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Shipping Questions - UPS, FedEx, USPS
about fees, etc

 8:02 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am having some major dilemma with shipping right now.

My website sells products that contain compressed gas and I was told I cannot ship them with USPS Priority Mail. I got away with this for a while and started getting C&D letters from the USPS.

After speaking with UPS and FedEx, it seems that my only option is to ship by ground. Here are my choices:

USPS Parcel Mail - doesn't have tracking numbers, but it does have electronic delivery confirmation. Price is good, although I don't know how customers will feel about having no tracking numbers.

UPS and FedEx Ground - both have tracking numbers. The price isn't bad at all when you first look at it, until you realize there is a $2.5 or $2.75 Residential Delivery Surcharge. I was told there is no way around this. Does anyone know more about this?

I order stuff online all the time. This past week, I paid $2.xx for shipping with FedEx Ground on a computer part delivered to my residential address. I am guessing there was no residential delivery surcharge there? Unless the merchant absorbed it.

UPS and FedEx ground shipping are both around $9 + the $2.5 surcharge. The merchandise I see is only worth around $15. Asking customers to pay that much for shipping probably just won't work.

Does anyone have tips for me? Thanks.



 9:16 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

You received the C&D (i'm guessing) either because you didn't follow their rules, or your compressed gas is flammable and/or toxic.

What is the gas?

You may be able to ship it via Priority Mail or First-Class Package if its non-flammable and non-toxic. You'll need some "ORM-D AIR" labels from Uline, and you'll print a "Shippers Declaration for Dangerous Goods" on a color printer. Takes about 60 seconds to complete, and you'll print 3 copies and sign them.

It's all outlined in USPS Publication 52. I know that publication well, as my post office gave me the same answer, "you can't do that", with some liquids I was shipping. But USPS operates under the rules of the Domestic Mail Manual (which references Publication 52), and local post offices cannot make up their own rules.


 9:26 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have spoken to USPS multiple times about this. Basically, I can use First Class Parcel Mail (no tracking numbers available) and not priority.

My main question is regarding the UPS and FedEx residential delivery surcharge.


 3:02 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

For everyone shipping with FedEx and UPS, are you guys all paying the residential delivery surcharge?


 5:59 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yes we are always charged the residential surcharge on FedEx and UPS shipments. In addition if it is a somewhat remote address the fee is basically doubled as you pay the residential surcharge plus a "Delivery Area Surcharge". Shipping fees are getting really high and we find most customers have no idea there is a residential surcharge. We typically absorb this extra cost.


 2:09 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Depending on your volume you can negotiate a lower rate. Check out what the Ebay shipping discounts are for folks selling on Ebay and using UPS. This will give you an idea of where to start. For packages under 2 lbs we find that UPS/FedEx rarely beat USPS Priority even with our discount which is much greater than the published Ebay rates. Don't forget it costs almost as much to ship 25 lbs vs 2 lbs and the USPS is losing money.


 3:18 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Don't forget it costs almost as much to ship 25 lbs vs 2 lbs and..

Not true. I ship 2 lb packages, and 25 lb packages, and the shipping costs are not even close to being the same.

The exception might be with flat-rate boxes, but I've yet to fit 25 lbs in one of their cheap boxes, and have it arrive without busting open.

...the USPS is losing money.

Agreed. But due more to business lost to online bill-pay than the cost of their package services.


 6:03 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I meant that the actual cost to the shipper to move 25 lbs vs 2 lbs is minimal. What they charge you is of course substantially more.


 6:45 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

What's the definition of "move"? If you mean acquire from the manufacturer, I disagree.

The shipping cost from manufacturer-to-you is much higher for a 25-lb package versus a 2-lb package.

If you mean, "move" from one side of the warehouse to the other, I agree.


 8:13 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sorry, again I was not clear. I meant internal cost to UPS or FedEx.


 12:55 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sorry for the nitpick. The OP was concerned about method of shipping and cost, so I flamed when I saw the 25 lbs vs 2 lbs comparison. My misunderstanding.

OP: What is the gas? We can talk all day about surcharges, but it all depends on if you're shipping "air" (Class II Div 2.2) versus "ammonia" (Class II Div 2.3).

One is shippable via UPS, FedEx, USPS, and the other can't be shipped without a HazMat license. We need to know the type of gas to give you any logical advice.


 1:05 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am shipping aerosol spray cans with cleaning solutions in them


 2:18 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

It sounds like "Aerosol with soap". Check the MSDS, Section 14, to be sure.

This is Class II Div 2.2, and is permitted to ship via First Class Package plus Delivery Confirmation, or Priority Mail with free Delivery Confirmation (now called Tracking Number).

Add an "ORM-D AIR" sticker, and "Shippers Declaration for Dangerous Goods", 3 copies, signed. Takes about a minute to fill-out the form.

If you can ship via First-Class Package, the Post Office is prohibited from inspecting the contents, by law (see DMM This is your best option for shipments under 13 ounces.


 2:27 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yeah, don't ever take anything they tell you as gospel. They're going to tell you 'no', because it's easier... That's all. To this day, if I walk into any PO with one of my 74" length boxes, I will bet you money that every single person that works in the place will tell me they can't ship it.


 2:43 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

jwolthuis, thanks for your advice.

Can you please tell me what aerosol spray paint is considered and how I can ship them?



 2:48 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

(answered your PM... post my reply if you like)


 2:54 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

if I walk into any PO with one of my 74" length boxes, ... they can't ship it

+1, yep.

Always go by the DMM (search "postal explorer").

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