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Old 08-04-2014, 07:17 PM   #1
~rush~
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Shipping for dummies?


Hey guys, I want to send some stuff (plants) to a forum member, but I'm not sure the best way to go about it. The amount I'm sending isn't enough to justify a small flat rate shipping box... Can I just send it in the mail in a padded envelope?
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Old 08-04-2014, 07:21 PM   #2
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Hey guys, I want to send some stuff (plants) to a forum member, but I'm not sure the best way to go about it. The amount I'm sending isn't enough to justify a small flat rate shipping box... Can I just send it in the mail in a padded envelope?
No, don't do it. It's very common for first time shippers to do this, but there's a very good chance the receiver will receive mush. The envelope does not protect the plants enough you need a box where there is space between the plants and the outside. Depending on what and where your shipping if you want to save money you could send it 1st class instead of priority, but use a small box.
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Old 08-04-2014, 07:24 PM   #3
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Depending on the type of plant you are shipping you MAY be able to use it. I wouldn't suggest using a padded envelope for anything other than floaters. Usually it is best to just use the small flat rate box unless you are mailing it within a couple states of you, then you may be able to use metered mail cheaper. I run into the same problem sometimes when I sell foreground plants like glosso, the package will weight less than 4oz but it is still cheaper to use the small flat rate box than anything else. I always ship in a box, and have never had a complaint from someone I've shipped to.

I have received plants in an envelope twice, and it worked out well for me, but they were from experienced shippers. The first shipping was very quick and wasn't in the hands of post office employees for too long. There was also a large quantity of plants in the package so that may have helped them survive better. There were a few delicate plants in this shipment, Ludwigia Cuba and Blyxia, they were packaged in the middle of the all the other bags of plants and made it here alive, all the leaves fell off the Cuba of course but it came back after I floated it in my aquarium for a while.

The second time I got plants in an envelope, someone put a small box with the plants inside them inside an envelope and mails it to me.
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Old 08-04-2014, 07:40 PM   #4
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you can always do a small flat rate box inside of an envelope... yes it adds weight. But will provide protection for the plants
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Old 08-04-2014, 08:09 PM   #5
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I agree with not putting it in an envelope. Though I do not ship plants (I barely keep them alive myself!) I have received in an envelope and though it looked alright when it arrived it slowly disintegrated when I put it back in the water.
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Old 08-04-2014, 08:45 PM   #6
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Ok, no-go on the envelope.

So should I wrap them in a wet paper towel? And put that inside a ziplock? That's how I've received most of my plants from members here, and it has seemed to work well for me. I'm shipping Ludwigia 'red', and some dwarf sagittaria btw.

Do I just bring the bag to the post office? Or do I go buy it there and send it off from my mailbox? I want to be as efficient as possible. I'm sending down to Arkansas and it can be super hot down there this time of year.

Thanks for the help so far guys.

Last edited by ~rush~; 08-04-2014 at 08:46 PM.. Reason: sp
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Old 08-04-2014, 09:33 PM   #7
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The Flat Rate boxes are free from the Post Office. I just brought a stack home and keep them on hand.

What works for me, is wrapping the plants in wet paper towels and slipping them into a zip lock bag. I actually save my toilet paper and paper towels rolls and slip the zip lock bag inside. I put these in the box and surround them with packing material like peanuts or paper...which I have also saved from prior shipments. The peanuts, if you have them, also work a little like insulation.

You can print out postage from the USPS site and ship it from home, or take the box to the Post Office. You actually get a shipping discount if you print it online. For example, a small flat rate box is $5.80 at the Post Office, but $5.25 online (two day priority shipping). You will have to set up an account online and add a credit/debit card for payment.

Last edited by F2G-2; 08-04-2014 at 09:34 PM.. Reason: Edit: clarity
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Old 08-05-2014, 03:05 AM   #8
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Awesome. Thanks for the help.
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Old 08-05-2014, 05:58 AM   #9
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I just started shipping plants too. I found this thread really useful.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=71992
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Old 08-05-2014, 06:14 AM   #10
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I am a retired postal worker and I say use the flat rate box to be safe. If you use the the envelope padded or not it will be sent through the sorting machines and the rollers will crush the plant and it will be ruined. I've seen a many a letter being put in a plastic bag after the sorter has torn them to pieces.
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Old 08-05-2014, 06:32 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by houseofcards View Post
No, don't do it. It's very common for first time shippers to do this, but there's a very good chance the receiver will receive mush.

That's because at the post office envelopes are pulled along a conveyor that sandwiches them or pinches them between two belt or chain driven drive roller wheels that propell them into a slotted track propelling them to the next pinch point, these tracks are lined with these drive wheels spaced apart less than the length of the smallest envelope used to mail letters. Mounted on a pivot with a spring return that allows the drive wheels to flex in and out to accomidate various thickness of envelopes so the line doesn't jam. Plants in envelopes don't have sufficent mass to push the drive wheel back under the tensioner spring resulting in a pressing effect on the plant. It's like putting clothes through an old wringer washer to squeeze the water out of them.

Boxes on the other hand roll down a belt being pushed along by other boxes as they pass over top of the drive section of the conveyor line pushing them into the boxes ahead of them in the line, there's no pressure exerted on the outside of the box to move it forward it's done by grading the conveyor belt system and letting gravity do most of the work
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Old 08-05-2014, 03:19 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by navarro1950 View Post
I am a retired postal worker and I say use the flat rate box to be safe. If you use the the envelope padded or not it will be sent through the sorting machines and the rollers will crush the plant and it will be ruined. I've seen a many a letter being put in a plastic bag after the sorter has torn them to pieces.
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That's because at the post office envelopes are pulled along a conveyor that sandwiches them or pinches them between two belt or chain driven drive roller wheels that propell them into a slotted track propelling them to the next pinch point, these tracks are lined with these drive wheels spaced apart less than the length of the smallest envelope used to mail letters. Mounted on a pivot with a spring return that allows the drive wheels to flex in and out to accomidate various thickness of envelopes so the line doesn't jam. Plants in envelopes don't have sufficent mass to push the drive wheel back under the tensioner spring resulting in a pressing effect on the plant. It's like putting clothes through an old wringer washer to squeeze the water out of them.

Boxes on the other hand roll down a belt being pushed along by other boxes as they pass over top of the drive section of the conveyor line pushing them into the boxes ahead of them in the line, there's no pressure exerted on the outside of the box to move it forward it's done by grading the conveyor belt system and letting gravity do most of the work
Thanks for explaining that. I always thought it just got flattened between other boxes, rough handling, etc. So it's almost like a juicer for plants
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Old 08-05-2014, 04:03 PM   #13
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Thanks for explaining that. I always thought it just got flattened between other boxes, rough handling, etc. So it's almost like a juicer for plants
YEP
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Old 08-05-2014, 05:30 PM   #14
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Excellent thread flynruff. Thanks for the tips everyone!

Bump: Excellent thread flynruff. Thanks for the tips everyone!
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Old 08-05-2014, 07:05 PM   #15
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Everyone tends to have a different idea on shipping plants. What I have found to work is pretty simple. Cut the stem and only allow the the water that drips off the plant to remain. More, the plant may turn to mush. I never wrap my plants in anything, some wrap in newspaper or paper towel. Often, it turns to mush but even when it does not, it's not uncommon for the plant to stick to it a bit and pull the leaves off or break the stem, which may mean the plant will take longer to recover. I personally use a larger box than needed and blow some air into the bag. It costs more but I usually don't have a small enough box anyway so it kind of works itself out, I pay a dollar or so more for shipping, save the money on the box.

Don't get me wrong, I have had the receiving party freak out that I didn't wrap the plants, just because it is so common to do so. The plants are not damaged but they are so used to it, they think it's required.

On ROAK's, I tend to just put everything into one bag but I try to tie all the speices together. I used to use plant weights but they can be hard to find lately. I may use the little metal twist ties in the future. If I am selling (or buying), I like them to be separated out with the bag labeled so I know what is what. It can be hard to tell sometimes after a few days of shipping, especially when buying an unfamiliar plant. I think one should go the extra mile when they are making money, as long as the shipping price is reasonable. You can also put dissimilar looking plants in the same bag, reducing the number of bags.

The only reason I put in the part of separating out the plants is it can be a huge pain to get a bag of plants that you have to separate out, then figure out exactly what is what. Simply labeling them and making things obvious only takes 5 more minutes at most on the seller's end but saves the buyer an hour, maybe hours, up to days to figure out exactly what things are.

Probably should go without saying but with any online business, you shouldn't cash out your PayPal until you know the item has been received and the buyer is happy. I know plenty of people who sold expensive things online, cashed out the payment before even sending the item, only to have some issue, then can't easily afford to pay up when a claim is made. That's only if you are selling, obviously, and more of a general statement but it's good practice.
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