Shipping a secondhand item you found on Facebook Marketplace or won at auction can be overwhelming. But whether you’re trying to buy a treasure across the country, or have a newborn and can’t even think about driving 20 minutes away, you have a few options.
The flush mount and desk in my office were Facebook Marketplace finds that I had shipped/delivered to me
SHIPPING A LARGER ITEM
i.e. something that’s not small enough to be packed and shipped
You can arrange shipping via uShip. The seller would need to be willing to allow a shipper to pick up the item from them in order for this to work, and they’ll also need to provide details that you’ll need to input into uShip so that you can receive accurate estimates, such as:
- how many stairs (if any) are involved
- how much does the item roughly weigh (I’m a great estimator, so I usually just assume)
- will there be someone on-site to help load into the truck, or will there need to be two shippers involved?
- what window of time can the shipper pick up? delivery is up to you and your schedule.
Once I know the item is still available and we’ve agreed on a price, I’ll say something like “I’m checking with my mover to see when he can pick up, can you let me know what days/times work best for you?”
Luckily, the person who sold me the dresser in our living room was not only open to me sending shippers but recommended it because of how heavy/complicated it was to move. More on that here
Some people are totally fine with it and welcome a mover because they don’t have to worry about helping someone lift the item themselves.
Others are standoff-ish, and if they won’t budge, then you’ll have to move on. But if they understand and are OK with the idea of a shipper coming, then you can start getting quotes from uShip and figure out a pickup schedule from there. At this point, I usually Venmo them a deposit so they hold the item for me while I schedule a shipper.
It can be a lengthy process but I’ve done it multiple times successfully. If you really want something, it’s definitely worth getting quotes and pursuing.
I found this burl chest on FB MP and had it delivered via uShip from Amy Kummer’s Hampton Designer Showhouse!
HOW TO USE uShip:
This tutorial is not sponsored by uShip, just wanted to share how you can use it, since it’s helped get quite a few secondhand items shipped to me from anywhere in the US from Auctions and Facebook Marketplace.
When you can use uShip:
- For local or far away or large Facebook marketplace finds. I’ve had Facebook Marketplace items shipped on uShip from over 6 hours away, and large items as little as 20 minutes away
- Chairish. Quotes for shipping on Chairish are often high, so you can purchase an item on Chairish and book shipping through uShip
- Auction finds. Most auction houses don’t ship, but a lot of them recommend uShip
The key to using uShip is that whoever you’re buying an item from – whether it’s from FB MP, Chairish, etc., is that you communicate with the seller that you are using a shipper so that you can coordinate day/time for pickup.
For demonstration purposes, I’m going to get shipping quotes for this chair from an auction that was about 2.5 hours away from my house.
To get started, sign up for a uShip account and to get a free estimate, click “Get a Free Estimate”
Click on Household Items (you can ship other things but for the sake of this tutorial, let’s stick with furniture)
Click on Furniture
Enter the details of the item. If there is more than one, choose “Add another item”
I usually just guess the weight
You’ll then see the pricing options based on the item and distance. If I was looking for immediate shipping, I’m more likely to book someone with the $148 or $223 option. But if I want to see if anyone will ship it for a lower cost, you can “name your price” at the bottom. I wanted to see if anyone would ship the chair for $80, so I submitted that amount.
Under Pending shipments, you’ll be able to see your active/pending shipments. The chair is listed as the last shipment below
Multiple shippers accepted my $80 offer. I lost out on the item but if I did win, I would have gone with the below shipper, who has good reviews. Make sure you check reviews! Some of them don’t have great ratings so I recommend going with someone who has at least 4.5 stars or higher.
Once you book a shipper, you’ll have access to their contact info, where you can facilitate pickup and delivery from there.
There’s a $25 service fee that will be factored into the cost of shipping.
I have a lengthier uShip tutorial story highlight in my subscription group on IG.
SHIPPING SMALLER ITEMS
i.e. anything small enough to be packed and shipped. curtains, art, fabric, lighting fixtures
For smaller items, you can ask the seller if they’re willing to ship. Or if it’s from an auction house, you can ask them about whether they can ship smaller items.
I’ve had people ship drapes, light fixtures, art, and more – but they have to be willing to package appropriately and ship to you. There’s a risk that comes with that because some people just don’t package well and the item may arrive damaged.
I found this Visual Comfort flush mount in San Francisco and the seller was kind enough to pack it and ship it to me.
Again, once I know the item is available and we’ve agreed on a price, I’ll say “Are you willing to package and ship this to me? I’ll of course pay the cost of shipping and pay you an extra $30 for your time!”
If they’re not willing to ship but you want to pursue another option, you can try hiring a Task Rabbit via their app. I’ve never done this but I have friends who have done it successfully.
My friends essentially hired someone on the app (who was local to the seller) to go pick up drapes and pay the seller. Then, they would package and ship the drapes to them. So they took the work out of the seller shipping.
What if the seller only accepts cash?
This was recently an issue with the antique dresser that I had delivered to me via uShip. It sounds crazy, but I asked the shipper to front the cash for me, and they agreed. Upon pickup, they inspected the item, paid the seller cash, then I immediately Venmo’d them. I went with a highly reputable shipper and would not have done this with a shipper who had no/poor reviews.
WHAT IF THE SELLER ISN’T WILLING TO SHIP OR WORK WITH A SHIPPER?
Been there, it sucks, but there’s not much you can do. Unless you can find a way to get there yourself, just move on and wait for something better to come along.
DO I NEED INSURANCE?
If you’re going through uShip, there’s an option to pay for insurance once you book a shipper, but I always ask a shipper if they’re insured first. If they are, I don’t pay extra for insurance. Most of them *should* be insured
If a seller is shipping for you, I recommend paying them extra for shipping, just because you don’t know if they’ll pack it well, and it could arrive damaged.
ARE THERE OTHER SHIPPING SERVICES BESIDES USHIP?
Yes, but I’ve personally never used them. Dolly is a service I hope to try out in the future. Roadie, Angi, and Shiply are some others I’ve heard of, too.
I WON SOMETHING AT AUCTION. HOW DO I GET IT SHIPPED?
Some auction houses have a list of recommended shippers. I would message the auction house before the auction asking for that, but also get quotes on uShip before the auction so you have an understanding of what you’re going to be paying.
Check out this post for how to prepare to win something at auction.
Amy BC says
Something I have a hard time with is timing my listings on uShip because the shipper quotes expire and there’s a certain window to pickup auction wins that varies depending on how they do their invoicing.
Recently, I got uShip quotes a few weeks before an auction, then deleted the listing once I knew my price was attainable. Then I relisted it once I actually won the auction and got some more pickup details from the auction house.
Is that how you’ve timed your uship listings for auction wins? Any other tips for timing? Thanks Alisa! You’ve inspired me to take the leap into secondhand purchases and while it’s still scary, it’s also fun lol.