Moving from Germany to US (Need Advice)

15 posts in this topic

Hi!


I am moving to USA next month (yes, during this pandemic) and although I am getting rid of most of my stuff, I do have some clothing, little furniture and other small things I'd love to bring with me.  I have started contacting some moving companies to get quotes, but wanted to ask this community for some advice.

 

- Can anyone recommend a decent shipping company for returns to the US from Berlin?

- What was your experiences with using a palette / a crate and mailing boxes via DHL and bringing luggage on the plane?

- Is there any advice on getting stuff back to the US in general? Also what to take and what to leave?

 

(I am aware that this topic has been discussed on this forum multiple times - however most of it is out of date)

 

I appreciate any help. Thank you!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have any experiences but I found this moving company : 

DMS Deutsche Möbelspedition GmbH & Co. KG

 

hopefully that helps you 

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Upakweship.eu.com i used them to move 3 very large pallets to germany  and worked great with no issues. They delivered to door in germany. I  gave the drivers extra and they delivered all my boxes to 3rd floor. No one was even close in price coming here. They also move back TO USA. But you must pack your own boxes and they pallet ship. Took about 2 months to get here. Link is for return moves from europe. I will use when we go back

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Neither any experiences but i have found this company: schuhmachercargo. Seems they are spezialced on moving goods to from the states to Germany.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used JK Moving going the other way (US to Germany), and was quite pleased. I think they have worldwide operations through partner networks.
 

International household goods shipping is expensive, even by container. My advice is be sure to really think through each item and decide if it’s better to ship or buy back home. I sold lots of my stuff in the US before the move. My now-husband and I took stuff of mine in our luggage every time we visited in the year before the move (him coming to the US, me going to DE). It still cost me more than $2k for a crate that went inside a container, since I wasn’t going to fill up a whole 40ft container. Be careful of dense items, ie small but heavy, because you’ll end up over the planned weight for the size of crate.

 

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used upakweship to send a container from the US to here.  I was very happy with the experience.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, 

 

I can certainly relate to any anxiety, or frustration, that you might have.  When I left Germany, for San Diego, four years ago, I had an entire household of things to move.  Even after selling off as much as we could beforehand, we still needed a container to ship what we wanted to keep and send along.  From my own experience, here's what I can share with you:

  • We found it very difficult to contract with a local Spedition because we were residential, and none of the five or so companies we spoke to wanted to deal with residential.
  • We ended up contracting with a US based company, Allied, that sub-contracted with one of its partners in Germany.
  • in our case, we needed a 20 foot container.  Then we were basically given two options - a 20, or 40 footer.  A 20 footer is more than enough!
  • We had to declare every item that we intended to ship - by description, worth, size, and weight.
  • It was a straight forward process for us.  The container showed up, we had it loaded in two hours, and then away it went.
  • Five weeks later, our items were delivered to our door; however, once they arrive in the US, a bonding company unloaded the container, and the carrier palletized everything and delivered it to our new home. 
  • Once the items arrive in the bonded area, and customs is cleared, we received the bill.  The carrier won't deliver until they are paid in full.
  • Total cost to ship: ~$5000.

 

When I left San Diego for Germany in 2007, I shipped everything I had in five boxes via Fed Ex.  At the time, I'd say that I was naive because that caused quite a ruckus with Zoll.  But in the end, I got all of my things.  When I left Germany in 2016, I had a family in tow and big house full of things.  It was stressful... but with some careful planning, a lot of back and forth between both countries, and a lot of help from friends, all ended well.

 

Plan carefully, and think things through.  I don't know how long you've been in Germany, but after a decade for me, I went back to a place that was far removed from what I'd left behind.  

 

Good fortune, friend!

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we used ITO https://www.ito-movers.de/ because they have physical offices, with real people in them, on both sides of the equation. And because they were the most flexible, willing to let us do our own packing. Price was around the average of five different offers we collected from different companies.

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used Smoovr.de when re-locating in Germany.  I know they do international removals as well, and might be able to combine your goods in a container that is already going to US if you do not have enough to fill a whole container.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pro-tip:  Never, ever, ever let your stuff be put into a shared container.  It‘s better to pay more for your own container, even if it‘s half (or more) empty.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for the advice and tips. I am doing this big move by myself and was feeling quite helpless.

 

I will contact the companies you all have suggested to get some quotes in.

I was hoping for a door to door service including packing but that seems to be quite expensive - as I did not plan to move a container-worth of items.

2K for a crate sounds expensive to me ... if my belongings going into the crate is not worth that much :lol:

 

Does any of you have any advice for packing furniture yourself?

I heard that if you do not pack up things properly aka let professionals pack your boxes, insurance will not cover any damage.

 

One very valid option I am seeing now is to try to carry as much as possible on the plane and ship some books and other random items via mail.

Initially I was worried about the impact of the pandemic on the mail service as there were no packaged allowed to the US for a while - I hope this changes soon.

 

 

 

 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, kateoliver said:

I was hoping for a door to door service including packing but that seems to be quite expensive - as I did not plan to move a container-worth of items.

2K for a crate sounds expensive to me ... if my belongings going into the crate is not worth that much :lol:

 

If the value of your goods (to you) is less than the cost to ship them, then don't ship them.  Simple math.

 

 

50 minutes ago, kateoliver said:

 

Does any of you have any advice for packing furniture yourself?

I heard that if you do not pack up things properly aka let professionals pack your boxes, insurance will not cover any damage.

 

Furniture is not hard to pack.  Small stuff in boxes (don't overload the boxes!), wrapped in paper and/or bubble wrap and packed inside the box so the items can't shift.  Large items should be wrapped with moving blankets.  Some people tape the blankets in place - I use the large-size plastic wrap available at moving supply places.  Remove feet/legs/extensions, disassemble anything and everything that can be disassembled, and put the parts in labeled plastic bags, taped to the the disassembled item.

 

Don't take any electrical or electronic appliance with you, unless you know for a fact that it will work on US voltage.

 

Number everything, and fill out a detailed inventory form describing the contents.  This will be required by Customs.

 

Loading a container is a bit of an art form, but you can find tips online, and there are people you can pay by the hour to help you load the container who have experience.  If you aren't filling the container, you will have to construct a retaining wall/system inside the container to keep the load from shifting, so some straps, scrap lumber, nails, and a hammer should be on hand.

 

Insurance on internationally-shipped household goods is a joke.  It's paid by the pound/kilogram of net weight, not by the value of the items.  When we moved here, I calculated that if the container was dropped in the ocean or smashed during loading/unloading (and those things do happen), we would be reimbursed about 19% of what our household items were worth.

 

 

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, Space Cowboy said:

 

......

Insurance on internationally-shipped household goods is a joke.  It's paid by the pound/kilogram of net weight, not by the value of the items.  When we moved here, I calculated that if the container was dropped in the ocean or smashed during loading/unloading (and those things do happen), we would be reimbursed about 19% of what our household items were worth.

 

 

 

... well, that is actually something you control...

 

The "per pound" insurance premium is just the legally required minimum.

 

You totally can insure the real value of your stuff - but that requires you to have a fully valued inventory list.

 

On our last move from the US back to Germany we did that. Since we also packed our own stuff, that was kinda "a wash", because we had to list and number every single item anyways. And we were told to set the value at what it would cost to replace that item, if it was destroyed.

 

That kind of insurance only covers "total loss", though - so if just one or two of your most valuable items are damaged (because you didn't pack them right), you're out of luck.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, karin_brenig said:

... well, that is actually something you control...

 

The "per pound" insurance premium is just the legally required minimum.

 

You totally can insure the real value of your stuff - but that requires you to have a fully valued inventory list.

 

On our last move from the US back to Germany we did that. Since we also packed our own stuff, that was kinda "a wash", because we had to list and number every single item anyways. And we were told to set the value at what it would cost to replace that item, if it was destroyed.

 

That kind of insurance only covers "total loss", though - so if just one or two of your most valuable items are damaged (because you didn't pack them right), you're out of luck.


yeah, we had total loss insurance through our regular insurance company.  Damage to individual items falls under the „pennies per pound“ rules though.  So - I think there is no financial  advantage to having „professional“ movers pack your stuff.
 

I was fortunate to have an insurance firm that covered total loss.  Not every one does so for international moves.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/25/2020, 2:26:51, kateoliver said:

Thank you so much for the advice and tips. I am doing this big move by myself and was feeling quite helpless.

 

I will contact the companies you all have suggested to get some quotes in.

I was hoping for a door to door service including packing but that seems to be quite expensive - as I did not plan to move a container-worth of items.

2K for a crate sounds expensive to me ... if my belongings going into the crate is not worth that much :lol:

 

Does any of you have any advice for packing furniture yourself?

I heard that if you do not pack up things properly aka let professionals pack your boxes, insurance will not cover any damage.

 

One very valid option I am seeing now is to try to carry as much as possible on the plane and ship some books and other random items via mail.

Initially I was worried about the impact of the pandemic on the mail service as there were no packaged allowed to the US for a while - I hope this changes soon.

 

 

 

 

 

I have been receiving items purchased from Asia, yes and from the UK. I haven't heard anything about no packages allowed to the US.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now