If you’ve ever ordered any large furniture pieces for your home from a retail store, you may feel that you are spared from the cost of shipping. If, on the other hand, you order through a designer or from a wholesaler, you will get a bill for ‘freight’. Why?

Shipping furniture on freight is, more often than not, the most affordable option for big furniture. Regular carrier services, such as FedEx and UPS, have maximum weight (typically up to 150 pounds) and dimension limits, so these carriers are better for smaller, lighter items. Shipping large, heavy pieces of furniture is a lot more involved, and requires a good deal of behind-the-scenes logistics and coordinating. When you purchase furniture directly from a retailer, the costs associated with shipping and receiving are worked into the price, and for good reason – it’s a serious operation. 

On the other hand, working with a designer (Unshelf Design for example!) looks a little bit different. Designers provide their clients with industry discounts, making it difficult for them to “bury” any associated freight costs in the pricing. We, at Unshelf Design, believe in transparency and share our discounts 50/50 and so we need to break it out. On top of that, Freight costs are usually charged at the time of shipping, not ordering – so when we quote pricing we don’t often know what freight will even be.

Without freight hidden in your pricing, the point remains the same – your product has to get to you from somewhere, somehow. 

So, What Happens Between Furniture Purchase And Delivery?

Truck and highway at sunset - transportation background

1. Freight Carrier Determined

Regular ground carriers simply do not have the resources to support large furniture manufacturers, which is why they work with freight carriers. Freight carriers have appropriate fleets of shipping containers and semi trucks required for transporting large items. Hence, furniture on freight.

Once the order is placed and acknowledged, the manufacturer will determine the appropriate freight carrier.

2. Transport To Receiving Warehouse

Your furniture is loaded onto the truck (or shipping container), and the truck then travels to the receiving warehouse, which is typically, well… not super close to the location of the freight carrier. Most times, it’s a cross-country trip, if not an international one (i.e. USA to us here in Calgary)

Once the truck arrives at the warehouse, it backs into the loading dock and awaits product unloading and receipt.  

*The freight carrier and receiving warehouse are communicating throughout the truck’s journey – even more behind-the-scenes logistics! 

3. Product Received At Warehouse

The warehouse crew meets the driver at the loading dock to unload your product. Depending on the size of your order, sometimes forklifts or other equipment is required. Once offloaded, your product is then:

Boxes, storage
  • Inspected for transit damage 
  • Reconciled against the shipping manifest
  • Logged into inventory
  • Unboxed and inspected for production damage (Unshelf Design works with a professional reciever to deal with any damages – no headache for you!)
  • Assembled and re-packaged
  • Stored 

4. Delivery And Install

Yippee! The warehouse crew removes your order from storage and loads it onto their delivery vehicle. Imagine the manpower required to prepare large orders for delivery!  

Once your order is on the truck and the crew has arrived at your address, they carefully unload your new furniture and move it into your home. The crew will unpackage and place the furniture for you according to the instruction of the designer.

5. And Finally… Clean Up

Cardboard, plastic, packing tape, packing foam, zip ties – these materials are all typical of furniture packaging and are required to keep your new furniture safe from transit damage. A single sofa can generate some serious packaging waste, let alone a larger furniture order. After the crew has unloaded the truck, moved the furniture into your house, unpackaged it, and placed it, they still have to remove all the waste. What a day!

Once the waste is removed from your home and loaded back into the truck, it is taken back to the warehouse where the crew then sorts the waste from recycling before going to the dump. 

And guess who pays those dump fees? I’ll give you a hint… it’s not you. 

As you can see, there is a LOT of hard work, time, and care that goes into getting furniture from the manufacturer to your doorstep safe and sound. Freight is a normal and necessary fee associated with purchasing furniture. Considering that it often takes a cross-country journey (or even an international one), it’s shocking that furniture on freight doesn’t cost more!

Want to know more about how we work with our clients? Contact us today.