We’ve all read about or seen the videos of the mail carrier, or UPS person, or FedEx driver that throws, kicks, or slams a package across the porch. All three of the carriers have disgruntled or bad employees just like any other large company. Keep in mind, each driver delivers hundreds if not thousands of packages or pieces of mail per day while listening to customer complaints, running from dogs, and making sure that 97% of the 28 million-plus packages delivered daily arrive on time and safe. It is a stressful job and sometimes….just sometimes, someone “cracks” or genuinely drops a package or puts a 50 lbs. package on top of a 5 lbs. package while playing Tetris in the tractor trailer that will move your package across the nation.
So when you have something that absolutely, positively, must get there on time and intact, then take it upon yourself to make sure it does. Don’t leave it in someone else’s hands to ensure that they will take care of it like you would. They don’t know what’s in it and honestly, they don’t care. Their job is just to move it from point A to point B quickly and as safely as possible. But in the grand picture of things all three carriers do a tremendous job in moving packages and from our experience if we pack things right then there should be very little chance of damage.
The easiest way to know if your package is packed correctly and your items are safely tucked inside is by dropping the box from about 4 feet high. If you are comfortable doing that then you know you’ve done a good job packing. Keep in mind a conveyor belt moving thousands of packages a day doesn’t know if you have a bunch of clothes in your box or a $3,000 piece of equipment.
Secure your item from impact and vibration by using bubble wrap and packing peanuts for the optimal safety. You should first wrap any item with bubblewrap at least ½ inch thick then place the item in the appropriate sized box, where there is a minimum of 2 inches between the item and the sides of the box. Fill all open space with packing peanuts for fragile items. Keep in mind that if you decide to go “cheap” and use newspaper and something does happen to your box when the damage inspection happens they will decline your claim because “inadequate” packing materials were used.
Now that we have that out of the way, which carrier? Well, that depends on a number of factors including how fast you need the item delivered, the value, the size and where it’s going. So take a look at the chart below to see which carrier measures up to what’s important for you.
In general, a low cost, replaceable, item that is not time-sensitive can be sent via the US Postal Service at the lowest cost. However, if either time or value is of any concern then using UPS or FedEx is the more appropriate choice.
We hope this helps you pack your item more carefully and send it with some education behind your decision. Also feel free to take a look at our Packing 101 section which will give you some more pointers on packing things from iPads to picture frames.
Don’t miss our next blog on the services the carriers provide so you can make an informed decision on how to send things when time is of the essence.