Inexpensive Shipping Options?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Suntower, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. Suntower


    Nov 10, 2012

    I hope it's OK to post here. I'm trying to sell my EUB and I've run into an issue I did not pre-plan... stratospherically high shipping.

    When I shipped the bass I have in mind in 2007 it was prox. $75 to ship from Seattle to Pennsylvania. The thing weighs 23 lbs. It fits in a 24 x 24 x 40" box.

    Today I went in for a quote and the guy at the UPS desk 'guessed' at $140. I then went to the UPS on-line calculator and their 'drop-off' price is $234 with exactly the same info!

    What I don't get is that most dealers seem to be able to ship full size double basses (in a 7ft container) for less than $150 via Reddaway or Con-Way or -whatever-. I assume they get a deal because they're commercial. But I called Con-Way and they don't want to do one-offs.

    In short: are there any better options besides UPS for shipping an EUB (or for the future) a 3/4 size double bass? OR is there some secret to getting a better deal via UPS?

  2. I have a bass being built by Upton and the invoice I received shows shipping over $300 estimated from Connecticut to Idaho by truck. I have shipped some other large packages (not basses) that seem to have gotten more expensive faster than smaller packages. If only the post office had a flat rate box that would fit a bass!
  3. Try fedex ground
    Suntower likes this.
  4. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    Can you see if you can get it into a slightly smaller box? UPS Ground will clobber you if you go over 130 inches. I think Fed Ex is the same. Their formula is Length + 2x Width + 2x Height. So 40 + 96 puts you 6 inches over. If you can get the sides down to 22" or less, your price will probably be under $75.
    Good luck!
  5. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    The ground methods offered by Fed Ex, UPS, and the USPS are notoriously dangerous in terms of having your instrument arrive safely. Safe and cheap are pretty much mutually exclusive terms. 15 years ago we could ship a bass in a trunk anywhere in the country by rail for $60. Those days will never be back, I'm afraid!
  6. Suntower


    Nov 10, 2012

    That's the thing. The item I want to ship is pretty sturdy BUT, I'd prefer to ship it with some -space- and not have to worry about every frickin' inch.

    I think I can get it into a frankenstein box 42" x 24" x 14" and 26lbs... including the box.

    I called USPS, UPS and Fedex and they are between $100 and $150. All the -humans- I have talked to insist that trying to estimate an irregular large box with on-line calculator is a fool's errand. They all basically say 'bring it in and then we'll talk'.

    I want to be square with the buyer but I can't fanny about much more without getting a migraine. Damnit, Jim, I'm a musician, not a logistician. :D
  7. Suntower


    Nov 10, 2012
    Do you have a direct link (URL) for a rate calculator? I only saw 'rate sheets' which seem pretty complicated. I don't have a Fedex acct.

    Do you have a direct link (URL) for how you got to $75? The guy @ UPS says not possible and their on-line calc I used was like $234.

    TIA to you both!
  8. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    If it's under 100 lbs and you can pack it _bulletproof_ (like - think crate...) Greyhound _may_ be an option.
    I have shipped a bunch of stuff (NOT musical instruments tho...) that were large-ish and heavy but under 100 lbs each and got great rates.
    There is no door-to-door - it must be delivered to and received at a Greyhound terminal, which most cities have.
    I don't know their limits on insurance so that may be a deal-killer.
    This is not a recommendation, it is a suggestion.
    I wouldn't try to ship an upright like this no matter how well it was packaged, but an EUB? Maybe.
    I don't think it'll get treated any worse on Greyhound than by UPS.
    (I have an EUB waiting for me at a UPS store even as we speak. They want a $5 'fee' for the privilege of my picking it up there...)
    Suntower likes this.
  9. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Owner, Stand Up Guy Basses (Repair/Sell/Buy upright basses)

    Yeh, I've experienced that. Hilarious! Sometimes called a "convenience fee", in that it's convenient for them to gouge customers...

    Much worse, for us in Canada, are the brokerage fees for the grand favour of having an item cross the border. I was once charged $31 brokerage on a $28 book. When I complained, the publisher realized how ridiculous this was and intervened, but this kind of thing happens more and more.
    Jake deVilliers likes this.
  10. pnchad


    Nov 3, 2005
    If you both have a decent sized airport nearby try air freight

    You have to drop it off at their office - cargo area - & pick it up there

    Not door to door but that's how you save - I've done it with DBs

    Just open it in front of them before you leave in case of damage
    SilGarzaJr and Suntower like this.
  11. Suntower


    Nov 10, 2012
    It's a good idea. But I don't wanna tell my buyer... 'Hey no problem... it's down at the Port Authority!' :D
  12. Suntower


    Nov 10, 2012
    That seems extortionate. If they have a commercial account they likely get -much- better rates depot to depot.

    OTOH, if it's door to door up a 35 degree grade in Lewiston? Might be a fair deal. :D
  13. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    North American shipping prices have completely left the building. It's actually cheaper to airmail a 1lb. package from Germany to the US than to send it domestically within the US.
  14. Hqubed

    Hqubed Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2009
    Columbus, Ohio
    I have had good experiences using Depending on the origin and destination I would still expect to pay one to a few hundred $, if you can be flexible on timing it helps as can be an add on, but also feel the bass is safer in someone's personal care if you choose the right transporter. I have done West coast to OH & southeast to OH, both were under $200 and safely transported.
  15. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    This is one of the reasons I sell pretty much all of my gear on craigslist now. If you knock the shipping, paypal, and ebay charges off of the price you can sell a lot faster and with so much less hassle. Also, I just shipped a Fortress Flashback, 20 lbs, 52" x 17" x 5.4", for $54. I added insurance and the total came out to $61. Not sure why you're getting quoted what they're telling you, but I suspect it's either the dimensions of you box, or the people in the place you're going to don't know what they're doing. As already suggested, I'd pack it as tight as possible.

    Forgot to mention that went from NY to Oregon.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015
  16. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    Hi Suntower,
    No link really, just going by what we ship cellos for. A 50x20x20 box gets us somewhere around $65-$85 to most places. We're getting a discount, but not much. If you just get under that 130 inch mark and walk into a UPS store or a FedEx, you'll be at the best price you can get, whatever that happens to be.

    On the rate calculator on the UPS website, your dimensions and weight to a residence came to $70 for NY to Seattle, which should be the same as Seattle to PA. I'm getting some discount, so figure $80 or so maybe. Also, that size is billed as dimensional weight of 86 lbs, so don't skimp on the padding for weights sake, you're being charged for 86 lbs no matter what.
  17. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Can you remove the neck and ship it in two smaller boxes?

    As a side note, I just shipped a 3/4 bass body with a commercial account via Fedex. I spent two days working out the details and talked with customer service beforehand so many times that I had a claim number before I even shipped. The original quote was for approx. $140. After it arrived and I got the bill, they charged my account just under $600....needless to say we're having a bit of a sparring match right now with them and the credit card company and I'm not backing down.....

  18. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Just get a (really) big envelope!


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  19. Suntower


    Nov 10, 2012
    Skymall #589091123

    *Item may require some assembly. Duct tape not included. :D
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  20. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member


    or many, many small ones.
    Don Kasper likes this.
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