As an independent furniture refinisher or woodworker, the world becomes your canvas, and your creations are meant to be admired far and wide. However, one significant hurdle often faced by talented artisans in this field is the complex process of shipping large furniture pieces cross country or internationally.
From ensuring the safety of delicate pieces, to navigating customs regulations and finding reliable shipping methods, the path to international shipping can be daunting. In this blog post, we explore the challenges faced by independent furniture refinishers and provide some valuable solutions to help them navigate the intricate world of shipping furniture and large items.
Packing & Protection:
When shipping furniture, the first concern is to ensure its safe arrival at the destination. Proper packing and protection are crucial to prevent damage during transit. As an independent refinisher, investing in high-quality packing materials, such as sturdy cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, packing blankets, and even pallets, become essential. Dismantling fragile components, wrapping them individually, and securing them with adequate padding will help minimize the risk of damage during transportation.
International shipping orders will involve crossing borders, which means dealing with customs regulations. Each country has its own set of rules and restrictions concerning the import of goods, including furniture. It is vital for independent refinishers to research and understand these regulations to avoid any legal complications or unexpected costs. Before shipping, contact the border agency of the destination country to confirm any regulations or forms you may need to provide.
Selecting a Reliable Shipping Method:
Selecting the appropriate shipping method is of utmost importance when it comes to ensuring prompt and secure delivery of your furniture. Unlike small parcels, shipping options for larger items like furniture entail various considerations. Some orders may be too large to be shipped by a regular shipping carrier and could require to be palletized and shipped with an LTL. These include freight forwarding companies (LTL), international shipping carriers, specialized services for art and antique shipping, as well as third-party shippers (example: U-SHIP). There are ground, air and water delivery methods available. Assessing factors like cost, delivery time, insurance coverage, and track record is vital in making well-informed decisions.
Shipping Costs & Times:
Determining the appropriate pricing for shipping can be challenging for artists. It is important to consider factors such as the cost to ship the item with the carrier and the amount spent on packing materials. Conducting market research, seeking quotes from different shipping providers, and factoring in packaging costs will help in setting a fair and competitive shipping price.
To cater to a significant number of customers who anticipate free shipping for furniture purchases exceeding $500, business owners must contemplate including the shipping cost in their pricing structure and providing "free shipping" during the checkout process.
It is crucial to find a middle ground to prevent overpricing your products in such "free shipping" situations. If you want to include the shipping cost in the item's price but recognize that it would result in an overly inflated price, you can consider adding only 50% of the shipping cost to the price of the item and the remaining 50% at the time of checkout as the shipping cost.
The emergence of Amazon and their Prime Delivery, which guarantees 1–2-day shipping, has raised consumer expectations regarding shipping services. Nowadays, customers anticipate either free shipping, remarkably fast delivery times, or, at the very least, transparent information about rates and delivery timelines displayed during checkout. Incorporating these services into the checkout process is essential for optimizing customer satisfaction. However, many artists lack the necessary time, web development skills, or resources to set up such features on their own.
Communication and Customer Service:
Open and clear communication with customers is vital to maintain their trust and satisfaction throughout the shipping process. Providing accurate and detailed information about shipping options, expected delivery times, and costs will help manage customer expectations. Regular updates and tracking information also contribute to a positive customer experience. Investing in excellent customer service, promptly addressing inquiries or concerns, and being transparent about any potential delays or issues will go a long way in building a strong reputation as an independent refinisher.
Handmade Home Co. is an Online Marketplace that expertly manages web design, shipping configuration, and offers real-time rate calculations for customers during the check-out process, ensuring an unparalleled experience for our esteemed artists and their valued work.
Handmade Home Co. is your solution to eliminate all the stress associated with furniture shipping! We are a dedicated furniture marketplace that empowers furniture artists like ourselves to thrive in the online furniture market. Not only do we take care of all the shipping configuration and customs forms for our artists, but we also provide them with their own personalized online shops on our website. We even provide customers with live rates and shipping times during the checkout process, making their experience seamless and efficient. With HHC, you can choose to leave the hard work to us, giving you more time to focus on honing your craft.
HHC Fee Structure:
When it comes to our pricing structure, we prioritize transparency and fairness. We don't burden our artists with monthly fees, listing fees, or shipping fees. Instead, we operate on a commission basis. For furniture sales, we charge a 28% commission, and for home decor sales, the commission is 18%. Rest assured, we only deduct the commission at the time of a sale, without any hidden costs or subscription charges.
We offer an Influencer Incentive Program and if you are accepted for this program, you will only be charged 18% commission on all sales and will receive a 10% commission on the 1st sale of every vendor you onboard.
These commission fees play a vital role in sustaining and enhancing the functionality of our platform. They enable us to cover essential expenses such as website maintenance, shipping configuration, app fees, marketing, advertising, staff salaries, and all the other elements that contribute to the optimal operation of Handmade Home Co.
We offer convenient shipping options to ensure a smooth process. This includes free local pick-up, artist drop-off, and delivery through trusted shipping carriers. All you need to do is provide us with the packed dimensions and weight of your pieces, and we'll take care of the rest. Customers can view shipping times and rates during the checkout process, ensuring transparency and informed decision-making. Handmade Home Co. handles the shipment processing and sends you the shipping label via email. When it's time to ship your piece, simply wrap it up, print the shipping label and invoice, and place the piece outside for pick-up!
In conclusion, At Handmade Home Co., our mission is to provide artists with a platform to showcase and sell their unique, handcrafted pieces to a broader audience, allowing them to focus on their creative process. We understand the challenges that small business owners face, and we strive to alleviate some of the associated stress by handling the intricate aspects of running a business.
However, if you prefer not to use our services and choose to ship furniture as an independent refinisher, it's important to acknowledge the challenges that come with it. With careful planning, thorough research, and meticulous attention to detail, these obstacles can be overcome. By prioritizing proper packing and protection techniques, staying up to date with customs regulations, selecting reliable shipping methods, pricing your products competitively, and providing exceptional customer service, independent furniture refinishers can expand their reach and effectively showcase their craftsmanship to a wider audience.
Whether you choose to work with Handmade Home Co. or embark on your own shipping journey, we encourage you to embrace the opportunities available to you as an artist. By combining your passion with strategic decision-making, you can navigate the complexities of the business side and ultimately thrive in the world of furniture refinishing!