Frequently Asked Questions about Shipping and Packing
How do I get a quote?
If you can bring your item(s) in, this is the best option. This way we can view and measure your item(s) and give an exact quote, especially if your item is not already packed. If you cannot bring in the items, call us and we can help you over the phone. If you have many items or multiple rooms which you want picked-up or packed on-site, often we can come to you and give you an in-house estimate.
How does the size of the package affect pricing
FedEx, UPS, and DHL base the rate of shipping a parcel on the greater of either actual weight or dimensional weight. And most often, unless you are shipping something dense and heavy, the dimensional weight will be the greater of the two measurements. Even the USPS rates for Priority Mail are based on size and weight.
A package measuring greater than 130 inches in combined length and girth will get an “oversize” charge on UPS and FedEx ground services. Plus all shippers have maximum size allowance. UPS and FedEx Ground packages must have a combined length and girth of no more than 165 inches. Anything larger than that can be shipped freight.
What is dimensional weight?
Dimensional weight reflects package density, which is the amount of space a package occupies in relation to its actual weight.
What is billable weight?
Billable weight is the weight used to calculate your rate. For domestic and international services, the billable weight will either be the dimensional weight or the actual weight of your package, whichever number is greater.
How is dimensional weight calculated?
Multiply the length by width by height of your package, rounding each measurement to the nearest whole inch. It is important that you measure at the widest point of each rectangular dimension. For example, if there is a bulge in the box, you must use the widest point of the bulge for the measurement. The resulting total is the cubic size of your package.
Divide the cubic size of your package in inches by 166 (for shipments within the U.S. and shipments between the U.S. and Puerto Rico) or 139 (for U.S. export and U.S. import-rated international shipments). Increase any fraction to the next whole pound. This is your dimensional weight.
The dimensional weight becomes the billable weight when the dimensional weight of your package exceeds its actual weight. For multiple-package shipments, total the billable weight of all packages in the shipment.
What is the maximum weight allowed on FedEx and UPS?
What can cause a surcharge on FedEx or UPS?
When the package:
1) Measures greater than 60 inches along its longest side
2) Measures greater than 30 inches along its second-longest side
3) Has an actual weight of greater than 70 lbs.
4) Is not fully encased in an outer shipping container
5) Is encased in an outer shipping container made of metal or wood
6) Is cylindrical, including (without limitation) cans, buckets, barrels, drums or pails that are not fully encased in a shipping container made of corrugated cardboard unless and envelope
7) Is cylindrical, whether or not encased in corrugated cardboard, and exceeds 18 inches in length or 3 inches in diameter or has a diameter greater than its height
8) Is bound with metal, plastic or cloth banding (including packages where the outer surface area is loosely wrapped or creased, or where the contents protrude outside the surface area or would become entangled in or cause damage to other packages or the FedEx conveyance system.
*FedEx, UPS, DHL and other shippers reserve the right to assess additional handling charges for packages that require special handling or that require additional packaging during transit.
Is it cheaper for me to pack my shipment than having Pac N Send pack it?
Normally you would think it is cheaper to do it yourself, but not always. If you are shipping a fragile item, by the time you purchase all your supplies, it could be less expensive and save you time to just bring your item(s) in and have us pack it. And remember, more often than not, you are charged by the dimensions of the package. When we pack the item, chances are we can use packaging that better fits saving you on shipping costs.
Pac N Send can strategize your shipment. Maybe it is cheaper to put your shipment in two boxes instead of one? Maybe by cutting down the box a few inches, you can avoid the oversize charge or can use a different type of service. If your shipment qualifies for Media Mail, that could save you a lot.
And most importantly, you may pack the shipment incorrectly causing damage. Remember, the general rule of thumb is your parcel should withstand a fall of 6 feet on any sides or corners and still be safe. And if you pack your own shipment, and then insure it, and there is damage, the insurance company can deny your claim because the shipment is not properly packaged.
So doing your own packing can “cost” you rather than “save” you money. Pac N Send packing fees are normally much less.
How to save money when shipping?
The first step is to properly pack your shipment to minimize size yet maximize safety. The price for shipping is usually determined by billable weight which is the greater amount between actual weight and dimensional weight. If you pack the shipment smaller, often you will save money, especially when shipping by air and shipping internationally. Do not improperly pack and jeopardize safety of the contents and prevents insurance from paying a claim, however, when trying to minimize space. Pac and Ship has shipping materials that are very effective at providing protection yet take up less space than traditional packing.
You can also explore other options besides corrugated boxes. For example, using padded envelopes or flat rate boxes may suit your needs and decrease unnecessary dimensional weight. Or perhaps a United States Postal Flat Rate Box might be cheaper. If you are shipping larger items like freight or items that will go on a pallet, again, the size and weight will have a factor. If your shipment is only 36” x 36” x 36” but you use a standard pallet that is 48”x40”x6” thick, you will be paying the maximum of each measurement, meaning the shipment will be rated at 48” x 40” x 42”. Pack and Send can optimize your shipment so that you are not wasting space or money. We look for other ways to reduce volume and increasing safety such as removing detachable legs from a table or filling empty spaces.
It’s important when shipping that you choose an expert that has knowledge, access and experience to many shipping companies and types of shipping. At Pac N Send, we can ship by couriers like UPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL, most of the major trucking freight companies and more. We can ship by small parcel trucks, freight trucks, air, ocean and more. We represent companies that offer some of the lowest rates to Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada and more.
Many shippers only represent their own companies, that’s why FedEx Office is not going to tell you about USPS’s rates and The UPS Store is not going to tell you about FedEx’s One Rate.
Are USPS Flat Rate and FedEx One Rate boxes cheaper?
Who is cheaper, FedEx, UPS or USPS for domestic shipping?
The answer is all of the above as it depends on what you are shipping, what it weighs, what size and how fast you need it there. At Pack and Ship, since we are authorized with FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL, Polonez and many other companies, we can find the most economical and best shipping value for your shipments.
What are common mistakes with shipping?
Using duct, masking or cellophane tape as they do not adhere well to cardboard.
Wrapping your box or present in kraft paper or wrapping paper. The shipping companies do not want this as the protective paper can get ripped off from the conveyor belts and the shipping label will no longer be on the box. Some shippers will not allow your shipment if wrapped in paper.
Incomplete addresses, like missing an apartment number.
Thinking a “Right Side Up” or “Fragile” sticker will be obeyed. Unfortunately, conveyor belts do not always read your stickers.
Not packing fragile items properly. You cannot imagine the stuff we see.
Using used liquor boxes. The box cannot have printing on it indicating possible liquor in the box.
Shipping items in their original box. Original boxes, which are commonly made from boxboard or solid cardboard are usually good to use when packing, but depending on the type and strength, the original box should be placed inside a stronger corrugated box.
Thinking as long as I insure my shipment, I’m safe. Buying insurance gives you the possibility of filing a claim only. If you shipment is not properly packaged or your item is not an insurable item, then your claim will be denied regardless of whether you purchased insurance.
How does insurance on a shipment work?
Pac N Send has a variety of insurance options, but most importantly, we give legitimate advice about insurance. First of all, if you are insuring a small parcel, and you file a claim, unless the box is packaged properly, the claim will be denied. For example, if you ship most anything the shipper considers breakable, you must double box the shipment and have certain amount of cushioning material between the item and inner box and between the inner and outer boxes. When customers do their own packing, we rarely see the packing matching the requirements of the shipper, thus voiding the possibility of getting paid on an insurance claim if one was filed.
Small Parcel FedEx, UPS and DHL shipments normally come with a standard $100 of insurance per shipment. With some exceptions, Priority Mail Express shipments include up to $100 of insurance and Priority Mail shipments $50. All amounts are subject to conditions and certain items are exempt.
Insurance on freight shipments is different. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does not require standard automatic cargo insurance. So unless you purchase insurance, your cargo may not be covered for any loss. Paid for insurance on freight is usually only for catastrophic loss, like if the shipment gets lost or if the truck has an accident and completely damages your freight shipment.
No insurance company will not insure against scratches or dents, for example, if you are transporting used goods as there is no way to know what scratches were there before. This is why it is important to use a packing company that you can trust to carefully pack your shipment.
There are certain exempt items that are not insurable depending on the particular courier company. Antiques, original works of art, etc. often are not insurable. Insurance needs should be handled on a shipment by shipment basis.
How much insurance coverage should I buy?
This is personal or business decision you must make, but insuring your freight for more than its fair market value might be a waste of money as you can normally only get paid up to fair market value of your damaged goods if they are not repairable.
How do I know if my box is strong enough?
Can I ship the item in the display box the item is sold in?
The colorful preprinted boxes made out of boxboard or solid cardboard that items come in are not usually sufficient to protect your product during shipment. Originally boxes are often good, however, to use for packing and putting inside a corrugated box. Since Pac N Send 50+ boxes sizes in house and makes custom boxes to most any size, we should have a box to put your original box in.
Do I have to pay for shipping on returned items?
The answer depends on the return policy of where you bought your item, more importantly, do you have prepaid mailing label? Companies that do offer paid returns usually will email you a return label that you can bring into Pac N Send.
Does Pac N Send accept drop-offs?
Pac N Send takes drop-offs from UPS, FedEx, Post Office, and DHL. We can provide you with a receipt for most companies.
What is the difference between a mailbox with a shipping store versus a Post Office?
First of all, a mailbox at a shipping store comes with a physical address. This is important if you want to give the impression of a physical address for your business, for example. And if you want to verify an address with Google, you will need a physical mailing address. Our mailboxes give you a Clearwater, which is central to Pinellas County, and will look like the follow:
Your name or business name
1548 S. Missouri Ave. # (your box number will appear here)
Clearwater, FL 33765
When you get a mailbox at Pac N Send, you get the personal attention you won’t get at a post office. For example, we can receive shipments from FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL, trucking companies, and other couriers which the Post Office cannot. You can call us to ask if you have mail. Try doing that at the post office.
Both Pac N Send and the post office have 24 hour access.
Is there a charge for pack and ship stores to accept shipments for me?
If you have a mailbox with us, for example, and you are receiving a small package, there is no charge. If you are receiving a pallet shipment, for example, then there will be a charge. If you do not have a mailbox with us, there will be a minimal charge.