PDA

View Full Version : UPS shipping - is Ground or 2nd Day safer?


coldbrew
05-07-2012, 02:35 PM
The combined experience of shipping guitars you guys have here must be astronomical.
Is a guitar (or any other fragile item) likely to be handled less, and therefore better, if it is shipped by UPS air rather than Ground? Enough to justify the extra cost?

HHP
05-07-2012, 02:37 PM
Be handled more for an air shipment, just in transit less time.

BGS
05-07-2012, 02:42 PM
In theory, yes, air is safer.

But in practicality, if your guitar is properly packed, the odds are actually pretty low that it will get damaged during transit. You hear a lot of horror stories on here about guitars that are smashed to bits because this is an acoustic guitar message board (exactly where people would go to share horror stories). But for every one of those kinds of stories, there are 999 other people who safely shipped their guitars and don't bother to tell us about it.

(Knock on wood - a nice koa Collings is arriving today!)

dmun1
05-07-2012, 03:07 PM
The combined experience of shipping guitars you guys have here must be astronomical.
Is a guitar (or any other fragile item) likely to be handled less, and therefore better, if it is shipped by UPS air rather than Ground? Enough to justify the extra cost?

Just thinking out loud here - but considering that a guitar will be riding in the cargo hold, what's the relative humidity at 30,000 feet? I'm guessing it's dangerously low, and any ordinary guitar case won't be close to air tight at that pressure differential.

revive
05-07-2012, 03:13 PM
I'd recommend Fedex ... I've found them to be more reliable, safer, and also cheaper than UPS.

edman
05-07-2012, 03:16 PM
No. The guitar will be handled even more times doing second day air. It will be loaded on a truck (and possibly unloaded at the depot and reloaded on a different truck), unloaded from the truck, loaded on a plane, unloaded from the plane, loaded on a truck (and possibly unloaded at the depot and reloaded on a different truck).

410adam
05-07-2012, 04:14 PM
As a UPS driver up in Canada I can tell you it all depends on your location and the shippers location for how many times it will be handled during transit. the closer you are the less it is handled air or ground.

That being said, Martin Guitar co. uses UPS as their courier as does Taylor guitars (you should have seen my face when I saw the 40 Taylor boxes going through my building a few months ago going to one store, I was the first one there to pick up the new 714ce :D) And all those guitars are shipped ground with no problems, and they were shipped from California to Ontario Canada in February on a trailer, not a plane. But UPS has worked with those companies to show them what works and what doesn't for shipment methods.

So, as long as your shipper knows how to pack a guitar, any company, any shipment method, and any time of year is safe.

Kent Chasson
05-07-2012, 04:54 PM
I've looked into this in several different ways and think the answers so far show exactly what I learned. There is no consensus and there are too many variables to get a meaningful answer.

I ship most of mine USPS priority because it always looks like the best value.

My philosophy is pack it well, insure it (privately, not through the shipper), and do a good luck dance when you let it go.

JCave
05-07-2012, 05:30 PM
What packaging is appropriate for a cased guitar via UPS?






Jerry

SteveS
05-07-2012, 05:35 PM
....I ship most of mine USPS priority because it always looks like the best value.......
I always ship USPS also.

..... and do a good luck dance when you let it go.Can we get a YouTube link to your dance? I'd like to repeat it before shipping my guitars.

fitness1
05-07-2012, 05:47 PM
Bear in mind an important point.....with UPS, if there is damage, you will be dealing with a 3rd party insurer that is being paid to deny your claim. I had a 200.00 claim on a 600.00 guitar a while back that was damaged in shipping and it took me 3 months and probably 50 phone calls/emails playing a shell game with some company in Houston, Virginia and another location. They kept passing me back and forth waiting for me to give up. That's not in my DNA.;)

I've not had a claim experience with USPS, but another board member recently did while shipping an Baranik. It sounded just about the same as my UPS experience, only there was hardly any communication at all....basically a waiting game for the shipper, waiting to see what the USPS was going to do...which of course ended up being nothing.

I've shipped over 200 guitars and had ONE claim on one that I shipped....Fedex cracked the neck on a Larrivee I'd shipped to Virginia. I had my claim within 10 days and spoke with Fedex employees the entire time.

I know which way I'll go. I'm glad the guys at Elderly's told me of their experiences years ago, and how they'd switched to Fedex.

edman
05-07-2012, 06:09 PM
I never use USPS to ship guitars.

The mail carriers have small vehicles in my area. They are forced to ride around with the guitar box in the front seat.

I feel more comfortable using UPS and FedEx - they are better equipped to deliver guitars.

Kent Chasson
05-07-2012, 11:16 PM
Can we get a YouTube link to your dance? ...

No way. It's very bad luck to put something like that on video. Very bad....

Ken Franklin
05-07-2012, 11:29 PM
Boxes that come to my doorstep from USPS are always in better shape than boxes that come from UPS or FedEx. So I ship with USPS priority mail. It doesn't hurt that it's less expensive.

Dominus
05-08-2012, 12:39 AM
The combined experience of shipping guitars you guys have here must be astronomical.
Is a guitar (or any other fragile item) likely to be handled less, and therefore better, if it is shipped by UPS air rather than Ground? Enough to justify the extra cost?

Hard to say for certain but in my experience, items going ground always seem to come in with more scuffs and dents than items sent 2nd day or overnight.

rockinrebel
05-08-2012, 06:05 AM
I use the Postal Service overnight.
For the same price the Postal Service can get a guitar from Georgia to California overnight.
UPS takes a a week.

MFG
05-08-2012, 06:11 AM
We typically ship UPS Ground unless someone wants to upgrade and we have very few problems. Martin and Taylor also ship UPS Ground and it's along way to Florida, but we almost never have any problems with incoming guitars either. I would say, though, that there is no question that air (overnight or 2-day) is always safer than ground - simply less handling time...
Jon

denny1948golf
05-08-2012, 06:20 AM
For those of you that ship FedEx, be aware their insurance limit for stringed instruments is $1000. They don't offer additional insurance above $1000. Since most of the guitars I ship are $2000/$3500, FedEx is no longer an option.

theGuardian
05-08-2012, 07:20 AM
I had a nice, long post typed & my Laptop died...and the post is gone-- SO,
I will quickly say that as a UPS employee working mostly in Next Day Air (NDA), I recommend shipping Next Day only. There is far less volume in the Air dept & packages don't go through automated Belts etc. But NDA doesn't mean the package won't see a Feeder Truck. IF the shipping distance can be achieved on the ground in 1 day, then it will stay on the ground. The significant difference though is that a NDA will be kept seperate the entire time, so again- It will be handled better.

And there is always declaring "High Value" and then the package will be handled with the best care available. PM me if you have any questions.

Bwana
05-08-2012, 08:44 AM
For all the USPS fans. Who do you think carries their (USPS) express shipments. USPS does not have a fleet of aircraft.

FWIW, FEDEX has had a contract to carry USPS priority items for the last 15 years.

OVERNIGHT, definately by air

2nd or 3rd DAY EXPRESS, if the item can arrive at destination by second day it will probably go by ground. ie DFW to ABQ, PHX, DIA, or LAX.

#2 FWIW, the cargo holds are preasureized with the rest of the aircraft to not go above 8000', so the 30,000' claim is unrealistic.

just my 2 cents on a Tuesday morning

Bwana

BGS
05-08-2012, 08:50 AM
For all the USPS fans. Who do you think carries their (USPS) express shipments. USPS does not have a fleet of aircraft.

FWIW, FEDEX has had a contract to carry USPS priority items for the last 15 years.

OVERNIGHT, definately by air

2nd or 3rd DAY EXPRESS, if the item can arrive at destination by second day it will probably go by ground. ie DFW to ABQ, PHX, DIA, or LAX.

#2 FWIW, the cargo holds are preasureized with the rest of the aircraft to not go above 8000', so the 30,000' claim is unrealistic.

just my 2 cents on a Tuesday morning

Bwana

USPS Express is $90 to $120, FedEx Overnight is $200 to $300. Who cares what's painted on the sides of the planes? :)

Bwana
05-08-2012, 09:55 AM
Your talking apples to oranges.....USPS EXPRESS 2-3 DAYS, VS OVERNIGHT

UPS and FEDEX have a 2-3 day product also

But, I believe the original post was pros and cons of ground vs air

revive
05-08-2012, 11:56 AM
I stopped shipping guitars with USPS a long time ago.

First, they are always nitpicky about box dimension. Not only nitpicky, at times they were very careless (and blatantly wrong) in measuring the dimension. Boxes that are well under 108" in combined length and girth would be marked 109", 110", etc, and then automatically assessed $60-$90 extra charges. The nitpicking, the carelessness, the constant argumentation that accompanies the experience, gave me a lot of headache not to mention also cost me time, energy and money.

Secondly, the USPS customer service is also extremely poor. It's really mind boggling to see how badly my local USPS treats their customers. I mean, GOLLY... I lived many years in a developing country, and I've never seen customer service worst than my local USPS. :sick: :eek: :rolleyes:

Nowadays, I only use USPS for small items such as pickups, preamps, etc.

Fedex is my go-to-shipper for guitars and keyboards. They are very reliable, excellent customer service, and priced reasonably (always better than UPS, and many times even better than USPS).

BGS
05-08-2012, 12:01 PM
Your talking apples to oranges.....USPS EXPRESS 2-3 DAYS, VS OVERNIGHT

UPS and FEDEX have a 2-3 day product also

But, I believe the original post was pros and cons of ground vs air
Not quite true!

99% of the time, USPS Express is indeed overnight. For that other 1%, like when you walk into a South Florida post office at 5:30pm wanting to ship Express to Washington state, they'll tell you it's going to be two days instead of just one.

Maybe you're thinking of Priority? It's usually two to three days.