USPS delivers 20.2 million pieces of mail every single hour. Add to that number the amount of packages that get delivered by competing services like UPS, DHL, and FedEx, and one thing becomes very clear...
People love to send things in the mail.
As a business owner, you're no stranger to shipping the occasional package, document or bit of marketing collateral. As a matter of fact, we're sure that shipping small packages is part of your daily routine.
What's probably not part of your daily routine if you're reading this blog post right now is shipping large packages.
Large packages present a unique challenge to senders because many delivery services have special requirements for them.
To help you streamline your large package shipping endeavors as much as possible, our team shares tips on the best way to ship large boxes below.
1. Find a Snug Box
No matter how big or oddly shaped your item is, what really matters to delivery companies is the size and shape of the box that you put it in. To make things easier on them (and yourself) see if you can find a box that snugly fits around the item that you're trying to send out while leaving some room for you to add in safety materials like packing foam.
Boxes of various shapes and sizes can be found at just about any office supply store. Depending on your package's weight, you may also want to make sure that your large box is rated as being "heavy-duty" to prevent ripping.
2. Measure and Weight Your Box
Before you can start assessing your shipping options, you're going to have to collect some information on your package.
First off, put your item in its box and take the box's dimensions. After you've written out your box's dimensions, set it on a scale to note its weight.
Some digital human scales may have trouble accurately estimating your package's weight. To be safe and save yourself the headache of having your package rejected, round up whatever number your scale spits out if you're not using a proper package scale.
3. Start Looking Into Shipping Quotes
Every delivery company on the block is going to tell you that they're the best way to ship large boxes. It's your job to figure out which company is telling the truth.
The best way to do that is to go online and start comparing rates.
Three popular US shippers that are worth looking into include:
USPS is the government-run postal service. Prices for USPS are generally good but unfortunately, customer service can sometimes be an issue, especially when customers are trying to ship items that fall outside of what is considered normal.
You can learn more here about the current postal rates.
UPS is the most popular private shipper in the country. They are Amazon's preferred shipper which has led Amazon to offer deep discounts on UPS shipping services if your large package is being sent in order to complete an Amazon transaction.
FedEx is another private shipper. They're famous for their same-day services. Most Office Max locations have a FedEx located in the building.
4. Consider Breaking Your Shipment Up
If you went through all of those shippers and are not happy with the rates that you were offered, you still have some options.
Many people find that the best way to ship large boxes is to not ship large boxes at all. By that we mean they break up their large box's cargo into several smaller boxes that are more delivery-service-friendly.
This isn't an option for everyone depending on what sort of cargo is being sent. If it is an option for you though, it's certainly worth exploring to see if breaking up your package can get you a better deal.
5. Take Applicable Precautions
If shipping your package as a single parcel is a necessity, be aware of any special attention that your box may need before dropping it off at its shipping location.
For example, many shippers will ask that you label heavy boxes as "overweight" or "team lift" before they send it out. Others will ask that you double box your package to help avoid ripping while in transit.
Ask your delivery company what they recommend prior to drop-off so you're not caught off guard.
6. Go to a Packing Professional
Are all of the extra steps that you have to take to ship large boxes driving you crazy? Sometimes, the stress isn't worth it and you're better off just getting your box professionally packaged.
Both UPS and FedEx offer professional packing services where you can bring in your large item and let a packing professional do the rest.
These services can get expensive but ask yourself, how much is your sanity worth?
7. Contact a Specialty Shipper
If your item is truly out of the ordinary and you're having trouble finding any major carrier that's willing to help you out, contact a specialty shipper.
The presence of specialty shippers varies from city to city. If you can find one though, most will offer more flexible services than big-box shippers.
Before hiring a niche shipper, do what you can to verify their reputation. You don't want to hand your package over to what you think is a small shipping company only to have its owner run off with your package.
Closing out Our Tips on Finding the Best Way to Ship Large Boxes
Coming up with the best way to ship large boxes can be a hassle given how much delivery companies prefer standard-sized parcels. Despite the challenge, you can certainly come up with some shipping options for yourself if you're willing to get creative and put in a little bit of leg work.
We wish you the best as you explore your shipping options and welcome you to read more excellent content right here on our blog!