A Guide to Packing, and (domestic) Shipping BST Yo-Yos


#1

A Guide to Packing and (domestic) Shipping Your BST Yo-Yos:

Introduction

The issue of packing/shipping comes up on the forum quite often. If you are selling or trading yo-yos, it is your responsibility to make sure the yo-yos reach the recipient, without getting damaged in transit. A few ways to ensure safe delivery of the yo-yos you send, is to choose appropriate and sufficient packaging and shipping supplies.

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  1. Use a Box[/b]

First, I highly recommend using a box (not a padded envelope), for shipping. If you sell or trade yo-yos often, I recommend Uline brand boxes. They are cheap, and tested for 200lb weight, which means they are less likely to get crushed if a mail carrier stacks other packages on top of it. I found the perfect one for me, a 5" square box, which accommodates a few yo-yos and packing material.

On uline.com you can find the right size boxes for your needs. I paid .23 per box, shipped to my door. They come flat, easy to store. This allows me to avoid paying extra for Priority shipping. Many people ship Priority just to use the convenient boxes. On average, mailing a yo-yo in a Uline box, with tracking, costs me, including cost of the box, less than $4. Pay priority if you choose, but there is no guarantee it will get there any faster than first class. I prefer first class, and save a few dollars this way. If you sell and trade often, it all adds up to savings. Besides, that awkward rectangular, flat, small priority box that is commonly used, might require disassembling the yo-yo first, just so it can fit before shipping. I find First Class more consistent, and often equally fast.

2. Ship the Yo-Yo Assembled

I prefer to ship yo-yos assembled. There are many reasons why I do not disassemble yo-yos before shipping. Yo-Yos are not shipped to me from the retail store disassembled, so it is not necessary. Disassembling and reassembling the yo-yo puts more wear and tear on the parts after it has been sold. Shipping a disassembled yo-yo means there are more parts in the box, creating greater risk of things falling on the floor or getting lost when the box is opened. Also, I prefer to throw a yo-yo right out of the box, and I want to provide the other party the same convenience that I prefer. If the recipient had to reassemble the yo-yo, he/she might damage or strip it before the first throw. If they can throw it right out of the box, at least they might tell what the yo-yo was like before they tampered with it. Disassembling a yo-yo and shipping parts in a plastic baggie, may cause an axle to poke through the plastic, and damage the yo-yo.

3. Choose the Right Packing Materials

I suggest you keep some packing materials which can be saved from prior online purchases. Save the bubblewrap in that YoyoExpert box. If you don’t like keeping a stash of bubble wrap, you can use things around the house as packing material. One of the best and easiest materials to find for free, is newspaper. Use “clean” newspaper, for example, the circulars from your mailbox. Ball it up, and it will provide cushion to line your shipping box. Another useful material is the lightweight plastic bags you might get from the grocery store. Ball those up, and stick those in the box in a similar fashion. Look for items that are not heavy (to reduce shipping weight/cost), but something that can fill space and act as a cushion between the yo-yo and the walls of the box.

This photo shows some items I had around the house. I found some advertisements from my mailbox, bubble wrap from the last YYE order I received, packing peanuts,and a plastic bag from the grocery store.

4. Pack Well

I have suggestions for packing the box. Individually wrap the yo-yo in layers of clean packing material. There is a Markmont Next wrapped up in this photo.

Then, line all four sides of the box with packing material. Put material in the bottom of the box.

Place the individually wrapped yo-yo in the box.

Stuff packing material on all sides of the box.

Then, put packing material on top.

Close the flaps of the box, shake it lightly. If you hear any rattling or movement, you have not added enough material. Add more if necessary, then lightly shake it again. When you have a quiet box, it is almost ready to go. In the end, the yo-yo should be in the middle of the box, without touching the sides, top, or bottom of the box. Same rule applies to shipping multiple throws.

5. Mark it Fragile

Keep a red or orange pen, or permanent marker handy. After you address the box, write in prominent letters “fragile” on the box. Once on all sides is sufficient. A mail carrier will know they have a breakable item in transit. Some carriers might be less likely to throw a heavy box on top of your package if it is marked fragile. If you usually walk into the post office to do transactions, they have a “fragile” stamp at the desk. Ask them to stamp the box fragile for you instead.

6. Document Your Efforts

It does not hurt to take photos of your packing efforts. I recommend a photo or two of the inside of the box, before it is sealed. If there is any dispute about your packing efforts, you will have documentation of your efforts to protect the yo-yo before shipping.

7. Pay Extra for Tracking

Tracking costs .90 extra, but free with Priority shipping. The tracking number provides the buyer with proof that you shipped the yo-yos, it indicates from what location you shipped, and the date and time of shipment. It assures the buyer that the item is in transit, and provides them a means to check the progress of the box until the package is delivered. No one wants a buyer contacting them regularly asking about shipping details. So, providing a tracking number, gives them their own means of checking the status of the package during shipping.

Also, In the event that the package gets lost, you will need a tracking number, because without it, the post office will not even begin to investigate your report about lost mail.

The next photo shows the receipt for my last BST transaction. I shipped one yo-yo from the east coast, to the west coast, first class, with tracking, packed as described above, for $3.48. Including the cost of the box, I paid $3.71 total. The yo-yo was mailed on February 1st, and it was delivered on February 4th.

Conclusion

This is the way I pack and ship, and it is my opinion of the best, cost effective way. Packing and shipping this way has worked best for me over the years. Choose a sturdy box, the appropriate size, use packing material, pack the item and box well, mark the box fragile, and pay for tracking.

I have received yo-yos that were packed in many different ways, and if you already found what works for you, a consistent way that is cost effective, efficient and safe, by all means continue that. But, I wanted to share my way with you. No method is perfect, but the idea is to ship safe and cost effective, minimize the potential for damage to the yo-yos you ship, and confirm delivery.

Update 4/14/14:
Tracking now costs $1.05, free with Priority…always worth it.


#2

Very good guide, but I suggest Priority Mail. First CLass gets lost more often and is not very fast at all. I prefer Priority. Just me, but after 45 trades, never a lost package, and that is 90. Yoyospirit lost 2 packages in a month from first class. But if you arent in a hurry, first class is fine


#3

Thanks for the props Dingo’. I don’t want to say Priority is a “scam” because that is a bit of an exaggeration. But, take a look at this tracking for my Secret Santa Box. You will see that I paid for priority (a lot of money). I shipped November 28th, and it was delivered on December 5th. Compare that to the first class shipment in the article, that took three days to get from M.A. to C.A. Also, consider the cost. If I remember correctly, I paid over $10 for that Secret Santa priority package, that took 7 days to get there. The main difference is that when I called USPS and complained about all the money I spent to send it Priority, I was told “no guarantee.” Therefore, if there is no guarantee, I will ship first class.

I don’t know it all, but I have over 600 Ebay transactions, both buying and selling, sending and receiving. I have 60 feedback on here, and I have some history as a seller on another site. I have found that in my experience First Class is more “consistent.” Not perfect, but consistent. I can also upload a tracking screen shot for a priority package that took 5 days to get to me, mailed from M.A., to M.A. First Class is not perfect either, but the most consistent in my experience.


#4

Gonna have to disagree. Either Priority or First Class with tracking is fine, i probably have another 50 or so trades on YYN and not a single lost package, and i use 1st at least half the time. Also first class rarely takes longer, at most an extra day, personally when my package is under the weight i’ll always use first and suggest anyone sending me something to do the same. Saves a significant amount of money with pretty much no downside.

As far as fragile goes, i usually encourage people not to label it. I’ve heard way too many stories about parcel workers being intentionally rough on fragile-marked items, usually more in relation to UPS, but you never know. If you’ve packed your yoyo correctly it should be able to survive a 10’ fall no problem, and someone willing to smash your box or intentionally damage it will not care if it has a stamp on it and it may actually make it a target.

Another thing i’ve made a habit of is to just do a quick Google Maps search for the address i’m mailing to. No need to go all stalker on it with street view and whatever, but Google’s pretty good about letting you know if you’ve misspelled a street or city name. Amazing some of the spelling mistakes i’ve had to correct from people sending me their own addresses. Granted the USPS system is pretty good about getting packages to you - i’ve had people spell my town wrong, street wrong, put the wrong area code - but they all made it to me. Also keep in mind the system is automated, as in a scanner is reading what you wrote and directing it where to go, so make sure your writing is big and clear with a properly marked “To” and “From” field.


#5

I want to add that I don’t have an objection to offering Priority shipping on the BST. But, if I include free shipping/tracking in the listed price, it is first class. Anything additional will be added to that price. I would agree that on average, I would estimate first class takes one more day than Priority…on average. Sometimes less as you can tell from the screen shots. The way I described has been drafted through my experience, and I can provide the Ebay usernames for those over 600 transactions that make up the experience.

As it relates to the fragile marking, my life experience in any job I have ever had is that most people take pride in their work, regardless of the job, but there are exceptions that are in the minority. I talk to postal carriers on a personal level, as I encounter them in my current position. The information I have gathered is that the vast majority of the carriers will treat a package with more care by placing it differently among other packages, if it is marked. A smaller percentage might overlook it if they are in a hurry, and the extreme minority would commit some negligence.

While choosing a sturdy box, appropriate packing materials, and packing well to begin with, gives you the most protection, the marking is an indication on the outside that gives a carrier a clue that the box should be on top of other boxes…not on the bottom. It has always worked for me.


#6

I pretty much agree, except on shipping assembled, particularly if people use the priority, flat box. I’d rather they take it apart and put the bearing and other loose parts in a baggy. Less chance of axle damage if it’s taken apart. Also for people that use padded envelopes, this should be the only way to go.


#7

This is really helpful. Thank You very much! In the future this will help much.


#8

Yes, some use padded envelopes and the flat Priority box. I do not recommend them at all. I have chosen to discourage their use altogether in this guide. But, if someone uses the Priority flat box, disassembling is the only reasonable way to do it, unless you are shipping a Dingo, Popstar, looper or the like. I just don’t think a padded envelope provides that added exterior resistance to damage that I prefer. I find a box cheaper and tougher too. I do not recommend Priority of any kind or padded envelopes. But, I may update this article to provide some instructions regarding those who want to use a padded envelope to ship.


#9

Thanks, I hope those new to the BST might find it useful. I am sure people will improvise and find what works best for them.


#10

Excellent post TA I can not believe I have not seen this yet… I think this should be standard reading on the forum. I agree with everything you have said… GREAT Job!!!


#11

Update:

I just did a recent BST transaction and sent a package from M.A. to N.V. First class in the box as described above…paid $3.65 for First Class with tracking. My package made it there in two days. For me, Priority never works this fast…or this cheap. Just thought I’d share yet another example:


#12

I always use padded envelopes. I don’t have a problem with using a box, they’re just harder to come by unless you want to pay flat rate priority.

If the yoyo is properly wrapped in bubble wrap, especially if it’s in its box, I think it’s fine. It’s ultimately a hunk of aluminum. Would take quite a bit to really damage it.


#13

Unscrew it for sure. I shipped a yoyo in an envelope once and didn’t unscrew and it bent the yoyo and the axle hole a bit. So for me I have a 100% history of them getting damaged in envelopes


#14

Eh, I’ve never had a problem. With the amount of bubble wrap I use the force would pretty much have to crush the entire yoyo.

I think if you feel good about the way you’ve packed your stuff, and you’d be happy to receive it that way, then it’s probably good. I always rethink my strategy if I finish and then I have any doubts about it.


#15

I’ve shipped in both envelopes and boxes, but I always take the yoyo apart first, with adequate packing material. Parts go in a ziplock bag.


#16

Yeah, I used to ship Priority just to use the box, but it was that flat box I hate, because I never like to take the yo-yo apart, so I ordered some boxes .23 a box in bulk. Now, I have plenty.

I recently got a package from someone who used that flat rate Priority box, and they took the yo-yo apart and put the parts in a baggie. During shipping, the parts poked through the plastic bag, creating a hole, and caused nicks to a yo-yo half. It was very minor damage, but I’m not a fan of packing that way.

I have received throws in padded envelopes that were packed well, and they were fine. I would not recommend that method to others though, just because someone learning how to pack may not know when they have wrapped the halves “enough.” So, when giving advice, I like to stick to the most secure method.

But, I tell you, first class is the way to go folks.


#17

Fantastic article! You’re a very resourceful member in our community! Always looking to help and improve!


#18

Thank you. Means a lot coming from you. Right back at ya! I will write an article here and there in the future…writing is good for the soul. :wink:


#19

This thread needs to be stickied so the people actually shipping know how to ship it.


#20

I agree! It should be stickied in the bst section of the forums!