Take My Stuff - Please!
May 27, 2008 7:29 PM   Subscribe

Which is the best shipping service to use for moving? USPS, Fedex, or UPS? I would like them to come to my house.

Specifics: I'm moving most of my non-furniture stuff about 1200 miles.

- Time is not an issue. I won't need this stuff for a month or so.
- I will have about 6-8 boxes holding clothes, books, and some kitchenware.
- I have one larger item - a TV - which I'd like to have someone come to my house, pack it up and ship it for me. I'll pack everything else myself.
- Budget: I'm willing to pay for pickup, but I'd rather not pay for speed, since I don't need the stuff to get there quickly.

A lot of the info I've found about these options online is sort of confusing and assumes a basic familiarity of shipping classes that I don't have. From what I can tell, USPS only does this for express and priority mail, which is more expensive than I need. Fedex picks up, but all fedex shipping is super-pricey. It seems like my best bet is UPS but I'm wondering if I might be missing something.

Also, will any of these entities send someone to pack up my TV?
posted by lunasol to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
None of those services are going to send someone to do your packing for you.

If you're not willing/able to drive the stuff to a pickup location yourself, UPS will probably be your cheapest option - $3/package for pickup if you arrange it for the future, or $4/package for same-day.

However, if you can keep all of your books together, you can use USPS's Media Rate, which will take For Freaking Ever but is also really cheap.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:47 PM on May 27, 2008

Fedex and UPS will both do a home pickup for ground delivery. As a rule, I wouldn't expect them to do any of your packing, but the UPS Store locations are run by individual franchisees, and if one in your area is run by a go-getter, he may offer on-site packing (I worked at Mailboxes Etc, which was what became the UPS Store, and we did on-site packing jobs regularly). I'd suggest calling around. Not sure if Fedex/Kinko's would do the same. If you have no luck with on-site packing through them, it's possible that a 3rd-party pack-n-ship joint will, though they'll want to handle the shipping and will almost certainly charge a surcharge.
posted by adamrice at 7:48 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Adamrice: ah-ha! That's where I got the idea one of them did packing, from Mailboxes, Etc.
posted by lunasol at 8:01 PM on May 27, 2008

However, if you can keep all of your books together, you can use USPS's Media Rate, which will take For Freaking Ever but is also really cheap.

I don't trust media mail. Twice I've sent packages via media mail that never arrived at their destinations. Use UPS or Fedex.
posted by All.star at 8:03 PM on May 27, 2008

if you are moving for work, see if you can use their UPS account #, and then reimburse them. if they have a commercial account they probably get at least 30% lower rates. also have the stuff shipped to a commercial adress rather than your new pad, you will save another 10+ percent.

I have a buddy who says he has shipped stuff via Greyhound bus. I have never tried this, but he says it is CHEAP, you may want to look into that option as well

The post office has a class called parcel post, a LOT cheaper than priority if you are shipping any distance, but will take about two weeks
posted by Mr_Chips at 8:29 PM on May 27, 2008

From my experience with Greyhound I don't even really trust them to get me where I'm going. I wouldn't dream of handing anything over to them I wanted to see again.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:33 PM on May 27, 2008

As a counter-anecdote, I sent 51 boxes of books to myself via USPS media mail when I moved from CA to MI, and not only was it cheap, they all arrived in perfect condition. And it took less than 2 weeks (you're not interested in speed, but still).
posted by obliquicity at 8:46 PM on May 27, 2008

As a librarian and person-with-a-book-problem, I use media mail all the time. Never had a problem, and it takes 10 days to two weeks, usually. I have also used parcel post (USPS) with no problems, and you can insure anything you send for very reasonable cost (and certainly cheaper than UPS).

If you are concerned about the TV especially, take that to a UPS store and have them pack and ship it, and send the rest parcel post - that way, only one box would be expensive to ship.

Good Luck!
posted by coollibrarian at 9:12 PM on May 27, 2008

Best answer: Depending on the weight size, and age of your TV I would suggest selling it locally and replacing it at your new destination. Say maybe Craig's list, both for the selling and the replacing.
Shipping a large item such as a TV via most parcel services as an individual is really cost prohibitive and the damage to cost ratio is pretty high. I second the Media mail idea on the books, we've never had an issue and it is way cheap, also DVD's CD's and video tapes can be shipped this way I believe. FedEx ground is pretty reasonable and way dependable. Also kitchenware which is small (but heavy) can be sent anywhere in the US via USPS Flat Rate boxes for $8.95 per box. You can really load these boxes up as they are not weight dependent for price. Good luck with your move!
posted by HappyHippo at 9:33 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

USPS media mail is really useful for books -- I've used it for multiple moves, and never had a problem, and it's vastly cheaper than anything else.

Also, rumor is amtrak and greyhound sometimes cheaply rent out extra space.
posted by paultopia at 11:09 PM on May 27, 2008

« Older Where can I find information on historical...   |   Should a Canuck invest in non-Canuck markets? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.