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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Community!

I have a few questions and am hoping to get your feedback. I actually work in the packaging industry and am pretty knowledgeable about the needs packaging live fish.

I have received a fair amount of live fish and invertebrates shipped to my home. I have seen a variety of solutions (some very creative :huh: )to others that were packed like a pro.

Occasionally I have found myself cruising the internet for a good source on items that aren’t currently available and my place of business only to find that the sources are lacking at best.

So my questions are as follows:

- Do you have a target price in mind for shipping out live fish - not freight wise but materials wise?

- Do you feel like providing a customer a well packed box would increase their chance from ordering from you again?

- What are you feelings on Kordon Breather Bags (are these worth the price), do they actually work as advertised?

- Do you feel there is a distinct advantage to using a chest/lip lid shipper vs. cutting you own Styrofoam sheets to make walls in the box?

- Who do you currently use for packaging supplies?

- Is there any items you haven't been able to find that would make your life easier when shipping?

- Do you like to label your boxes with perishable, rush, live, do not freeze etc.?

- Do you use newsprint in you boxes to provide padding around the bagged animal?

- What is your time worth?

- What length of time heater packs do you use most often?

- Do you feel that adding extra fish to a shipment is a good way to insure that a "X" amount arrive to the customer alive?

- How many of you have had to deal with replacing product due to the lack of proper packaging? Was it because you did not have access to it?

- Do you feel that weather or the competence of the carrier company play more of a factor with your contents arriving alive?

As you may have gathered out of lack of options... I have decided to try to gather information from the community to see if setting up a site catered to our hobby's shipping needs would be worth my time or not. Your input would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Kordon breather bags are a miracle of modern materials science.

I'd love to have a two piece chest that would fit inside a standard postal priority box, but it wouldn't be profitable for a vendor stock and ship them in the quantities most of us would purchase.

I insist on using 60 hour heat packs as I have gotten DOA shipments that didn't include them. It's still a big country. I get them in small quantities from Ken's Fish.

Perishable is the only label that matters. The shippers don't care. The mail person or UPS driver might, but the people who move the packages from bin to conveyor to bin aren't paid to care.

For me, the time isn't an issue at all. This is a hobby. When I can't spare the time, I don't make offers.

Having been in business in the past, I urge you to do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions. There is a reason shipping 'stores' offer private mail boxes. They pay the rent. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey appreciate the response! Only one I've gotten so far... I am going to quickly follow up on your points.

Kordon breather bags are a miracle of modern materials science.
Good to know. I understand that you actually don't need to trap air in the bag as the oxgyen transfer is high enough that they do not need the air.

I'd love to have a two piece chest that would fit inside a standard postal priority box, but it wouldn't be profitable for a vendor stock and ship them in the quantities most of us would purchase.
This is the most intriguing answer. As I understand many people use standard postal priority boxes because they are free. Unfortunately an EPS (expanded polystyrene or the white beaded foam) die for that size is probably around $8000-$10000 just to get started so that isn't really a viable option. That is why I have been searching for a small insulated chest only to find that the market is flooding with fillet size boxes that really are not geared towards what we do. The dimensions are very skinny and very long.

I've always seen that a small cubes work best for shipping most fish. So I have finally stumbled across a source and I thought I would see if there is interest from the community in something like that. I believe I can currently ship an insulated shipper and the cardboard outter box to someone's house at a delivered price of around $8 each.

I fear that might be to much money though... The dimensions on this box are:

Outside Dimensions are: 8.5" x 8.5" x 8"

Inside Dimensions are: 6.5" x 6.5" x 6"

So can the benefits of higher presentation & no time to replicate offer a value of $8? If not what is a target price you look to spend on those items and even the whole package?

I insist on using 60 hour heat packs as I have gotten DOA shipments that didn't include them. It's still a big country. I get them in small quantities from Ken's Fish.
Good to hear... so regardless of the distance you typically always use the 60 hr.

Perishable is the only label that matters. The shippers don't care. The mail person or UPS driver might, but the people who move the packages from bin to conveyor to bin aren't paid to care.
Very do-able...

For me, the time isn't an issue at all. This is a hobby. When I can't spare the time, I don't make offers.
I knew this answer would come up. :icon_smil But do you really have any kind of value for your time?
 

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Having only started in this hobby a little more than a year ago, I haven't had the growth to sell any plants (still learning here). But when it does come time to sell plants (or fauna for that matter), I don't have the slightest clue how they should be shipped. I know plants can be shipped in mild weather without heat or cold packs, but it would be nice to know how to ship in non mild conditions. Is there a guide somewhere?
 

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What I can contribute to you is: when I am the receiver I take note of the care the seller takes in packing the product not so much the type of materials used, this tells me that they not only care about what they are shipping but that they care about me as a consumer. The styro cubes/chests are no more an indicator of a caring seller then a box with styro liner, adds expense to the product and may price you out of range for buyers.
I don't know about anybody else but I think those breather bags are a royal pain in the backside! They have to be cut open and the bag always collapses before I can get whatever is in there out! I don't like them, don't use them, and don't like getting them.
When I ship I ask myself - is this what I would want to see when I open the box? I ship the same way I would want to receive, not only for my customer but for the welfare of what is in the box.
If a customer doesn't order again, it may not have anything to do with the packing, it could very well be that they got all they wanted. However, if they want more then the quality of the product AND the care taken in shipping, as well as a reasonable price will get them back again.
Just my 2 cents. And you can put value on your time, but as a hobbyist it doesn't usually figure in, at least not for me-my personal value is customer satisfaction in receiving happy, healthy animals.
 

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Fear the Swamp!
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I've always seen that a small cubes work best for shipping most fish. So I have finally stumbled across a source and I thought I would see if there is interest from the community in something like that. I believe I can currently ship an insulated shipper and the cardboard outter box to someone's house at a delivered price of around $8 each.

I fear that might be to much money though... The dimensions on this box are:

Outside Dimensions are: 8.5" x 8.5" x 8"

Inside Dimensions are: 6.5" x 6.5" x 6"

So can the benefits of higher presentation & no time to replicate offer a value of $8? If not what is a target price you look to spend on those items and even the whole package?
The only problem I see here is that the additional $8 for this box is passed on to the next customer. Cost of shipping plays a huge part in whether I buy from one company or another. It already costs upwards of $11-$15 just to ship the fish, adding an extra $8 may push the cost too high for some.
An option to think about is individual pieces (top, sides, bottom) of styrofoam pre-cut for the USPS Priority boxes that we could assemble as needed. I buy the large styrofoam pieces from Lowe's/Home Depot and cut them for each box as needed. This usually makes a huge mess and is a pain to measure, cut and clean up, but I feel it's worth the hassle for piece of mind when shipping live fish. If you could find a way to get this to me cheap enough in small quantities (material for 5-10 boxes), I might consider this an option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Excellent Feedback!

Is there a guide somewhere?
If I end up following through with this I plan on writing a guide.

I don't know about anybody else but I think those breather bags are a royal pain in the backside! They have to be cut open and the bag always collapses before I can get whatever is in there out! I don't like them, don't use them, and don't like getting them.
Very interesting! Does any else have an opinion on this?

The only problem I see here is that the additional $8 for this box is passed on to the next customer. Cost of shipping plays a huge part in whether I buy from one company or another. It already costs upwards of $11-$15 just to ship the fish, adding an extra $8 may push the cost too high for some.
I couldn't agree more. So as a seller I figure... If I am selling Cherry Shrimp for a buck a piece at lots of 25... its going to be a lot harder justifing $8 on shipping materials that if I selling German Rams at $6 bucks a piece.

So do I offer both? Any know what the community is like? Are a majority of the shippers using USPS boxes?

If you could find a way to get this to me cheap enough in small quantities (material for 5-10 boxes), I might consider this an option.
This is the way it was always done. I also thought of doing kits like all the materials to ship 3 boxes or 5 boxes, and so on.

=======================================================
So I have a few more questions ----
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Where do ya'll think the price point is? At what cost does someone say hey screw doing it myself. I realize that is always going to be the hardcore hobbyist that runs to lows/home depot and sits are home for hrs to cut it all themselves to save some money. Those are not the people I targeting. So if it isn't $8... what is it?

Also I really think that per cutting the styro for the USPS boxes is a great idea and I had already had it in my mind. So what are the most common boxes, here are the ones I am seeing that they offer.

12” x 12” x 5-1/2”

11" X 8.5" X 5.5"

12" x 12" x 8"

7" x 7" x 6"

These are the ones under priority mailing supplies.
 

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vcurrently ship an insulated shipper and the cardboard outter box to someone's house at a delivered price of around $8 each.
value of $8? If not what is a target price you look to spend on those items and even the whole package?
$2.00 - $3.50 for shipping goods. And it has to fit a flat or cheap rate USPS size. Flat rate and priority boxes are free. The easiest cutting insulating foam is foil backed. Less than $10.00 and a box cutter yields a dozen sets of inserts with little mess. Would I prefer a two piece chest? Of course, but no one can sell them cheap enough for inexpensive critters. Shipping on a pair of Discus is $28.00 - $35.00. Shipping on a gross of 5 cent feeder guppies is $28.00 - $35.00. I can get the feeder guppies locally.

As to a value on my time, as an individual I don't place a value on it. I'm helping out others like me. I'm not in fish, shrimp, and plants to make money. People living in Florida can do that a lot more efficiently than I.

Research is the start. Invest in that before investing cash.
Good luck.
 

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$2.00 - $3.50 for shipping goods. And it has to fit a flat or cheap rate USPS size. Flat rate and priority boxes are free. The easiest cutting insulating foam is foil backed. Less than $10.00 and a box cutter yields a dozen sets of inserts with little mess. Would I prefer a two piece chest? Of course, but no one can sell them cheap enough for inexpensive critters. Shipping on a pair of Discus is $28.00 - $35.00. Shipping on a gross of 5 cent feeder guppies is $28.00 - $35.00. I can get the feeder guppies locally.

As to a value on my time, as an individual I don't place a value on it. I'm helping out others like me. I'm not in fish, shrimp, and plants to make money. People living in Florida can do that a lot more efficiently than I.

Research is the start. Invest in that before investing cash.
Good luck.
Absolutely - I agree, pretty much what I was trying to say only alot more to the point :proud:
The last 2 sizes of boxes you listed Diablos are the ones I see used most often for live critters. The flat rate boxes of all sizes are good for plant material with room for padding and a heat pack.
I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way about the breather bags as I do also!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Appreciate the responses... based on the input from Plantedtank.net and other forums I am closing in on some firmer ideas...

- After I receive a consensus on sizes I would have styro liners cut to fit 1 or 2 of the most popular size USPS boxes. (I have only one answer as to the sizes ~ Thank you Reeyia) Hoping more from the community could voice their opinion on the popularity of the sizes.

- I would like to offer several packages with enough suppliers to pack out maybe 3 boxes, 5 boxes & maybe 10 boxes. (I think at the $2-$3 dollars you could hit some really good price points... by this I mean it is easy for people to spend small amounts of money. Many of these options would be less than $20 and I think that is an important price point.)

- I would also offer the supplies by themselves in larger quantities.

- I would stock these supplies in order to provide quick shipping to the customer.

- I would offer everything to pack out these boxes and try to be a one stop shop for a hobbyist needs. (So far I am thinking styro liner sets, heat packs, packing tape, fish bags, rubber bands, newsprint.)

- This would all be available via the web with detail pictures and explanations of all the products.

- I would also provide a good write up on a proper packaging… a guide to shipping successfully so to speak.

Are there any other obvious points that I am missing? What else do you think could help make a business plan like this sucessful.
 

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Fear the Swamp!
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As far as priority box sizes go, I use the 7x7x6 (O-Box4 I think) box and the shoebox (not sure on dimensions) the most if using a heat pack. Both are available from the USPS. I tend to stay away from the flat rate boxes as my material usually doesn't cost that much to ship.
I agree with previous comments about the Kordon breather bags. They are a pain to get fish/shrimp out of, but I'm not sure about alternatives. I just deal with it as a cost of receiving live fish/shrimp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
How does this sound?

Everything you need to ship 5 - 7x7x6 USPS Postal boxes.

- (5) Six peice sets of 3/4" Styrofoam

- (15) 6x12 1.5Mil Poly Bags

- (1) 1 Roll of 110Yd Clear Carton Tape

- (5) 70 Hr Heater Packs

- Enough Newsprint to seperate the heater packs from the bag & also take up any left over space in the interior of the box.

- Enough rubber bands to for the bags.

I think I can do this for $20 + Freight, and if you just need the styrofoam I can do it for $11.75 + Freight.

Is this an acceptable cost?
 

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I think I can do this for $20 + Freight, and if you just need the styrofoam I can do it for $11.75 + Freight.

Is this an acceptable cost?
Personally I wouldn't pay that much unless it were for some rare livestock I couldn't find locally.

I'm probably spoiled by everyone here who will ship USPS Priority for $5-$15, the $15 including styrofoam lining & peanuts (ie Invertz Factory).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hahaha! So $4 dollars and a bit a freight is to much? It appears that a 70 hour heater pack being sold to the public with retail mark up is almost $2 on its own so you expect to come up with everything else for $2...? I know it can be done, I guess I just value the convience myself more than my own $2. This may appear to be a losing battle...

Or maybe you didn't understand that this is for 5 sets of boxes... and not the actual shipping of goods... idk

That makes me think... if invertz is charging $15 dollars for their shipping including the box etc. They are charging around $11 - $12 dollars to ship the goods. That sounds about right.
 
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