Ship Smart Review (2024)

Here’s the bottom line: While Ship Smart isn’t an option if you’re moving the contents of a full-size home, it can be an affordable choice for small moves. And with a reputation for excellent customer service and customized packing of your items, you can count on your shipments to arrive at their destination in one piece.

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moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.2 / 5

89% of users select this mover

Keep reading to learn whether Ship Smart’s pricing, services, and availability meet your needs or if another top apartment moving company is a better fit.

Pros & cons of Ship Smart

  • Offers custom packing and crating to ensure items are protected during transportation
  • Has a reputation for friendly packing and delivery crews and a highly communicative customer service team
  • Can be used to ship antiques, art, electronics, and bulky items, as well as small apartment moves
  • Available in all 50 states and Canada through 300+ partners
  • Provides unpacking and debris removal options
  • Does not handle larger moves
  • Charges extra for indoor deliveries and furniture reassembly
  • Can be expensive to ship individual items

Key takeaways:

  • Ship Smart, Inc. (USDOT#381032) is a moving broker that specializes in small load moves like studio apartments, dorm rooms, and offices. Their primary focus is on shipping individual pieces like furniture, antiques, art, and electronics. The company was founded in 1999 in California and serves all 50 states and Canada.
  • Ship Smart’s most popular service option is curbside delivery, in which an item is initially picked up inside a home or business, then delivered outside at its destination. Inside delivery and warehouse drop-off options are also available. All Ship Smart moves include full-service packing.
  • Ship Smart offers affordable rates for small apartment moves, though it can be on the pricier side for local and single-item shipments. The company has gained a strong reputation for safe and reliable shipping, thanks in large part to their practice of individually packaging and crating items.

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Ship Smart pricing: How much it costs to move

Ship Smart makes it easy to get a quote for your move by filling out the form on their website,, or by calling their phone number, 866-988-0881. Because so many of Ship Smart’s moves entail just a few items, their online form is very detailed, allowing you to select specific items for a more precise estimate.

Ship Smart will provide quotes for two delivery options: curbside and inside. Curbside delivery provides pickup inside your home — including full-service packing, crating, and transportation — then delivery outside the destination address. With inside delivery, Ship Smart will deliver, unpack, and reassemble items inside your home. Debris removal is also included. As you can probably guess, inside delivery is the pricier of the two options.

But Ship Smart can also be relatively expensive when shipping individual items, particularly if you need transportation services locally. We requested a quote to move a king-size mattress and bed frame within the Phoenix metro area and were quoted $940–$1,149 for curbside delivery and $1,194–$1,460 for inside delivery. To move the same items from Phoenix to Miami would cost $1,420–$1,735 for curbside delivery and $1,674–$2,046 for indoor delivery.

On the other hand, pricing for small apartment moves with several items can be more reasonable. We got a quote of $1,665–$2,034 for curbside delivery and $1,902–$2,325 for inside delivery to transport a mattress, bed frame, small dining table with two chairs, and 10 boxes from Los Angeles to Denver.

Ship Smart offers a wide variety of services

By specializing in small shipments, Ship Smart offers a unique set of moving services in comparison to other companies:

  • Furniture and antique shipping: Transporting antiques and pieces of furniture is Ship Smart’s specialty. All furniture (new and old) is protected by customized packing that follows manufacturer guidelines. This makes Ship Smart well-suited to handle the large, bulky items that standard shippers can’t.
  • Art and electronics shipping: Ship Smart can also ship specialty items that require extra care and handling, such as pieces of art and electronics. Paintings, statues, sculptures, home entertainment centers, and other high-value items will be treated with care.
  • Small moves: Ship Smart can assist with moves up to the size of a small apartment. Whether you’re a college student needing to transport items to a storage unit for the summer or a single professional making a cross-country move for work, Ship Smart can handle it.
  • Packing and crating: All Ship Smart moves include custom packing and crating for your items. Most items are packed at a Ship Smart warehouse, though onsite packing is available for an extra fee.
  • Unpacking and debris removal: If you select an inside delivery, Ship Smart will also unpack your furniture and household goods and remove any debris resulting from the unpacking process.
  • Office moves: Ship Smart also offers its services to small offices that need to transport their furniture and equipment to a new location.
  • Estate moves: Ship Smart can help with estate moves, in which items need to be sent to several different locations to fulfill estate disbursement requirements.

How Ship Smart stacks up against the competition

While Ship Smart has a stellar reputation for its small move services, how does it compare to some of our picks for the top moving companies that can accommodate larger-scale relocations?

Ship Smart vs. JK Moving

If you’re concerned about your items arriving in perfect condition, Ship Smart and JK Moving are both viable options. These are two of the few moving companies in the industry that offer true white-glove service, with custom crating and carefully trained staff to ensure your items are protected during transit.

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moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.25 / 5
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89% of users select this mover

However, that extra care comes at a price — especially with JK Moving. JK Moving is one of the more expensive movers out there, with quotes often coming in several thousand dollars higher than the competition.

It’s also worth noting that Ship Smart and JK Moving have very different scopes of service. Ship Smart exclusively provides support for individual items and smaller moves, while JK Moving can handle everything from studio apartments and storage units up to large homes with more than five bedrooms.

JK Moving is one of our recommendations for best apartment moving companies — but specifically for complex apartment moves that require some customized packing solutions or other special considerations. If you have a straightforward small apartment move, Ship Smart might be your best choice.

Similarly, Ship Smart is the way to go if you are just moving one or two items, since JK Moving won’t be able to accommodate a move that size.

JK Moving limits its local moves to Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, whereas Ship Smart is available everywhere.

Ship Smart vs. American Van Lines

American Van Lines is another popular full-service mover with a reputation for quality service and great pricing on local and long-distance relocations. American Van Lines offers full-service packing and custom crating for an additional fee — something that Ship Smart includes in all of its moves.

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moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.5 / 5
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89% of users select this mover

American Van Lines offers services for moves of all sizes, but is better suited to two-bedroom homes or larger. Like most major moving companies — including JK Moving — American has a minimum weight requirement for its moving shipments.

Unlike Ship Smart, American Van Lines does not provide shipping services for individual antiques or other large items. However, their team does specialize in shipping pianos and antiques as part of a larger move.

Finally, while Ship Smart services all 50 states and Canada, American Van Lines is only available in the contiguous United States.

Ship Smart vs. U-Pack

As one of the best moving containers companies in terms of overall value, U-Pack offers a flexible solution that works well for small and large moves alike. For small moves (similar to those you’d use Ship Smart for), you can rent a single U-Pack ReloCube container to fill with boxes and furniture. A ReloCube has about 308 cubic feet of usable space — enough to hold about one room’s worth of furniture and decor.

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moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 5 / 5

89% of users select this mover

Unlike Ship Smart, you’re responsible for all packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking. You’ll also only have three business days to load and unload your container.

However, U-Pack can also be used for larger moves, since you can rent multiple containers or one of their 28-foot trailers and only pay for the space you use.

U-Pack is not available for local moves, but with transparent pricing thanks to their instant online quote option, you can quickly compare their long-distance moving prices to Ship Smart’s. If you’re willing to put in the extra work of loading and unloading everything yourself, it could be the more affordable option.

Company Better Business Bureau (BBB) score State availability Move sizes
Ship Smart A+ All 50 states Individual items–studio apartments
JK Moving Services A+ All 50 states Studio/1-bedroom apartments–5+ bedroom homes
American Van Lines A+ 48 states (no AK or HI) Studio/1-bedroom apartments–6+ bedroom homes
U-Pack A+ All 50 states Boxes and individual items–5+ bedroom home

How moving with Ship Smart works

Ship Smart has a straightforward process similar to a standard moving company. Here’s what you can expect when booking a move with Ship Smart:

  • Estimating and scheduling a pickup date: After you agree to a quote online or over the phone, you’ll receive paperwork that you must fill out to book your move. This paperwork can be sent via email or snail mail. After your paperwork is received, a local warehouse manager will follow up within one to two days to schedule your pickup appointment. Same-day services are sometimes available for an added fee.
  • Moving day: Ship Smart’s movers operate on a two- to four-hour pickup window Monday through Friday. In most cases, items are loaded onto a truck and transported to a warehouse, where they will be carefully packed, crated, or placed on a pallet.
  • Shipping: According to Ship Smart, standard domestic shipments typically take two to three weeks to complete. Expedited shipping is available for an added fee. While most shipping is handled through trucking line partners, Ship Smart can use air transport when expedited shipping is needed.
  • Delivery: Your service representative will inform you of the delivery window so you can make an appointment. Depending on which service option you selected, on delivery day, Ship Smart will either drop your items off in front of your home or business or bring the items inside, unpack them, and remove any debris.

Should you use Ship Smart to move?

Ship Smart has a lot to offer, particularly for small moves. But is it right for your specific moving plans?

Use Ship Smart if:

  • You need to ship family heirlooms or other high-value goods. Ship Smart offers white-glove service from start to finish, ensuring full protection for items with significant monetary or sentimental value. You don’t have to worry about these items arriving in poor condition.
  • You’re planning a long-distance move and live in a studio apartment. For small studio apartment moves farther than 250 miles, Ship Smart offers competitive rates. They also include packing and loading in all of their moves — something you’d have to pay extra for with other moving companies.
  • You have a move with complex logistics. Ship Smart can handle complex situations, such as estate moves in which valuable items need to be shipped to several different locations.

Don’t use Ship Smart if:

  • You have a larger home or apartment. If you live in anything larger than a studio apartment, Ship Smart won’t be able to help with your relocation needs.
  • You want to ship a single item locally. Ship Smart’s rates can be costly compared to other local services if you need to move a single item within your local area.


How does Ship Smart work?

Ship Smart works by offering small move services for individual items like furniture, art, and electronics, as well as small apartment moves. Items can be picked up at your old house or dropped off at a Ship Smart warehouse. The company then custom packs items to ensure they are protected during transportation. Deliveries can be made curbside or inside your new home.

Is Ship Smart reliable?

Yes, Ship Smart is reliable. Ship Smart is also licensed and registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Although the company partners with other movers nationwide to facilitate small moves, it has built a strong reputation for consistently reliable service since it began operations in 1999. The company has an A+ rating with the BBB and overwhelmingly positive customer reviews, thanks to its careful packing process and dependable delivery services.

How long does Ship Smart take to ship?

Ship Smart takes about two to three weeks, on average, to ship items after pickup, according to the company’s website. However, exact delivery timelines will vary based on the distance of your shipment and the number and type of items you need to ship.

How is Ship Smart rated overall?

Ship Smart is highly rated overall. The company has a verified Trustpilot profile that currently holds a 4.5-star rating out of five stars, with only a few negative reviews. Customers consistently praise the company for its friendly delivery teams, strong communication throughout the shipping process, and efficient and safe packing.

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