Looking for tips on preparing kits for shipping - RC Groups
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Oct 31, 2010, 12:10 AM
Trader Rating: 9
fix-it-up chappie
tolladay's Avatar

Looking for tips on preparing kits for shipping

I'm selling a lot of kits for my mother-in-law. I am a long time builder, but I'm not into buying and selling, meaning I am an amateur. I just got the job because I was the closest thing to an "expert" in the family.

Some of the kits are small, and light, most are probably in the 3-5 pound range. A few are 1/4 scale, meaning both large and heavy.

What I'm looking for is if any of you have found a good way to cheaply ship a kit box. Wrap them in craft paper, and send them out? Double box everything? Some kits are likely not worth more than $20-$30 so i don't want to spend a lot on shipping. Some are going to be more pricey collectables, so double boxing will be the way.

I live near a specialized box store, so types and sizes of boxes are easy for me to get, and relativity cheap. Shipping materials we have (the wife runs an online candle business).

I'd appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks in advance.

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Oct 31, 2010, 08:03 AM
Trader Rating: 36
Park_Flyer's Avatar

I think it's mostly a judgment call on your part. Consider double-boxing anything that seems a bit too light or fragile. If it was me, I would probably double-box everything, but you could probably just use craft paper for a large kit that is densely packed in a sturdy box. For smaller, lighter, more delicate kits, I would use packing materials around the kit inside the outer box.

I received two Sterling balsa kits that were craft paper-wrapped and they were fine, but I wouldn't do it that way.

Good luck.

Oct 31, 2010, 09:12 AM
Trader Rating: 107
In NY's beautifull hills
staggerwing's Avatar
Double box !
Oct 31, 2010, 10:05 AM
Trader Rating: 398
Dragons, WindMills, all Same
jcstalls's Avatar
"Please, have your guy double box. The last guy didn't double box it, and the bottom nearly fell out"

Ya, a double box or at least a cardboard wrap. Sometimes extra reinforcement will help using materials like but not limited to: 1/8"-1/4" door skin, 1"x2" pine stringers. Either just cut to shape and added or making a box then a cardboard wrap. A 1/4" ply box can be shipped with out a cardboard with at least FedEx.

Since you have triple blessing of a wife, one that works and has an online business, you have all the little tools for processing funds with shipping online and tracking.

Good luck with this please let us know if and when you got an odd one to deal with.

Last edited by jcstalls; Oct 31, 2010 at 10:06 AM. Reason: typo
Oct 31, 2010, 10:53 AM
Trader Rating: 39
Planes, Guitars and Cigars
Steve_A_Reno's Avatar
Double box or Local pick up.
Oct 31, 2010, 11:21 AM
Trader Rating: 90
GunnyGlow's Avatar
Originally Posted by jcstalls
"Please, have your guy double box. The last guy didn't double box it, and the bottom nearly fell out"
My favorite movie of ALL TIME!! Get busy livin...or get busy diein!

Double box and hot glue is what I like to use. Most of the time I just make my own box.
Oct 31, 2010, 12:09 PM
Trader Rating: 9
fix-it-up chappie
tolladay's Avatar
Thanks guys for all the wonderful input.

I'll give you an example of a small to medium sized kit (see photo below). The kit is small, (26" x 4.5" x 2.5"), and light (13.5 oz.), and the box is sturdy cardboard. It was probably purchased at a trade show, but I have several kits which were delivered in their own boxes. I know this because there are COD shipping stickers on them. Remember those?

For this 1/2A Sailplane kit, the box is sturdy, and the contents are lumber and rolled paper (plans and tissue). I doubt I'll get much more than $28 for it on ebay, (buyer will pay shipping) so saving shipping costs will make it more likely someone might buy it.

For a kit worth $100 or more, a double box makes all kinds of sense (and cents), but for ones like this, I'm trying to be frugal.

And Jared, you are soo right. My wife is SUCH a blessing.
Oct 31, 2010, 12:54 PM
Trader Rating: 62
Suspended Account
Frugal means risk of damaged merchandise being sent back to you or filing a claim that will be denied. Don't be frugal with shipping, ever. The added weight of skinning the kit in cardboard is less than 1 lb difference in your shipping, usually increases the shipping cost less than $2.00. I don't like receiving kits with paper on the box, even though yours is corragated, it's not crush rated cardboard. That's the catch on a damage claim.
Fill the contents with popcorn foam so the balsa doesn't take a beating.
Oct 31, 2010, 03:38 PM
Trader Rating: 283
-insert witty saying here-
Hemikiller's Avatar
You really have to use your best judgement. Keep in mind that lots these kits were shipped sans an outer box, I've received plenty from Tower that were simply taped shut and labeled. I've never received a damaged kit from them.

I ship lightweight kits like that with a kraft paper wrap, crumpled newspaper on the inside to hold the bits in place and it's good to go.

Larger kits get a cardboard overwrap with a fill of crumpled newspaper or other filler.

Always offer the buyer an option of insurance, or require it if you prefer. Remember that UPS has $100 of insurance included with the shipping cost, but you must declare the value when you ship.

I have several hundred shipments through eBay and the various RC sites and have only had only one claim of damage. UPS took care of that as it was clearly their fault.
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Nov 01, 2010, 01:53 AM
Trader Rating: 15
Registered User
I've shipped a few hundred kits with no damage, and I'd like to share my thoughts on how I do it.

I add a carefully made, close fitting outer box of heavy corrugated cardboard over the kit box. For stock I use large appliance boxes that I salvage from a local appliance store. I bend up the box by using a straight edge and a rolling pizza cutter to crimp the folds. It does take some practice, and you have to make allowances for the thickness of the cardboard in figuring where to make the bends. I either tape or hot glue the last flap of the box. For the ends, rather than folding the cardboard to make end flaps, I make the box an extra 2" longer than the kit. I then make plugs out of 1" thick styrofoam insulation which I fit into the box ends and tape in place.

I have refined this process over the past 13 years. So far, I have never had a damaged kit or a lost package. However, nothing can withstand being run over, or being in a warehouse fire, or being skewered by a fork lift tine. You do what you can and you hope for the best.

I also add plastic packing peanuts to the inside of the kit. I print out my postage or FedEx labels, and I usually add a second printed address label as well.

I used to make a larger shipping box and suspend the kit box with a collar of bubble wrap at each end, but I have found that having a tight fitting wrap over the kit gives you the combined strength of BOTH the kit box and the outer wrapper box. Plus, you often have dimensional weight (and actual weight) considerations. Overly large and heavy packaging can add substantially (and unnecessarily) to shipping cost. I have found this method to be the lightest, smallest, and easiest way to adequately pack a kit for shipping.
Last edited by silvaire; Nov 01, 2010 at 02:16 AM.
Nov 01, 2010, 01:42 PM
Trader Rating: 39
Planes, Guitars and Cigars
Steve_A_Reno's Avatar
shipping costs are based mostly on the dimetions of the box. A close fitting outerbox will add no cost to the shipping price but will add a great degree of protection to your shipment. As mentioned boxes can be easily made for free from recycled appliance boxes or the like. It is you choice.
Nov 01, 2010, 04:23 PM
Trader Rating: 4
Frist flight ok, landing bad!!
scothman's Avatar
Why don't you list the kits here first? Some may sell local and save the head ache
of shipping.
I am guessing that you are in the L.A area and there are a lot of buyers down there that will come pick them up or you can meat somewhere ( careful on the last one).
Nov 01, 2010, 05:07 PM
Trader Rating: 15
Registered User
Originally Posted by Steve_A_Reno
shipping costs are based mostly on the dimetions of the box.
Not necessarily...

It all depends on the size of the box and how you ship it.

I use Parcel Post, Priority and FedEx Ground. Depending SOLELY on where a particular package is going, EACH of these three particular shipping options could end up being the least OR the most expensive way to ship. You simply have to go to the USPS and FedEx websites and input the information to get the costs.

For Parcel Post, if you are under 84" combined length and girth, there is NO up charge for dimensions regardless of the destination. Many kits are well under this 84" size. For Priority and FedEx Ground there will be up charges if a large or long box is going any distance. However, if you are shipping within the same shipping zone there are usually no up charges for size below a defined "balloon" rate. For close distances, I often find that Priority is actually cheaper than Parcel Post!

Shipping has gotten very expensive compared to what it was only a few short years ago.

Go figure - it's either that or taking a wild shot and (often) ending up paying far more than you needed to pay for shipping.
Last edited by silvaire; Nov 01, 2010 at 11:26 PM.
Nov 02, 2010, 02:10 AM
Trader Rating: 9
fix-it-up chappie
tolladay's Avatar
Originally Posted by scothman
Why don't you list the kits here first? Some may sell local and save the head ache
of shipping.
I am guessing that you are in the L.A area and there are a lot of buyers down there that will come pick them up or you can meat somewhere ( careful on the last one).
A good question, among a lot of good advice.

The way I see it there are two potential markets for selling a kit; a model airplane site like here (or rcuniverse) and/or ebay. Each has their own good and bad points. Specific modeling sites have a steady and interested clientele, but require you to start at the highest price you think something might be worth, and then possibly come down as you attempt to find the best offer. Ebay offers a potentially larger, yet more globally diverse audience, and used a completely different pricing scheme, where you set the minimum price, and the clientele haggles upwards over the final price.

I had a bad experience a few weeks back, pricing an engine much too low (a stupid error on my part). Had I done this on ebay, it probably wouldn't have mattered as much, but because I did it here, I lost about $100, and none of it my own money. Among other things, this gives ebay more of an appeal to me; in essence it can help cover some of my ignorance.

Neither option is perfect, mind you. I don't think ebay is always the best method, but it does appear to be one of the better methods for converting old kits into cash.

I suspect most of you fine gentlemen here have an opinion on this, which would probably make for some entertaining reading. Please feel free to post what you think. I'd love the chance to got to school on you.

Back to the question. Yes I live in LA, and local pickup has a certain value, but some of the kits I have are pretty obscure which makes me think they might do better to a wider audience. The first kit I sold in fact was a local pick up off of rcuniverse.

The bottom line is I'm not set on any particular type of selling strategy, but slowly trying each option in order to figure which works best for me, and what I have.

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