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You load 16 tons, and what do you get

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Shipping containers. Tax exemptions. One of the questions that comes up when you start thinking about moving to the Philippines permanently is: what do you do with all your stuff?  Over the years, most of us accumulate large quantities of furniture, appliances, electronics, books, tools, etc.  Do we store it? Give it to the Salvation Army? Hold a giant yard sale? Cram it all into balikbayan boxes?

It’s common knowledge that you’re entitled to bring in one shipping container of personal and household goods, exempt from VAT tax and import duties, if you get a permanent resident visa such as a 13A (spousal visa) or an SRRV (retiree visa).  It says so right here: http://www.philippineembassy-usa.org/uploads/pdfs/DutyFreeImportation.pdf. (This also applies to returning overseas Filipino workers.)

Throwaway Ticket Service - The Business that works while you sleep

In an unbelievably laborious and expensive experiment which I hope to never ever repeat, we have proved that this can actually be done.  For the benefit of any others who may be rash enough to let their wives talk them into this, and would like to know what they’re getting into, here are some random observations, which is the best I can manage at the moment since I’m still tired and cranky from working like a carabao loading and unloading 16,700 pounds of stuff. (Yes, I know that’s not quite 16 tons. Poetic license. Yes, I had help. Even so.)

Anyway, here’s what it takes to ship a 40 foot container from the U.S. to the Philippines:

1. Hire a customs broker at whatever port you’re shipping to.  You don’t need any Philippine government paperwork to load and ship the container — that part comes later.  You do need to have transport lined up ready to receive the container at the destination port. The ocean shipping company requires this.  They want to be sure they have someone to call to pick up the container when it’s unloaded from the ship, and it has to be a company on their approved list, since they want to be sure of getting the container back after you unload it. (Containers are expensive.)  As a practical matter, you need a customs broker anyway, and a customs broker can set up the transport, so best to get this lined up before you start.  (It was surprisingly hard to find a customs broker who was familiar with shipping of personal goods. After some shopping around, we used Fely Morata (0919 825 7881), a customs broker here in Davao, who did a creditable job.)

2. Figure out what you’re allowed to bring.  As with many things here in the Philippines, the rules are somewhat subject to interpretation – what things qualify as “household goods”, and how much is a “commercial quantity”?  It’s wise to discuss any possibly questionable items with your customs broker, in detail, with pictures if necessary.  Shipping vehicles is a non-starter – it can be done, in theory, but vehicles don’t qualify for duty exemption, and the taxes are very high (see http://manilaforwarder.com/vehicleshipment.html).  Also be sure to check U.S. export restrictions – things like firearms, cash, pirated software, etc. may get you in trouble with U.S. authorities.

3. Figure out how you’re going to load and unload.  There are two main options: (a) do it yourself, or (b) let the moving company do it.  I’m far too tightwad to spring for option (b), which potentially adds thousands to the cost. We were going to have to box all the smaller stuff ourselves anyway, and a big advantage of the do-it-yourself approach is you don’t have to box everything, you can fit a lot of non-fragile things into the nooks and crannys between the bigger items.  Anyway, I’ve schlepped all this stuff through several other moves, each time loading it all in a couple of U-Haul trucks – how hard could it be?

So I had this fantasy that a shipping container would magically appear on my front lawn one morning, like a roll-off dumpster, and I would take, say, a week, and fill it up an item at a time, same as with the U-Hauls.  Well, no. The standard deal for a self-load is, you get two hours.  Extra hours, depending on the company, are quoted at anything from $40 to $100 per hour.  In theory, you can get a “dropoff”, where they leave the container for a few days, but for that they typically charge double drayage.  “Drayage” is the charge for trucking the container to and from the port.  We were in Phoenix, the port is in Los Angeles, drayage was about $1,500, not something I was eager to double.   Bottom line: unless you live near a port, or unless you have everything already in storage and well enough organized that you can load 2,500 cubic feet of stuff in two hours or so, you need to find a company that can organize a several day dropoff without charging double drayage. Which brings us to the real challenge:

4. Find a shipper.  This was by far the hardest part.  In case this isn’t obvious (it wasn’t to me), you don’t deal directly with the ocean shipping company (the company that operates the ship, Maersk Lines in our case). You deal with an international moving company that arranges to get the container, transport it to your location for loading, transport it to the port afterward, and do all the required paperwork with U.S. Customs and the ocean shipping company.

If you google for “ship container to Philippines”, you’ll find lots of companies that will claim to be able to do it.  As best I can tell, a shockingly high percentage of them are ripoffs. Take a look at www.movingscam.com if you don’t believe me.  Keep in mind that whatever company you choose is going to have thousands of dollars of your money, in advance, plus all your worldly goods — this leaves you in a poor bargaining position if they then start inventing new things to charge you for.  You can check the Federal Maritime Commission web site to be sure that the company you choose is licensed and bonded (see http://www.fmc.gov/questions/default.aspx, especially the section on “Moving Household Goods” and the material on “rogue movers”).  Unfortunately, though, lots of the sharks are licensed, so it’s essential to do your homework and thoroughly check out the reputation of whatever company you’re going to use.

In our case, we started out by requesting bids from all the companies we could find on google. We chose a company in Florida that seemed the most reasonable, and made what we thought was a deal over the phone. Weeks went by, with several broken promises, two increases in the price, and no sign of the promised written booking. Then the deal changed from a three day dropoff to six hours.  With our departure date looming, and now gambling $2,500 of non-refundable plane tickets on whether this company would show up as agreed, it was time to rethink the plan. While looking through consumer protection sites like movingscam.com, I ran across several posts by a seemingly knowledgeable moving company executive (Art Haddow, of Premier Van Lines), so I called him up to get some advice. As luck would have it, his company turned out to be headquartered less than two miles from my house.  When I explained the problem, he gave me a quote that was less than any of the others I had gotten, and – the important part – he was able to arrange to pick up a container that was already in Phoenix, thus getting us a four day dropoff with no extra charge for double drayage from Los Angeles. (For my money, Art is the real deal – after we shipped, the ocean shipping company added several hundred dollars of “surprise” charges, but Art stuck to his original quote as agreed. My best piece of advice to anyone in the U.S. thinking of doing this is: call Art. 480-641-9268

One other bit of advice: if your destination port is not Manila, route the shipment so that it arrives there directly. Ours went from LA to Malaysia, where the container was transferred to another ship going to Davao, so we cleared customs in Davao – no problem. I have talked to others whose shipment went through Manila, and they were required to clear customs in Manila, and had to unload the container and load everything into a different container for shipment to the ultimate destination.

5.  Load the container.  This was another place where the U-Haul fantasy broke down. They don’t actually “drop off” the container – they park a semi-trailer in front of your house, with the container sitting on it.  This means that the floor of the container is four and a half feet above the ground.  It doesn’t come with a lift gate or a ramp, either. Here, too, Art came through for us – after pointing out the problem, he loaned us a 16 foot ramp, of the kind used for loading vehicles.  I don’t even want to imagine what would have happened if I had gone with the original company, and wound up having to load the piano, the refrigerator, etc., plus everything else, without a ramp, in two hours.

Containers differ from U-Hauls in another way: containers don’t have convenient rails along the inside for tying everything down. Ours had metal loops, floor and ceiling, every ten feet; I’m told some don’t have even that. You have to load the container in such a way that items can’t shift around too much, so it needs to be full, or at least full up to some point where you can tie down something big enough to keep the rest from shifting. In our case it didn’t appear that there had been much movement, but ships don’t always stay level, and crane operators can get careless.  Our biggest challenge was my wife’s two china hutches, complete with mirror backs and glass doors, the results of a multi-month china-hutch-hunting odyssey on Craigslist, and which she would, given the choice, sooner part with a kidney than turn loose of either of them. Miraculously, both arrived undamaged, standing vertically, sandwiched between mattresses.

Keep in mind that one of the requirements for the tax exemption is a detailed packing list, so don’t forget to note down what you’re loading. Ours listed boxes by category (i.e. 20 boxes of books), and separately loaded items individually (i.e. 2 sofas), and this seemed to satisfy the Department of Finance. It’s also necessary to declare the value of the shipment; as best I could determine, the usual practice is to declare $1,500.  More than $2,500 requires additional U.S. Customs paperwork and a fee, and also there’s no point declaring a high amount and setting oneself up for high taxes if the exemption falls through for some reason.

6.  Get the tax exemption.  To get the tax exemption, you need a letter from the Philippine Department of Finance. Their policy (I have no idea why) is that you cannot apply for this letter until three business days before the shipment is due to arrive, but it also has to be within 60 days after your own arrival. (Transporting the container from the U.S. takes four to six weeks, if everything goes right.)  In theory, you can have a representative get the exemption letter, but we went to Manila and did it ourselves.  The requirements were:

The packing list;
The bill of lading (provided by the shipper)
Copy of marriage contract
ACR card, or copy of application for ACR card
Passport and 13A visa
Notarized affidavit
Letter to Dept. of Finance requesting the exemption.

If these requirements are published anywhere, I haven’t found it. Instead, call Cynthia Delantar at the Dept. of Finance (phone number 02 526 8458 in Manila), who was very helpful in telling us what was needed. She also told me over the phone what the affidavit needed to say; I typed it up myself, we took it to a notary and got it notarized, and it seemed to work.  Despite my skepticism, Ms. Delantar turned out to be right that we could get this all done in one day – we arrived at the DOF (in the Bangko Sentral complex on Roxas) at 9 a.m. and had the letter by 2 p.m.  Then we were sent across town to the Bureau of Customs for some additional signatures, which took another couple of hours, but we still made it back to Davao the same day.

7. Get the container and unload it. Getting the container sprung from customs was a total non-event. Exemption notwithstanding, I was expecting a spirited bargaining session, probably lubricated with wads of pesos. My wife is quite good at those, and I was looking forward to watching, figuring it would be entertaining, but it didn’t happen. As best I can tell, the container was never opened, no questions were asked, and no “grease” was offered or asked for.

In theory, you can have the container trucked to your house and unload it there. In our case — ferry crossing to Samal, tight corners, narrow dirt road – wasn’t going to happen. We borrowed a corner of a parking lot and unloaded into three smaller trucks. No ramp, but approximately eight able-bodied helpers, so unloading only took a day.

Cost breakdown (not including packaging, strapping, and other incidentals, and not including cost of trip to Manila to get the exemption letter):

Shipping, Phoenix to Davao, including four day dropoff: $4,478
Labor during loading the heavy stuff, 3 helpers, 4 hours each: $150
Fee for exemption letter: P260
Customs broker’s fee and processing fees: P10,400
Wharfage and other related charges: P6,795
Truck transport to and from unloading site: P4,000
Rental of trucks to transport after unloading: P10,000
Ferry charges and tolls: P7,600
Labor during unloading and transport: P8,000

Total cost: about $5,700

Conclusion: it can be done. Was it a good idea? I’d say the jury is still out on that. I’m glad I didn’t have to figure out how to get rid of 16,700 pounds of accumulated possessions and then replace a lot of it here. I’m not sure paying $5,000+ to ship it all here was the smartest solution, but at least my wife has her beloved china hutches.

Jack Emery

Jack Emery is a guest writer participating on the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine.

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JohnM
Member

Jack: Probably one of the more valuable articles to appear on this site… Anyone who is contemplating this should print it out and keep it close at hand.

I would say you were very lucky… Being in the maritime industry, I can tell you that shipping is geared towards massive loads and commodities… Not some guy’s furniture. As you found out, this is one area in which you should not penny pinch nor play games.

Jack
Guest

John, I appreciate the kind comments, especially from someone who has written as many valuable articles on this site as you have. I didn’t realize you were in the maritime industry — ocean shipping is definitely a lot more complicated than I assumed.

Michael St.Dizier
Guest
Michael St.Dizier

Hi Jack, I’m wanting to ship to a church in the Philippines donation, clothes and household goods. Question whats better to do buy or rent container? The church i’m shipping to can utilize a container if its not much more, i’ve seen used containers for around $1500.

roy
Guest
roy

I totally agree John. I was about to copy paste or what. But as I read it to the end, I have this sinking feeling that it’s too much work and not exactly cost effective.
But thank you jack for this valuable information. 🙂

Jack
Guest

Roy, as best I can tell, when you’ve accumulated an adult lifetime’s worth of stuff, there isn’t any solution that isn’t too much work and not exactly cost effective. And actually it wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared, or as it could have been. Basically loading the container wasn’t all that much harder than moving by UHaul, which we’ve done several times. Unloading was much easier, with all the help. It was expensive, but on a per mile basis far cheaper than a UHaul. The exemption paperwork was no big deal, a one day thing. So don’t let me… Read more »

Jun Prado
Guest
Jun Prado

This article will definitely benefit many. I could say I will be one of them. Those contacts in Pinas is precious. My origin will be in Australia. Full cost of a 20 foot container drop at your doorsteps to be picked up after a week and shipped to Manila will just cost AUD2,000.00. The information about how to received the container in Manila and having a waiver to have the goods tax free, is many don’t know. On less than handful broker from over a dozen brokers I emailed and asked about. They always reply only the first 10,000.00 pesos.… Read more »

brian
Guest
brian

Perfect timing on your article ! Great info..thanks for taking the time to inform the rest of us Jack !

Jack
Guest

Thanks, Brian. I’ve benefitted a lot from the advice of others on this site and elsewhere in the process of becoming an “Am-Fil” — the learning curve is surprisingly steep in places. I hope some of this turns out to be useful to someone.
Jack

John
Guest
John

Jack-Fantastic article- My company did the move for me and they were so frustrated trying to source a decent broker who knew the rules, sadly there was some grease money in my adventure. My only nightmare was getting the truck into the compound—it wouldn’t fit past the gate house so the community was able to see every item I owned.

The only mistake I made was bringing small appliances, I thought “I’ll remember to use the transformer” ya right zap zap almost all gone.

Jack
Guest

Thanks, John. I’ve never actually done a move where an employer handled it — mostly been self-employed — must be nice. Getting trucks that size through some of the narrow streets we have around here would definitely be a challenge — in our case, there was a ferry trip involved so that was a non-starter. Haven’t zapped any small appliances so far, but we’ll see. In the house we’re building we’re supposedly wiring 110 into the kitchen, so that should avoid at least some of the problem.
Jack

John
Guest
John

Having 110 would be so nice, I visit Baguio often and for some reason most of the houses are 110 there. I think the nicest thing doing the container was like you a piano. But for me being able to bring my beds was a must, I have looked all over Manila and I really don’t see the quality. But the highlight is my gas BBQ–I have seen ones that cost $200-400 in Canada sell for 38K – 75K.

Jack
Guest

John, my impression is 110 is easier to do that it appears. Most of the transformers on the pole here, at least in this area, are the same 220 transformers as the ones in the US. They have three terminals on the side, the middle is the common and the two outside ones are the 110, 180 degrees out of phase. Here, they usually just run a wire from the center terminal to a stake in the ground and wire the house with the two outside ones. I’m told that if you can persuade, bribe, or whatever the power company… Read more »

PaulB
Guest
PaulB

Jack,
So do you think its it better to ship mutiple balakbayan boxes shipped to Davao or use a Container as you did? Sounds as though as long as you don’t have non collapsible items like a Vehicle it’s probably overall easier to ship multiple boxes than a container? Like you, I have been told to get a container, but I’m not convinced!

Gary
Guest
Gary

I believe Paul K wrote an article a while back about only shipping balikbayan boxes. It all depends on what you want to bring, what you want to give up. The cost to ship vs the cost to replace – or just live without. Obviously furniture won’t fit in a balikbayan box, large TV, or other electronics you may not be able to or want to ship by box. The value of bringing appliances is debatable. But if you’ve pared all your stuff down to things that will fit into balikbayan boxes, I’d say that’s the way to go –… Read more »

Jack
Guest

Gary, I tend to agree with that. My wife did some scouting around re what it would cost to replace furniture, and seemed to conclude that it would be fairly expensive. It kind of surprises me how expensive a lot of the furniture and appliances are here, you’d think with the low cost labor and the proximity to Japan and China all that stuff would be cheap, but it doesn’t seem to be. And in the U.S., nowadays especially, at least in Phoenix, you can get furniture and appliances in excellent condition off Craigslist, practically given away. As best I… Read more »

ian
Guest
ian

try Tipidsale.com I have sold lots of stuff there, and bought also

http://www.tipidsale.com/phpBB3/index.php?sid=5a68e7f13140c13986c9c4859346c437

[ i cant remember if we can post links here? if not Bob pls delete]

Jack
Guest

Thanks, Ian, wasn’t aware of that one. My wife will definitely want to explore that one.
Jack

roy
Guest
roy

Hi Jack, w/o looking at the link below, I’d say your appraisal on the cost of furniture in the Phil is spot on. American society is very mobile. When they relocate, most Americans just bring w/ them their suitcase. ( I used to observe this in the movies haha) But as it turned out, this is fairly true. People leave their plates, books, some furniture right in the alley. In Craigslist, there’s actually a section for Free Stuff. Nothing of that sort exists in the Philippines.

Jack
Guest

Roy, I think you’re right. I have the impression this is much less a throwaway society than the U.S. — here, most of the people we know have fewer things, but what they have they really take care of.
Jack

Jack
Guest

PaulB, From Phoenix, we could ship BB boxes for $75 a box, did that many times over 20 years and never any problem. A jumbo box is 6 cubic feet, no weight limit, so that’s $12.50 per cubic foot. A 40 foot shipping container is about 2400 cubic feet useable interior space, assuming you fill it fairly full, so if it cost ~$6k, that’s about $2.50 per cubic foot. The $6k would cover shipping about 80 BB boxes. I’d say if you can fit all the stuff you care about in 80 BB boxes or less, clearly that would be… Read more »

Gary
Guest
Gary

Great post, and excellent contacts that you can vouch for. Anyone thinking about this from the US will really benefit. We went through the process in ’09. Finding a good shipper at a fair price can be time consuming and stressful. Seems most of the movers specializing in international shipping typically work with relocating execs, so they can be pricey since the employers are paying. We also went a cheaper DYI route. It’s been over a year and half so I don’t remember all the details now. We shipped a 20 footer. Packed it in Dallas in July. Coming from… Read more »

Jack
Guest

Thanks, Gary. Fortunately we did it in the winter, so the heat wasn’t a problem. There is no way I would try to load a container in Phoenix in the summer.
Jack

lew
Guest
lew

hey gary….i live about 20 miles from dallas…..can you email me the name of the shipping company that you used…..and also the name of the broker in the phils that you used?? and any other advice that you can give me ……thx…..i soooooooooooooooo appreciate it……..ya i know its a lot of of headaches but im sure it was worth it to keep your wife happy as i want to do the same for mine..hahahah……..you have a nice day…..

DWAYNE
Guest
DWAYNE

When I move over here I will not bring much of anything as I have determined that as much as I like many of the things I now have in my home in the USA most of it is not worth the expense or hassle to bring it here. Except for some artwork most all of it is easily replaceable with new things here which would be mostly furniture related. Now for sure I will bring some things like kitchen related, bedding, towels and other small items which can be shipped safely by balikbayan box. If I decide to bring… Read more »

Jack
Guest

Dwayne, I hear you. I thought it was kind of nuts myself. But when I penciled out what it was likely to wind up costing for BB boxes and replacing appliances, the numbers weren’t all that different. Your comment about books brings up an interesting point — I did bring a lot of books, which I use in my work, and which I can’t replace here. You mention millions of second hand book stores, I haven’t seen any in Davao, if someone knows where there are some I’d love to know about them. But the other factor is, I’ve become… Read more »

ian
Guest
ian

Dwayne- when I left 2 years ago I sold lots of stuff through Craigslist- and boy was I surprised. Few people there want to buy used things. My 4 month old microwave which I paid $120 for went for $10- and even that took me 6 weeks. A new one – not top of the line- cost me 3500 pesos at nccc mall. I realize that the one i sold was 110 but a transformer for small items only cost 450 pesos

DWAYNE
Guest
DWAYNE

A few years back I sold a Heywood Wakefield dining table and chairs for only 25% less than what I paid for it. The same for a Natuzzi leather couch. I guess maybe it depends on the items and the market you live in but yes you are right many items won’t go for very especially kitchen related. I however, have top of the line stuff and it holds its value fairly well so in my case I think that using online selling sites will work out for me. I have also come to the conclusion that if I live… Read more »

Jack
Guest

Dwayne, If the peso does go to 35 in 2012 it won’t just be foreigners who will be in a world of hurt. The Philippine economy is very dependent on remittances, and everyone is getting a double whammy with inflation up and the dollar down. At some point you’d get political instability. Also it would be terrible for exporters. I wouldn’t think the Philippine government would let it go that far if they can help it — which they easily can by just printing more money. My bet would be the low is 42ish and then back the other way,… Read more »

DWAYNE
Guest
DWAYNE

I hope you are right. A stronger peso would be terrible for the Philippines. The real estate market would get slammed and could plunge the economy in economic chaos and then politcal chaos. I am thinking around 40 to 41 and even that would be quite challenging for the thousands surviving just on SS.

Jack
Guest

Ian, That was our experience too. I did sell some stuff on Craigslist but didn’t really even get enough to pay me for the time to fool with it — sold an electric welder for $20, a boat trailer for $100, had a nearly new window a/c that cost almost $300, listed it for $100, not a single call. I think Dwayne is right that you do better on high end stuff, but in this economy, at least in Phoenix, everyone is selling and no one is buying. If I were doing this over again I’d think real seriously about… Read more »

Dan
Guest
Dan

I think it was a great post for those that need or want or just have to bring all their stuff with them to the Phillipines. My self if I were to move there…I would just bring a suitcase and have plenty of money tucked away and buy what I wanted when was there…..Of course I understand those that have a wife that has been with them from the Phillipines and living in another country and then they both decide to move back…..well sure that is a different story…..because most women love to hang on to their stuff from what… Read more »

Jack
Guest

Thanks, Dan. I can’t really blame my wife on this one, it was a joint decision, and we probably brought more of my stuff by weight than hers. I definitely understand the temptation to go light and start fresh. However, another thing that one doesn’t think about until the time comes is that it isn’t all that easy to get rid of 20 years of accumulated stuff even if you wanted to. A lot of it you can’t even throw away, at least in Tempe they’re very strict about what can go in the trash, and a rolloff dumpster is… Read more »

Chasdv
Guest
Chasdv

Hi Jack,
Interesting story with some good advice for those considering the same,but not for me,way too much hassle.Western furniture from cooler climates does not last well in the tropics and $5700 buys a lot of local furniture in PH.
I’m all for selling off and starting over again,apart from a few BB boxes of personal stuff,then again there is only me to move,lol.
regards,Chas.

Jack
Guest

Chas, there’s a lot of appeal in the starting over approach. How much furniture $5700 buys depends on where you are, I think. I get the impression it buys quite a bit in Manila. Here in Davao, it doesn’t seem to, or maybe I just haven’t found the right places yet. But my wife is from here and we have lots of extended family here, so I imagine she would know. Appliances, especially, seem to be fairly expensive here.
Jack

Steven
Guest
Steven

Jack, I really don’t think it buys you that much in the way of furniture. Even up here in Manila stuff is really quite expensive.

Jack
Guest

Steven, I agree, my impression is a few thousand + Craigslist back in Phoenix you could furnish a whole house with fairly nice stuff including appliances. Here in Davao the choice seems to be either WalMart quality stuff in the mall at high prices, or local made stuff, some of which is very beautiful but correspondingly expensive.

AussieLee
Guest
AussieLee

Hi Chas & Jack, You have written my post for me, Chas. Exactly my thoughts. When it comes to moving possessions=STRESS, the less the better. You are also dead right about the suitability of western items in the tropics. Just keep a few boxes of treasured personal items AND whatsmore, I would even then, in the first instance, only take from this box what I actually needed. Most westerners will return home within a few years so leave this stuff with a trusted, stable family member back “home”. If you decide you are staying permanently then organise things on a… Read more »

Jack
Guest

AussieLee, actually that was one factor that made me lean toward going ahead with the container. Our intent was to move here permanently, so I’d rather not make it too easy to give up and go back. Sometimes its better to burn a few bridges . . . .

Paul Thompson
Member

Jack & Chas;
Over the years I’ve found that the quality and the design of most furniture is nothing I’d be interested in. As for shipping from overseas even less desirable. This country is chock-a-block full of talented furniture/cabinet makers. 95% of my furniture is hand made locally, I’ll go on line, print the pictures of what I want made, pick out the type/quality of wood I want, and negotiate a price. I’ve yet to have replace anything so far, as it’s stood the test of time.

Jack
Guest

Paul, that sounds like a good strategy. Maybe you could take that as a topic for one of your excellent articles some time, and give us some more detail. As I described in response to another comment here, we tried getting a piece of furniture made that way, with fairly poor results. I’m guessing that like everything else there are some tricks to it, and it sounds like you would know what they are.
Jack

Paul Thompson
Member

Jack; There is no real trick to finding a craftsmen, just a lot of investigation. While visiting with friend, you notice a piece of furniture that is quality made. Inquire as to where it was made, and by whom. I won’t ask the price as that’s the Kano in me. Restaurants, Hotels and resorts, ask the manager where you could find quality made items like they have. After the complement I paid them, most are more than happy to share their knowledge, and the name of the company are the person who made it. Word of mouth and asking questions… Read more »

Rich321 (Rich Bowen)
Guest

Excellent article — should be required reading for anyone contemplating a shipping container for household goods. I particularly liked the ” give up a kidney” reference. Convince me the route to go is the use of balikbayan boxes for important personal stuff only.

Jack
Guest

Thanks Rich. Yeah, probably be sleeping outside with the dog a couple nights for that ‘kidney’ comment. I tend to agree, if you can get it all into BB boxes, it’s way easier.
Jack

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