Quick Links: Before You Use UShip
What Is UShip?
UShip is an online transportation marketplace that acts as a conduit to match people who need big items shipped with carriers who accept the jobs.
On the uShip platform, you can hire anyone from small- or medium-size freight companies to one person with a vehicle big enough to ship your item.
On its website, uShip says, “We make shipping big stuff cheap and easy by helping customers directly connect with providers who have extra truck space.”
How Does UShip Work?
The uShip site and app let you place a listing for what you need to be shipped, when and where you need it picked up and when and where you need it to arrive. Carriers can bid on the job, or you can just choose a shipper based on the reviews.
Clark calls it “kind of like an eBay for car shipping and other things as well.”
Once the shipment has been picked up, you can track it in real time.
“What happens is you put the job in – let’s say you’re shipping a car from Pennsylvania to whatever – the time period that is acceptable for it to go and the time period that is acceptable for it to arrive,” Clark says.
Because the bidding process leads to competitive pricing, you may be able to save on shipping costs for many items.
Christa says that when she used uShip, the offers got progressively lower as the bidding went on.
She hired a mover who agreed to drive a sink she bought online to Georgia. Although the man didn’t submit the lowest bid, Christa says he seemed to be the most trustworthy. When the driver arrived late at night, he slept in his truck in Christa’s driveway and loaded the sink inside her home the next morning.
Clark, on the other hand, went with a company that impressed him after he read several reviews.
What Types of Items Can You Ship With UShip?
UShip says it will ship “just about anything,” including large items such as:
Perhaps we could add everything but the kitchen sink, but Christa actually did ship a sink, so there's that!
When I downloaded the uShip app (available for Android and iOS) in researching this article, I was struck by how simple the interface was and how easy it was to navigate around the app.
I was able to choose what I wanted to ship and select pickup and delivery locations inside the uShip app.
After that, I was shown rates from a list of carriers that could potentially handle the job. Now it was time to compare my shipping options and choose a carrier.
As I clicked through, I was able to see my total shipping bill, including a service fee and the price for cargo insurance. Note that you won’t be charged until the carrier accepts your booking request.
Clark says reading the reviews is very important.
“If you mess up somebody’s car, they’re going to post that review. If you’re weeks late for delivering a car, people are going to post that. So read the reviews for different companies that move the vehicles across the country.”
How Much Does UShip Charge for Shipping?
UShip charges what it calls a "match fee," which varies according to the category of item. According to the website, "it's around 15-17% of the shipping cost." This match fee is in addition to whatever you and your carrier agree to for the cost of shipping.
UShip says that it has routine promotions that allow you to take advantage of reduced booking fees and shipping credits offered on the site.
You pay carriers through uShip’s payment platform, which uses Stripe software.
UShip says it doesn't recommend that you pay for shipments offsite, and as Clark says, you should always use a credit card for payments.
UShip offers options to pay carriers: uShip Payments (transaction must be $5,000 or less) and Booking Deposits (only available with select shipments).
With uShip payments, you:
- Pay the total amount during online checkout.
- Have the option to release payments once you confirm that the item has been shipped on the Booking Confirmation page.
With Booking Deposits, you:
- Can pay a portion of the shipment costs during online checkout.
- Pay for transactions that exceed $5,000.
In a manner of seconds, I was able to get an idea of what it would cost to ship a vehicle from Georgia to California. I used uShip's shipping cost estimator to get an estimate based on the make, model and distance involved.
When I searched carriers for the job, I could easily see customer feedback on each one by looking at the icons for total reviews and the percentage of positive feedback from customers.
Lori says she was able to find someone to ship her vehicle after doing her research outside of uShip.
Some ways to review uShip vendors off the platform include looking at their Google reviews, Better Business Bureau (BBB) complaints and TrustPilot profiles.
“I looked at reviews and pricing and then picked the company,” she says.
Although the site shows you an estimate of when your item can be delivered, Lori says she found that it’s not always accurate. “You do have to be flexible and allow time, as my car was not picked up for days after the date selected.”
In Clark’s case, he said pickup and delivery went smoothly.
“They did a fantastic job moving the vehicle and picked it up exactly when they said they would and delivered it in perfect condition exactly when they said they would do that,” he says.
Is UShip Legitimate and Safe?
Launched as a startup in Austin, Texas in 2003 by entrepreneur Matt Chasen, uShip is both a legitimate company and a safe company. On BBB.org, uShip has an A+ accreditation and a customer review rating of 4.53 out of 5 stars.
Although uShip doesn't verify service provider insurance credentials and leaves it up to you to work out any delivery details with your carrier, it does offer a cargo insurance program backed by world-renowned insurer Lloyd's of London. Deductibles start at $50.
uShip also offers a "Ship with Confidence" Guarantee that compensates you up to $500 in case of property damage or if services aren't rendered.
Pros and Cons of UShip
When it comes to the pros and cons of using uShip, here are some I identified based on feedback from Team Clark and my own research.
If you want to ship something larger than a typical parcel, uShip can it easy to choose a carrier and track your shipment while it’s en route.
Clark says if you read the reviews posted about the vendors, you can get a good idea about their reputations.
Overall, Lori says, “The service is good.” But she notes that it’s worth doing outside research because, as she puts it, “uShip is just the middleman.”
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