What do you do when you need to get something from point A to point B, but you can’t just ship it through standard mail carriers? Increasingly, people are turning to uShip and companies like it, which offer on-demand shipping capabilities for small, big, and in-between stuff that’s difficult to transport through normal channels. But what is uShip, and what do you need to know about it? We’ve put together this explainer on how uShip works. We include info on what they’ll ship, what it’ll cost you, and what sets it apart from the competition.
What is uShip?
uShip is an open transport marketplace that connects people who have items to ship with customer-reviewed carriers.
Think of it like eBay for moving and shipping. You list what you have to be transported and where you need it to go. Next, carriers bid on the job. As the customer, you can then pick the best deal and arrange the specifics. You’ll be able to track your shipment as it travels, as well as receive instant updates at key checkpoints.
Alternatively, you could choose to list your shipping needs, the price you’re willing to pay, and then wait to see if any transporters want to take you up on your offer.
As for cost, you get what you pay for. Like many other on-demand service providers, uShip can get quite pricey. We’ll talk pricing later, but know that when it comes to comparing uShip versus other transporters, it tends to be one of the costlier options.
What You Can Ship
uShip is able to handle large, bulky, and otherwise unruly items particularly well. Some of what uShip carriers will take for you includes:
- Auto transport: cars, motorcycles, RVs, trailers, car parts
- Heavy equipment, including farm and construction equipment
- Freight loads
- Household appliances and furniture
- Musical instruments, including large items like pianos and organs
- Large miscellaneous items like hot tubs, waterslides, and playground equipment
In addition to transporting single items and freight loads, you can use uShip for commercial and residential moving. Fill out an inventory of what you need to be moved and list it just as you would any other item on the uShip marketplace, then compare quotes to other moving companies.
Is uShip Safe for Pets?
Another thing that uShip offers is pet transport; however, we don’t recommend it as the safest option since you don’t know how much experience an individual transporter has with animals. Your best bet is always going to be moving with your pet yourself. If you need to transport them another way, look to a company specializing in pet transport.
Pros and Cons of Using uShip
Like any transport option, there are some great things and some not-so-great things about uShip.
- You can ship pretty much anything. There are very few limitations on what can be shipped through the uShip marketplace. This is good news when you’re trying to have some large and/or tricky items transported, such as vehicles or hot tubs.
- Transparency and oversight. You can track your shipment closely while it’s on the road, with shipping tools that include approximate location tracking when your carrier is en route and push notifications with instant alerts for all relevant shipping activity.
- Customer-reviewed shippers. When choosing the carrier you’d like to take on the job, you’ll be able to compare reviews in addition to bids easily. This is important for making sure that you don’t end up booking an unreliable shipper just because they offer you a super low price. With uShip, as with most things, if a price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Pricing varies and can get expensive. You’re always going to have to anticipate spending a good amount when you need to ship large, bulky, or specialty items. And, uShip is no exception. Since more cost-effective shipping alternatives may be available, it’s important to do your research before committing.
- Shippers aren’t vetted. While customer reviews are plentiful, uShip does not employ any of the carriers. For that reason, it’s not guaranteed that your carrier will be fully professional or provide good communication during the transport process. You’ll want to do your own research on a provider (in addition to reading customer reviews on the uShip site) before booking with them.
Of course, uShip is hard to beat when it comes to convenience. As you would any time you select a moving or shipping provider, consider both the pros and the cons concerning your specific needs and budget. When booking, take your time to ensure you feel comfortable with your carrier and your price.
How Much Does uShip Cost?
Because uShip’s prices are based on the bidding system of its marketplace, it’s hard to nail down a specific cost for each type of item that you might want to transport. This is both an advantage and a drawback. You may end up spending a lot more for a private carrier through uShip than you would through a more traditional carrier. For example, this tends to be the case with uShip auto transport. That being said, you could also score a great deal, particularly when it comes to long-distance moves.
Use their shipping cost calculator to get an idea of what you might spend without having to list anything on the marketplace, though note that these quotes aren’t usually indicative of all that you’ll end up spending since fees are not included, and bids will vary.
What About Insurance?
uShip works hard to provide customers with peace of mind during the shipping process. This includes offering you the option to purchase all-risk coverage cargo insurance backed by a third party. You’ll have the option to purchase coverage at the time of your booking, at which time you will also get a price quote for the insurance. Learn more about uShip’s coverage and deductibles, including what is and isn’t covered—and how it works.
How to Get Started with uShip
If you’re interested in using uShip the next time you’re moving or have something you need to be transported, start by heading to their website. There, you’ll be able to list your inventory and get a free estimate for what it might cost, as well as open up the floor to bidding from carriers. As mentioned previously, keep in mind that the estimate uShip provides upon initially setting up your listing is likely to be quite a bit lower than what you will end up paying.
Once your listing is live, you’ll have the opportunity to compare bids and providers before making your selection. You will be able to ask providers questions directly, and you will also have access to uShip member support.
From there, choose which carrier you’d like to hire for the job, and uShip will help you through the rest of the process—including payments through uShip’s secure payment system. You’ll pay for your entire shipment upfront. Next, the funds are released to the carrier once the transport has been successfully completed. Do not send funds directly to a carrier unless specifically outlined in the booking process.
And there you have it. As always, we recommend getting quotes for your moving or shipping needs from at least three different companies/platforms so you can be sure that you get the best deal.
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