3 min read

Moving to California again! A ShipStation Review

We didn't pack our car this tight. Shipping stuff is easier - read this light Shipstation Review.
We didn't pack our car this tight, because shipping lots of stuff is easier.

I’m returning to the SF Bay area, which means figuring out the best way to move a bunch of stuff. When I left the bay area in 2019, a friend convinced me to publish an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the best ways to move all sorts of things. Back then, I plugged Busfreighter, a shipping service that used space under Greyhound buses. Amtrak had a similar service called Amtrak Package Express. Unfortunately, due to covid, both shipping services have ceased operating after ~100 years in business. It was back to the drawing board. Long story short, I discovered ShipStation.

TL;DR -- We paid $300 using ShipStation for four 50-pound plastic HDX totes rather than $748 going through UPS directly. ShipStation used the same UPS ground shipping method, and we bought $2000 in insurance. All for $448 less. 

I started looking into shipping options since I still had the same zip-tie-able Home Depot HDX totes from the last cross-country move. Like last time, shipping big stuff like furniture does not make financial sense. A huge corporation isn't covering all costs this time. We will buy the big furnishings like a sofa and dining table on arrival.

Direct Shipping Quotes

After getting quotes on USPS, FedEx, and UPS websites, UPS Ground came out on top. A single 50-pound, 28"x 15"x 19" tote was $187. That’s still pretty good for moving stuff door to door and coast to coast. But since I watch a lot of YouTube (sorry, Comcast) and know about a video sponsor called ShipStation, I started looking into using it.

One of the four HDX totes that traveled 3000 miles, part of a ShipStation Review
One of the four HDX totes that traveled 3000 miles.

ShipStation Review - Indirect Shipping is Better?

ShipStation's homepage advertises 70-85% discounts on regular shipping rates through their platform. And yes, it's true. To get these rates, they have plans starting at $10/month. From a YouTube video, I found a link to a free 50-day trial of Shipstation’s discounted rates. A single 50-pound came to $74.93, including a little extra insurance of $500 for a few bucks. That's about 60% off!

How are such discounts possible? Unlike most industries, adding a middleman in shipping can help lower costs. ShipStation's huge volume means low shipping rates negotiated with carriers, which Shipstation passes on to customers. ShipStation is designed for eBay-like home or small businesses, which I am not. But I’m sure they would be happy that I’m plugging them here for free, even if I will only use their service once or twice.

Using the ShipStation website, I created and printed labels for four HDX totes. To be safe, I printed three labels for each tote, taped them to the sides, and zip-tied the tops shut. Scheduling a UPS pickup via Shipstation was a bit wonky, so I called UPS directly for a pickup, and that worked great.

Summary image for my Shipstation review - it's an outstanding move

Wrap Up

Assuming you are incentivized to minimize moving costs, using UPS Ground via Shipstation is a cost-effective method to move a large amount of stuff. Remember that ShipStation is designed for businesses that ship stuff frequently. It's not the most user-friendly thing out there. I've heard some rough stuff about the support. For me, anyway, Shipstation support was responsive and helpful when I asked a question.

I found ShipStation to be worth the $448 I saved. And with those savings, it's easy to park it somewhere good these days. Every little bit helps to boost your investment balances over time. Although, for me, that money will probably go directly to some comfy furnishings. I hope you liked this simple Shipstation review! Happy trails!