Advice on Shipping Used Shop Equipment

Advice on choosing a shipper, insuring your freight, and related topics. June 23, 2014

I bought a used sliding table saw online and need to have it shipped from Florida to Vermont. I have been told it's helpful to know its NMFC freight class when getting quotes for shipping. The unit will be palletized, weighs about 1900 lbs. the density is about 13 lb./cu. ft. and can be picked up and delivered at a business with a forklift at either end. Can you offer any advice as to classification, recommended shippers or a general approach to the issue?

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From Contributor W:
I bought a bander recently and was pleasantly surprised at how well the rigger packed it up for transport, it was as if it was his! I believe this was the main factor in no damage.

From contributor S:
An NMFC is a number used to give a basic idea of what it is a carrier has on their truck. It is required paperwork for the driver to have. That being said, what it is really used for is pricing based on density. It costs more in fuel to run a truckload of bricks than feathers. Plus if the goods are damaged, you will be reimbursed based on this classification so don't get carried away with what you claim it is. The numbers run from 50 (least expensive) to 500 (most expensive). Based on the density you gave I would suggest between Class 85 and 110. I'd shoot for Class 92.5 to see what that gets you.

From contributor F:
I've used SBT (Small Business Transportation) in the past and they were good to deal with. They gave me enough info to make my decision and there quote was very competitive. I was just shipping a small machine on a pallet though. For a slider you may need something more specialized?

From contributor S:
In addition, if you are in Florida I'd consider R&L Carriers. They most likely have a lot of empty backhaul space and could give you a good price.

From contributor A:
Buy shipping insurance with a declared value, itís the only way to get paid. You can get it online or through the carrier.

From contributor P:
We calculate freight class all the time - it's based on the dimensions and weight of the pallet. We use an online calculator (link below) which seems to be accurate. There's another kind of classification that may be relevant, the NMFC class, which describes the type of freight.

From contributor H:
Absolutely get the additional insurance. I use when I ship or receive any used machinery. They offer multiple rates and carriers for you to choose from.

From contributor Z:
Second the motion on freight

From the original questioner
I wound up using a local franchisee of Unishippers, an online broker, in Burlington, VT. He got me a reasonable quote, figured out he freight classification (he used 110) gave me good advice about having the shipper crate the saw, and it arrived unscathed via Central Transport. In researching various broker services like it seemed there were highly varying experiences depending on the agency and the shipper selected based on the low bid. I was glad to find somebody local with a recommendation from a colleague. I still was nervous about the affair, as the saw was transshipped at four separate depots between Florida and here. The broker described them as "a Nascar race with forklifts". I guess the phrase "your best insurance is a good crate" has some validity. I got a good deal on the saw, but I think in the future I will stick to used machinery that I can pick up in person.