UPS® Shipping: Perfecting Your Packaging
Packaging your UPS shipments may seem like an easy task — just put them in a box, tape it up, slap a label on it and you’re on your way! However, while this approach is quick and easy, it may actually be costing you time and money in the long run — especially if your shipment gets damaged in transit.
While UPS takes pride in handling your packages with care, it’s important to note that shipments are often handled by machinery, such as conveyor belts, in transit — and unfortunately, machines just don’t get as emotional about your shipments as we do! If your shipment isn’t packaged properly, it could be damaged or delayed in transit — costing you both time and money.
Follow these guidelines to help minimize errors and damage to your UPS shipments:
- Use a rigid box with flaps intact. The old box that’s been sitting in the corner of your office for years really won’t cut it. In fact, boxes can lose up to 50% of their strength in just six months — so be sure to use new, strong boxes for your UPS shipping. When selecting a box for your shipment, you should also be mindful of weight and size limits, which can affect your UPS shipping rate (and how much packaging materials you’ll need).
- Remove old labels. If you do choose to reuse a box — such as when shipping lightweight or non-fragile items — be sure to remove or cover any old labels. This helps limit confusion about the destination for UPS in transit, and upon final delivery to the recipient.
- Use cushioning. Invest in packaging materials to help absorb impact and protect breakable products in transit. We recommend including at least three inches of cushioning around the interior of the box. Make sure to wrap fragile products individually and fill empty spaces with cushioning material like bubble wrap or packing peanuts — this helps ensure your items don’t move or bump around the box in transit.
- Seal tightly with strong tape. Unfortunately, the tape you use to wrap gifts or mark off walls before painting just won’t cut it — it’s not worth the risk! Use 2-inch-wide clear, brown, reinforced or paper-packing tape and seal your packages by taping down the middle opening and edges of the box (creating an “H” shape).
- Don’t use string or paper overwrap. While additional touches like twine or paper may look nice on the outside of your shipment, they can easily get caught on the conveyor belts used to sort and ship your packages — damaging the conveyor and your package in the process.
- Protect your shipping label. Especially in the winter when snow and sleet are common, it’s important to protect your shipping label to ensure it stays readable throughout transit — otherwise your shipment could be delayed. Use a label sleeve or place a clear strip of tape over the address label to keep it safe. You might even consider including a duplicate label inside the package, just in case.
Take it from us: you don’t want to skip these important packaging tips for your UPS shipping! While it may take more time on the front end, by protecting your shipments with packaging best practices, you can avoid costly delays and damage down the line. And as an added layer of protection if loss or damage does occur, don’t forget to consider shipment insurance!
Ready to start shipping? Get a UPS shipping quote today!