Shipping is the part of our business that takes up the most time. It is what we receive the most questions on, the thing we end up explaining the most to customers, the thing we take the most scrutiny on, and the one thing that is most misunderstood by customers.
It's not the customers' fault, shipping is a highly confusing thing in this day and age with mega online retailers offering to ship you anything you want big or small for free right to your door. Of course it came in a box and needs some assembly (and some air to poof out), but hey - free shipping! Most people today have no idea what it costs to ship something that is large and fully assembled.
So let's get on with it. Here are the the shipping options for freight (specifically furniture):
Small Package Shippers - For smaller items such as dining chairs, art, lamps, etc...they can usually be shipped Fedex. This is a personal preference but we never (and I mean never) use UPS. We did in the past and then we stopped because not one, but every single shipment that went UPS ended up at our customers door in pieces. So no, we will never again ship anything big or small UPS. Fedex has been great and we use them frequently, however you don't want to go over their max "ground" dimensions as Fedex (or UPS) freight mode is insanely expensive. Shipping anything large Fedex (or UPS) freight is pointless. The cost is always at least 2-5x's what our white glove shippers charge. As an example, a lounge chair is too big for regular Fedex ground. Our white glove shippers would charge $350-500 to ship a lounge chair across country. Fedex (or UPS) freight would be $1200-1800 to ship that same chair. It's just insane and pointless. So, Fedex ground is great for the items that are small enough to ship that way.
Greyhound shipping - Just to note we previously offered Greyhound as an option however they no longer insure shipments or bother responding if they completely lose something (which we found out the hard way). That's $700 we will never see again, nor will we ever ship Greyhound again. However, we wrote a full blog post on Greyhound shipping if you would like more details on this method.
LTL (Less Than Truckload) - This is a great option and it is usually the least expensive. The item (big or small) is packed/crated for shipment and then delivered to your home or business on average 5-15 days after packing. The freight moves via Semi and in some areas (with tight streets) this is not an option for delivery. The least expensive LTL service is curbside delivery, meaning they schedule a delivery appointment with you and deliver to your curb only. You are required to bring the item inside, unpack and dispose of the packing materials. They also offer inside delivery for a higher fee.
White Glove Shippers usually specialize in a particular type of cargo. We use white glove shippers that only ship furniture. They will blanket wrap, ship, insure and deliver inside your home. Some will place it where you want it, some will assemble it for you (for an extra fee) if assembly is required. Most white glove quotes include inside delivery 1st floor only (unless in NYC or other such areas). Depending upon the company, if you want your dresser carried upstairs and placed in your bedroom you can ask them to do that for an extra fee, but their delivery service is usually strictly to bring what you ordered inside your home.
White glove shippers usually do not have tracking and their average delivery time is 4-6 weeks. That is standard. They don't provide tracking because their schedule is dominated by the availability of the customer. So if you have to pick up your son from soccer or take your dog to the groomer or can't get off work to meet the shipper....the shipper has to work around all of that to find a mutually agreed upon time to deliver your item. That means their schedule changes daily. They can't give you a day/time for delivery weeks ahead, it's just not possible. White glove shippers will call you a day or 2 before delivery (once they reach your area of the country) to setup a delivery window with you. We have customers complain that they don't hear anything for a month after they purchase.. That's because we quoted (and you agreed to) a 4-6 week delivery time and that's how long it takes. We can't give you tracking that doesn't exist and our shippers would absolutely hate us if we bothered them every week asking ETA for the 50+ deliveries on their truck that are determined by customer availability. So, believe us when we say - you will get a call from the shipper when they reach your area and your item will be delivered in the timeframe quoted. Anything more than that is just not possible. If for some reason weather, wildfires, or other such events (which are out of anyone's control) delay the shipper past the quoted timeframe, they will be in contact to let you know.
We do use one white glove shipper that does offer "tracking", however it's not really tracking. They just populate dates when the item reaches the regional terminal and then they populate an estimated ETA to the customer, but it is more often than not inaccurate. Again, accurate day/time tracking is just not possible with white glove freight shipping. Also, white glove shippers only have a few trucks that run the entire country (or section of the country) as opposed to small package shippers that have 50+ trucks in one metropolitan area.
As of 2019 we offer free shipping on all of our items. We only use professional shippers that are fully insured and professional packers that make sure everything is properly packed and padded before shipment.
To get an average idea of cost (as of 2019)
6 Dining Chairs:
Fedex ground plus professional packing - $525-$850 (depending upon location)
LTL curbside plus professional packing - $450-$700 (depending upon location)
White Glove blanket wrap inside delivery - $650-$950 (depending upon location)
Fedex ground - Not applicable
LTL curbside plus professional packing - $600-$800 (depending upon location), Not applicable for long sofas over 6ft
White Glove blanket wrap inside delivery - $450-$750 (depending upon location)
As a side note - dining chairs will always be more expensive to ship white glove than a sofa, even though they are much smaller and weigh a lot less. The reason is the shipper has to individually pack multiple items and come in/go out of our shop and your home multiple times to complete the delivery, which means more time and higher cost. Winter months bring higher quotes for northern states as well.
Here's the takeaway.....1) It costs more to ship you a sofa than it does to ship you a t-shirt. 2) The timeframe you were quoted upon purchase is when it will be delivered. The shipper provides the timeframe and any shipping issues need to be taken up with the shipper directly. We always provide our customers with any and all information. In general tracking does not exist with white glove shippers and you can't "pay extra" for expedited shipping. It doesn't work like that. 3) Lastly, we are not shippers. Dirty Girls Restoration is not affiliated with any shipping company. I cannot stress that enough! Yes we utilize their services the same way you utilize Fedex or USPS. When Fedex picks up a package from you, you have no control over what happens during shipment. Same with us. We have no control over the shipping experience or the shipping company employees. When leaving a review for us, it should only be for us...what we can control - our company, our product, our customer service. The service of the shipper falls on no one else but the shipper.
We have great relationships with all of our shippers and could not run our business without them, they do great things and sacrifice their lives and family moving freight around the country. We cannot thank them enough and to our customers - we hope this has offered a bit of clarity into what goes on behind the scenes. We are always working for our customers!