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View Full Version : Shipping a saxophone...What to know?



IntrestedSax
05-28-2009, 12:49 PM
I am totally new to shipping anything and i need to ship a saxophone. My plan was basically to package very well then take to my ups store and be like here you go can you ship this here?

1. Are there any problems with this plan?

2. Whats the deal with shipping internationally?

3. Who is the best shipping country?


Thanks leave any comments

Enviroguy
05-28-2009, 02:44 PM
Actually, I've had the best luck using good ol' USPS. Properly wrapped, even a bari sax package is small enough to go into their system. And their international shipping rates are great.

Here is the way I do it:

1. Bubble wrap the horn in the case so it cannot move around inside the case. Be careful not to use too much wrap inside the case where it is hard to close. That can crush or bend the keywork. I also usually add foam or wadded up wrapping paper at the neck receiver and bottom bow for extra cushion.

2. Once I've wrapped the horn inside the case, I then wrap the case itself with bubble wrap and then put the whole thing inside a large plastic bag or trash bag and seal it up to avoid water intrusion. Then the whole thing goes inside a heavy cardboard box and extra padding is added to secure the case firm inside the box and help absorb any shocks that the box may take during shipping.

3. Next I seal the cardboard box well with shipping tape and I wrap the box ends with shipping tape to help assure the box cannot come open. I then fix the shipping label to the box and cover it with clear shipping tape except for the part where the scan bars are. I also write the address and return address somewhere else on the box in case the shipping label is damaged.

4. I don't buy international shipping on the USPS website. The forms are too confusing and you are limited with how much insurance you can buy on line. I go directly to the Post Office and get the USPS person to do all the labels and forms. It is much simpler that way. I bring my own shipping tape to cover the shipping label if the USPS person does not do it. You can also buy more insurance in person at the USPS counter. I usually get enough to cover both the horn and the shipping costs.

5. And last, I make sure the buyer understands that they are responsible for any customs fees, duties, taxes or any of that other stuff that some countries like to charge on packages. My responsibility ends when I buy the insurance. And I never undervalue an item. You can never go wrong by telling the truth. It is what it is.

International shipping is not bad once you've done it a time or two. The only part I don't like is having to get individual shipping quotes for potential buyers. And this often means going in person to the Post Office to find out how much shipping will cost. But in the end, you can often get more for your horn this way. And it has always worked out for me so far. ;)

MartinMods
05-28-2009, 03:30 PM
International: USPS or AirFreight (www.freightquote.com) to closest airport service if too large.

Domestic: USPS/FedEx/UPS

If you bill/pay your postage online, you need an accurate scale, and dimensional measurments.

Packaging: You can safely ship a horn WITHOUT the case (like for overhaul). The case only adds extra weight, size, and lots of expense, to your shipment. Regardless of whether the case is included, the horn must be double boxed to be safe. It is not necessary to clamp the keys shut. Just insure that the horn and other objects in the case can not move around at all. For the most stable boxes and smallest size, I make my own boxes to fit, from 48x96 (also available in 48x48 size) cardboard sheets. The case/horn is packed in the first box with 2" of foam peanuts TIGHTLY packed on each side. That box is put in a second box large enough for 3" foam peanuts on each side. I put an extra cardboard sheet on each small end of the small box, which goes from wall to wall of the big box, making a separate reinforced foam compartment on the ends, when peanuts are packed in. The peanuts must be so tightly packed, that you have to sit on the box lid to close it. It is this inner pressure that keeps the outer box from crushing when dropped.

At least 90% of the instruments shipped to me for servicing/mods arrive damaged, as the client did not follow my packing suggestions. They single boxed it with the wrong sized box and used whatever was handy, wadded paper, foam bits, other small cardboard boxes, styrofoam blocks, shredded paper, etc. Don't scrimp on packaging your beloved horn and it will safely withstand UPS/USPS/FedEx abuse.

Jazz Is All
05-28-2009, 03:33 PM
Pack it yourself. No one in one of those places will know how to do it at all, or do it right. Check cybersax.com for the info page on how to pack a sax in addition to the good advice above. Bear explains it really well with photos even. Search SOTW for previous threads on this subject (many).

Forget UPS entirely. USPS is the best, less damage than UPS from what I've read on a number of threads here and the cost is lower. Only thing is the insurance reimbursement with UPS is less trouble from what I've heard. Check the threads for that info if it concerns you.

For International, USPS is the only way. UPS is very expensive and ships directly to a customs broker who charges a fee on top of the duty. Because of this, the customer is then forced to pay duty and the double tap charge. With USPS it goes to the foreign postal service and depending on the efficiency of the customs dept of each country it might get past customs without being taxed. Your customer will be happier and get the sax before hell freezes over.

For small packages like mpcs that aren't highly valued ones just use First Class or First class international, and forget the high-priced methods. It gets there in about the same time anyway.

Don't sell to anyone in Italy because you can't ship to Italy, they have restrictions against musical instruments because ___________ (??? fill in the reason if you can figure it out.)

Jazz Is All
05-28-2009, 03:52 PM
Deleted. Unintentional double post--either the forum's problems with slowdowns or firefox (choose one) is causing many double posts lately.

Jazz Is All
05-28-2009, 03:56 PM
Last year I won a Pan Am Chu soprano on Ebay. The guy packed it so well I had a hard time opening the box. He was an architect or engineer or something like that and he used a hot glue gun to make a Heavy duty carton himself and made corrugated braces top and bottom to keep the outer box from being collapsed. The sax was bubble wrapped and totally immobile inside the case with foam wedges. Then he sealed the outer carton shut with hot glue. It was solid as a rock and would have held up to being stood on. I posted a photo so you can see it. This was someone who cared about doing it right.

IntrestedSax
05-28-2009, 09:38 PM
So i'm selling my yas-23 on ebay see the market place, but i think i can ship it well enough to protect it, buyer pays shipping, but i've got an argentina bidder and he claims the tax is close to 50% and asked me to lower the custom value whats the deal with this?

saintsday
05-29-2009, 12:39 AM
Here is some good general packing info. http://www.cybersax.com/packsax.html

I've had good success shipping internationally by making a bubble wrap cocoon around the saxophone by wrapping it around until there are 2 or 3 inches of bubble wrap all the way around the instrument including both ends. Then I've put the horn in a box big enough to put another 3 or 4 inches of packing material around the horn. If you are using packing peanuts, you'll want to tie them in plastic grocery bags or they will shift around. Some rigid cardboard or foam is also a good idea around the inside of the box to give the box extra rigidity.

The idea is to suspend the cocooned sax in a second cocoon of packing material that won't settle or shift.

All of the shipping damage that I've had on horns shipped to me was from contact with the inside of a case.

IntrestedSax
05-29-2009, 01:39 AM
ok....so i put only u.s. apparently when i was doing the ebay listing I also used ups only can i still ship internationally with usps?

Jazz Is All
05-29-2009, 01:51 AM
So i'm selling my yas-23 on ebay see the market place, but i think i can ship it well enough to protect it, buyer pays shipping, but i've got an argentina bidder and he claims the tax is close to 50% and asked me to lower the custom value whats the deal with this?

The deal is that most countries levy duty on goods purchased in other countries and brought or shipped in. This is a importation tax basically, and it doesn't matter whether the item is for resale or for your personal use. What matters is the type of item and its value.

I can only speak for Spain, where most any used item bought outside the EU is dutiable at a rate of about 19.2% and that tax rate is also assessed on the cost of shipping. This last bit doesn't make any sense at all and is good old highway robbery, whereas the duty on the item is merely piracy or privateering. This is for a used American-made sax which you can't get here anyway and which is probably for your own use. The duty isn't protecting any industry in this country, because there is none, so it's just another arbitrary regressive way of vacuuming the wallets of the population to keep the political class here fat and happy. Corruption R Us.

So figure it out, for a $1000 sax with $60 shipping, you have to pay an addtional $212 to the coffers of the state. For the guy from Argentina, the lavish comes out to half the cost of the sax. This is really just a juice racket, and anyone who doesn't understand why people ask you to place a lower value on the item ought to comtemplate that and tell me with a straight face that they wouldn't ask the same.

If you are a private person reselling used items, and not a business with a tax number and all that, what is the penalty for undervalueing the sax? How would they know in the first place for a used item, and is there a penalty and who would charge you with it? Certainly Argentina, or Spain or Australia can't get you, so the only reason not to do it would be if you could be fined for misrepresenting the value by the U.S. Government. But how would the U.S.P.S. find it out? I doubt the other countries are reporting back about incorrect values on customs slips when they discover them, and even if they were, the P.O. is so bogged down anyway they don't have the time or manpower to deal with penny ante stuff like this.

On the other hand some people don't want to fib on an official form, and I can understand that, although in defense of doing it I can say that you are not robbing the U.S. government of anything nor doing something illicit for personal gain, but just helping the customer who bought your used sax save some money. Yes, the government of his country is getting shorted, but do you really feel it is a crime if they lose some of their protection-racket dough?

CaillouSax
05-29-2009, 02:12 AM
ok....so i put only u.s. apparently when i was doing the ebay listing I also used ups only can i still ship internationally with usps?

Don't ship in Canada with UPS!!!

They are real thieves as they charge us for expensive Administration Fees in addition to the customs fees and taxes... :x

Every time I bought on ebay, I asked the seller to ship by USPS. It's fast and secure. :)

Jazz Is All
05-29-2009, 07:18 AM
ok....so i put only u.s. apparently when i was doing the ebay listing I also used ups only can i still ship internationally with usps?

Don't ship in Canada with UPS!!!

They are real thieves as they charge us for expensive Administration Fees in addition to the customs fees and taxes... :x

Every time I bought on ebay, I asked the seller to ship by USPS. It's fast and secure. :)

Testimonial confirmation that what I said in post #4 above is true.

What is going on is that they act as a customs broker for the various foreign customs departments (guaranteeing that customs automatically gets its money) and by so doing UPS gets the right to charge a broker's commission for themselves. This is on top of the duty and taxes you have to pay to your country's customs department. They actually have the gall to call screwing people like this a "service". :x

CaillouSax
05-29-2009, 09:23 AM
ok....so i put only u.s. apparently when i was doing the ebay listing I also used ups only can i still ship internationally with usps?

Don't ship in Canada with UPS!!!

They are real thieves as they charge us for expensive Administration Fees in addition to the customs fees and taxes... :x

Every time I bought on ebay, I asked the seller to ship by USPS. It's fast and secure. :)

Testimonial confirmation that what I said in post #4 above is true.

What is going on is that they act as a customs broker for the various foreign customs departments (guaranteeing that customs automatically gets its money) and by so doing UPS gets the right to charge a broker's commission for themselves. This is on top of the duty and taxes you have to pay to your country's customs department. They actually have the gall to call screwing people like this a "service". :x


+1 :D

With respect to lowing the value for customs, I agree with what Jazz Is All wrote above... 8-)

Jazz Is All
05-29-2009, 09:26 AM
And they don't supply the recipient with a jar of vaseline either. Ouch!!

CaillouSax
05-29-2009, 09:27 AM
And they don't supply the recipient with a jar of vaseline either. Ouch!!

You're a Funny Guy, aren't you? :) :D :)

Jazz Is All
05-29-2009, 10:56 AM
And they don't supply the recipient with a jar of vaseline either. Ouch!!

You're a Funny Guy, aren't you? :) :D :)

I only laugh when it hurts! :D

Jazz Is All
05-29-2009, 12:15 PM
What's that expression, laugh to keep from crying, or something like that?

For example, on a whim of GAS I bid on and won a beautiful silver Pan Am Conn Chu Bb straight soprano last spring for $369. Shipping and insurance brought it up to $418 or 272€ at the then exchange rate of $1.53/1€. It got caught by Spanish customs (the first of 3 saxes to get caught) even though the seller had kindly put a much lower value on it, and I had to shell out 57€ or $87 in duty and taxes. This is more than 20% tax for bringing in an 80 year-old old used instrument that wasn't even playable because it needed half the pads replaced.

I had it completely repadded, recorked, refelted, and adjusted, which cost me 370€ bringing my total to 698€. I realized I couldn't justify having spent that money, so I put it up for sale through my tech's consignment sales hoping to get my money plus some profit out of it. It really is a gem now. But only one person even considered it despite its incredible tonal qualities and cherry condition. The vintage sax market in Spain is limited and as for sops, they all want modern ones. Mark VI is about as vintage as it gets for most everyone here if they have the cash. So I decided to keep it and learn to play it, and in fact I love it.

O.K. but consider this: I had to pay the Spanish government 20% tax to get an old, used, non-working American instrument, of a type not available here, not ever manufactured here, and for which there is no demand or market. To put it in working order I had to pay 100% again what I paid for so what they taxed me on was basically a project. Since it is really not easily resellable, I clearly am not profiting illicitly by the whole deal either, so what possible justification could there be for being taxed so heavily on this, other than the purely mercenary one that the government can rob you at will for no other reason than they have the power to do so?

CaillouSax
05-29-2009, 10:35 PM
The governments can do almost anything they want since the people don't make a revolution against them... :x