We've sold and donated most of our belongings but now we're trying to figure out the best way to ship what we want to take with us to STX.
Would it be better to ship USPS or use someone like Managed Freight or Door-to-Door? Anyone have any ideas which would be most cost effective. We had originally thought about going with USPS but as the boxes of things add up and I've seen people mention making LTL shippments I'm wondering what would be the best option for us.
US Postal Service is great for small things. I use VI Cargo for all my larger shipments. From anywhere in US you can have UPS deliver the packages to their Medley, Florida location and they take it from there. (If you are in Florida you can deliver yourself and save this cost).
All you need is your name on the package and VI Cargo's address. Contact them for their freight costs but unless the items are oversize (like marble counter tops or king size beds) they are fairly reasonable. Efficient too. Once here they will take care of all the customs paperwork (mark them household move items which are not taxable) and they will call you when they arrive. If you have them in Floriday by Noon on a Wednesday they will be here the following week.
I understand they have a competitor doing the same kind of freight forwarding - company name is Deliver It. You can also ship via Tropical but I haven't used them in years as they have you do all the clearing.
USPS is also great for all types of media, music, books, videos, etc. The have a mail delivery service called media mail and it is extremely cheap. My last trip home I shipped 80lbs of books for about $16.00. Only catch you cannot put anything that is not media in the box and it is generaly slow mail. Sometimes it comes quickly but they will warn you it can take 4 to 6 weeks.
It's probably good I didn't know how cheap it would be to send books or I wouldn't have given away so many books!
It turns out Door-to-Door doesn't ship to STX.
Does anyone know whether it would be better to use Managed Freight or USPS?
I think the freight companies charge by volume, rather than by weight (at least for the boat portion of the trip). So if you have heavy things like kitchen supplies, books, or electronics, that might be a cheaper method. I also think it sounds more secure since they generally shrink-wrap your boxes onto a palette (spelling?). When I was planning to bring our DVD player, crib, printer, etc. I called Tropical and VI Cargo and they both sounded like they had competitive rates. I ended up just shipping three boxes (so far) and packing the rest of our essentials in our suitcases. The boxes weren't super cheap, but they weren't horrible. I tried to pack light things and they were each under $20. They told me they would be here in 10 days (from NY), however, one of the boxes took over a month to arrive. (The one with my daughter's potty. Arg.)
I have been really glad that we didn't bring down more stuff yet. We had to buy a good frying pan at Kmart, but our condo is pretty well supplied. I kind of wish I had brought down a few office supplies (scissors, stapler, post-its, pens) since we stored tons of that stuff but I am probably just being cheap. But we are looking for a more longterm living situation and it will be a pain to move our limited amount of stuff - I am so glad we didn't bring more.
Good luck packing. I know it can be really consuming and stressful. Your first couple of weeks down here might be a little busy too, but soon it will all pay off!
I thought I posted a response, but it doesn't look like I did it correctly. Forgive me if this is a repeat or posted elsewhere.
We used Managed Freight and have nothing but great things to say about the company. We recently moved from NJ and had a rather complicated move. Lee arranged for a moving company to pack us up, which included everything from packing china and linens, to crating a big glass table top and a granite top for a credenza. They also wrapped all of the furniture, so nothing got scratched, damaged, or dirty during the move. We had items in our house and in a storage facility, and the moving company handled packing up both and getting them ready to ship. We also had the moving company designate the items that were to go to our STX condo, to our STX storage shed and to a friend's storage place (who moved down after us). Once the items arrived in St. Croix, Lee handled everything from getting the container out of the port to unloading and moving everything. Again, nothing was broken or damaged and everything ended up in the right place, despite items having to be moved to three different places. Oh, and did I mention that we have about 30 steps up to our condo door, which meant everything had to be hand carried?
I can't advise you on price, as we had rather unusual moving requirements. I would recommend calling Lee, however, and he can help you with an estimate for moving your items. I have nothing but great things to say about Lee and his company and would highly recommend him. We've used him for a couple of other things we had shipped here after our move and had the same great results.
In the interest of full disclosure, we didn't know Lee before hiring him, in fact, we rode by his office one day and stopped in to inquire about the company's moving services. We hired him without a recommendation ( which in hindsight probably wasn't very smart, but we had a good feeling about Lee after meeting him) and were very pleased that everything worked out as well as it did. We were imagining the worst with our move because of all of the moving parts, but it was really easy. Our biggest job was staying out of the way of the movers!
Here's the contact info for Lee:
Lead expeditor contact: email@example.com
Hope that helps. KJ
Thank you so much for your feedback. I really appreciate it. We're waiting to hear back from Lee with a quote. I'm not sure whether we'll go with him or with USPS. There's a bit of a gap between when we need to be out of our temporary apartment here and when our flight leaves for St Croix. Because of the several week gap where we'll be visiting family and friends it might be easiest to go with Lee who could handle putting our stuff in storage for the time we're traveling. In the end it will probably come down to price so we'll have to wait to see what Lee says.
VI Cargo is charging about $3.13 per cubic foot as of last week. The fuel surcharge could of changed some since then. USPS isn't that bad either. We were quoted $51.00 for a 24x18x24 box with up to 70 lbs from AR to STX. Takes 9 days but at that price it's a bargain. We're using USPS for things we will need immediately and VI Cargo for things that we can live without for a couple of months. We found someone driving that way in august who will drop off our stuff at VI Cargo and save us the shipping cost to there.
The Post Office is likley quoting the Parcel Post rate and telling you it's a 9 day delivery. It can take 6 weeks sometimes. VI Cargo's cutoff is Wednesday, stuff is then available the next Tuesday or Wednesday.