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Equipment Discussions >> Equipment

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Thomas Karpf
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/09/09

Loc: Newington, CT
Shipping relatively small things?
      #5640666 - 01/24/13 01:15 PM

I'm going to need to ship a couple of small items (an Astrotrac plus polar scope, and [separetely] an Astrotrac Wedge).

What would be the most economical (but trackable) way of shipping these items from one US address to another?


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tag1260
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 10/07/12

Loc: Ohio, USA
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5640686 - 01/24/13 01:24 PM

Hands down---USPS Parcel Post

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Thomas Karpf
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/09/09

Loc: Newington, CT
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: tag1260]
      #5640729 - 01/24/13 01:44 PM

Excellent. Thank you.

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123456
sage
*****

Reged: 11/05/06

Loc: mid tenn
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5640889 - 01/24/13 03:04 PM

USPS has flat rate padded envelops and small boxes

beats the heck out of the other U***

joe


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mogur
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/29/11

Loc: WI
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: 123456]
      #5641122 - 01/24/13 05:36 PM

Economical yes, but tracking with USPS is a joke. It's either delivered or not. No way to tell where your package is at any time in-between!

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Thomas Karpf
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/09/09

Loc: Newington, CT
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: mogur]
      #5641463 - 01/24/13 08:53 PM

Okay, so how would you suggest that I ship a 2-4 lb package to a US address and be able to get actual tracking info?

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Eddgie
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/01/06

Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: mogur]
      #5641518 - 01/24/13 09:19 PM

USPS doesn't really advertise "Tracking." They do delivery confirmation.

I have mailed at least 40 or 50 items using USPS in the last couple of years alone, and everything has arrived at its destination with no problem.

In fact, it often arrives quicker than with UPS.

I even received a diamond ring (Christmas Present for the assistant astronomer) by the mail.

My bet is that most things that go missing are stolen from doorsteps, but UPS or FedEx don't pay off for this either. They drop and dash and often don't ring the doorbell. If somthing goes missing from a doorstep but their computer says the driver delivered it, they say "Not my problem."

No one should feel like they take more of a risk shipping with USPS than with the commercial carriers.

Just my opinion of course, but I have stopped using UPS and FedEx because their rates have gone crazy.


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Billydee
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Winter Haven, FL
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: Eddgie]
      #5641578 - 01/24/13 09:49 PM

Thomas,

The USPS has an edge on small items. Very small items (up to 12 oz) can be mailed at the first class rate (45 cents for the first oz and 20 cents for each additional oz). The real savings comes in Flat Rate Priority Boxes and Envelopes. The Flat Rate means anything that will fit in the box or envelope ships for one low rate. I have shipped 40 lbs counterweights for under $15, FL to CA. The boxes and envelopes are free and you can have them delivered to your home at no cost. You can print the postage and label online and attach it to the free box and the USPS will come to your door and pick it up for free. The price includes delivery confirmation (a simple type of tracking) for free. There is a neat way to insure your item is delivered. Signature Confirmation can be purchase at a low price and the USPS will only deliver the item if a person is at the address to sign for the item (no just leaving it at the door). You can also purchase insurance. You can do all that online and print the label and postage without leaving your house and they will pick it up for free. Just go to USPS.com and check it out.

LUCK, Bill


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tomcody
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/06/08

Loc: Titusville, Florida
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: Billydee]
      #5641624 - 01/24/13 10:10 PM

Quote:

Thomas,

The USPS has an edge on small items. Very small items (up to 12 oz) can be mailed at the first class rate (45 cents for the first oz and 20 cents for each additional oz). The real savings comes in Flat Rate Priority Boxes and Envelopes. The Flat Rate means anything that will fit in the box or envelope ships for one low rate. I have shipped 40 lbs counterweights for under $15, FL to CA. The boxes and envelopes are free and you gcan have them delivered to your home at no cost. You can print the postage and label online and attach it to the free box and the USPS will come to your door and pick it up for free. The price includes delivery confirmation (a simple type of tracking) for free. There is a neat way to insure your item is delivered. Signature Confirmation can be purchase at a low price and the USPS will only deliver the item if a person is at the address to sign for the item (no just leaving it at the door). You can also purchase insurance. You can do all that online and print the label and postage without leaving your house and they will pick it up for free. Just go to USPS.com and check it out.

LUCK, Bill



+1 for flat rate priority mail ( it shows about the same tracking as UPS and the insurance & signature options are reasonable) I just shipped over 40 packages and all arrived fine, about three or four days anywhere in the country. The pickup scheduling is great, don't even have to leave the house.
Rex

Edited by tomcody (01/24/13 10:11 PM)


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kfiscus
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/09/12

Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: tomcody]
      #5641815 - 01/25/13 12:51 AM

USPS all the way. Price, speed, dependability. Tracking is highly overrated. Pack it well, drop it off, cease worrying.

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crazyqban
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Miami, Florida
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5641857 - 01/25/13 01:43 AM

Agreed, USPS all the way. I have never had a shipment go wrong using USPS. They are the service that I go to first, Fedex Ground second (delivers on Saturdays).

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VĂ­ctor MartĂ­nez
sage


Reged: 02/05/07

Loc: Cádiz - Spain
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: crazyqban]
      #5641903 - 01/25/13 03:19 AM

I have bought quit a lot of astronomy accessories in the EEUU to send Spain, from filters until a 16" primary mirror, and I have always used USPS without the slightest problem.

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Al8236
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/18/10

Loc: 48.9173N 122.1390W
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: VĂ­ctor MartĂ­nez]
      #5641918 - 01/25/13 03:57 AM

I've never had a problem with USPS, The only time I've had a problem with tracking was a shipment to China, the tracking stopped when it reached Mainland China and I didn't hear anything until delivery conformation.
I print my shipping labels on-line and it always gives me a tracking number.


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5642005 - 01/25/13 07:00 AM

Quote:

I'm going to need to ship a couple of small items (an Astrotrac plus polar scope, and [separetely] an Astrotrac Wedge).

What would be the most economical (but trackable) way of shipping these items from one US address to another?




For something small, USPS Priority is the way I go. For anything larger, FedEx ground...

USPS does offer tracking. When I check the status, it seems to follow the progress reasonably well and provide an accurate delivery date.

Jon


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5642119 - 01/25/13 08:47 AM

I like USPS and for the most part have not had any problems. I do occasionally get mail for one of the neighbors and once or twice one of them got mine. Luckily, in our neighborhood, we usually just walk it over. Really makes me leary about packages though. About three or four times I've gotten a package for another address not even in our zip code--and for the same address/person. I've either driven it over (it was only a couple of miles away) or taken it to the post office. Overall, they do a good job, but with all their cutbacks and budget restraints service does seem to be suffering.

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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
*****

Reged: 05/07/07

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5642259 - 01/25/13 10:11 AM

I use USPS Priority Mail all the time. It doesn't really have tracking but it is fast and inexpensive so there is not much to worry about. For true tracking I recommend either FedEx Ground of FedEx Home Delivery Service which I use for larger packages.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5642325 - 01/25/13 10:49 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I'm going to need to ship a couple of small items (an Astrotrac plus polar scope, and [separetely] an Astrotrac Wedge).

What would be the most economical (but trackable) way of shipping these items from one US address to another?




For something small, USPS Priority is the way I go. For anything larger, FedEx ground...

USPS does offer tracking. When I check the status, it seems to follow the progress reasonably well and provide an accurate delivery date.

Jon




Agreed; USPS does offer tracking. I use Priority set fee boxes for small items. Shipping is quick. Between FedEX & UPS; I've found FedEx to be about 2-3 days faster to my area that UPS.


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aonifer
member
*****

Reged: 12/17/11

Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5642475 - 01/25/13 12:21 PM

Here is the tracking info for a package I sent First Class recently. It used to be that USPS only confirmed delivery, but now they have full tracking. The tracking is free if you print the address label online (you can print it on a regular piece of paper and tape it to the box). It's 85 cents if you take it to the post office. Normally you have to take a first class package to the post office, but eBay apparently has some deal that lets you print it out through them (thus get free tracking).

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Thomas Karpf
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/09/09

Loc: Newington, CT
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: aonifer]
      #5642494 - 01/25/13 12:32 PM

@All: thanks. I think I'm going to have to take the package to the USPS and see which is going to be more cost effective.

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Geo.
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/01/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5642598 - 01/25/13 01:29 PM

I've been using Stamps.com for a couple of months for USPS. It's $16 a month. It lets me print First Class package postage. This frees me of the expense of running 4 miles to the PO 5-6 times a month, so it's cost effective for me. A plus is I don't have to deal with Shirley, who really doesn't seem to like her job. You can ship 2Kgs. internationally First Class, which can make the difference on a sale. It seems that International First Class isn't much slower than Priority. For valuable or large items USPS is the only practical international service. Priority is fine for the civilized world, but use Expedited for places like Russia and Italy.

FedEx seems to have a better track record than UPS as far as damage goes. The FX Home delivery guys and gals are independent contractors and have to pay their own insurance premiums. May make a difference. I use FX for large stuff destined for the lower 48, where the service is competitive with the USPS. Outside the lower 48 FX is not competitive.

I've had both FX and USPS lose stuff. FX a mount and USPS a C8 (never got out of Newark). Claims experience with both convinced me to go self-insured.


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stratocaster
sage
*****

Reged: 10/27/11

Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: Geo.]
      #5642656 - 01/25/13 02:00 PM

USPS parcel post with delivery confirmation will indeed provide tracking info. I just found this out very recently myself.

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Pauls72
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 10/28/07

Loc: LaPorte, IN
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: stratocaster]
      #5642682 - 01/25/13 02:17 PM

The post office (USPS) is generally the cheapest way to ship smaller items. The flat rate boxes are usually the most cost effective. However their tracking leaves a lot to be desired. Fortunately they do a much better job at shipping the packages than they do at tracking them.

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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: Pauls72]
      #5642693 - 01/25/13 02:20 PM

Yup. Recent tracking numbers come up as "can't find".

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Hitech
sage
*****

Reged: 06/03/10

Loc: NW PA.
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: Billydee]
      #5642771 - 01/25/13 03:08 PM

Quote:


The USPS has an edge on small items. The price includes delivery confirmation (a simple type of tracking) for free. Bill



The flat rate priority mail handled at your local post office normally doesn't not include delivery confirmation. That's an extra cost at around 85˘. Delivery confirmation is free only when you use online shipping.


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meteorite

*****

Reged: 01/28/06

Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: Hitech]
      #5643893 - 01/26/13 07:46 AM

For small items I use USPS with delivery confirmation. Yes, it does cost extra but it is still less expensive than UPS or fedex. Delivery confirmation has never failed me.

I recently shipped a small package via USPS with delivery confirmation. They guy emailed me and wrote that he never received the package. I was able to copy from the USPS website all the information necessary to prove to him that the package was delivered. I never heard back from him.

Here is an interesting twist. Earlier this week I ordered a diagonal from Orion. They sent it via UPS. I tracked it's progress. It was supposed to have been delivered yesterday (Friday) but instead the tracking information shows they handed it over to USPS and tracking ceased. I hope it is delivered today...


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CJK
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/05/12

Loc: Northeast TN
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: meteorite]
      #5643905 - 01/26/13 07:56 AM

Quote:

Here is an interesting twist. Earlier this week I ordered a diagonal from Orion. They sent it via UPS. I tracked it's progress. It was supposed to have been delivered yesterday (Friday) but instead the tracking information shows they handed it over to USPS and tracking ceased. I hope it is delivered today...




Yep, that's what UPS calls "SmartPost" -- it's generally delivered the day after UPS hands the package over to the USPS facility in the destination city. I've sometimes been able to track packages sent that way by submitting the same tracking number to the USPS system.

-- Chris


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Footbag
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: CJK]
      #5643972 - 01/26/13 08:48 AM

Smartpost is the worst shipping service known to man. Besides the fact that you lose all accountablility from FedEx or UPS, you package criss crosses the country with no rhyme or reason.

I've boycotted vendors over it.


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meteorite

*****

Reged: 01/28/06

Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: Footbag]
      #5644350 - 01/26/13 12:51 PM

Well, the USPS did not deliver my diagonal today.

So much for Smartpost.


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tag1260
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 10/07/12

Loc: Ohio, USA
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5650684 - 01/29/13 04:24 PM

Welllllll, just got back from the PO and USPS has changed their "Delivery Conformation" to "Tracking" and it's now included in Priority and above shipping. You can also purchase it for Parcel Post and First Class. We'll see if it's any better than before!!!

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PaulEK
sage
*****

Reged: 05/25/08

Loc: Wisconsin
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: tag1260]
      #5650839 - 01/29/13 05:58 PM

I raise the money I use for my astronomy habit by buying, re-furbishing, and re-selling old Press cameras and lenses on eBay. Over the past twelve years I've shipped more than a thousand items all over the world using USPS. Only once was an item damaged (and I'm convinced this was done by a buyer who 'changed his mind'; the package -- a pretty expensive lens -- looked like it had been stabbed with an ice pick, and the buyer was not a pleasant person to deal with, even before the package was received). No item has ever been lost.

As others have said, USPS recently changed their tracking, and it is now excellent.

The one problem I've had is with International insurance. The maximum amount allowed by USPS is usually pretty low (usually under $1000), and it varies from country to country. My Postmaster says that the limit is not set by them, but by each country. It's not often that I sell something for that much, but when I have, and buyers wanted to pay the extra cost (usually more than double), I've used another shipper.


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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
*****

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: PaulEK]
      #5651177 - 01/29/13 09:14 PM

Quote:

I raise the money I use for my astronomy habit by buying, re-furbishing, and re-selling old Press cameras and lenses on eBay. Over the past twelve years I've shipped more than a thousand items all over the world using USPS. Only once was an item damaged (and I'm convinced this was done by a buyer who 'changed his mind'; the package -- a pretty expensive lens -- looked like it had been stabbed with an ice pick, and the buyer was not a pleasant person to deal with, even before the package was received). No item has ever been lost.

As others have said, USPS recently changed their tracking, and it is now excellent.

The one problem I've had is with International insurance. The maximum amount allowed by USPS is usually pretty low (usually under $1000), and it varies from country to country. My Postmaster says that the limit is not set by them, but by each country. It's not often that I sell something for that much, but when I have, and buyers wanted to pay the extra cost (usually more than double), I've used another shipper.




I use USPS exclusively. When insurance to a particular country won't cover the product, I split it into multiple boxes. Because it reduces the weight of each box, it also reduces each package's shipping cost. Multiple boxes cost more to ship, but insurance is important.

Of course, I ship primarily smaller items. What I said wouldn't apply to larger or radically more expensive items.

When I bought a high-end laptop a few years ago, it was FedEx'd to me overnight from China! Somebody ate some expensive freight, and it wasn't yours truly.


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PaulEK
sage
*****

Reged: 05/25/08

Loc: Wisconsin
Re: Shipping relatively small things? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5652370 - 01/30/13 01:45 PM

Overnight; wow! I've been very impressed how quickly small things (Camera batteries, filters, etc) come to me from China, especially Hong Kong. And there's often no charge for shipping... but overnight!

What I sell would typically not be easy to split amongst boxes, but it's a great idea that I'll keep in mind.


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