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Shipping FAQ - Let’s get this going?!

Markos

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Brainstorming. Please contribute, and I will consolidate if you find this valuable. If not, I will kill it.

Notes:

USPS flat rate, up to 70lbs
USPS - use the machine after hours
USPS, international can be quite cheap. $23 to AU up to 4lbs
USPS - informed delivery digest
USPS - don’t forget media mail, don’t abuse media mail

UPS - look for shipping companies that have discounted UPS rates
MyUPS - change shipping location on the fly, consolidated tracking numbers

Crowdshipping / P2P:
Roadie
piggbee
grabr



Freight / Transport:
Uship.com
Greyhound - pros and cons
Fastenall

Vehicle:
I’ve only used uship and a private driver that screwed me

Tips:
Most large companies have heavily discounted shipping. Check with your company. Check with the buyer. They can buy their own label and email it to you.

Boxes / Crates:
Uhaul
Home Depot
Body shop - big boxes
Staples - mail tubes
Home depot - pvc mail tubes
Building a crate/pallet - have panels cut for free at home depot

International Tips

Claims & Insurance

Customs:
don’t recycle international boxes. UV pen markings
 

teahead

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I've had big (but not super heavy) items shipped FedEx/UPS to my local Walgreen's as it's a business and hence, be cheaper than to a residence.

Check w/your local Walgreen's if they do that. Mine does (Burien, WA).
 

Markos

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When shipping wheels, you can use foam pipe insulation to protect the outer lips. Use cardboard between the wheels, and face the outer lip towards the cardboard.

Circumference = Diameter * Pi

You can also stop by a chain tire store like discount tire to pickup wheel boxes and lip guards.
 

Ohmess

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Some random thoughts:

I've shipped wheels and tires with only cardboard "round" covers over the wheels. Both rounds need to be cut just a little bit larger than the outer rim of the wheel so that they do not touch the ground when the tire is on its side. For the outside face, simply duct tape around the perimeter of the round directly to the tire. The inside round is taped the same way, but you need to make a small cardboard box (or triangle) to go between the back side of the round and the back of wheel face to ensure the round does not easily collapse into the rim.

A complete set of wheel calipers (without pads) can fit into the more square of the two USPS medium fixed rate boxes if you tuck them inside one another. No other packing material is required.

Uline is another good source for packing materials. When Gary Knox and I did a group buy on strut bars, I received the bulk shipment and bought the individual boxes from them.

If you happen to go to UHaul for shipping supplies and/or to rent a truck or trailer, they sell virgin newspaper as packing material. The old school folks here will remember that newspapers are the best window cleaners, and the stuff they sell at Uhaul does not have newsprint on it.
 

autokunst

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Love this topic.
USPS flat rate boxes: note there are a number of box sizes that aren't out on the display. But you can ask the agent/teller (what do you call them?) and they may have additional sizes in back. For example, "shoe box", "game board" (which is another large size), and there may be others. My local PO is really great about this - they've always been super helpful. The big PO downtown is unfortunately not so helpful. :(

And if it doesn't fit in a flat rate box, your own larger/odd sized box is another option. If the weight is reasonable and/or the distance not terribly far, this comes out pretty cost effective.
 

Stevehose

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I thought it was the ink that provided a mild abrasive for cleaning/polishing?

The old school folks here will remember that newspapers are the best window cleaners, and the stuff they sell at Uhaul does not have newsprint on it.
 

Markos

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This is great folks, keep the brainstorming going and I will consolidate in a few weeks with credit where due. I have a stack of flat-rate boxes that I keep at home. I use them regularly. I shipped Jay a hydro steering box in a large flat rate. That sucker is heavy but fits in the box, and is well under the limit. It helps to add extra cardboard to reinforce the box. They may accept 70lbs but the boxes certainly can't support 70lbs.

Other Tips:
  • Body shops have very large boxes that they regularly toss
  • Use a utility knife to score box folds on boxes that you make yourself, creates a clean fold
  • They sell packaging tape that is silently applied. Helpful if you have young kids or hate the noise that packaging tape makes
  • @sfdon is a big fan of statically charged packing peanuts. If you ship anything to him, use lots of packing peanuts :D
  • UPS doesn't like to ship to PO boxes
  • Some folks like to bolt wheels together will all-thread.
  • Check with your employer for large boxes. Big companies will get a lot of LCD monitors, server boxes, furniture boxes, etc
  • Take pictures of fragile items before you box them
  • With shipping claims, it is the shipper that has to file and monitor the claim. This is something to keep in mind when dealing with international shipments that have issues domestically. You may need to brush up on your German to get your issue resolved effectively, as UPS won't deal with the buyer. If you are purchasing something of significant value, it may be in your best interest to use a shipper
  • You can use ABS or PVC tube in lieu of shipping tubes for things that need extra protection, you will pay more for weight. ABS pipe (black drain pipe) is lighter and cheaper than PVC.
  • Uhaul sells adjustable mirror/TV boxes which can be helpful for oddly sized flat parts.
  • If you want to avoid all liability for damages, you can drop parts off at Fedex for shipping and have them pack&ship. @sfdon does this with his cylinder heads, as it is unquestionably Fedex's fault if anything gets damaged due to insufficient packaging (they pack really well though).
  • Analysts predict that FedEx will be purchased in the next 12-18 months, possibly by the Oracle of Omaha, or Walmart.
 

JayWltrs

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There's a discussion in this BaT comment thread about shipping by Fastenal, which I did not know was a thing. There's a link at the bottom of the Fastenal website to Blue Line Freight w more information.


 

Markos

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There's a discussion in this BaT comment thread about shipping by Fastenal, which I did not know was a thing. There's a link at the bottom of the Fastenal website to Blue Line Freight w more information.


I’ve gotten quotes from them several times but never end up using them. You need to drop stuff off, generally at dock height. The deal breaker for me has been the lack of cross country routes. As you can see there is a break in the regions.

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