A Guide to Packing and (domestic) Shipping Your BST Yo-Yos:
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.
Use a Box
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tracking now costs $1.05, free with Priority…always worth it.