Shipping on a shoestring

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Forum topic by pashley posted 02-03-2010 12:39 AM 1786 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1043 posts in 3715 days

02-03-2010 12:39 AM

I just paid through the nose to ship a small lamp. Here’s the breakdown:

Special size box: $8
2’ x 10’ bubble wrap: $5
Small bag of foam peanuts: $6

Actual shipping via parcel post: $21

Total: $50


Does anyone have tips or tricks, or advice to ship for cheaper? Alternatives to bubble wrap and peanuts? This is crazy.

-- Have a blessed day!

17 replies so far

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3366 days

#1 posted 02-03-2010 12:52 AM

Save newspaper, or get your neighbors to save thier for you. Makes great packing material. Go to and order boxes from the post office. Lots of sizes of bulk rate for heavy items and standard for lighter weight items. Boxes are free as is the shipping to you.

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4125 days

#2 posted 02-03-2010 01:31 AM

1. Recycle, e.g. used boxes from a retailer, shredded paper from a data processing center.
2. Buy wholesale. You are paying way too much for supplies.
3. My customers always pay for shipping and handling.

-- 温故知新

View cathyb's profile


768 posts in 3242 days

#3 posted 02-03-2010 01:31 AM

Ditto. I’m always checking out empty boxes at the local hardware store-if you ask, they give them too you. Usually those boxes are stronger and that saves you $8. Watch where the FedEx and UPS trucks stop on your block. No one knows what to do with unwanted bubble wrap and especially popcorn. You might say to those neighbors, “If you want to get rid of that stuff and save the landfill, I’ll take it.” That’s a win/win and now you have saved $11.
You’re on your own when it comes to postage. You should add it to the cost of the lamp.
Good luck….....

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3752 days

#4 posted 02-03-2010 01:32 AM

I am not much of a ‘greenie’ but recycling is one of the ways I do it.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View rozzi's profile


323 posts in 3320 days

#5 posted 02-03-2010 01:33 AM

I don’t know how many items you ship, but, if you ship several similar items it is much cheaper to buy boxes from online from ULine. I also buy the peanuts and bubble wrap in bulk bag from local UPS store. Many stores that receive shipments will give you peanuts if you offer to pick-up on a regular basis. The local Goodwill Stores are also a good outlet for boxes and peanuts since alot of their items are brought in and they don’t ship musch out. I find the peanuts sometimes save money due to the extra shipping costs for the extra weight for paper, but, I do shred paper and use it unless it increases the weight above the next pound.

-- Duane, Iowa

View pashley's profile


1043 posts in 3715 days

#6 posted 02-03-2010 02:11 AM

Wow that ULINE.COM is much cheaper. Thanks. Oh, and yes, I did charge for shipping, but only $25

-- Have a blessed day!

View robwelch's profile


7 posts in 3034 days

#7 posted 02-04-2010 08:07 PM

Never go to a shipping store like ups store or fedex/kinkos. They make a ton of money on shipping supplies. You can prepare your shipments online at ups & fedex then just call for pickup or drop in at a pickup location (box or counter).

Uline is a good source for a quantity of boxes but if you only need 1 usually office supply stores sell them, but obviously reusing a box is best.

Also usps has the “flat rate” boxes now which is nice since the box is free. I haven’t done a price comparison with the usps flat rate versus ups ground yet.

View Mogebier's profile


170 posts in 3031 days

#8 posted 02-05-2010 05:11 PM

Using newspapers is easy, but the ink can get on everything, and it does have a substantial weight.
I get free boxes from all over the place. I have never paid for a box. I also get free packing pillows from random places. If you ever order anything from Amazon, they ship things overpacked with extra pillows :)
Ask your friends who work in offices if they get shipments from office supply stores and ask them to save boxes and packing materials for you.

-- You can get more with a kind word and a 2 by 4, than you can with just a kind word.

View pashley's profile


1043 posts in 3715 days

#9 posted 02-05-2010 05:16 PM

For me, I think the shipping is part of the experience, for the consumer. Always under promise and over deliver – even on shipping. I can’t see using a used box to ship to a customer. I want to use a new box, with a nicely done shipping label. I think it reflects positively on your business.

Obviously, I paid way too much for the boxes and supplies. That’s something I need to source out better.

I was considering using air-popped popcorn as a packing material; it’s environmentally friendly, easy to store (pop when you need it) and cheap.

-- Have a blessed day!

View Mogebier's profile


170 posts in 3031 days

#10 posted 02-06-2010 02:39 AM

Boxes are like stamps. Most people will never look twice at a shipping box. The open it, take out the item and toss the box. You can ask people to only save blank boxes for you. Or, you can do what I do and turn the boxes inside out. I do that so I don’t have to black out all the words and bar codes.

-- You can get more with a kind word and a 2 by 4, than you can with just a kind word.

View SteveMI's profile


1094 posts in 3292 days

#11 posted 02-06-2010 02:50 AM

I was going to use the post office to ship some online listed items, but their prices for shipping with my own box was as much as the item I was trying to sell. Took the same box to Fed-x and UPS, found UPS to be cheapest and about 2/3 the cost of post office. UPS also gave free tracking, where post office wanted extra charge for it.


View daveintexas's profile


365 posts in 3874 days

#12 posted 02-10-2010 06:07 PM

Go to the local newspaper publisher. They have ends of rolls of paper they use for printing the news on it.
They either throw them away or give them out for free. Plus they are clean paper as they have no ink on them yet.
Here is central Texas I have found FedEx to be alittle cheaper then UPS, and the big plus for me is that the FedEx service center is open all day, whereas the UPS service center does not open till 4:30 pm.

I have talked with a local pack and mail store about shipping, and although they may be higher, it looks like it might be cost effective for me to drop off my items there, let them pack and ship them. The manager is talking like a pretty decent discount depending on the amount of items shipped.

View Wood_smith's profile


260 posts in 3023 days

#13 posted 02-12-2010 11:48 PM

Try putting an ad on a free buy/sell/trade website asking for local people to give you their Styrofoam ‘peanuts’ might be surprised how many people save them, planning on doing something with them later.

-- Lloyd Kerry; creator of the Kerry-All Pouch,

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 3487 days

#14 posted 02-13-2010 12:12 AM

You can order free boxes from teh USPS and if you don’t want to send them USPS turn them inside out.

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View pashley's profile


1043 posts in 3715 days

#15 posted 03-10-2010 08:33 PM

I’m sure there are others out there with special shipping needs. I came across, which seems very interesting. The premise? You put your item(s) on a listing – what to be shipped, origination and destination. Shippers bid on a price to do the job. It’s like eBay meets FedEx.

-- Have a blessed day!

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