How to ship anything (and save money too)

Research shipping services that can help you meet your needs so you have basic information on hand when you need it.

Tue Mar 24 15:37:00 EDT 2015

Don’t be afraid of shipping! If you only offer local pick up, you are probably losing valuable sales opportunities. Many customers think nothing of paying a shipping fee if it ensures their purchase will be shipped safely and securely to them.

I recommend researching services that can help you with your shipping needs so you have basic information — including rough cost estimates — on hand when you need it.

Finding Local Shipping Services

To get started, perform a web search for local shipping services in your area by searching your town name together with keywords like freight, shipping, crate, services and international.

  • Consider freight shipping. Be aware that large, heavy items may require using a freight shipper, but don’t let this scare you off. There are many freight services with very reasonable prices; even Greyhound®, the bus company, offers freight shipping.
  • Compare prices and services. I recently shipped an antique couch from Florida to Ohio and found a great price by using a comparison site called U-Ship® to evaluate my options. Read online reviews to see what others have to say about their experiences.
  • Plan for your worst-case scenario. Explore the insurance coverage offering and claim process for each shipper. It’s better to know upfront what steps you’ll need to take if loss or damage occurs.

Special Situations

From diamonds to large furniture to unwieldy car parts, you can find reliable shipping solutions at reasonable prices.

  • Expensive and valuable items: Options for shipping pricey goods (diamonds and jewelry, for instance) have expanded. FedEx® has a specific service for shipping jewelry with a declared value up to $50,000. And the USPS® will insure up to $25,000 for many countries if the package is sent via certified mail, signature required. There are some limitations and exclusions, however. I suggest clicking on this list, which gives details by country. Great benefit: Both of these services offer top-notch tracking service. Drivers are accounted for and signatures are required along the route.
  • Big, heavy items: In my experience, buyers don’t mind paying for shipping if doing so allows them to relax, knowing their item will arrive unharmed. Since shipping companies like USPS, FedEx and UPS® have limits on weight, you’ll need to use freight shipping for oversized or super-heavy items. Freight shippers are not difficult to find though — just do a simple search (the word freight and the name of city/town of origin) to find options and compare prices.
  • Odd shapes and sizes: If you need to ship an item that won’t fit into a conventional box, the least expensive solution for self-shipping is to create your own box from large pieces of cardboard. You can often find used cardboard at supermarkets, liquor stores and appliance stores. Use a box cutter to slice up the cardboard and build a “box” that meets your needs. Don't be stingy with tape: Use extra-strong shipping tape and plenty of it! Or, you can take the item to a shipping center (FedEx, Mail Boxes®, etc., and many private companies offer this service) and they’ll do this for you for a fee.

Specialized shipping solutions are available for all types of products, including highly perishable fresh seafood, live animals, and even trees! To get started, invest some time into locating the experts who can help you. Just about everything is shippable, so don’t let the fear of shipping hold you back from online growth!

To learn more about how Pitney Bowes ensures the correct items are delivered to the right recipients, request more information about our Sendsuite Package Tracking and Delivery Software.