Shipping: Cost and Preferred Vendors?

I have a component I will be selling.

How does one determine shipping cost prior to sending it on its way?

What is the best/preferred method of shipping?

fedex has a shipping estimator thingy; i’m sure UPS does too.


May be you could use an online shipping calculator.

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If you use the estimate provided by FedEx or UPS add 10%. They often add surcharges for fuel after the fact.


Agree with brett66. I’ve found the on-line estimators at UPS or FedEx do underquote. As for what is the best, preferred carrier and method pay your money and take your chances. Both UPS and FedEx are quite capable of trashing anything high value no matter how many fragile handle with care stickers you slap on the carton.
My advice: don’t gamble with insurance. Insure for full replacement value. Even then, those carriers will make life as difficult as possible to file a claim if you need to. But at least you will be be covered in principle.


There’s a good bit of useful info here: FedEx Shipping Insurance: A Comprehensive Guide | Shipware

Note the $2000 limit on insurance for FedEx however. That’s quite risky for expensive audio gear when 7-10% of shipments are damaged. I imagine heavy and fragile audio gear is damaged at even higher rates than the quoted averages.

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Thank you, everybody! Very helpful.

If you have AMEX, sign up for a FedEx account and tie them together, you save 10% in the form of an AMEX credit on your account.

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I know UPS is cheaper if you have a business account vs personal, especially international. They tried quoting me 2000 dollars for overseas shipping from UK to US for speakers as a regular person, $600 as a business…craziness…

I want Amazon’s rates.

Can you imagine? That would be amazing

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I am a big Fedex fan. Their service during this pandemic has been great.
I have used them for years shipping high end guitars, and more recently audio gear again.
As with any provider- make sure you pack to withstand the travel.

Get an account and you can make labels at home, slap them on, and drop off the package with no fuss, or even have it picked up.
I find the rates competitive and the service good.

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The only way to get a realistic price is to have the items actual dimensions and weight plus destination you can then go into either carrier (UPS or FedEx) an create a simulated shipment and get the whole price. I always add a pound or two to what weight I get unless I have the shipping label from the previous shipment still on the original packaging.

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No specific recomendation but some thoughts. UPS and FedEx are the two big ones. In my experience over the years in receiving packages, it sometimes can depend on where you are sending the package, as different delivery persons have exibited different levels of care with packages. I have also read comments from persons who would highly prefer one over the other based on their experience.

If you have both available, I would recommend asking the buyer which they prefer. If you can, take the package to a dropoff point and have them mark the package this end up and FRAGILE. It might not guarantee safer handling, but it can’t hurt. Also, my FedEx delivery guy told me one time when picking up a heavy package that he has seen some of the college guys just toss heavy packages.

I once had someone else pay FedEx to pick up an amplifier in factory packaging at my house. When it arrived one of the channels was no longer working with no visible damage to the box. Because they had paid to have it shipped, it was their responsibility to file a claim with FedEx.

As it happened, the amp had been modified and I called the person who had done the modifications. He said that he had seen this happen on shipments that he had received and that these days, it was very difficult to get UPS or FedEx to pay for that kind of damage without any damage to they box. If I remember corrrectly, he had recommended using USPS Parcel Post. In his opinion, they cost more, but he thought that packages were more likely to arrive undamaged and that they were easier to collect from in case of damage.

If I remeber correctly, both FedEx and UPS require that a package be able to survive a drop of several feet without damage, regardless of if it is in factory packaging. It would help if you had their shipping dropoff place (FedEx Office or UPS Store) do the double boxing. Then I think that they certify that it meets their standards for safe packaging.

I personally do not have any experience using USPS to ship heavy equipment, so I cannot vouch for their track record. With COVID-19, I have seen a variety of delivery people delivering for all three so who knows how carefull they are being.

I once talked to Richard Vandersteen (of Vandersteen speakers) and my Treo Carbons were marked “Only Ship Upright” right on the box. He said that they always use a freight company that wraps the speakers to a palate to keep them upright when shipping their speakers.

I would recommend making a video that shows the equipment in perfect working order prior to boxing it for shipping so that you have evidence that it was working before you shipped it. And maybe getting it double boxed at a shipping store with packing between the two boxes to help avoid the chance of damage during shipping.

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First thing, sign up for an (individual) online FedEx account. That way you get rate discounts, can get accurate rates online and print and attach labels before drop off. Having pick up, or even handing a package to a FedEx driver, leads to extra charges, as does having a FedEx Office store or another shipping store do the calculations and label. Signing up for an online UPS gains one nothing. Plus, UPS is typically much more expensive and often a day slower than FedEx in the U.S. As for packing, with electronics, especially PS Audio gear, double boxing and sometimes isolation within are important for those occasional times when FedEx is sloppy and throws or drops the package onto a hard surface.

As for postal, (free) is the way to go for lower domestic (and to Canada) postal rates and for printing prepaid labels, even first class, at home. I discovered them with a 13.xx oz package, which USPS requires to go Priority Mail (over 13 oz exactly). They pointed me to Pirate Ship, which then could up to 13.99 oz, now 15.99 oz, and allows printing the label oneself. They also have access to a much cheaper cubic priority mail rate class, which is not publicly available from USPS. There’s another similar free online service,, for international shipments, which gives best, often discount, rates and expected time frames for postal and other carriers.

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Depends on size and weight. I think the max for UPS is 125 lbs. The UPS and FedEx guys (mainly the UPS folks, it seems) do NOT like schlepping heavy boxes as evidenced by the occasional boot print on the tops of cartons I’ve received over the years.

If what you’re selling is heavy iron that tips the scales at 100 # or more, I’d suggest palletized motor freight, like YRC. They will arrange pickup at your door. Not the cheapest or the fastest, but the safest.

When I bought speakers, for peace of mind I rented a van and drove 6.5 hours one way to pick them up in person and drop off the traded-in pair.

For the more typical box ‘o’ goodies under, say 50 lbs, FedEx for me has been the most reliable and least likely to cause damage. They also tend to have multiple drop-off points around metro areas, unlike UPS.

Based on the Postal “service” delivering some of our Christmas cards mailed Dec 10 the first week in January, and taking 2 1/2 weeks to deliver a 2 -day Priority Mail flat rate box this holiday season, I wouldn’t trust them with anything that needed to get where it’s supposed to go.

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I just received four heavy boxes delivered by FedEx totaling 328 pounds, the heaviest 105 pounds. The driver was slight, middle-aged, and moved them around as if they were trivial nicely placing them behind a car in the garage. They arrived in perfect condition.


He might have been an audiophile himself … :slight_smile: