How to Ship a Wheelchair

how to ship a wheelchair

No matter how much you may try, you can’t avoid moving from one location to another.

It’s inevitable.

Just by purchasing a ticket and getting onboard a vehicle, you can get to wherever you want.

But what happens when you also have to take your wheelchair along with you or you want to send a wheelchair across to someone who needs it?

If you’re not familiar with how couriers operate, then you may find the whole process tedious. You may run into some challenges that might not only cost you more money but might also threaten the safe arrival of the wheelchair you’re shipping.

There are some steps you must follow if you want to ship a wheelchair.

Table of Contents

Consider the Type of Wheelchair

Wheelchairs fall under two main categories; manual wheelchairs and electric (or powered) wheelchairs.

Shipping these two types of wheelchairs usually involves different logistics. This is because manual wheelchairs are easily foldable and have detachable parts while some electric wheelchairs are not easily foldable.

Even when the electric wheelchair happens to be foldable, it can’t be folded to a portable size like the manual wheelchair. The differences in their make-up are what you should note before deciding how to ship the wheelchair.

Some courier services will allow you to transport only a manual wheelchair because they can be easily packaged to a portable size and their weight is relatively light.  Others might extend their services to include electric wheelchairs.  The next few steps will be divided into separate steps for the two main types of wheelchairs.

Related: How to Transport a Power Wheelchair (Complete Guide)

How to Ship Manual Wheelchairs

how much does it cost to ship a wheelchair

i) Fold the Wheelchair

Collapse the seat of the wheelchair by closing the cross-bracing underneath it and then detach both the front and rear tires. If the armrests are adjustable, also collapse them to their minimum heights.

Ensure to keep the various detached components safe as you fold and detach the detachable parts. If you will be the one setting it up again, pay attention to the way you detached the parts so that setting it up again won’t become a problem.

ii) Take Measurements

Taking measurements of the length and width of the folded wheelchair will enable you to buy the appropriate size of the shipping box. Although, you can use the measurement on the manufacturer’s box if you have it.

You should also measure the weight of the wheelchair to determine the cost of transporting it and the best courier service to transport such weight with minimum cost.

However, while measuring the weight and size, make sure to add a few extra pounds and inches respectively. They will compensate for the errors during measurement.

iii) Pack into a Box

Tightly strap the detachable components to the wheelchair using tape, and pack the folded wheelchair into a shipping box. In the course of packing it, first, wrap the wheelchair in bubble wraps. Then, lay some shock-absorbing materials (like soft materials) at the bottom of the box before laying the wheelchair.

iv) Fill Empty Spaces

There are bound to be some little spaces left in the box after you’ve placed the folded wheelchair in it. The spaces can cause the wheelchair to be unstable while the vehicle is in motion. The best way to fill the space is by stuffing them with soft materials. By doing this, you won’t only be filling the spaces in the box, but you will also be cushioning the effect of other goods on the wheelchair.

v) Seal the Box

Use adhesive tapes or any other substitute to firmly seal the box. Wound it with multiple layers of tape so that the box will be firmer and won’t easily get loose during transportation.

vi) Deliver Through a Courier

You can now send your wheelchair through any courier service plying the route of your intended destination. To save cost, do a comparison of prices of the various couriers available in your city.

Related: How to Get a Wheelchair Up and Down Stairs (Complete Guide)

How to Ship Electric (Power) Wheelchairs

how to ship a wheelchair

The procedures for shipping electric wheelchairs are quite different. They are listed below.

I) Get a Pallet

Pallets are flat surfaces that serve as support for materials that are being stored or transported. You will need it to provide support for the wheelchair as you package it.

ii) Place the Wheelchair on it

Lay a sheet of cardboard on the pallet and then place the folded wheelchair on it. The cardboard will help prevent the pallets from making scratches on the wheelchair.

iii) Wrap It

There are many materials you can use to wrap the wheelchair. These materials include foam wrap, moving blankets, and corrugated cardboard sheets. Just like the cardboard sheet placed on the bottom of the pallet, the wrappings will give outer protection to the wheelchair you’re about to ship.

iv) Strap the Wheelchair to the Pallet

The main function of the pallet is to give rigid support to the wheelchair since it’s heavy and requires strong support. You have to firmly strap the wheelchair to the pallet. Do this with the use of stretch straps.

v) Build Additional Protection

You can use crates to build additional protection around the packaged wheelchair. The crates will also ensure that the wheelchair is not moving while it’s in the vehicle.

vi) Deliver the Wheelchair

Search for a shipping company that accepts such weight of goods and then send your package through them. Make sure to write the receiver’s address and your return address legibly on the packaged wheelchair using a dark-colored marker.

Related: How to Easily Unlock a Power Wheelchair

Tips to Help You Choose an Efficient Courier

You may get skeptical about entrusting your wheelchair into the hands of a courier. Such feelings may be a result of terrible experiences you’ve had with some couriers in the past. To avoid getting such an experience again, here are a few tips that will guide you.

1) Check for Reviews

You can get reviews about the various couriers operating in your city from friends, family, colleagues at work, and online platforms. Customer reviews go a long way in telling the efficiency of a company.

Pay attention to problems other customers faced and know how to avoid encountering such problems if you must use that company.

2) Read Their Terms and Conditions

It’s so easy to ignore the terms and conditions of the services of companies you want to patronize. Reading the courier’s terms and conditions will help you know the company’s policies regarding some circumstances such as refunds, charges, insurance coverage, and events of failed delivery.

3) Check for Registration with Relevant Authorities

A way of reducing the possibilities of falling into the hands of fraudulent couriers is by confirming their registration with relevant government agencies or membership with courier associations. You can do this by browsing through their websites in search of such information.

How to Ship a Wheelchair

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