Everyone knows the horror of opening a package to find that the item you ordered or was sent to you by a loved one has been damaged or destroyed in transport. Based on that experience, you might assume that shipping fragile items is unsafe or that their safe arrival has more to do with handling than packing.
Neither is true. There are many different ways to limit the potential for damage when shipping fragile items. If you have the right supplies and follow these tips for shipping fragile materials safely, you can be certain they will get where they need to go unscathed.
The first step to shipping fragile items is rounding up the right supplies. Taking shortcuts or using substandard materials could leave your items vulnerable to damage.
You may be wondering, “What packing materials should I use for fragile items?” Some supplies, like scissors, you might have laying around your house.
For packaging, you will need to buy foam peanuts, packing paper, bubble wrap, and stretch film. You also will need packing tape and some type of inexpensive adhesive, like Scotch or masking tape.
For shipping items that are only slightly delicate, bubble mailers may be suitable. For most fragile items, use a sturdy cardboard box. It is very important that you select one that is large enough to hold your padded item but not too big that it requires a lot of extra padding to keep the items from jostling around.
The distance your item is traveling could impact the extent of padding and protection you add to it. The farther it travels the more handling it requires. And this translates to more opportunities for someone to drop it or for the package to encounter harsh weather.
Now for how to package fragile items. First, wrap a layer of small bubble tape around the product. Use simple tape to hold it in place.
Then wrap an extra layer of large bubble tape on the outside. Add a final layer of stretch film to seal the package.
Do not wrap the items too tightly, as the added pressure could increase the chance that they will break. If you are packing a hollow item, place some packing paper or foam peanuts inside the item to absorb and pressure from the outside.
If the item has sharp edges, like a picture frame or jewelry chest, place extra padding around these areas. If you are mailing more than one item in the same box, wrap them separately. This keeps them from rubbing together or chipping one another.
If your package may be traveling in rain or other harsh weather conditions, consider placing your wrapped items inside a plastic bag. This is a simple and cheap way to keep out moisture.
Center the item as best as possible inside the mailing box. Stuff packing paper or peanuts into the excess spaces around it. The aim is to ensure the wrapped items move around as little as possible during transport.
Next, close the box with packing tape. Use the H-tape method, which entails running strips along the top open edges and middle seam of the box.
Finally, use a black marker to write “fragile” on the sides and top of the box (leaving enough room for shipping labels). Write it large enough so that delivery drivers will notice it from any angle. If it makes a difference whether your parcel remains upright during shipping, indicate this on the package as well.
A Note on Weather
A lot of people mistakenly blame handling for the majority of damages to parcels. You should choose a reputable shipping service that will handle it with the utmost care. But one of the biggest culprits of damage to packages is inclement weather.
Even if your mail carrier does their best to protect the package, exposure to rain, snow, or other types of precipitation, increases the chance that the cardboard box will degrade. Extremely cold or hot temperatures could impact your mailed items as well.
You may not have any choice when you ship your package. But, if you do, check the forecast and try to avoid any severe weather that might affect the integrity of your package.
No matter how well you pack your item, there is always a chance that something could happen. Decide whether you need to buy insurance based on the value of the contents. Even if you have done everything possible to ensure the safe delivery of your items, purchasing the right amount of insurance will ensure compensation should the unforeseeable happen.
Find a Prominent Courier
Regardless of how often you ship fragile items, it is worth doing some homework to find a reputable courier service. Read online reviews, see what people are saying, and make sure they have a lot of shipping experience.
Courier services have a lot of competition and put their reputation on the line with every shipment. A quality one will do everything in their power to deliver your items intact.
Be Confident in Shipping Fragile Items
Now that you have an idea of the proper methods for shipping fragile items, you can be confident that they will arrive in the shape that you sent them. Packaging your item the correct way and putting it in the hands of a qualified shipping courier will give you peace of mind. You will know that you did everything possible to make sure it was delivered safely.
10-21 SunRise is Ottawa’s premier courier service. We pride ourselves on exceptional customer service and competitive prices. Each business is unique, and we attempt to prioritize every shipment with specialized care and attention.
Our staff would be happy to provide you online estimates, delivery times, and answer any questions you might have about our business practices and the shipping process.