Not a complete tutorial but this covers the basics. Please comment or send in pics and descriptions of packing procedures you don’t see here. To read this in Not So Modern Drummer, go here: https://www.notsomoderndrummer.com/not-so-modern-drummer/2020/6/3/tips-on-how-to-pack-and-ship-drums-and-cymbals
Not a complete tutorial but this covers the basics. Please comment or send in pics and descriptions of packing procedures you don’t see here.
Damages. Always buy insurance for the full value that the customer paid. This should be included in the shipping cost you charge the customer. Make sure to tell your customer that if a package arrives damaged they need to keep the box and all packing materials so the shipping company can inspect them. The customer bought the insurance, but collecting the insurance money is the seller’s/shipper;s responsibility. If the customer does not keep all materials, or doesn’t allow the shipping company to inspect it, then it’s the customers’ loss if the shipping company doesn’t pay the claim. Sometimes the shipping company will not take the package after inspection. There may be items in that damaged package that you can use or sell. If the shipping company pays the claim, then the damaged item and packing is yours, though return shipping will be your responsibility. Make sure the customer understands that the damaged item must be returned to you if you request it, after you have either refunded the customer’s money or sent them a replacement item.
Why do I start with damages? Because all shipping companies damage shipments and lose them to a small degree. One is no better than the other in that respect. If you sell and ship with any frequency you will most likely run into having to make a claim. Learn the ins and outs of that.
Over the past thirty years of selling and shipping drums, I have found UPS to be the most reliable and the cheapest when shipping anything bigger than a breadbox. For small stuff, one of USPS’s flat rate boxes is the cheapest and fastest.
Get a business account at UPS.com The discounts for a business account are significant - somewhere between 15 and 20%. You don’t have to have a “business” - just a business name: “Joe’s Mighty Fine Drums” or whatever. You’ll just need a credit or debit card on file with them to pay your bill. The bill comes due after the package is delivered and all charges are computed. You’ll be able to print out a mailing label from the site. You will need a scale and a tape measure to get weight and dimensions. You can guess at weight if you want because UPS will correct it for the bill. UPS will pick up packages but there is a fee. It’s the same fee no matter how many packages. I usually just drop them off at a UPS store and get a receipt.
USPS.com is the site for the post office. While there is no discount, it is very convenient to print a label from the site then let the mailman pick up the package. pickups are free. Payment can be made with cards or paypal on file. Also you will eventually get a call from a customer rep who will give you their direct phone # for any problems you may have. This has been a big help to me, though the reps change every few months so you have to stay on top of who’s who.
Ship with paypal
When you get paid with paypal, you can go to your paypal account, look at that transaction’s page and there will be a link that says “ship” on that page. You can compare UPS and USPS rates, plus all of the fees are discounted . Paypal will automatically email the tracking # to your customer.
Do not!!! take your drums to a “UPS” STORE ” and let them pack and ship them unless you and your customer are aware of the high prices. They are not owned by UPS. They are just pick up points and make their money by doing the packing work you don’t want to do. They charge exorbitant prices. Fedex does own their stores and their packing fees are somewhat better than a UPS Store. Fedex’s packing charge is not bad at $35 a box, but their shipping rates are higher than UPS.
I don’t use Fedex much mainly because every time I compare rates they are almost always higher. I have used them at the customers’ request. Their packing charges are less than the “UPS Stores”.
A key to being a trustworthy seller and shipper is good communication with the buyer. Always answer emails within 24 hours and have all tracking numbers at hand in case there is a problem with the shipment,
The safest way to ship is to use two boxes, put the drum in the smaller box and put the smaller box inside the bigger box with bubble wrap or big plastic bubbles between the two boxes. This is how DW does it.