Help me move a concrete birdbath 1800 miles
June 7, 2014 8:25 PM   Subscribe

I have a tall, concrete bird bath that I need to get moved or shipped. It probably weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 200-300 pounds. It will need to get from Duluth, MN to Portland, OR. What is the best option here? Do we call a moving company there and try and get it to hitch a ride? Hire a college student on a road trip?

It's too heavy to simply ship via normal UPS. The online calculator for UPS freight is confusing to use and gives variable results, some of which are exceedingly high. We will attempt to call and get some clarification. In the mean time, does anyone have suggestions?

The birdbath is a family heirloom from my deceased parents' house and, as odd as it seems, it has sentimental value to me. Additional difficulty level: slight family acrimony involved.
posted by mimo to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
U-Pack from ABF might be an option--I had a bedroom set shipped from Iowa to Portland that way and it was pretty easy. It's just one item it might get added with other stuff to make a complete load.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:58 PM on June 7, 2014

You don't want ups/FedEx. You want freight services. Yellow comes to mind but there are many. Some may offer full service to palletize and wrap it, if not then you would look for a full service logistics company. Best to search for freight/logistics in your local area.
posted by chasles at 9:00 PM on June 7, 2014

It looks like Amtrak will do individual pallets up to 500 pounds. There's a number there to call for rates and, I assume, packaging details.

Getting it to and from the respective train stations would require a bit more logistics.
posted by Beti at 9:00 PM on June 7, 2014

Getting it to/from the train station: rent a box truck WITH A LIFT GATE and a pallet jack.
posted by mollymayhem at 9:27 PM on June 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

So I read this as, you're not actually in Minnesota, and your family who is there isn't enthusiastic about helping ship this thing to you? Thus, you're looking for not just a space on a cross-country carrier, but someone to arrive at the house, pack it up in blankets and/or boxes, and get it onto the cross-country carrier safely. I'd start right now placing a Craigslist ad for a student to drive it for you. If you can find a better option before you get a good reply, great, but there's no harm in getting started asking.
posted by aimedwander at 6:27 AM on June 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Will this fit in the back of someone's suburu? I'd see if you can find someone on the craigslist rideshare listings that is driving cross-country and wants some financial help but not a passenger in their vehicle. I'd also consider posting an ad, saying what kind of vehicles it would fit in and looking for people interested in doing this for you.
posted by arnicae at 11:12 AM on June 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I used a few times a couple years ago. Both times people who had delivered stuff one way and were empty on the way loaded my stuff, drove several hundred miles and unloaded for a fairly small amount of money. Greyhound also does shipping but probably nothing that heavy, they seem to do more large fairly light weight but awkward things like car bumpers.
posted by ChrisHartley at 3:02 PM on June 8, 2014

Seconding Uship. You list what the item is, it's dimensions and weight, the pickup address and drop off address, and different companies place bids on transporting it for you. I've used it successfully a few times, at prices that I thought were lower than what I would have had to pay.
Example: I moved a midcentury fireplace which was 40" round and about as tall, (not including the exhaust pipe, which disassmbled and fit in the box), and weighed about 300 pounds, from St Louis to Brooklyn for $275. The company packed and palleted it and made arrangements with the seller as to pick up times and with me for drop off times, all included in that price.
posted by newpotato at 5:43 PM on June 8, 2014

Response by poster: As a follow-up: We went with UPS freight. It was not cheap, but was approximately in the range of quotes from uship type places. Due to the slight family acrimony cited in the question, this was also the best option for the party doing the shipping in terms of convenience, service, and familiarity. The item turned out to be under the weight limit for shipping freight, but it was in several parts and the freight option guaranteed that pieces would stay together on the same pallet. In less fraught situations, I may have gone with Uship or similar, or just gone with regualr UPS.
posted by mimo at 11:44 AM on August 18, 2014

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