How to ship large items
Sending an average-sized package in the mail or by courier is a relatively simple process, people do it all the time, but what if you’re sending something big? How do you ship large heavy items?
Luckily, when it comes to sending oversized packages by courier, we have a few insider tips to help you out. Whether you’re running an online shop or simply trying to send that old drum kit to your nephew, we’ve got you covered.
Keep reading to find out:
Oversized Vs. Freight
Generally, large and heavy packages fall into either one of these two categories. Oversized packages are boxes that exceed a courier’s standard dimension and/or weight limits. These packages normally require extra care during transit and must be handled by specially trained staff using the correct equipment to prevent damage to your items.
Any box that exceeds the weight and size limits for oversized packages cannot be sent via regular shipping channels and must be transported as freight. Different couriers will have different dimensions and weight limits for oversized and freight shipments.
For example, UPS classes any package over 70lbs as oversized and anything over 150lbs as freight. FedEx has the same weight limits, along with a few additional requirements about the exact dimensions of the box, depending on whether you’re using their Express, Express Ground or Express International service.
To get a complete list of the cheapest and most suitable courier services for oversized items in your area, simply enter the dimensions and destination of your package into our shipping calculator.
The best way to ship heavy items
To find the best way to ship a heavy or large package, it’s important to understand the challenges.
There are two major pain points with sending large and heavy packages by mail or courier and the first is the cost. The cost of shipping a large package is far more expensive than shipping a small or medium-sized parcel, so if you’re selling a large item online, make sure you calculate your shipping cost accurately so you can include it in the price.
How much does it cost to ship a large package?
The cost of shipping any package is determined by 3 things:
The good news is, you don’t need to know the dimensional weight of your package or do any complicated calculations, our shipping calculator will do it for you. You provide the size, weight and destination and we provide you with instant quotes from a range of couriers. Neat hey?!
When it comes to finding the cheapest way to ship large packages, there are a few things you can do to reduce the price. Firstly, don’t leave it until the last minute. As mentioned in point 3, the delivery time will impact the price, so if you can avoid express delivery times and choose a slower service, like ground delivery, you’ll pay less. Ground and economy shipping services for US domestic deliveries generally take 2-5 business days
Secondly, make sure your shipping box isn’t excessively large compared to the item you’re sending. The size and weight of your package should include all packaging materials so you can keep costs lower by ensuring you don’t use a bigger box than you need.
Finally, use Parcel Monkey to compare prices across different couriers. Not only will this save you time (no one wants to spend an afternoon getting shipping quotes), you’ll also benefit from our discounted rates which are particularly low when it comes to shipping large boxes and heavy packages.
However, before you can work out a price you’ll need to package your item, which brings us nicely to the second pain point of shipping bulky and heavy items - packaging. The correct packaging is important for any shipment, but even more so when you’re sending something large or heavy.
How do you pack heavy items for shipping?
Whether you’re shipping across states or across the world, you need to make sure your item is packaged correctly.
Here are our top five packing tips for large and heavy items:
Choose a box that’s strong enough for the item you’re shipping: If you’re sending something that weighs 70lbs or more you’ll need a corrugated cardboard box, preferably a double-walled box. This should safely carry up to 150 lbs.
Fill any gaps: Heavier items are more likely to move around in the box during transit so make sure your box isn’t too big (not too small either) and fill any gaps. Packing peanuts, air pillows and kraft paper can be used for smaller items, but with really heavy or large items it’s better to fill any gaps with cardboard or foam board. These materials won’t crush so easily and will reinforce the rigidity of the box.
Individually wrap fragile items: If you’re sending a large box that contains a number of fragile items, each one should be wrapped individually with extra padding for any corners or parts that could easily be damaged. For smaller items, you may want to consider double boxing.
Use strong packing tape (not masking tape or sellotape) and use 3 strips to seal the box. It’s also a good idea to reinforce the corners of the box with packing tape.
Attach a heavy sticker: If you’re shipping with UPS, you must attach a heavy package sticker to all packages that weigh more than 70 lbs (31.5 kgs). You can buy a heavy sticker online from the UPS supplies store.
Check out our packaging advice page for more detailed information on how to wrap a package for shipping.
Courier pickup for large items
Once you’ve packaged your item and you’ve got your shipping quotes it’s time to choose a courier service.
Price will play a large part in your decision, but there are other things to consider. For example, if you’re sending something that’s 50lbs or more you might not want to carry it to the post office. The same goes for very large packages.
That’s why the easiest way to ship a heavy item or a large package is to book a courier to collect it from you. When you get a quote through our shipping calculator you’ll have a choice of drop off and courier pickup services, so why not save yourself some hassle and have your package or box collected from your home or work address.
So, to summarize, here are our top tips on how to ship large items.