If I am not already expecting your instrument, please be sure to contact me by phone or email before shipping any instruments to me! Thanks!
Shipping Your Instrument
The safest way to send your instrument is by Second Day Air with UPS. Federal Express has an Economy Service (its version of Second Day Air). It’s also excellent, but it’s a few dollars more than UPS. Avoid the Postal Service.* Commercial mailbox places can double, or even triple, the cost of shipping and insuring an instrument. If you are planning to use one of those services, call first to find out what they would charge you. They will often insist on using their own boxes and packing materials (at your expense), and by using an oversized box, they can add charges for dimensional weight.
Packing Your Instrument
Find a good box. But, before you do anything else, put your name, address and phone number(s) (home, work, and cell) on a piece of paper and put the paper in the case cover pocket or the inside of the instrument case itself. Do this for each instrument you are shipping. If the box is destroyed, the contents will still have identification. On a practical level, I’ll also know from whom the instrument is coming without having to search through the packing material in hopes of finding some identification. Wrap each instrument part in tissue paper before putting it in the case. Be sure the bottom of the box is well taped with good quality packing tape. For packing material, you can use plastic peanuts, bubble wrap, single sheets of crumpled-up newspaper, or any combination of the three. Use two to four inches of packing on all sides of the item being sent. Wrap each instrument case (with instrument inside) in a clean plastic garbage bag. This protects the case/case cover from the packing materials (plastic peanuts leave permanent white marks on cases and case covers). Lay the case flat on top of some of the packing material. Fill the sides with packing material and then fill the box right up to the top. Put in as much stuffing as you possibly can fit into the box, because the packing material really helps prevent damage to the case and/or instrument.
Second Day Air usually works just fine. Ground UPS is very reasonable if you are only one or two days away, or farther away and not in a hurry. Check with UPS to see how many business days it will take for your shipment to get here. Be aware, though, that Ground UPS does NOT guarantee day of delivery. It gets here when it gets here, but there are rarely any problems.
If you need to ship overnight, most shippers offer an afternoon delivery, which saves money over the “Guaranteed Before Noon” service. Second Day Air is a guaranteed two-day service. For your own protection and peace of mind, be sure to insure the instrument with the shipper or check your homeowners’ insurance to see if it is covered while being shipped.
Now that you will be shipping your instrument safely, please remember to keep the tracking number and the paperwork!
*If you must ship with the Postal Service, only use EXPRESS MAIL. This is the priciest, fastest service they offer, but is the ONLY one of them that gives you an air bill, a tracking number and an 800 number to call. All of their other services—Priority, Registered, Certified—have no way to track a package. If a package is lost, the Postal Service will not put a tracer on it for at least six weeks.