Cheap Small Shipping Boxes
July 29, 2010|By Gregory Karp, Spending Smart, Tribune Newspapers
Shipping a small 3-pound package from Chicago to Orlando might cost about $3 or it might cost near $90, with overnight shipping. Retail shipping prices vary widely and change frequently, so it's worth knowing what your options are.
But sorting through those options can befuddle even professional shippers.
"The biggest challenge, without question, we have in our own business is shipping, because it's so complicated, " said Mark Le Vine, of shipping materials supplier Bubblefast.com.
Significant distinctions among shipping choices and prices mostly come between the post office and other methods. That's because UPS and FedEx, the other primary choices, tend to offer similar services and be competitive with each other on price, experts say.
Here's what you need to know.
Rule of thumb: For a consumer occasionally shipping packages, especially small ones, the U.S. Postal Service is often your best choice for price and convenience, experts said. But that advice comes with many exceptions, which make UPS and FedEx better options, especially for larger and heavier packages going far away.
Online comparison sites: For prices of many shipping methods, try shippingsidekick.com. The shippers' own sites also allow you to check prices. Also try postcalc.usps.gov. The post office gives you a small price break for paying online and printing your own label.
Speed and distance: It might be obvious that you'll pay more for quicker delivery and farther destinations. That's generally true, but comparing, say, ground transportation delivery can be difficult.
The USPS parcel post ground delivery is inexpensive but very slow, two to eight days on average, and potentially two weeks for coast-to-coast transport. UPS and FedEx ground can be more expensive but quicker, about three days for many sizes of packages and distances shipped. So, their ground delivery can be comparable to the post office's pricier Priority Mail speed.
On the other hand, the post office delivers to all addresses and P.O. boxes. UPS and FedEx sometimes add a surcharge for delivering to rural areas and do not deliver to P.O. boxes.
Size matters: Shippers use what they call dimensional weight pricing, which takes into account the size of the package, instead of weight. That means a large, light box could be more expensive to ship than a small, heavy one.
"Most people don't know that size matters almost more than weight to figure out how much it's going to cost to ship, " Levine said.
Often heavier packages can be considerably less expensive to ship with UPS or FedEx instead of the post office.
One simple reason is large boxes take up more room on trucks and planes. Another is that they might not fit in the shipping company's label-scanning machinery and require human intervention. That's why, if you are shipping several items in a large box, it could be cheaper to divide them into smaller boxes and ship them separately, said Jacob Lakhany, chief executive officer of ShippingSidekick.com.
Need to Move as Cheap as Possible
Leaving a bad relationship in June and want to take some things with me. My two kids and I are driving across country so Im getting a roof rack to take some things and also have an Accura which has a small trunk. Need advice on how I can get some things back home without making the trip totally uncomfortable on the kids. Shipping is fine but need a cheap shipper that would take about 5 3x5 boxes of things. Thanks, any help is greatly appreciated.
Here's what I do...but it ain't cheap...
I take the chocolates and pack them in small, but heavy wieght boxes. I put those boxes in a cheap styrofoam cooler. In and around the small boxes I put either ice packs or packs of dry ice. Then I tape up the styrofoam cooler, and place in a larger box and stuff newpaper in between the box and cooler. Seal up the larger box and run to Fed Ex and overnight it, but I have good results with second day because sometimes it makes it there the next day anyway. Be sure to tell them if you included dry ice on your shipping label, and to write perishable on the outside box as well.
What kind of chocolates are you sending? It may make a difference wheather you use dry ice or ice packs.
Container shipping: the secretive industry crucial to our existence — Telegraph.co.uk
They are the reason behind your cheap T-shirt and reasonably priced television. But who looks beyond a television now and sees the ship that carried .. The biggest container ship can carry 15,000 boxes.