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Cost to ship a bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by El Güero, Sep 11, 2019 at 6:05 AM.

  1. So here's some thoughts on shipping options, and I'll stick to UPS, Fed-Ex and USPS here since those are the ones being talked about. I also pen this from the point of view of a person who previously owned a business that literally received a shipment Every. Single. Day.

    Keep in mind that USPS (generally speaking) no longer ships themselves. They contract out to another carrier. This may be what is impacting your cost, size requirements and the general "No" some of you are running into. Generally speaking, when you ship USPS, especially on a large package, they will contract it out to someone and simply collect your money and hand it off to said contractor. So you aren't actually shipping with USPS, they are just putting their label on it and collecting your money.

    Now, this is the part where I'm gonna ruffle all the feathers. UPS is a Union shop, Fed-Ex is not. I'm not going to get into politics here on Union vs. Non-Union. I'm simply going to state observations over a 4 year period of dealing with an arriving shipment every single day (We owned a tool business, like Snap-On and received large shipments of tools, tool boxes, etc literally every single day for 4 years). UPS was the only shop that could figure out simple delivery instructions like "Place packages on back porch" or "Place package in lock-box on side AND LOCK WHEN DONE!" UPS was also the only shop that could arrive on time, as stated. Every single time we tried using Fed-Ex they could not follow any instructions, the shipment was literally left laying where-ever they felt like leaving it and 9 times out of 10 the product showed up damaged. Also, half the time the shipments would simply not arrive until a day later, or maybe two days later. I know, when waiting on a new guitar waiting an extra day is not a big thing. But when waiting on a tool that is already sold and to be delivered the day after scheduled shipping arrival, it is a thing. We had time where we thought a shipment didn't arrive, only to find that Fed-Ex "left it on front porch" rather than in said lock-box like instructed and someone passing by helped themselves to it. We found that Fed-Ex was literally ALWAYS cheaper to ship with than UPS. But we also learned that "you get what you pay for" here.

    Now, as far as packaging up a guitar, here's an interesting idea that I ran into when I shipped a grill for my classic car. The guy had wrapped the grill in plastic wrap, basically putting it in a bag, then filled the box with that "Great Stuff" spray foam that carpenters use to create a totally filled, foam insulated box. the plastic kept the foam from sticking to the grill, and it held it in place during shipping. No way was that thing getting damaged! It's possible this method could be used for guitars as well. Bag it and fill the box with spray foam!

    Again, I'm not trying to get into a discussion on anything here. I know there are those who are going to say that we "just had a couple bad experiences with Fed-Ex and I'm taking it out on the entire company." I'm simply giving you guys my observations after dealing with daily shipments for 4 years. Take it for what it's worth, your mileage may vary.
    ajkula66, mikewalker and El Güero like this.
  2. Bardolphus

    Bardolphus Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    I was curious and looked up the last couple of basses I've shipped. I was surprised in that they were cheaper than what I remembered earlier. All basses were shipped in a typical box that's about 52x18x7, were insured, and packed/dropped off by me.

    08/05/19 - Texas to Virginia - 24 lbs - $1600 value - $70.74 shipping (to business)
    08/05/19 - Texas to Arkansas - 25 lbs - $1550 value - $56.19 shipping (to a FedEx center)
    08/26/19 - Texas to Maryland - 27 lbs - $1850 value - $81.68 shipping (to residence)

    10/03/18 - Texas to Washington (state) - 26 lbs - $1200 value - $27.17 (UPS shipping purchased through Reverb)
    El Güero likes this.
  3. Relsom

    Relsom Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2013
    The Old Dominion
    FedEx Ground, business to business, 15lbs., bass sized box, insured for $600 was under $20 last week from Virginia to Arkansas.

    It helps to know someone that ships a lot of irregular sized stuff from their business. It actually helps them when I ship... the more they ship, the lower the rates are.

    On the flip side, I've shipped small stuff from there, like shoebox size or smaller, and paid the same. For that kind of thing, I like Pirate Ship and go USPS.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 3:09 PM
    El Güero likes this.
  4. Mannyinnewyork


    Sep 28, 2016
    New York
    A year ago I told a friend of mine that he could have my Mustang Bass. I’m on Long Island and he’s in Chicago. He said, I’ll pay shipping! I said okay but then - I send it and told him the shipping was on me - because I couldn’t tell him to send me $120 dollars. How insane is that?

    I guess I was living in a dream world. I thought it would be about $50. Silly me. On the upside, he really likes the bass.
  5. I would have had him split it and asked him to send $60. ;)
    You're a good friend! :cool:
    birminghambass and El Güero like this.
  6. Burwabit

    Burwabit Likes guitars that tune good and firm feelin women

    Apr 4, 2011
    Lubbock, TX
    I've seen this with Reverb too. They either subsidize or have something worked out. The former I think.
    Bardolphus and El Güero like this.
  7. Mannyinnewyork


    Sep 28, 2016
    New York

    He’s a great friend , drummer for the first band I was ever in back in 1965. Lucky me to have connections reaching that far back.
    El Güero and TerribleTim68 like this.
  8. Don't sell on FeeBay:rollno:. The fees are outrageous!:( Try selling on Reverb.com and you can ship with their label. The rates are much lower.:D At least check them out before giving all your money to FeeBay.:rollno:
    El Güero and TerribleTim68 like this.
  9. onamission

    onamission Supporting Member

    I buy my boxes from Reverb and ship USPS for around $50/3day. They tried to get me for $100+ on 2 day but I went to 3 day.
    El Güero likes this.
  10. MRlowend

    MRlowend Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2015
    South East, Missouri
    I didn't think to ask about billing it to my account, I just whipped out my credit card and went about business. However, I did mention what POSTNET had told me, the FedEx rep couldn't explain why they had told me it would be significantly cheaper. In hind site, I should of asked about why the cost was different from my computer, but, I was in a hurry to get back to Missouri to pickup my daughter from School. Again, lesson learned and I'll test that theory if the situation ever arises again. Thanks!
    El Güero likes this.
  11. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    I live in Alaska and shipped a bass to Florida for $70 not too long ago. Measure the package carefully and don't overmeasure. Then when weighing, don't overweigh. Also, using the PayPal postal service will save you some dough. Good luck.
    El Güero likes this.
  12. You aren't the one with the Cort 6 string on OfferUp, are you? o_O :cautious: :eyebrow:
    El Güero likes this.
  13. alaskaleftybass

    alaskaleftybass Will Hanbury, Jr. Supporting Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Sitka, Alaska
    No sir. I have my hands full with 4 strings! :laugh:
    Relsom, El Güero and TerribleTim68 like this.
  14. rocu


    Jan 28, 2015
    Missoula, MT
    Not all that long ago we got everything from local sources and only the rich had anything made in China. Now you have to be rich (by global standards) to buy local.
  15. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 Groove it

    Remember the good ol' days of great eBay deals and $25 coast to coast shipping? Thanks internet, for ruining everything.
  16. organworthyplayer337

    organworthyplayer337 Professional Hack

    Oct 28, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    I’ve asked the same question here before. I was told that anyone paying $65 doesn’t know what they’re doing.

    But I really can’t see how you can ship a bass for that cheap. At least not now.
    El Güero likes this.
  17. El Güero

    El Güero

    Oct 5, 2015
    OP here, and thanks for all the replies. There's a lot to absorb. I will look into Reverb and FedEx.

    When I searched rates it was with $4-500 insurance, my packing, and UPS Ground, and regular shipping with USPS, no fast shipping. I can't remove the neck to make the package smaller on account of the case, but it could be sold w/o the case and shipped that way.
  18. sludgetail

    sludgetail Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2018
    Orange, CA
    For everyone that's stuck with UPS and not using eBay or Reverb's lower shipping costs (due to their volume/account), here's a promo code for y'all to try:


    Worked for me at 20% off (ground) recently and as usual, YMMV: as a seller I've bought from on TB mentioned a couple days ago, it was still more going UPS for him vs. FedEx to me here in CA, even with the promo. Nonetheless, just trying to help out my TB Gang, enjoy!

    And yes, OP, coming from a Reverb preferred seller, it hurts anytime you ship anything anymore. I have brand new cases I sat on and had to list for local pickup only because shipping an empty foam case is $70-80 just over a few states, simply due to their new "dimensional weight" bs... it goes with the territory unfortunately. Good luck!
    El Güero likes this.
  19. It’s those tariffs. All the shipping is made in China.
    El Güero, TerribleTim68 and Sid s like this.
  20. Sid s

    Sid s

    Dec 22, 2016
    Western NC, USA
    Maybe Shippo is a solution ?

    I haven't used them myself, but they seemed to have the right idea the last time I looked.
    El Güero likes this.

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