Whether you are a business owner or shopper, this blog post aims to help you with the best way to ship fragile items. Shipping fragile items requires proper packaging material, stabilization, and labeling. Custom crating makes this easy.
Shoppers benefit when fragile items are packaged and shipped safely.
Most shoppers know that shipping fragile items can be the most challenging part of purchasing precious keepsakes. Whether you have purchased a design piece for your business or a special gift for a family member, you need professional preparation to move a fragile item.
Fragile items have a higher risk of damage and breakages before the package even arrives at its destination. So, it is essential to have the best way to ship fragile items to assure your keepsake arrives undamaged.
Business owners lose customers and money from poorly packaged and shipped products.
Breakage during transport can also affect your business. Consumers have more choices than ever before when considering where to buy. If you let them down through unsuitable packaging, they will likely choose a different company for their next purchase.
Breakage during delivery could cost you more than replacing the damaged goods because it could negatively impact your business reputation. Nowadays, one bad customer experience can quickly spiral into poor reviews and lost prospects. With those dangers in mind, you want to minimize the risk of something going wrong while keeping your costs reasonable.
This post will guide you on shipping breakable items, covering everything from the best fragile shipping boxes to packing delicate items correctly. So, whether you’re looking to ship something large or small, valuable or fragile, we have the information you need to do it right.
What Items are Considered Fragile?
There is no exact definition of fragile items. An item is classified as fragile if it needs special care and attention during shipping. Fragile items can include anything that might break or shatter. Items like electronics that cannot withstand shaking are also considered fragile.
Other items may be treated as fragile if they are of significant value or hard to replace, even if they are not necessarily as delicate. Musical instruments, artwork, electronics, glassware, and antiques are all common examples of items requiring special packing.
Knowing how to ship something fragile is critical to send anything of this nature. This is particularly true for e-commerce businesses, which are subject to far higher return rates than traditional retail.
What Packing Materials provide the best way to Ship Fragile Items?
When shipping anything fragile, getting the packaging right is essential. You need several components to pack and ship your breakable items safely. These include:
- A suitably large and sturdy box or container, in some instances, a wooden container,
- Wrapping to provide your item with the first layer of protection,
- Padding materials to fill any unused space inside the container,
- A vapor barrier or foil bag if you need to keep your items free from moisture,
- Tape, tie-downs, or latches to secure the container, depending on its type,
- Appropriate labeling for shipping delicate items.
Whether you need all of these components depends on the nature of the item and the way it will be shipped. For example, sending a small, less valuable item moving across states carries less risk than shipping a large, expensive item overseas.
Choosing the Right Box for Shipping Fragile Items
Choosing a suitable container for your fragile items can be complicated. The size and nature of the item determine the correct choice. Additionally, your container choice should reflect the distance and method of shipping. Cost is also a factor. You need to balance the value and security of the item with the expense of shipping it.
Choose a container slightly larger than the item you’re shipping. You need sufficient extra space to add padding, but don’t choose a container so large that you can’t afford to fill it. Usually, planning for a couple of inches on each side of the item is sufficient.
A small, lightweight container will decrease costs, but a more robust container will offer better protection. For example, a crate may be the best choice for shipping large, fragile items. Crates are sturdy enough to protect these items, even when shipped across long distances.
You can offer more protection when using a lightweight box by adding cardboard inserts or a lining. While it can be tempting to reuse old boxes, they may have lost some of their rigidity and structural integrity. This compromise could be the difference between your item arriving safely or not.
How to Pack Fragile Items
After deciding on the container or box you’re using, packing your fragile items for shipping is the next step. Several options exist for wrapping and padding fragile items within their container.
Wrapping fragile items for shipping
First, wrap the item itself. Bubble wrap is an excellent option. However, be careful not to put too much pressure on any individual part of the item. Small details, like the limbs of figurines, are particularly vulnerable during transit and should be wrapped separately if possible. Likewise, avoid wrapping too tightly, which will put additional pressure on the items.
Packing around your fragile item
Packing peanuts are a good alternative for items with unconventional shapes. You can choose from many eco-friendly options for packing fragile items, including reusing old packaging or using crumpled newspapers. Whatever packing materials you use, make sure your fragile items are well protected. Also, restrict the movement of the items as much as possible so they don’t break during transit.
Corrugated inserts can help strengthen boxes and separate items within the container. Shredded cardboard is also an effective way to offer additional protection and shock absorption.
Foam is a reliable alternative to protect your products. Several different varieties of foam are suitable for specific applications. For example, egg-crate foam can offer a very high level of shock absorption and is an easy way to fill all the space in your container. There are even anti-static materials that can keep electronics safe from static damage.
Use vapor barriers and foil bags to prevent corrosion.
Depending on the journey ahead of your fragile items, you may also want to use a foil bag or vapor barrier to protect your items from moisture. Large plastic bags are wrapped around your items, vacuumed, and then heat-sealed shut.
Using a vapor barrier prevents your items from being exposed to moisture. Water or even a damp environment can cause the deterioration and rusting of metals or damage to fragile items. Moisture exposure can also be problematic if you ship an item by sea or transport something that contains exposed metal or electronics. Valuable works of art are often-overlooked examples of fragile items that would benefit from using a vapor barrier.
Consider ocean container loading services for the best way to ship fragile items overseas.
For overseas journeys, mainly when shipping large, fragile items, consider hiring a firm for proper ocean container loading. The company will ensure that your items are appropriately strapped, blocked, and braced during the loading or unloading to or from an ocean facility.
How to Seal a Box for Shipping Fragile Items
After safely packaging your item, the next step is to seal the container properly. Usually, using tape is sufficient to secure most smaller boxes. Packing or Scotch tape offers excellent adhesion, strength, and water resistance.
The best way to seal a box when shipping breakable items is to use the H tape method. First, run tape along the open edges, then add another piece along the middle to form the shape of the letter H. This taping method ensures all the weakest points of the box are covered.
The further your fragile items are being shipped, the better you need to seal your container. If you’re using a shipping crate for maximum protection, you’ll need tie-downs or latches to secure the crate.
Latches offer a more robust solution to sealing your crate closed and cannot be torn or ripped off like tape can. A professional shipping company will use tie-downs to ensure your container stays fixed in place to minimize the risk to your items.
Weigh Your Item Once It’s Packed
After packing and sealing your container, weigh it to get an accurate idea of the shipping costs. Any home scale, especially a digital one, should be accurate enough to give you a good idea of the package’s weight.
Add Appropriate Fragile Shipping Labels
Shipping labels tell postal workers they must handle your container carefully. They warn them about fragile items and indicate which way an employee should position the container. Labels will minimize your items’ chances of being damaged during shipping. Though best practice varies between companies and couriers, adding stickers or notices to all sides of your container should help. Specially marked boxes and crates can make this process easier.
Add Your Return Address
Include a return address on the crate or container you use. If the items you’re shipping don’t reach their destination or can’t be delivered, a return address can ensure your package finds its way back to you. Write your full address on the box and label it as the return address.
Consider Insurance When Shipping Fragile Items
Even if you used the best way to ship fragile items, you have little control over what might happen to the container throughout its journey. Accidents can happen to even the best-packed boxes. Insuring valuable items with sufficient coverage provides additional peace of mind if things do go wrong.
Choose the Right Courier
There are plenty of shipping companies, so finding the best one for fragile items isn’t always straightforward. When evaluating a courier, consider their costs, any rules and regulations you must follow, and the tracking information they provide.
How to Pack the Most Delicate and Valuable Items
Packing exceptionally fragile or valuable items yourself may be intimidating. Getting any of the above steps wrong could spell disaster for your shipment. Therefore, if you’re sending precious, important, or fragile items, ask us about our on-site packing or crating services.
What are on-site packing and crating services?
On-site services remove the stress, effort, and guesswork from packing and shipping valuable and fragile items. With an on-site crating service, professionals come to your address or facility and pack the items there. The best packing services provide appropriate shipping containers, padding, and protective material for your items.
Crating services can pack oversized items or ones requiring the highest level of protection into sturdy, robust crates. They can cover anything from a single fragile item to an entire laboratory of scientific equipment.
Having a packer come to you has advantages. You don’t need to source any packing materials. Also, you won’t accidentally damage your items during the packing process.
Crate and Pack’s on-site packing services are the best way to ship fragile items.
At South Shore Crate and Pack, we offer a wide range of on-site packing and crating services. This offering is ideal for expensive, fragile equipment you’d prefer to keep on your premises. We can pre-fabricate suitable crates and bring them to you or fabricate the correct crate for your requirements at your location.
We provide everything needed to safely pack, secure, and transport your fragile items. Our services include packaging and packing all goods with bubble wrap, foam, and sturdy containers. SSCP can also handle the stressful and sometimes confusing process of shipment.
Our satisfied clients include colleges, laboratories, museums, mechanical engineering sites, auctions, real estate foreclosures, barn finds, consumer transactions, and remote facilities. We operate throughout the Boston area and most of New England and can arrange for worldwide shipment. So, for a service that goes above and beyond for shipping your fragile items, get in touch today, get in touch today.
The most common mistakes people make when shipping Fragile Items:
The article above also addresses the many mistakes you can make when shipping fragile items. Here are the top 10 mistakes shippers make:
- Shipping fragile items without a custom crate and proper packaging material, including:
- Using a box that is too small or large,
- Reusing packaging materials that are damaged,
- Using too little tape,
- Using too little packing material and padding,
- Using the wrong packaging material ex: using Styrofoam peanuts instead of bubble wrap.
- Fragile items are combined or packed too tightly.
- You need to consider the potential for moisture. Consider using vapor barriers and foil bags to prevent corrosion.
- Crates, packaging, and items lack proper sealing and stabilization,
- Not sealing the box properly with the H-Tape method,
- Not using tie-downs, braces, or latches to secure crates when shipping long distances,
- Items get shipped without proper labeling. Ex. Failing to write “This Way Up” and “Fragile” on the box
- Valuable, fragile items get shipped without consideration for insurance.
- Not consulting the advice of experts,
- You use inexperienced labor to pack and move fragile items.
- Not using container loading services when shipping overseas. The company will ensure your items get strapped, blocked, and braced;
- Not shipping around for professional help, the cost savings and convenience of hiring a professional packing and crating firm can be substantial when considering the risks and time involved.