Tuesday, 18 October 2016

How To Ship A Package

As many of you know, I actively trade (and sometimes sell) quite a few things thanks to the internet, which means over the course of the past several years, I’ve become intimately familiar with how the different package shipment services work. In the past few years, I’ve used the postal service, FedEx, and UPS to ship packages and I’ve learned a few things about how to maximize your buck.

All three organizations have disgruntled/bad employees who may damage your package.
I’ve read countless times on countless forums about how either UPS, the postal service, or FedEx damages everything they send or receive from them. Different people will swear by different services and completely avoid other services.

From what I’ve seen, it mostly comes down to individual people. The vast majority of people working for each of these organizations will treat your package well (or well enough, at least). There are a few people that work for each of these organizations who don’t respect your package at all.

You might be unfortunate enough to live in an area where your deliveryperson is disgruntled and abuses your packages, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Trust me – given the number of packages I’ve shipped and received over the last decade, all of the services tend to mostly do good work with a few bad apples in each.

I cannot say that I’ve seen one service or the other have a significant edge in terms of item security in a broad sense. Naturally, there will be local areas where one outpaces another, but that’s entirely dependent on local employees.

Because of that, you must package your items well.
Pad everything with as much padding as you can. Packing peanuts work really well for this, but I’ve also used balled-up old newspapers and bubble wrap.

Since I both send and receive packages on a regular basis, I save all of the packing peanuts and bubble wrap that I receive for future packaging. I also save old newspapers for this very purpose. Whenever I see a cardboard box that’s around the right size for my shipping needs, I break it down and keep it in the garage. It’s easy to make the cost of shipping materials very cheap if you just watch out for it as you go along.

When you box up a package, every seam should be covered in packing tape and, when you shake the box, nothing inside should rattle at all. The only way that rattling is acceptable is if you’re sending an item in shrinkwrap and that item rattles within the shrinkwrap.

If you don’t do this, you’re taking a very serious risk that items inside the package are going to show up with some kind of damage on them. As I said above, it really depends on who handles the package between your town and the destination, but the less secure your packaging is, the more you leave things in the hands of the employees that touch your packages.

In terms of cost, for one-time packages, it’s hard to beat the postal service.
UPS and FedEx tend to offer large discounts to companies who use them for bulk shipping – think Amazon. What that generally means is that on most packages, if you’re an individual customer walking in the door, you’re going to get the best price from the post office for shipping.

There are exceptions. If your package is larger than, say, 24 inches in any dimension, you might want to price it using all of the services. I’ve found that on individual larger packages, I’m better off with UPS, unless the item is valuable and needs insurance, in which case FedEx usually comes out on top.

Also, if you’re starting a business of some kind where you’re going to be shipping a lot of packages, you may want to talk to the shipping companies about negotiating a bulk rate. That’s when the various companies get significantly less expensive and UPS and FedEx often undercut the postal service.

Tracking and insurance are on a per-item basis.
It mostly depends on the arrangement I’ve got with the recipient. If it’s not a regular trading partner, I’ll get both tracking and insurance. Usually, with a regular partner, I just get tracking, particularly if I’m confident in how I’ve packaged the item.

For gifts and items like that, I’d only get tracking unless I was concerned about covering the cost of the item in the event of a disaster. In other words, I’d only insure something rather expensive.

The slow boat is usually the right boat.
In terms of shipping speed, always ask for all options and choose the cheapest one. Within the United States, even the slowest options are generally only a few days slower than the fastest ones, and if that slowness can save you a few bucks, it’s well worth it.

For example, whenever I ship a book, I’m almost always using Media Mail as it’s incredibly cheap for books and other such items. I can usually ship a book for under $2 and it arrives usually within a week (though I’m positioned in the center of the country, which helps). Since most packages I send aren’t incredibly urgent, this works really well.

So, to summarize:
+ I use recycled packing materials and pack my items extremely well so that there’s no rattling at all.
+ I use the postal service for smaller packages and shop around for larger ones.
+ I usually get tracking as a “guarantee” that I’ve properly shipped the item, but only insure in rare situations.
+ I use the cheapest possible shipping option.

This procedure shaves several dollars off of every single package that I ship, leaving me with more money in hand and better results in terms of the value of a trade or an item sold.

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How To Fill USPS Change Address Online Form

How To Fill USPS Change Of Address Form Online Free – In Five Minutes
This post will be going through the process of filling the USPS change of address form at the official USPS website. There are many other companies and organizations providing the service, where they file the change of address on your behalf. They usually charge a premium for that which is way higher than what USPS charge. The charges for filing United States Postal Service change of address from at USPS official site is $1.05, which is justified by the security attached the address changing process. While other service providers charge anywhere from $15 to $40.

Most of the service providers do make the changes for you but there are some complaints where the person was charged but the address was not changed. You need to be very careful about using such service. They usually never inform post office about your move.

Once you have decided that you need to apply for a change of address, you have two options in hand; you can either walk to your nearest post office and fill a form there about your new address or you can fill the same form online, avoiding some common mistakes, in five minutes using the laptop on which you are reading this post.

Step by step process of filling the post office change of address is discussed in detail below. You can read it once and then start to fill the form or you can also do both the things simultaneously in different tabs.

Step by Step Process to file change of address at USPS –
You should start the process of changing your address by going to the online form available at the official website of USPS, you can find the link also at the bottom of this post. When you go to the USPS’s change of address form you will see a welcome page.

You need to click the orange Continue button to go to the next page.

On the next page, it gives you some tips and information on charges. There is a clearly mentioned charge of $1.05 to be charged from your credit card or debit card. This helps USPS to verify that the person filing the request is real.

This form can be filled personally by anyone who wants to update his/her address in post office or he or she should be the executor, guardian, authorized officer of the person whose USPS address change is being done or an agent of the person for whom the update of address is being carried out. This is clearly stated on the official UMove page, you need to acknowledge that statement before you start the actual change of address process.

The most important question is the status of move, weather it is temporary or permanent. If you are planning to move back to the same address within a year then temporary should be marked, even if you are sure about the first six months and your next six months plan in dependent on something else, you should file a temporary change request and then after six months, you should again file the same request.

Date of forwarding-
Date of forwarding implies to the date from which you want your mails to be delivered to the new address, you can fill the form after or before moving so you have to tell USPS the date when you want the mail forwarding to start. For example you can file the request within thirty (30) days of moving or if you want to fill the change of address form well in advance than you can do it that upto three months before the date of forwarding.

If you apply for a permanent address change than you will see only one date option, ‘Start Forwarding’ date, but if you are applying for a temporary change of address then you will see a second date option as ‘End Forwarding’ which will tell USPS to stop your mail forwarding to new address and resume its going to the old address.

The ‘End Forwarding’ date should not be more than six months away from the Start Forwarding date. As it was mentioned earlier, you can apply for temporary change of address for six months and extend it for another six months.

In case you don’t know the exact End Forwarding date then it is good to input the best estimated date, and if this date is ever changed , you must inform your local post office about the new/changed End Forwarding date.

Another important point to remember is that if you receive your mails by more than one name e.g. your middle name or nick name then a separate postal service change of address form should be filed for that name as well.

The Type of Move-
The next point asks about the type of move it is. You should clearly mention whether it is an individual move, a family move or a business moving to a new address.

Here is an explanation of three different types of moves. Individual move is defined as move when a single person from a family is moving and the rest of the family is going to stay at the same old address.

If one person in a family has a different surname then the family has to file for a change of address as a family and the person who has a different surname has to file separate change of address for as an individual. You can mark it as a family move if the whole family which has same surname is moving to a new address, in that case all the people having same surname will get their mails forwarded to the new address by filing just one form.

Third option is for the businesses moving to a new address. It is not possible to divert few mails to a different address; all the mails should be delivered to the same business address, either new or old.

Once you have filled all three options, you can now click on the orange ‘Continue’ button to provide your name and address details.

Name and Address –
This part of the form should be filled very carefully. In the four blocks on this page, the first block is for your name. If the form is being filled for an individual, your first name, middle name and last name should be entered. In case the form is being filled for whole family, first name shouldThe third block is where you will put your new address or the address where you want your mails to be forwarded. If you are moving to a newly built house that was built in last six months, then it may not be in USPS database, in that case you must tick the box below the ZIP code.

There are few type of address which you cannot use for these fields like you cannot file for a US Postal Service change of address from a non USPS PO box but if you have a USPS PO box you should put it in the street field.

Similarly you cannot file Similarly you cannot file United States Postal Service Change of address online for international address or from a Military APO/FPO address, but you can file an online change of address to change your address ‘to’ a military address.

Online address changing facility can also not be used to change ’Unique ZIP Codes’ address. Unique ZIP codes are used for specific universities, governmental agencies, buildings or business that gets a very high volume of mails. Such offices are assigned a Unique ZIP code to funnel the mails easily.

Once you are done with the contact information, press the orange “Continue” button to the next step of “Identity Check” and confirm your identity.

In the Fourth block you need to provide your contact information including your email address, confirmation of email address, home phone and Mobile phone. This information is used to send the information of the transaction and confirmation of the change of address and mail forwarding.

Identity Check –
Third Step of filling the form is Identity Verification, this step helps USPS verify the applicant. It require you to verify yourself using a valid Debit or Credit card, this card should be in the name of person filing the request and it should have the same billing address as either your old or new house.

Hold mail

Stop junk mail

Change of address

US mail tracking

USPS hours