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mtdoramike

This is how I usually pack and ship a model freshly built

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I try not to charge extra for packing materials, so I use what I have on hand or can salvage from some place. But if I have to go out and buy specific packing materials then I will pass some of that cost onto the buyer. So some times my shipping quotes can seem a bit high, but it usually comes from the weight and not so much the size. The packing on the Typhoon doubled the weight of the model. But I have also shipped 40 or so boat, tall ship and plane models all over the United States and some to Canada with out any damage.  

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In my experience of logistics with several companies, putting fragile stickers on a box has little impact to the courier, they'll toss it around like anything else because "everyone just slaps fragile stickers on their parcel". Where I work now the warehouse puts fragile stickers on fragile packages, not because they expect it'll be treated with any more care but to cover themselves for the inevitable insurance claims 😕 Fortunately not as many these days but it's still a consideration.

 

A few years ago a dutch bicycle company was getting a 25% damage rate from bicycles they shipped, particularly those shipped to the US so they printed a TV on the box. If you've not seen a bicycle packaged in a box for shipping it's rougly the same size and shape as a large flat screen TV. Apparently the damage rate dropped by 80%.

 

Think outside the box.

 

Mark

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I feel when it comes to shipping a package, anything you can do to insure your packages gets there without damage should be done. Kind of like an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure thing. I try to go that extra mile for anything I ship especially something that I built because I understand buying something basically sight unseen except for a few pictures can be a bit intimidating, which is why I tell a buyer that once they receive the item and if not satisfied, pack it back up as it was originally or close to it, send it back and I will give a full refund as well as pay the shipping cost back to me. Plus insurance can't refuse a claim due to poor packing.

 

Also, I'm not a business, I make nothing off of anything that I build and sell. I rarely make back what I have invested in the model. Take this Typhoon for instance, the kit runs around $350.00-$400.00, that doesn't include building materials like epoxy, cloth, glues, additional bits and pieces to finish the build and make it spectacular nor does that cost include motor, speed control, servo and such. My price for the finished Typhoon was $350.00 receiver ready. I got lucky and got the kit for not a whole lot of money, so I was able to get the pleasure of building the boat and give a great deal to someone.  

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I often sell built plastic models. Tedious attention to careful packing is a must for those as they are so fragile. Knock on wood, but I haven't had one arrive damaged yet. No matter how careful were are, damage can happen. I've had packages arrive to me soaking wet and crushed, like it had been left outside in a rainstorm then they piled heavy objects on top.

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I shipped it out today. The postage was $95.00 to go to Upstate New York from Florida with like $450.00 insurance. I charged the buyer $75.00 for shipping cost, I ate the difference. Box was 47"x14"x13" weight was 20 pounds.

 

When we got back from the post office, my wife hinted that maybe I needed to stop building with shipping cost going so high, it's really starting to be unrealistic continue. I have a few more projects in the building room, but after that I'm going to have to re-think my position. I'm preparing to start building the Crockett, a Vietnam Gun Boat, which will be offered when finished, and it's a massive 51", shipping box would have to be 55" minimum and no telling what the shipping cost would be on that one.

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Here's a suggestion that saves money when shipping: go to Pirateship dot com - you can buy and print your USPS shipping labels for no surcharge and receive a big discount off the normal USPS price. They also provide a standard $100 insurance per package at no charge. I use it all the time and it saves me a bundle.

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I can't bring myself to trust a shipper. I've always transported models myself. Even with everything secured in a box, just the jostling and shaking can cause damage, particularly to rigged sailing ships. Obviously, shipping is sometimes a necessity. Considering what shipping costs are becoming, perhaps sending one via courier might cost about the same!

 

At the risk of thread drift, it occurs to me that if quality modelers held out for higher prices for their work, the market might be thereby strengthened. There is a limited market for quality models, but then, there's also a limited supply. It makes no sense to me to try to compete with the "bottom feeder" imported decorator junk, nor to base the price of a finished model on the cost of a model kit. Might I suggest that "nobody makes money building models" is as much a result of what some will sell them for as anything else.

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I agree, you can';t make a living building models, but when you wind up selling a model for less than the cost of the kit and then have to eat additional cost for packing and shipping cost, it makes a person reflect a bit. I no longer hoard models that I build. I either sell them for about what the cost of the kit is, or donate them. My intent was never to make money, but rather to give me something to do and a reason to get out of bed every morning.

 

I used to sell my ship models through a wedsite Called Tall Ship Models inc, which was based in Canada, but they eventually went out of business when they lost a lot of builders in the US because they started importing models from other countries like Russia, which undercut our prices to the point, it pushed us out. Now a days, you can buy ship models for a dime a dozen on places like ebay. It's hard to tell a potential buyer that see's these Asian models for next to nothing and being sold with shipping included that their quality isn't the same. All they want is a model to put on a self.

 

Now as far as shipping tall ship models, I have shipped ship models to Canada, New Yor, New Jersey, Chicago, Las Vegas, California just to name a few and never had any damage. But I usually packed them myself using wooden framing just like above. But that was years ago when you could ship a 36-40" ship model for around $50.00. Now it would cost three times that much.    

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