Success using USPS flat rate boxes for small trades?

Discussion in 'Trade Talk' started by Dan_K, Nov 10, 2015.

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  1. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (515) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    I am thinking about utilizing USPS flat rate boxes to ship small trades. It seems to be cheaper and faster than UPS for small packages.

    Medium box is 11" x 8.5" x 5.5" (514 cubic inches), no weight limit, 2 day delivery. $11.30 online price.
    Large box is 12 x 12 x 5.5" (792 cubic inches), no weight limit, 2 day delivery. $15.80 online price.

    These boxes are pretty flimsy, so would need to be packed very well, but weight isn't a concern, only space and protection. Also, would be tough to safely send a bomber even in the large box- possible, maybe.
    I am thinking using a small garbage bag to encompass everything would probably be smart.
    12oz, 16oz, and 19.2 ounce cans, 355, 375, and 500 ml bottles would probably be possible as well.

    I know USPS has a lot more "spotty" record of on-time and undamaged parcels. What do you think?
    #1 Dan_K, Nov 10, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015
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  2. DenverBeerDrinker

    DenverBeerDrinker Aspirant (254) Apr 5, 2012 Colorado

    I've seen way more boxes crushed or dropped on the porch from USPS then FedEx or UPS. Losing one box of beers will negate any savings you had by trying to go cheaper.
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  3. factory

    factory Initiate (88) Jun 25, 2010 Georgia

    It hasn't been said yet, aware of the legality using USPS to ship beer. Not trying to make you paranoid about it because many people do it successfully, just good to know the specifics in case something should come up.
    woemad likes this.
  4. ResIpsaLoquitur

    ResIpsaLoquitur Defender (622) Feb 28, 2010 New York

    I frequently ship cans and growlers coast to coast thru usps. Have yet to lose a bottle or box. Can't say the same thing for the other 2. Takes 2 days with usps, vs a week with the others. Costs about half as much.
    woemad, HopsAholic79 and Dan_K like this.
  5. threedaggers

    threedaggers Crusader (743) Dec 2, 2013 Kentucky

    I've never risked sending one out myself, but I've received about 10 usps boxes of beer, and they made it in the same condition as ups/fedex.
  6. dcbullet

    dcbullet Initiate (122) Dec 18, 2013 California

    If you are concerned with the flimsy material, make a "box in a box" with thicker cardboard. I do that with all my boxes. Overkill, maybe.
    woemad and Chris912 like this.
  7. lalancette7

    lalancette7 Initiate (0) Feb 1, 2015 Vermont

    I've used them to go from VT to CA, way cheaper and always worked out fine.
  8. BigStein88

    BigStein88 Disciple (309) Nov 5, 2007 New Hampshire

    The flat rate boxes are a great way to get stuff across the country quickly. You can fit bombers in easily. I use them when shipping Hill Farmstead 750ml growlers from NH to San Francisco. I can drop them off at the tiny post office in my town and they are across the country in two days, no issues.

    I have had a growler leak in delivery and they still delivered it. Only issue I have had with USPS is they did crush two cans in a box that was coming to me and also misplaced the box for a week. Box was stinky and wet when it got here but they just bagged it and delivered. I have never heard of anyone getting any kind of notification from USPS, while I have read of many people receiving notices from the other two. If you pack it well you can ship with confidence.

    Also, the boxes are plenty strong. I use 3 inch wide packing tape and just tape up both ends really well. More than strong enough to support the quantity of beer you can fit in there.

    Of course, the garbage bag or zip locks are a good idea in any box (but I still don't always do it).
    woemad, ShanePB and Justdoit1234 like this.
  9. benzalman

    benzalman Devotee (460) Apr 25, 2009 California

    I've done this when shipping to Hawaii, was fine.
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  10. JayORear

    JayORear Meyvn (1,471) Feb 22, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I do this quite often for small trades/gift beer boxes, especially with fresh IPAs. You can easily do two bombers in the large flat rate by packing them diagonally.
    woemad, ShanePB, Dan_K and 1 other person like this.
  11. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (515) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    Hey guys I really appreciate the feedback.
    I used a medium flat rate box to pack 5 cans. I put thick cardboard on the bottom, sides, and top essentially making every surface doubled. I also taped the inside of the bottom seam, and wrapped all the cans in 2 layers of bubble wrap. nothing moves or shifts when the box is moved around. So hopefully this works; sounds like it works for some people.
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  12. Coldstorage

    Coldstorage Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2014 California

    Be aware that flat rate boxes are cheap because they are machine sorted. This is why they are strict about not over stuffing the packages... Because they have machines set up to handle each flat rate box size and overstuffed ones jam it up. Machine sorting is often a violent process and these flat rate boxes can be subjected to much rougher handling than an odd shaped box. I haven't used flat rate boxes (or usps at all actually) but I would only do it for easily replaceable items if I were you.
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  13. BigStein88

    BigStein88 Disciple (309) Nov 5, 2007 New Hampshire

    Having never used USPS, you do seem well qualified to speak on it....but he has already shipped so I am guessing he chose to listen to those who have actually done it.
    #13 BigStein88, Nov 11, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2015
  14. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (515) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    The box was slightly "overstuffed" with bubble wrap, hopefully that is OK- we'll find out in a couple days. The stuff inside is all replaceable, and I wouldn't be out a huge amount of money.

    In addition the "2 day express shipping" looks like they are estimating 3 days to deliver from CO to SC. Certainly not the longest delivery in the USA.
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  15. Coldstorage

    Coldstorage Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2014 California

    Um... I worked in shipping and receiving for the last 15 years before my career change. I shipped 99% of my packages (average 300 per day) via USPS. I haven't used flat rate boxes for BEER and I guess that wasn't clear. My mistake. Please review my credentials now and let me know if I am allowed to try to be helpful on the Internet. You can add whatever level of snark you feel is necessary.
  16. BigStein88

    BigStein88 Disciple (309) Nov 5, 2007 New Hampshire

    You are allowed to be helpful whenever you want, perhaps you should start. (appropriate level of snark added). Haha, all good. I know we all hope the OP makes out fine.
  17. 4truth

    4truth Aspirant (237) Jan 30, 2015 Illinois

    Yeah, because you definitely knew everything @Coldstorage mentioned in his post. :rolling_eyes: That's OK, maybe you have reading comprehension issues. Or, you're just a self-important and defensive jagoff who was threatened by his expertise and because it didn't fit your "IT'S GREAT, I USE IT" narrative. Oh, and... definitely sound like a "helpful" expert in packing and shipping beer whose wisdom we should heed in sending beer across the country. Thanks for your input!
  18. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (515) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    Hey guys.
    The package arrived across the country unscathed. Strange thing though, it "sat" at the post office for 24 hours before they moved it. So it took 3 days, but that was what they estimated when I printed it up online.
    11/10: Printed Postage at 8 PM
    11/11: Dropped package off at 7:15 AM
    11/12: Package left the post office where I dropped it off at 7:30 AM
    11/14: Package delivered in SC
    woemad likes this.
  19. BigStein88

    BigStein88 Disciple (309) Nov 5, 2007 New Hampshire

    Haha, fair enough. Thanks for putting me in my place!
  20. BeerZombies1

    BeerZombies1 Disciple (380) Jan 20, 2014 Nevada

    I have sent somewhere around 100 beer boxes out this year using usps only. 99% of the time I use flat rate boxes and have never had an issue at all. I also had a beer trader that was having his bachelor party here in Las Vegas ship me 10 large flat rate boxes jammed full of bombers, cans and 12oz bottles to hold for him. Not one broken or damaged beer in the whole lot
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  21. Irishace9

    Irishace9 Devotee (428) Sep 7, 2012 Illinois

    I am currently waiting for a box shipped via USPS. It was shipped last Tuesday from CT and it landed in Chicago at 3am wednesday night/Thursday morning and tracking said it would be delivered Thursday. Thursday at 3pm I got a text alert saying it left that facility and is en route to destination. Nothing ever came. Saturday at 3pm I got that same text. Still nothing. When I track it says "Shipment Delay." So I'm not so sure about the quick and easy thing. However at this point I'll be happy if the package just makes it at all in one piece.
  22. ResIpsaLoquitur

    ResIpsaLoquitur Defender (622) Feb 28, 2010 New York

    And? let's say that your box got lost, or confiscated. I'm not sure how that makes MY or other peoples experience any less accurate.

    I've shipped probably 100 boxes via usps and have never had a problem.

    I don't think I've seen many, if any, people complaining about losing boxes, having boxes seized, etc by usps.

    But that's a daily occurance for people who ship fed ex or ups. I use all 3 services, and usps is the only one that hasn't screwed me.

    take it for what your will
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  23. Irishace9

    Irishace9 Devotee (428) Sep 7, 2012 Illinois

    I will say I'm 59/59 on shipping FedEx. Also never had any problems with incoming until USPS. My FedEx Never delayed either. Plus I'm a big fan of it not being illegal. I'm glad you have never had a problem shipping USPS. Take it for what you will.
  24. Irishace9

    Irishace9 Devotee (428) Sep 7, 2012 Illinois

    Maybe this is the Outlier.
  25. TheEpeeist

    TheEpeeist Zealot (576) Nov 5, 2008 Maryland

    a friend of mine would use these for shipping beer. he would put the brews in a ziplock then use an expandable insulation spray foam to fill the box. I guess he had to prop it up or do staged fills to ensure the foam completely surrounded the beers.
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