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Mon Oct 6 2014 17:55:03

Another Factor in Selecting the Right Shipping Box

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I just read your very good article on DIM weight charging by UPS and FedEx.  One thing I would like to mention is that there is another consideration when selecting box size.  

For a long time, I had a packing and shipping business and am quite familiar with UPS' packaging standards when it comes to proper protection for fragile items. If the person doing the packaging skimps on package size in order to save money on shipping, they might compromise the proper protection of the item.  

When I had the business, the standard requirement was that there should be 2" of protection on every side of the item. So - a fragile item that is 12" by 8" by 8" would require a box that is 16" by 12" by 12".  

Especially if the item is valued over $100, the sender will want to make sure the packaging meets UPS' requirements. (Claims procedures for items less than $100 were usually less rigorous.)  Otherwise, the claim for damage could well be denied.   

I can imagine the possibility that the new DIM weight pricing could result in losses that will not be compensated by the carriers if people use boxes that don't offer enough protection.

Another factor in package size that is relevant to the discussion is the amount of fill that is necessary to avoid void spaces in a box. Voids can really weaken the strength of the box, so even non-fragile items could be lost if placed in a box that is too large. We used box-sizers extensively to create appropriate-sized cartons.

The conclusion is that package size should be as economical as possible, without compromising the protection of the item being shipped, and all the space in the box should all be filled.  

Thanks again for the great service you provide,
Carol




Comments (8) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Another Factor in Selecting the Right Shipping Box   Another Factor in Selecting the Right Shipping Box

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 7 06:05:26 2014

Who ever thought that shoving a 6x6x6 item into a 5x5x5 wouldn't work.

Another Factor in Selecting the Right Shipping Box   Another Factor in Selecting the Right Shipping Box

by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 7 08:18:26 2014

And I'd rather just self insure and save a few dollars for me and my customers by working with reasonable amounts of bubble wrap and peanuts.

Paying an extra fee to the post office for insurance is too close to a bribe needed to get them to just do their job PROPERLY.

Another Factor in Selecting the Right Shipping Box   Another Factor in Selecting the Right Shipping Box

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Oct 7 10:33:27 2014

Very good point on packing.
I've seen some wretched packing jobs, the latest what my son got in the mail when he ordered some new video tapes to record on. The seller put a plastic wrap pack of 4 tapes into a plastic/Tyveck type envelope with no padding of any sort. Needless to say they 2 of the 4 arrived broken and I'm surprised it was only 2 items. The seller had to give a refund. He would have saved so much by just packaging them properly. I don't know why sellers don't understand this. Every time I've reported packaging problems to sellers, they just use the "nobody else has complained' excuse and you know that they have no intention of changing into more expensive packaging for the sake of what they are shipping.

I use endicia for insurance and they are easy to work with if you have a claim as well as cheaper than USPS insurance.

>>Who ever thought that shoving a 6x6x6 item into a 5x5x5 wouldn't work. << LOL

Another Factor in Selecting the Right Shipping Box   Another Factor in Selecting the Right Shipping Box

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 7 10:33:53 2014

@WATCHING THE WHEELS--

Yes and that whole "Fragile Liquid Perishable"  dealie I think is just a way to place a TARGET on the poor box!!

It's bait to the PO just like Media Mail is---I sort of "get"  the Media Mail thing but--really--how crazed can they GET about this! Do they have NOTHING better to be doing than OPENING and digging thru Media Mail?

Is THAT why they can't seem to get ANYTHING else done?

I have used all sorts of creative ways to pack inc using capped (clean)  water bottles as corner blocking;  using a (new)  piece of foam "mattress"  to pad out a porcelain lamp going from NY to Hawaii--and it arrived intact!---and the foam trays from veggies to make a "clam shell"  on small items to isolate and give them a bit more protection than bubble wrap alone.

I also received a pair of fairly hefty glass crystal elephants in nothing more than a BROWN PAPER ENVELOPE--no bubble wrap no tissue no--nothin'! And they somehow arrived intact.  

Box-within-box--is this NOT a standard way to ship?  

Another Factor in Selecting the Right Shipping Box   Another Factor in Selecting the Right Shipping Box

by: ConnecticutGal This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 7 23:10:20 2014

@Carol, you're correct that UPS requires 2" of appropriate padding/void filler around their items, otherwise, they won't honor any claims if there is damage.

I received an antique porcelain figurine wrapped in a disposable toddler's diaper (fortunately, it was clean), which was then put in a box with nothing else so it was rattling around.  Amazing that  there was no breakage during the 1500 mile trip.  

Another Factor in Selecting the Right Shipping Box   Another Factor in Selecting the Right Shipping Box

by: dkkdolls This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Oct 8 00:59:06 2014

I just got a package with 6 PVC (polyvinyl) mini figurines loose in a box that was half air so they could rattle around all the way from Louisiana to California. They were each in little baggies, but there was no packing material at all and the box got squashed, as it was half full without even bubble wrap. The figurines were unhurt, but the little ears of the rabbit figures easily could have broken off. It would not have taken much to put at least a plastic bag in there. I sent them on in a smaller box with bubble wrap and it made a nice safe package though they did not need 2 inches on all sides (went via the post office with Endicia) to Germany. My box was super sturdy and strong, but light. I do hate it when folks leave things rattling around with no packaging at all.
Donna

Another Factor in Selecting the Right Shipping Box   Another Factor in Selecting the Right Shipping Box

by: Pumpernickel This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 8 08:08:09 2014

@Connecticutgirl and @dkkdolls: Grr... major pet peeve.  I train all of my shippers to do a ''shake test'' on all their boxes - if they can hear or feel ANYTHING moving, it's not packed right and they need to start again.
The 2'' on all sides is reasonable for most items, but one can be a little flexible - for some boxes/items, you can cheat this down a bit (especially if it's not that fragile, like a spoon).  But for virtually anything that could be remotely considered fragile, 2-3'' is best - and double-boxing for anything that you're purchasing insurance for is also a great plan!

Another Factor in Selecting the Right Shipping Box   Another Factor in Selecting the Right Shipping Box

by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 8 10:32:50 2014

For 13 plus years, I have sold on eBay but very rarely purchased merchandise on eBay to resell.  

Now that I sell mostly American made vintage items that are fragile, I have little appetite to buy them on eBay.

Seems that the items that had a price including shipping that I could turn around and resell at a profit came from the occasional causal sellers.  They sold few items and sadly have little clue as how to adequately pack a fragile item for safe delivery.

Having said that, I must admit that the future for Internet sellers of fragile items in the under $40 range appears bleak.  

Between the cost of boxes, packing supplies, and the ever increasing shipping charges from UPS, FedEx and the USPS, fewer and fewer buyers are willing to pay the freight.  Unless there is “FREE SHIPPING”.  

I keep asking for “FREE SHIPPING” at my local Post Office, but the nice clerks just laugh at me.  Funny...  

Thank our lucky stars for Global Shipping!  We are Blessed!  Thanks JD most of all!!!!!



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