Why shipping for furniture products is rarely free
Quite often we are being asked on why our delivery is not free? Why there should be a charge for all deliveries, which sometimes can get up to a few hundred dollars? Why do I have to pay for it?
There's no simple answer to that, and no short answer indeed, but we'll try our best.
First and foremost, nothing is free in this world, unfortunately. Even if you see 'free shipping' anywhere that typically means shipping charges are included in product cost, which is elevated to compensate. Customers do like to see as little additions to their order as possible, so 'free shipping' is a perfect marketing selling point, obviously.
There are certain business models that will try their best to hide any delivery fees to overall price and you won't know about that until you try to ship it back. These business practices are perfectly fine when applied to smaller consumer products, like some electronic pieces or clothing, but is quite rare for large furniture items.
Furniture shipping is probably one of the toughest shipping varieties there is. Furniture is 1) heavy, 2) bulky), 3) needs special handling, otherwise it will get damaged easily. When people order moving services, main thing they want movers to do is to handle furniture - anyone can carry those smaller boxes, right?
As furniture is relatively large and bulky you rarely can use smaller vehicles to transport it - in most cases a truck of 12 or 14 feet would be needed, which adds up to the cost for obvious reasons. Anyone can drive a smaller van and not everyone would handle a truck. Besides, there's category of drivers who wouldn't touch anything except driving itself.
Furniture shipments to dense residential areas can be especially hard since those areas are typically full of traffic, lack of parking spaces, feature all kinds of regulations, permits and so on; besides it can be pretty stressful on its own.
Deliveries to cities of large products like furniture can be extremely hard
As we mentioned above, some larger firms can 'afford' free delivery; that typically means that these companies have a network of large warehouses in key delivery areas which are more or less stocked - so 'last leg' delivery is not that expensive to a vendor itself and can be easily hidden in overall product cost. This, however, is not really an option in a lot of cases for a few reasons.
Inventory of 'ready-to-deliver' products will be limited. Furniture is a large product, which means no warehouse can hold a variety of things to purchase, compared to let's say 10 different brand warehouses.
True to cost to deliver will be hidden which may result in unpleasant surprise when you'll try to return it. Some folks would allow free returns too, but with extreme limitations.
Free delivery typically means very slim profit margin window that doesn't allow a room for discounts, coupons, easy returns and such - this can result in fast way of becoming highly risky and unprofitable endeavor.
Of course, there are some certain categories of furniture-related products that can and absolutely have to be labeled as 'free delivery products'. Some smaller tables, nightstands, area rugs, for example, can easily be shipped using conventional Fedex or UPS.
However, shipping of heavy furniture is billed in hundreds. Typically, a shipping of 150-200lbs worth of goods costs about $200, with $50 increase for every 50-75lbs for basic service. A good bedroom set can easily weigh 500-900lbs. That's why it costs to ship.
One last thing to consider is a location of a product in relation to your home. As said before, furniture is bulky. If your local furniture store has something in stock, it's relatively small amount to do a final delivery to you. If they get regular shipments from a factory to their location for free, it's also a relatively small charge. However, in case someone would need to actually go to a specific warehouse, pickup your order and ship it directly to your door, sometimes crossing entire country with that - it's completely different story.
Our story, in most cases, is latter example. We have over 30,000 products from 40+ brands. Every order is individually filled, we're not simply picking up a box from a shelf, put your address on it and ship. It's much more complicated than that: typical delivery would include pickup from specific warehouse, one or multiple transfers and final leg delivery of few hundred lbs worth of merchandise.
That's why 'free shipping' for furniture can only apply to select smaller products. Hopefully, it all makes sense.