnone at 1:05 AM on August 26, 2010

58*28*31 is almost the size of a small fridge. Wouldn't fit in most cars unless it can be disassembled.
posted by jon1270 at 1:15 AM on August 26, 2010

Could you get carpenters to disassemble and reassemble the desk?
posted by kmennie at 5:46 AM on August 26, 2010

It's impossible to get the rates without calling, but maybe you could get someone in St Louis to load it into a pods container and have pods ship it.
posted by drezdn at 5:52 AM on August 26, 2010

Thanks for the responses, i've posted this on uShip, so hopefully i'll get a good response.
posted by Kololo at 8:58 AM on August 30, 2010

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