Arranging for Shipment
This was an experience.
I began by asking the seller the dimensions of the unit once the legs were removed. I also needed to know the approximate weight.
Answer: 36" by 30" by 24" tall. 235 pounds according to his bathroom scale.
The weight and dimensions immediately ruled out Fedex or UPS normal shipping methods. Out of curiosity I looked at the Fedex Freight shipping method and got an answer that surprised me. $650.00
Sorry Fedex.. "NO SOUP FOR YOU!"
A friend told me about Greyhound for shipping. They travel across the country every day with extra space in their baggage compartment. It seems that they decided to make some extra money by selling this space for shipping goods. You simply drop off at a local Greyhound bus terminal the the person can pick it up from a terminal across the country. Interesting.... I looked at their pricing and indeed it beats the pants off Fedex and UPS, but unfortunately my unit was still too big for Greyhound.
Next I went online and got quotes from several freight companies. There are many items that can alter the cost, like pickup and drop-off methods. The long haul trucks don't typically have a lift bed or forklift, so if you want pickup or drop off at a residence, they would need to send a smaller truck out, adding about $40 on each end.
Since I had sweetened the deal on my offer to pay for shipping prep, it wasn't too much to ask for the seller to drop off the unit at a freight terminal. The terminals have a forklift to get it from his pickup and into the warehouse. From there it will travel by long haul from Arizona to Virginia. I have a friend that works at a company with a loading dock, so I have arranged the dropoff to occur there. This saves a little more cash on the receiving end since the long-haul truck can pull in to the loading dock.
The seller told me that he had access to a pallet, so I asked him if he could drop by Harbor Freight and pickup a set of four ratcheting ties downs and the 1000ft roll of 16" plastic stretch wrap. When shipping by freight it just needs to be tight on a pallet. No need for a box. I figured the pallet would add 40# to the weight, so I adjusted the quote request to 270 pounds.
The quotes I received from various online shipping companies ranged from $240 to $600. ALL of them claim that they are giving you an 80% discount from the normal fee.
Total Shipping cost after all is said and done: $241.36 from RedhawkGlobal.com. This is less than $1 per pound, so it looks pretty good to me.