Holiday Shipping Tips
If you are one of the millions of people who ships or receives a package during the holiday season, I would like to say "thank you"... and offer a few tips that can save you time, money, and aggrivation during the time of year when we all need things to go smoothly.
1) Don't wait to the last minute to send your packages. The added cost of waiting to the final few minutes before the holiday deadline can dramatically increase your shipping charges. Here is an example. A parcel going from Blaine Washington, which weighs 27 pounds (lots of toys and cloths for your nephew and niece..) going UPS Ground to New York would cost approximately $25.00 For that much weight going across the country that's Not bad. But, it takes one week under normal circumstances to get there. During the second half of December, it will take as many as 12 days, especially if you are trying to time it for delivery just before Decmber 25th.
Compare that with waiting until December 20th, and trying to make it for the 25th. First of all, it needs to be delivered on or before the 24th, cause naturally nobody is delivering on christmas day. So, we take that same 27 pound package, and we ship it via UPS 2nd Day Air. The cost is actually over $100.
IF you were to send it a few days sooner, using UPS's 3-day service, the cost comes down to about $70.
BUT, If you wait until the 22nd and try to get it there for Xmas, you could be in for a shock!!! EXPECT that 27 pound package to cost $$$150!!!.
I've been involved in this industry since 1992, and it NEVER ceases to amaze me how much some people are willing to spend sending packages at the last minute. It also makes ME feel bad to have to charge that much to get it to the destination in time. But in the end, I've always said "nothing says 'I love you' like waiting to the last moment to spend a lot of money to get it there quickly". PLEASE, spend the extra $100 or $150 on the gifts and come a week earlier to ship them on time and under budget!
2) When crossing the border, either bringing your gifts down to ship them, or taking them home after picking them up, be prepared to tell the border-guards what you have in the packages. Be prepared to open them, or have them opened for you. It is not acceptable to say "I have no idea what they sent me"... its your responsibility to know what you are taking over the border, so be prepared. Its a good idea when you come down to ship you gifts to leave the packaging open, and finish the wrapping when you get here. Bring your wrapping paper and ribbons and anything else you want to use. It would be such an unfortunate thing to spend lots of time wrapping your gifts for your family, only to have the border-guards have all the fun of opening them just because they are bored with nothing better to do than challenge your over-taxed holiday spirit.
3) Package fragile items VERY well!!! I'm not joking on this one. The simple test I ask people to see if the item is packed safely or not... it works like this... with the package sitting on the counter I say "can I push it off the counter and let it fall". Their reacion tells me everything I need to know about the safety of the item inside.
IF you have any doubts about packing an item so that it will arrive safely, please let me help. I have been doing exactly that for many years, and I guarantee your item will arrive safely, and if not, the claim will be honoured by UPS.
4) Think about the size. Yes, size matters in the shipping industry at least. If you have a big item, and its going to be sent via an air delivery service (next day, two day, or three day), then you may be charged extra for the size of the item. An example would be, a 10 pound package to New York, which is less than 10 inches on all sides, would cost about $95. Compared to one that is 24 x 18 x 18, which would cost almost $200 because of the size.
5) Insure your shipments. This is obvious for anything of value. UPS includes $100 coverage automatically in your shipment, so, anything above that should be insured appropriately to protect your interest.