Most of the move is like any other intra country moves, I will describes the ones that might differ.
Set things up with moving company.
At least 1 month in advance, contact the company to plan the move. The company I used was “AIS Logistics”. You should obtain quotes from other companies as well. throughout my travels, here are the companies I contacted :
- AES Logistics
- Norcal Movers
- Clarke and Rose
- But also the mainstream ones : DHL, TNT(max 500kg)
They will need various forms prefilled and a rough idea of the volume.
There are 2 methods (that I know of) to ship items via these companies. Container or Pallets. Since I did not have enough to fill a whole container, I chose to send my goods on a pallet. Note : Pallets have different sizes in the US and France, the footprint is about 3feet X 4feet in the US. The French ones are smaller.
Make sure to ask
- If the moving company will provide the pallet or not (I forgot to ask, fortunately the truck driver had a couple extra ones).
- You will also need to ask if they will provide a liftgate to load the pallets in the truck.
- If they will come and pack your items for you, if they will have you do it and just pick up boxes OR if they will just expect everything ready to ship on the pallets
From the French custom side, you should not get any “TVA” added on your item as long as you have been owning items for more than 6 months and that you have a “certificate de changement de residence”. This probably does not matter for small items, but anything that might be electronic could be an issue, just make sure to receipts of purchase for expensive items (these were never asked to me though).
Certificat de changement de residence
Prior to the move, you would need to obtain a “certificate de changement de residence” from the French consulate. This basically allows you to not have to pay taxes when bringing your belongings. This applies if you are a French citizen who had register to the French consulate in the US.
Day of the move
- Needless to say that you would need to make an inventory of what is in each boxes; this inventory would need to be provided to the shipping company for insurance purposes.
- You will also need to secure the boxes to the pallets. you can use “pallet wrap tape”. The overall shape of the pallets with the boxes does not have to be totally rectangular.
- Each boxes will have to be labeled with a booking number.
- Boxes would need to be stacked up properly so that they don’t crush each other.
- The pallets will be put in a “shared” container, where other customers’ pallets will reside.
- You do not need to necessarily weight each boxes before shipping but this could be useful to get the overall weight as well as comparing at the arrival destination if anything got lost.
- type of boxes I used were : 18x18x24in and 16x12x12
Company will send a truck. A bill of lading will have been provided to you, you will need to have it ready. You will be asked to provide a parking spot for the truck not too far from where the pallets are. The mover I use did not come pick up the boxes to my apartment, I had to bring everything down close to the truck.
These costs will vary dramatically based on some choices. I will just give a rough idea based on my experience.
items I decided to move :
- Any “sentimental” and personal items
- All electronic equipment. Computers, TV, projector
Items I did not move :
I sold one of my car and left my other car at a friend’s place in his driveway in the US
I just had everything given away or trashed
The total of what I moved represented
- 2 palettes
- weight : total of about 550kg
- Volume 3.3 m3
The initial payment to the US moving was $7000
At the arrival of the goods in France, the French “moving” company contacted me and had me pay additional fees : 700euros
These represented various fees such as:
- handling fees
- Shipping to home address
Additional noticeable misc fees to take in consideration :
- Boxes ( could be purchased at Home Depot ), use the “strong ones”
- pallets ( I was lucky, the driver who that came to pick up the boxes had a couple empty pallets in his truck he could give me )
Now, if I had to do this again (which I did to go back to the US), I would have hired a moving company that pack/load/ship goods without me having to handle much of the logistics.