I need to have someone else pack and ship something. Where do I go?

I need to ship something large (about the size of a small microwave) and not fragile, but certainly breakable, so I’ve decided that I probably just need to go and pay for someone else to professionally pack it up. I know that several companies now offer this sort of thing - “Just bring your object and we’ll ship and pack it.”

Where should I go? Who will give me the best deal? I’m in the middle of Chicago, so I have reasonable access to most popular services.

Hmmm…I would try either the UPS Store or PostNet. Personally I like PostNet because it is a nice little franchise where you walk in and (at least in my town) you are working directly with the store owner. Also, they ship USPS, UPS, FedEx and DHL so they can tell you 4 different shipping prices right up front. They have all sorts of boxes and implements of packing there. You might take a hit on the packaging but then again if you packed it yourself you’d still have to buy the packing stuff somewhere.

I would not recommend Kinkos/FedEx, because based on a story someone told me the other day of their experience trying to send something very important there, the Kinkos folks have not quite learned the ins-and-outs of shipping yet.

I’ve been happy with the UPS packaging store. If it’s fragile, find out how much UPS automatically insures your package for and be sure to purchase additional insurance if you need it.

Mail Boxes Etc. is a common franchise and they can get the job done although I have always found them to be very expensive.


I would go for the UPS store.

Another vote for the UPS store. We got raves on the packaging (for a picture with frame and glass) from the recipient.

I thought UPS bought out Mailboxes Etc. and that they are all UPS Stores now?? The change from the blue logo to the sickly yellow one (like UPS’s) on that site suggests so?? At least locally our Mailboxes Etc became a UPS Store and that’s what I would suggest to the OP.

The only thing that gave me pause was that I had a large framed item that I was shipping, which was already giftwrapped and wrapped in brown paper. They offered to put a special plastic sheet over the glass to contain the shards if it broke. I had less confidence in their packaging and services when they opened up the possibility that it could break despite their best efforts.

Any shipper worth their salt should offer you that. It’s standard on glassed art. I would have less confidence in a shipper who can’t admit that glass may break, and offer to do the most they can to protect your piece in any event.

But they’re the ones who promise to send that nun’s butter cookies without a single one breaking!! :wink:

And do they offer to put protective plastic sheets on those, hmmmmn? No, they do not! There, you see? :wink:

Seriously, a broken cookie only damages the cookie. Broken glass can ruin valuable art, so they take more pains with it.

I’ve used the UPS store, but actually after watching what they do have found that purchasing bubble wrap and other protective packing materials and using about three times what most self-packagers use works great. It’s the tendency be stingy with materials when self-packaging that leads to breakage en route. Get a box several inches larger in all dimensions than what you’re shipping, and then make sure the item is protected on all sides.

But if you don’t want to do it yourself, just don’t go to FedEx Kinko’s. I saw a comparison recently (I believe a TV story) that took the same package to four different shippers; FedEx Kinko’s not only packaged it badly but charged more than four times what everyone else charged.