You want to send more than a greeting card to customers this holiday season, but mailing packages can seriously cut into the company budget. Margaret Bristol provides tips on how to pack your packages and ship them for optimal discounts!
To pack like a pro:
Pick the right-size box. The more a piece can move, the more likely it is to break. And don’t overstuff; if you do, the contents are likely to bust out before reaching their destination. Check the box’s bottom flap for the maker’s certificate, which tells you the maximum weight the container can bear.
When you’re mailing multiple items, Bubble-Wrap each separately, then tape them together, advises Lynn Dralle, an eBay power seller who ships hundreds of items a week. “That way, they won’t clank against each other,” she says.
Before sealing a package, give it a gentle shake, says Jonathon Gariss, executive director of the Professional eBay Sellers Alliance. If you hear anything moving, add padding–newspaper or shredded documents do the trick.
To make sure your box is fully reinforced, use the “H” method: “Tape along all the seams–it will look like there’s an H on both the top and bottom of your box,” says Larry Rutledge, manager of packaging design and development at FedEx. And always use real packing tape; the other stuff won’t hold up in transit.
Reusing a box? Strip off old labels, especially the bar codes, so the package doesn’t get misrouted by the carrier.
Remove batteries from toys and electronics, if possible. All the jostling can turn them on in transit, and they may burn out before arrival.
To make a package waterproof, line it with a paper bag.
The wrong ZIP Code™ can land a package back on your doorstep (weeks later), so check accuracy with the U.S. Postal Service’s Zip Code Lookup tool at zip4.usps/zip4/welcome.jsp.
Stick an extra mailing label inside the box in case the exterior one becomes illegible. (Yes, according to the UPS, workers will open the box to look for this backup label).
Be Dot Calm:
Click on carriers’ sites to schedule pickups. UPS and FedEx charge for the perk; the U.S. Postal Service® doesn’t. To weigh a package at home: Stand on your scale with the box, then without, and subtract to get the difference.
Worried about weight? The U.S. Postal Service has flat-rate boxes that you can fill with your heaviest items, then send to any state–all for one fixed price. The boxes are free (though shipping isn’t, at $9) on shop.usps.com.
Compare postage online at shippingsidekick.com and redroller.com. Simply enter the weight of your package and its destination; the sites will give you the rates for all the major carriers, including UPS, DHL, and FedEx.
—Source: Reprinted from Good Housekeeping Magazine’s December 2007 issue (www.goodhousekeeping.com).
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