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Shipping drums across the pond

Bobby

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I have a pending deal with a gent in the UK. I have nevver shipped overseas. I general stray away from the hassle. What can I expect to pay shipping from the US east coast to the UK? I generally ship Fed Ex. Any pitfalls I should be aware of? Advice?

Thanks!
 

Chonson

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Shipping to the UK is generally uneventful, as is most of western Europe. Here's the tips I have for this, built over a few years of shipping everything from inexpensive stuff to very expensive stuff, small stuff and big stuff.

1) Ship internationally via USPS, not FedEx or UPS, unless your buyer specifically requests it and is aware of the cost of doing business with the private carriers. International shipping is where USPS is generally cheaper than FedEx/UPS for all but a select few cases. The buy-in cost for shipping is generally quite high via the private carriers (north of $100), and your buyer will very likely get hit with additional brokerage fees that can be equal to or in excess of the cost of shipping.

Shipping via USPS will depend on the size and weight of your package. Generally the range I've seen is about $40-$90, depending on speed of delivery and, again, package size & weight. USPS has a calculator online. Assuming a 12 lb packed weight in an 18x18x10 box (we're shipping a big snare drum and taking every inch of that 2" pad), express is about $88, though if you buy postage online, it's about $10 less. Priority is about 10 bucks less than express (so $78 in person, $70 online).

2) Pack well. You want ideally 2" of padding in all directions from your item. You always want this to avoid breakage, but with international shipping, it's an ounce of prevention that has paid off every single time for me. Account for the actual dimensions - spurs, strainers, etc add a lot of bulk and are the points where they can easily get broken or a bad bump can cause them to torque against the shell and cause damage.

3) Winter pro tip: Make sure to write your address and the buyer's address on the package in permanent marker. Over the past 10 years I've seen a handful of packages get hideously delayed in the winter because the package got a little wet (think rain during loading) and the ink on the slip smeared. Permanent marker is a cheap fallback.

4) Forms: The only thing you'll need to fill out besides the priority/express slip is the "long" customs form, which despite the name is actually quite short -- basically just sender & receiver address, as well as a declaration of contents, weight & value. It takes about as long to fill out as the priority/express slip.

Customs fees are always your buyer's responsibility because they're levied by their local taxing authorities on the import of goods. You have no way to be sure what will be taxed. Frequently your buyer will get a note in their mailbox telling them to stop by their post office because they have to pay some fees.

While this may sound like a lot, you should be doing #2 & #3 always. The actual process is dead simple and aside from the fact that it can be closer to 10 days from your door to theirs, it's really painless and worry-free.

When the package hits the UK, you will find that their postal service has more up-to-date tracking. If you hit the front page of parcelforce.com it has a spot to enter your tracking #. Their tracking is kind of amazingly specific if you're used to US tracking and the black hole that the USPS can be.
 

Bobby

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Thank you so much for the detailed response! I will follow your tips. Looks pretty painless.
 

MatrixClaw

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Yep, definitely ship USPS, if it'll fit within their regulations (look them on up on their website for the specific country you're shipping to, to make sure). Even the most expensive service from USPS is still significantly less (like 1/2 the price) than FedEx and UPS's slowest international shipping. Your buyer will also like you more, because they'll have to pay less in extra fees once received from customs.
 

Chonson

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Bobby said:
Thank you so much for the detailed response! I will follow your tips. Looks pretty painless.
It's incredibly easy, so long as your box is allowed. (You run into more problems with larger 24" boxes to Australia). I've shipped probably half a dozen drums to the UK since about 2011, and it's so easy. It's rare that I won't ship abroad these days.
 

Rich K.

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A 22" bass drum is the largest one you can get to Europe via usps.
(24 x 24 x 18)
 


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