Shipping whole drumsets

Pat A Flafla

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The first time was on a Craviotto snare drum, years ago. I had bought the insurance and USPS found a reason to deny payment. Not only that, they kept the drum and packing. I not only didn't get paid, I was robbed.
I felt that comment in the chest. Man, I'd have a hard time getting over that.
 

Pat A Flafla

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The only way I'll sell a big item like a drum set nowadays is locally, or I'll take it to the local GC for cash. I never thought I would be saying something like that, but all things considered - the math works out. After deducting the cost of shipping materials and charges, time out of my day, and risk of something costly and time-consuming going wrong - GC has given me as much or more net money, and a way less stressful transaction, than I would be able to get by selling it directly. This has been proven to me several times over after failing to get a drum set sold for any price either here, eBay, or FB - and then GC offering me more than my highest offer I got from others after the other costs are considered. I admit that it's been more than a year since I've even sold a set so that could have changed, but next time around if there is a next time, I'm going there first with it.
Same, except local independent drum shop for me instead of GC.
 

fun2drum

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I never thought of that; is this really an option? I figured that GC would offer me, at best, about half of what I could get on eBay or Reverb (or less). Or - not offer to buy at all. Food for thought. Details, please - especially on how you came out with "as much or more net money" - thanks in advance.
Sure, I'll try to give you an example - though I'll have to admit it's been a while and I don't remember all the price research numbers I looked through at the time.
First I should say that if I were in the business to sell drums then I may feel differently, but I'm just a guy who just wants to thin the herd and free up some money to buy something else with once in a while. For my purposes I really have liked the experience I've had with GC, and I feel like I've done about as well money-wise as I would have selling for a realistic market price and shipping it out. The key words here are "realistic market price". It may be that if I compared my first asking price with GC's offer, then I might gasp at the difference, lol. What I'm talking about is the price a buyer might be willing to pay, and that's almost always less than my asking price. A lot less.

Also some more clarification: I did say "net" and by that I mean after deducting the fees, packing materials, time spent, risk (that's a big one), and cost of shipping. That's because you're just dropping them off and walking out with money or gear. You could say, "But f2d, I charge separately for shipping so that doesn't count". And that's a fair point, but a buyer will still adjust what they're willing to pay to accommodate shipping charges, so it is a hit to your proceeds whether directly or indirectly.

Again, I'm sorry I don't remember exact numbers, but I listed a Ludwig Maple Cortex set with an orphan FT here on DFO and also on FB Marketplace. I was asking $850 to test the water, but with expectations of it selling for around $700.00. eBay's sold listing prices ranged in the $800's for similar sets in excellent condition, $600's for more road worn ones. Mine was in nice condition with relatively new heads, but had an orphan FT with a slightly different shade of maple cortex.

So then the reality of what the market was willing to pay started to set in. I did receive a couple of offers - one wanted to trade, and the other offered I think around $500 +shipping. There were others asking questions and tire-kicking but I don't remember any other serious offers at least after shipping was figured. FB marketplace only got me a few comments and tire kickers, but nothing more. I still wasn't seeing anything on eBay's listings that excited me about the idea of listing there.

I took it by GC and they offered $600.00 cash. I couldn't get an offer for that much here or on FB, and though I could have probably gotten more on eBay - there would still be the cost of packing and shipping, as well as the time and risk dealing with all of it which is significant.

I did obviously have the option of saying no to that and walking out with my drums to list on eBay. It was just an offer that I could refuse, and even use as a price bottom against low-ballers going forward.
That's when it dawned on me that I netted just as well, all things considered, by selling wholesale to GC and letting them assume all those retail-related costs and risks for me. I waved goodbye to my drums and walked out with a VISA debit card loaded with $600. No packing, no shipping, no waiting, zero chance that the sale wouldn't go through or that any problem would pop up to bite me.
 

bellbrass

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Sure, I'll try to give you an example - though I'll have to admit it's been a while and I don't remember all the price research numbers I looked through at the time.
First I should say that if I were in the business to sell drums then I may feel differently, but I'm just a guy who just wants to thin the herd and free up some money to buy something else with once in a while. For my purposes I really have liked the experience I've had with GC, and I feel like I've done about as well money-wise as I would have selling for a realistic market price and shipping it out. The key words here are "realistic market price". It may be that if I compared my first asking price with GC's offer, then I might gasp at the difference, lol. What I'm talking about is the price a buyer might be willing to pay, and that's almost always less than my asking price. A lot less.

Also some more clarification: I did say "net" and by that I mean after deducting the fees, packing materials, time spent, risk (that's a big one), and cost of shipping. That's because you're just dropping them off and walking out with money or gear. You could say, "But f2d, I charge separately for shipping so that doesn't count". And that's a fair point, but a buyer will still adjust what they're willing to pay to accommodate shipping charges, so it is a hit to your proceeds whether directly or indirectly.

Again, I'm sorry I don't remember exact numbers, but I listed a Ludwig Maple Cortex set with an orphan FT here on DFO and also on FB Marketplace. I was asking $850 to test the water, but with expectations of it selling for around $700.00. eBay's sold listing prices ranged in the $800's for similar sets in excellent condition, $600's for more road worn ones. Mine was in nice condition with relatively new heads, but had an orphan FT with a slightly different shade of maple cortex.

So then the reality of what the market was willing to pay started to set in. I did receive a couple of offers - one wanted to trade, and the other offered I think around $500 +shipping. There were others asking questions and tire-kicking but I don't remember any other serious offers at least after shipping was figured. FB marketplace only got me a few comments and tire kickers, but nothing more. I still wasn't seeing anything on eBay's listings that excited me about the idea of listing there.

I took it by GC and they offered $600.00 cash. I couldn't get an offer for that much here or on FB, and though I could have probably gotten more on eBay - there would still be the cost of packing and shipping, as well as the time and risk dealing with all of it which is significant.

I did obviously have the option of saying no to that and walking out with my drums to list on eBay. It was just an offer that I could refuse, and even use as a price bottom against low-ballers going forward.
That's when it dawned on me that I netted just as well, all things considered, by selling wholesale to GC and letting them assume all those retail-related costs and risks for me. I waved goodbye to my drums and walked out with a VISA debit card loaded with $600. No packing, no shipping, no waiting, zero chance that the sale wouldn't go through or that any problem would pop up to bite me.
Thanks for that detailed response - I really appreciate it. I guess that was a one-time experience? I went to my local drum shop to get an offer on a high-end kit once, I'd say 6-7 years ago, and the owner told me, "That's a fancy kit; it will sit on my floor and eat up space for a long time", and made me an offer that was probably less then half what I would have gotten on eBay. So that's why I asked...I have some huge medical bills right now, and need to sell, but I guess I'm not desperate enough to take half...but then again, the used drum market is at an all-time low.
 

fun2drum

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Thanks for that detailed response - I really appreciate it. I guess that was a one-time experience? I went to my local drum shop to get an offer on a high-end kit once, I'd say 6-7 years ago, and the owner told me, "That's a fancy kit; it will sit on my floor and eat up space for a long time", and made me an offer that was probably less then half what I would have gotten on eBay. So that's why I asked...I have some huge medical bills right now, and need to sell, but I guess I'm not desperate enough to take half...but then again, the used drum market is at an all-time low.
Oh, sorry to hear about the medical bill situation, and I do hope everything works out well for you with both health and money. No it wasn't just one time but that was the most recent time and it was back in July of 2020. I sold a white lacquered Classic Maple set to them about a year or two prior to that, and a few Zildjian and Sabian midgrade cymbals sometime inbetween. Those experiences were about identical to the one I gave above in the example. They offered less than I could have received on eBay, and about the same or maybe more than I could get offers for elsewhere. I should add that I've never tried Reverb.

My personal opinion is that they may not do as well pricing high-end, high value gear, while they're not interested in junk either. Their sweet spot seems to be in the well-known brands' mid tier stuff - especially if it's heavy and hard to ship. Remember they're not having to pay shipping to get it there either. About three years ago they blew me away at what they offered me on a 15 year old Behringer 32 channel mixer. There's no way I could have shipped that big heavy thing out and gotten the money they gave me anywhere else. Same thing on a pair of massive Mackie full range powered speakers. I took in a few ZBT's that came with a used set years ago just to see what would happen, and they weren't interested in them at all. I don't blame them, but I just wanted to see if they would at least offer me a pair of sticks. They didn't. Their drum set pricing hasn't blown me away, but all things considered, it's been fair.

So anyway it's kind of hit and miss, and I suppose the individual store location and its management would have something to do with the overall experience as well. The nice thing is that you have the option to say no and take your gear back home. There's something to be said for being able to truthfully tell somebody you've already had somebody looking at it and they made you an offer.
 

bellbrass

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Oh, sorry to hear about the medical bill situation, and I do hope everything works out well for you with both health and money. No it wasn't just one time but that was the most recent time and it was back in July of 2020. I sold a white lacquered Classic Maple set to them about a year or two prior to that, and a few Zildjian and Sabian midgrade cymbals sometime inbetween. Those experiences were about identical to the one I gave above in the example. They offered less than I could have received on eBay, and about the same or maybe more than I could get offers for elsewhere. I should add that I've never tried Reverb.

My personal opinion is that they may not do as well pricing high-end, high value gear, while they're not interested in junk either. Their sweet spot seems to be in the well-known brands' mid tier stuff - especially if it's heavy and hard to ship. Remember they're not having to pay shipping to get it there either. About three years ago they blew me away at what they offered me on a 15 year old Behringer 32 channel mixer. There's no way I could have shipped that big heavy thing out and gotten the money they gave me anywhere else. Same thing on a pair of massive Mackie full range powered speakers. I took in a few ZBT's that came with a used set years ago just to see what would happen, and they weren't interested in them at all. I don't blame them, but I just wanted to see if they would at least offer me a pair of sticks. They didn't. Their drum set pricing hasn't blown me away, but all things considered, it's been fair.

So anyway it's kind of hit and miss, and I suppose the individual store location and its management would have something to do with the overall experience as well. The nice thing is that you have the option to say no and take your gear back home. There's something to be said for being able to truthfully tell somebody you've already had somebody looking at it and they made you an offer.
Very good to know and thanks for your kind words. It's worth contacting some stores in my area to see if they're even interested, anyway. Like you say, a little trouble and expense for possibly saving a lot of trouble via shipping across the country.
 

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Well I'm completely shocked. Shipped my vintage speakers on Thursday. They were shipped 3-4 states away. He messaged me on Saturday that he'd already picked them up and was listening to them. Here was his review....lol


I got them!!!! You packed so good I could have dropped them from an
airplane and they would have survived! No damage whatsoever.

That was the final big ticket item I had left to sell on Reverb that could have had potential for disaster. Almost 2 years to the day, I have been a successful Reverb seller. Now what? LOL
 

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So what I have learned from this discussion is that unless you have UPS or FedEx pack the kit, they will most likely not honor any damage claim. What’s a ballpark of what they charge to pack a 5 piece kit?
 

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I just plugged in some estimated weights and sizes into UPS Store and FedEx shipping estimators, and they are showing about $250 to ship a 5 piece 2 up 2 down shell pack from MA to TX, which just doesn’t seem feasible. This does not even include boxes and packing supplies. I estimated one box 24x24x24 at 75 lbs and a second box 20x20x20 at 25 lbs. Does this seem remotely accurate? I know everyone says to get a UPS account, but does it yearly make sense to do so just to ship one kit?
 

Rich K.

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I just plugged in some estimated weights and sizes into UPS Store and FedEx shipping estimators, and they are showing about $250 to ship a 5 piece 2 up 2 down shell pack from MA to TX, which just doesn’t seem feasible. This does not even include boxes and packing supplies. I estimated one box 24x24x24 at 75 lbs and a second box 20x20x20 at 25 lbs. Does this seem remotely accurate? I know everyone says to get a UPS account, but does it yearly make sense to do so just to ship one kit?
UPS will give you a serious discount code. (THRIVE should work.)
You'll also get a big discount if you print the label through PayPal or reverb or ebay.
Also, size greatly affects the price. Depending on the depth of your bass drum, you could probably safely reduce the height of the box by a few inches. You could pack the floor tom in the bass drum box (and probably the small tom in the floor tom). Then you could probably do an 18" box for the last two drums. All this will probably cut your quote in half.
Don't buy your boxes at a ups store. Uhaul has a 24x24x20 heavy duty box pretty cheap.
 

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Everything that can be said about this topic has been said so far so I will just add one personal experience to disprove the "If you pack it well enough, it will arrive safe" idea. I get shipments every day at the shop. One day another large truck pulled up and a bunch of Tama boxes were on a skid, wrapped nicely. Everything looked good. The guy got that thing, the hydraulic contraption to put those two metal arms under the skid to lift it a bit to bring it to the tailgate. He was not really paying attention though and the left arm of the contraption (what the hell is that thing called anyways?) missed the bottom of my skid and dove straight into a box that was not on a skid ! I am talking half way through ! Now please tell me, unless you lined your box with steel, how can "proper boxing" prevent your drums here? It can't.
My point is, we do our very best to box stuff properly and it SHOULD be enough but it is still at the hand of the people who handle them, period.
 

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(sounds like he had a hand pump one in back o' the truck..)
 

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I just plugged in some estimated weights and sizes into UPS Store and FedEx shipping estimators, and they are showing about $250 to ship a 5 piece 2 up 2 down shell pack from MA to TX, which just doesn’t seem feasible. This does not even include boxes and packing supplies. I estimated one box 24x24x24 at 75 lbs and a second box 20x20x20 at 25 lbs. Does this seem remotely accurate? I know everyone says to get a UPS account, but does it yearly make sense to do so just to ship one kit?

Try it here. https://www.busfreighter.com/
 

Piggpenn

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Wow, that’s much more reasonable, thanks!
I shipped two 80 pound home stereo speakers in separate "small wardrobe" boxes I got from U-Haul for less than $20. FedEx and UPS wanted all of $400 to ship. I got it done for less than half with Greyhound.

On top of that, it only took two days to go from Iowa to Kentucky and no upcharge for a faster delivery. Imagine that?

I even have accounts with UPS and FedEx. But all that does is allow them to charge you after the delivery if they felt they didn't charge enough when you pay upfront. I will never again use my "discount" account at UPS or FedEx. They can be unethical with the "after the delivery" additional charges.

Greyhound did the same thing but at least let me know before any additional charges were incurred. They actually called me to let me know about the additional cost. Even with the added cost it was still cheaper than the others and with complete transparency. And they let me know before the items shipped. FedEx "additional charges" just showed up on my CC when doing my audit at the end of the billing cycle. It was very confusing at first until I went online to my FedEx Billing account and found the additional charge buried under additional carrier charges. What a Crock!
 

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I shipped two 80 pound home stereo speakers in separate "small wardrobe" boxes I got from U-Haul for less than $20. FedEx and UPS wanted all of $400 to ship. I got it done for less than half with Greyhound.

On top of that, it only took two days to go from Iowa to Kentucky and no upcharge for a faster delivery. Imagine that?

I even have accounts with UPS and FedEx. But all that does is allow them to charge you after the delivery if they felt they didn't charge enough when you pay upfront. I will never again use my "discount" account at UPS or FedEx. They can be unethical with the "after the delivery" additional charges.

Greyhound did the same thing but at least let me know before any additional charges were incurred. They actually called me to let me know about the additional cost. Even with the added cost it was still cheaper than the others and with complete transparency. And they let me know before the items shipped. FedEx "additional charges" just showed up on my CC when doing my audit at the end of the billing cycle. It was very confusing at first until I went online to my FedEx Billing account and found the additional charge buried under additional carrier charges. What a Crock!
And I’ll bet there is a lot less risk of damage, as it would seem the boxes are not handled as much.
 

Piggpenn

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And I’ll bet there is a lot less risk of damage, as it would seem the boxes are not handled as much.
Very true. They get loaded onto the bus at the depot and then stay on the bus until the destination is reached. Then they get off-loaded for the buyer to pick them up. Stupid simple.
 

73Rogers

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The guy got that thing, the hydraulic contraption to put those two metal arms under the skid to lift it a bit to bring it to the tailgate. ... (what the hell is that thing called anyways?)
It's called a pallet jack.
 


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