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Cost to ship a bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by El Güero, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. JKos


    Oct 26, 2010
    Torrance, CA
    The difference between shipping through a FedEx account and walking into a shipping store can be quite a bit. Something I shipped was $50 through my account and the store quoted $95 for that same box.

    When you ship at a store, the store gets 50% of the shipping cost. When you walk in with a prepaid package, they get $5. That's info straight from an owner.

    - John
    xnewyorka likes this.
  2. Toptube

    Toptube Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    and BTW this is walk-in-----with it already packed and ready to ship.
  3. Volker Kirstein

    Volker Kirstein Supporting Member

    Wha-wha-WHAT?!?! $200?!?!

    I guess I'm spoiled. Here, it's about €35 for a "big box" within Germany (DHL), and I can ship a disassembled bass for significantly less.
  4. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    $100 coast to coast is a good estimate.

    Insurance can make costs vary.
    CyberSnyder likes this.
  5. OldPlucker

    OldPlucker Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2014
    The key words here are "WALK IN CUSTOMER". In this day and age anyone selling on-line should have a USPS, UPS and FedEx account and purchase on line. Walking in to a retail outlet ship is like going to a brothel, you past more for the foreplay. Pay attention to dimensional weights. Sometimes by increasing the size of the box by as little as an inch or two, the dimensional weight will almost double and the shipping costs likewise increase.
  6. Spupilup


    Jan 11, 2019
    I ship a lot of heavy and oversized items in my line of work. Typically, I use FedEx as I find them to be a little cheaper, overall but there is the occasional exception. Small items are best to go by USPS. I haven't shipped a guitar or bass but know all to well how, due to dimensional weight calculations employed by shipping companies, prices for somewhat light cartons can cost a fortune. Add to dimensional weight, surcharges for gas, for rural delivery, ect and costs really can skyrocket. It's the nature of the beast and if you have any questions about why an item is costing more than you expected you can usually use the shipper's website to get additional info as to how the cost was calculated (and how you may be able to reduce said cost by altering sizing or changing packaging material).

    Another thing, don't have a UPS Store or FedEx drop off center pack the guitar for you. This is for a number of reasons. First, you'll pay through the nose for whatever material they might use to get your item ready for shipping. For example, I buy a huge bag of shipping peanuts from a local moving supplier for $16.50. That identical bag is $39.99 at the UPS Store less than a mile down the road. The same goes for the bubble wrap I use (12"x1/2"x250') that costs me $20.00 whereas the same roll at the UPS Store is $45. Plus, UPS Stores will overcharge you for cartons and tape and anything else you may need. Be wise and stay away.

    Now, if you walk into one of these UPS or FedEx "Stores" to purchase your label that will likely cost you additionally as well. These stores will not provide you will any discount on your shipping. The FedEx drop off location near me tacks on about 10% to the same elevated charge you'd get by visiting the FedEx website and generating a label on your own.

    Like OldPlucker said, open up a FedEx or UPS account. Right off the bat you'll get a small discount for your account. If you ship a lot, the discount will increase. If it's a business, get your self connected with either a UPS or FedEx representative to go over additional ways to save on your shipping.

    You can also use PayPal for shipping UPS and get discounts over the cost of buying a label on your own. They have negotiated a deal with UPS in a effort to stem revenue losses from shipping that used to come from eBay and Reverb sales. There are ways to keep the costs down.

    Insurance is another thing to be concerned about. Many times, especially when it comes to the UPS Store, you can spend ungodly sums for insurance but if something happens, you may not covered as fully as you may have thought. Take the time to ask questions and make a phone call or two to make sure there won't be any surprises for you or your customer.

    My last bit of advice is drop of the package, ideally to a UPS or FedEx distribution center. Often, there is an additional charge if the shipper has to come, especially to your home, to pick a shipment up.

    There are many ways to reduce the cost of shipping if you approach the affair with a willingness to do things for your self. Nevertheless, the cost has been going up, especially over the last 5-10 years. I've been shipping thousands of things a year for over the last 20 years and have watched prices seemingly skyrocket just as "free shipping" became de rigueur for online retailing.
    sleddogn likes this.
  7. GinoBass


    May 2, 2006
    Regarding insurance - would anyone be familiar with the insured limits for the 'big 3' carriers? I'm considering selling my 77 Alembic and 79 BC Rich online and would want to make sure they were properly insured.
  8. Spupilup


    Jan 11, 2019
    Forget USPS. Call UPS and FedEx and have them confirm exactly what they will and won’t cover. Have them show you, on their website, what they’re responsibilities are when it comes to a high value item like what you’re looking to ship.
  9. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Cedar Knolls, NJ
    Makes me think of the time that I shipped an EBMM SR5 using a bass box, and (2) inflatable pool mats sandwiched around the bass. Was pretty much fool proof.
  10. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Cedar Knolls, NJ
    $120? That's insane. Who did you ship it with, White Glove Delivery Service?
  11. Spupilup


    Jan 11, 2019
    FedEx, is the carrier that contracts out it's delivery service. In an area like mine, less than 20 miles from a FedEx Express (different company than FedEx Ground), all of the ground delivery whether it's Ground or Home delivery, is done by independent contractors. Yes, sometimes they drive around in trucks adorned with the FedEx logo but more often then not, they don't. The contractor hires cheap labor to pick up and deliver packages to and from the hub. That labor is paid by the contractor, not FedEx. The quality of the work from these sub reps varies considerably.

    This is a major reason why FedEx tends to be cheaper than UPS. Yes, the fact that some UPS employees are unionized may also contribute to the higher cost of using them as a shipping service but it's a small part of the reason.

    As far as USPS is concerned, they handle a substantial portion of the "last mile" delivery for FedEx and UPS. So, I'm not sure it's entirely accurate saying that they don't actually handle shipping. I seldom use overnight service but I know that USPS from my rural area of CT is dreadful. However, Priority and First Class, two services they handle from point to point are excellent, fast and cheap. That's is, for smaller packages. They recently changed their method for calculating shipping charges and now use dimensional weight for just about everything, everywhere when it comes to Priority shipments. That has made them a little less competitive for larger, lightweight packages.
  12. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    Shipping a Thunderbird coast to coast earlier this year cost $135. Thunderbirds are long, but not especially heavy. It's the dimension that's the killer. It was packed up with bubble wrap in the case at home, but I had the FedEx shop put the case in a box so that they couldn't say I failed to pack it right for insurance purposes. They are happy to do that if something happens. It was insured for $2K. Shipped from a shop that I just walked into. So, $200 seems high, but not all that high.
  13. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    All good points about retail markup and insurance cost, but with respect to the OP, the big difference by adding one inch is crossing the magic threshold into oversized as determined by linear measurements. Basses packed in cases and then cardboard boxes are right on the borderline, and I’ve seen this with USPS countless times.

    I’ve even had an agent at USPS use a flexible tape measure and add 1” for the “bulge” in the box and asked for $75 more which would have both converted me to retail pricing and crossed into supersized territory as I had already paid online. (True story, I took the box to another post office a few miles away and the guy at the counter simply took the box without bothering to measure. And by the way, the dimensions of the box were actually printed on the box.)
  14. Mannyinnewyork


    Sep 28, 2016
    New York
    It was UPS and I had them pack the bass because I had no case for it and nothing to box it with.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  15. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Cedar Knolls, NJ
    Ohhhhh that's why. I save all of my boxes in case I want to sell or trade.
    sleddogn and Mannyinnewyork like this.

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