Protect Your UPS® Shipping During the Holidays

For many small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year — especially for their UPS shipping logistics. But during the scramble to get your holiday packages out the door, don’t forget to properly prep your shipments!

While taking shortcuts could get your holiday shipments out the door a bit faster, cutting corners will likely end up costing you more time and money in the long run. Damage, delay and additional fees (not to mention cranky customers) are all common results of improper packaging — and that’s the last thing you need during your busy season!

Follow these four simple (yet often overlooked) steps to ensure your UPS shipping arrives on time and without damage this holiday season:

Step #1 – Stock up on the right supplies

Make sure to plan ahead and order any necessary boxes (or other packaging materials you may need) ahead of time. Just like any other product, shipping supply orders can be delayed due to demand (especially during the holidays when so many people are sending packages), so be sure to plan ahead! For your urgent shipments, consider purchasing carrier-provided packaging (such as UPS Express Boxes and Envelopes), which stand out to the driver and provide an extra level of surety that your packages will arrive on time for the holidays.

Step #2 – Pick the right box for your goods

When preparing your shipment, make sure to select a strong, new box that was designed for the weight and size of your goods. Considering reusing a box? It’s important to note that old boxes may not adequately protect your goods in transit and could be the wrong size. Ideally, you should select a box that is just large enough to fit your goods and cushioning material — this helps ensure you get the best shipping rate possible and avoid any additional fees. Remember, most carriers impose large package surcharges during the holidays! Click here to learn more about small package weight and size limits.

Step #3 – Pack appropriately

Once you’ve picked your box, make sure to fill the inside with lightweight cushioning material to help keep your items securely in place. The peak shipping season means your packages will likely be handled more in transit, so you want to ensure your contents are fully secure in their container in order to avoid damage. When you’re ready, reinforce the opening and seams of your box with 2-inch-wide packing tape. And while it may add an extra merry touch to your packages, resist the urge to wrap them with twine or string — these types of materials can get caught in the conveyor belts used to sort your packages and cause costly damage or delays.When preparing your shipment, you should also consider whether your packaging was created to withstand (and protect its contents from) the elements. If the package might wait outside for a few days at its destination, you don’t want it to be exposed to extreme winter temperatures that could damage its contents. And even if the package won’t have to wait at its final destination, it will still likely experience some exposure as its moved on and off delivery trucks and planes in transit — so plan accordingly!

Step #4 – Clearly label your package

If your UPS shipping label isn’t easy to read, it can cause problems for the carrier in transit — especially when carriers are navigating peak season! Make sure to clearly display your label on the top of the package, with the shipper and receiver’s names easily visible. Since a damaged label can cause delays, we also recommend protecting it from snow or sleet by using a label sleeve or by placing a strip of clear packing tape over the address information. It also never hurts to put a duplicate label inside the package, just in case.

With these four quick tips, you can spend less time dealing with UPS shipping headaches — and more time celebrating — this holiday season. And for your holiday shipping challenges that could use some extra support, Unishippers is here to lend a hand. Contact us today to get started.

Looking for more holiday shipping tips? Check out our Guide to Small Package Holiday Shipping for more advice on navigating your busy season.


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