Cheapest Way to Ship Boxes from LA to NYC
January 9, 2012 2:33 PM   Subscribe

I lived in LA several years ago and still have a storage locker there filled with my old stuff. Most of it is in moving boxes, but there's also a table in bubble-wrap. I want to move it all to a storage locker in Brooklyn, New York. (1) I want to do this the cheapest way possible. I don't care how long it takes to get from Point A to Point B. (2) I checked out the UPS and Fedex Freight sites but they're *extremely* confusing. (3) I am only going to be in LA for THREE DAYS to arrange this so I need some method that can be concluded quickly. (4) I am leaving for LA TONIGHT! My thanks in advance to all you MeFiers for this very-last-minute question. :)
posted by laswingkid to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How about something like upack? They'll also be your storage solution if you want. It was the cheapest way for me to move from New England to California a few years ago, but I'm not sure how it compares to shippers.
posted by brainmouse at 2:38 PM on January 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Can you have PODS or a similar company deliver one of their units to your storage location in LA? Then they can ship it to NY and store it there.
posted by ssg at 2:39 PM on January 9, 2012

You can have moving companies pick up a partial load and drop it at your storage unit in Brooklyn at their convenience for not a lot of money. I did this with stuff in storage units a couple of years ago moving between Detroit and St. Louis.
posted by DaddyNewt at 2:49 PM on January 9, 2012

Do you need this stuff in NYC? Like a lot? As some one who has done this move multiple times in the last 5 years it will costs you thousands. The cheapest way to get the boxes is USPS or FedEx ground, in my experience. The table will probably cost between $500 and $1000 to ship on its own. I don't think you can get a POD under 2 to 3k. Moving companies are an absolute nightmare and cost a fortune (do NOT believe their quotes, their quotes are outright lies). PODS are so popular, and rightly so, because they actually charge what they say they will. Oh and being in Brooklyn chances are you won't be able to bring a POD in. Also most of the big moving trucks can't go into Brooklyn, so you have to pay a fee to have everything transferred to a smaller truck. This may not be true for all of Brooklyn. It was in a Prpspect Heights.

Oh and FedEx ground utterly destroyed my stuff and USPS lost half my books. And charged me well over 1k for the privilege. I would leave it be until you actually want to use the stuff.

I've heard good things about shipping with Amtrak, but I don't know much about it and I think you have to personally get everything to the station, which was logistically too difficult for me to consider.
posted by whoaali at 2:55 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh one thing, FedEx and ups (and even USPS but they are incredibly unreliable, don't waste your time and risk it) will pick up your stuff if you schedule it in advance. Excluding the table, this is in my experience by far the cheapest way to go. Of course you need to make sure your storage facility will accept packages, don't assume they will.
posted by whoaali at 2:58 PM on January 9, 2012

I would recommend North Star Movers. They have a sister moving company in Brooklyn, NY called Moishe's moving. If timing isn't a concern (regarding how long it takes to get there), you're sitting pretty. They ship your stuff as freight and then the other company picks it up on the other end. Moishe's also offers storage, so you might be able to get it all taken care of easy as pie. Good luck!
posted by pazazygeek at 3:53 PM on January 9, 2012

I did PODS storage for a summer while in university and I WOULD NOT recommend them to anyone. The expense was in no way worth all of the hassle.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 4:14 PM on January 9, 2012

Friends of mine moved stuff via Amtrak - they would only accept two boxes per day per customer, so it's not a very promising avenue for you.
posted by momus_window at 4:38 PM on January 9, 2012

When I was in the shipping industry (10ish years ago) we always used Beverly Hills Transfer for people's domestic items. Not directly related to them but the benefit of years of experience - get insurance on your items, some of them will get damaged.
posted by vignettist at 11:18 PM on January 9, 2012

I don't have any personal experience with this, but it looks like shipping via Greyhound PackageXpress might be a good option for you. You bring the items to the LA bus station (or whatever location you're closest to) and they'll call you when your stuff arrives in Brooklyn. If you have any questions, give the LA GPX desk a call at (213) 629-8420 or you could try the national office at 1-800-739-5020.

They say it'll take about three days but since you're not worried about the timetable, I imagine that's okay. Even your table with bubble wrap should be fine as long as it's less than 100 pounds and no bigger than 30" x 47" x 82. Supposedly people have shipped items as varied as car bumpers and short kayaks, so your boxes should be a piece of cake. If you have a Student Advantage card or can reasonably get one you can save 40% on your shipment. Sadly, that offer doesn't seem to apply to the Veteran Advantage card.

If you don't want to drop off the items at the bus station or pick them up later, Busfreighter is an authorized reseller that advertises on Greyhound's site. I vaguely remember somebody saying they're actually cheaper than going directly through GPX but you'd have to get a quote to see if that's true. The main advantage of Busfreighter is that they can do semi-full service (station to door or door to station) or full service (door to door) shipping, cutting down on the number of times you have to hang out at a bus station. I'm sure that adds to the cost but maybe the convenience is worth it, especially if you're only in LA for 3 days.

I hope this helps, if you end up using either service I'd be interested in hearing how it goes. I'm strongly considering doing a similar (albeit shorter) move from Ohio to Manhattan in the fall. G'luck!
posted by scottdavidsanders at 3:34 PM on January 10, 2012

I had a similar moving my crap out of LA. I won't be able to offer any useful advice since it was so long ago, but let me give you something that may save your ass.

If you use a moving company, get a written estimate.

I cannot emphasize how important this is, particularly with an inter-state moving company.

I will spare you the details of my goods being held hostage by a moving company, and my negotiations assisted by the California Attorney General. Just take my advice. Get a written estimate. If you have any disputes with the mover, it may be the one thing that solves your problem.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:52 PM on January 10, 2012

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