2020 has been a strange year for everyone, due to the Coronavirus pandemic and widespread sheltering in place. However, one positive side effect of all the extra free time is that Americans have now taken up all sorts of interesting hobbies…and crafting pottery is one of them. Now, lots of eCommerce retailers such as Etsy users sell pottery and other fragile, hand-crafted goods over the internet. When it comes to packing and shipping pottery, the two key points are to use enough packaging material to protect and cushion the items during transit, and to save the most money on postage with free online shipping software. Let’s fire up the kiln and see what’s cooking!
Ship Your Pottery With the US Postal Service
First thing’s first: you’ll want to choose the shipping carrier that will offer you the best mix of affordable rates and reliable delivery for your pottery shipments. In this case, that would be the United States Postal Service, or USPS for short.
USPS is the best carrier for pottery shipments because they specialize in delivering smaller, heavier packages like these. With special services like USPS Priority Mail Cubic, the rates that USPS offers for these types of packages will blow any other shipping carrier out of the water.
Priority Mail Cubic’s prices are based on the dimensions of your box, and not its total weight. This means that you can load up your package with as much as weight as you like (up to 20 pounds), and the price of shipping it won’t change! So, that makes this service perfect for shipping pottery, which can sometimes get to be on the heavier side. Like all Priority Mail services, delivery for Priority Mail Cubic occurs between 1-3 business days, so you’ll also enjoy a quick delivery timeframe on top of getting the cheapest possible shipping rates.
Properly Packing Your Pottery Shipments
Now that you know which shipping carrier to use, it’s time to talk about how to properly package up these items. We’ve laid out three simple steps for you below.
Use a Strong, Corrugated Cardboard Box
First, you’ll always want to use a brand new corrugated cardboard box to place your pottery in. Don’t even think about using a poly mailer or envelope, since these provide little to no protection for fragile items! You can order boxes of all sizes on the ULINE website, or you can pick up some boxes at your local Target or Office Depot…but the selection in these physical stores will probably be fairly limited.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for more cost-effective packaging, you can also order free Priority Mail boxes on the USPS website, which USPS will deliver right to your front door.
Protect the Pottery With (A Lot) of Bubble Wrap and Packing Tissue
Perhaps the most important step in shipping pottery is using the right packing material to protect the items. In this case, we suggest wrapping up the pottery with as much bubble wrap as possible (at least three layers), and using packing tape to keep the bubble wrap tightly in place. Secondly, you should line your box with cushioning on the bottom, such as air pillows to keep the hardened clay from coming into contact with any flat, rigid surfaces. Lastly, when you’ve placed the pottery inside your box, fill out the rest of the empty space. The more packing material you can fit inside your box, the better off you’ll be!
Make Sure There’s No Wiggle Room or Empty Space in Your Box
Once you’ve wrapped up your pottery and filled up the rest of the space in your package, there should be little to no empty space left inside. A good test to see if you’ve packaged your items properly is to close the box and shake it a few times. If you can shake it side to side, quickly lift it up and down, and then flip it over without the pottery moving around, you’re ready to seal the box and ship it off!
Save the Most Money on Pottery Shipments With Free Online Shipping Software
As is the case with shipping anything, you’ll save the most money on your pottery shipments when you use free shipping software to buy postage online. Online shipping software allows you to access the deepest level of USPS discounts that the Postal Service typically reserves for huge shippers, known throughout the industry as Commercial Pricing…and the best options out there are free to use. Depending on which service you ship with, the discounts you get from shipping software can save you up to 90% off of what you’d pay for shipping the exact same box at the Post Office!
On top of saving the most money on your packages, shipping software allows you to buy and print all of your labels from the comfort of your own home. You can even schedule free pickups from your letter carrier, so you’ll never have to make those trips to the Post Office and stand in those crazy lines again. Trust us when we tell you that nobody wants to do that…especially right now.
Looking for the right shipping software for you? Check out our Reviews page!
Don’t Forget the Shipping Insurance
Lastly, let’s talk about insurance. Even though you’ve taken the steps to protect your pottery the correct way, you should know that accidents still happen sometimes. Maybe another box will fall on top of your package during transit, or maybe the pottery will crack in some unforeseen way. In order to protect yourself when events like these occur, you should always purchase insurance for your delicate shipments. Shipping insurance only costs an extra couple of bucks when you use shipping software, and it’s well worth it to be able to file a claim in case something happens to your box at any point during its journey.
Pro Tip: If you bought your shipping labels with shipping software (which you always should), you may already have insurance included with your service! With shipping software options, all Priority Mail services include up to $100 of USPS insurance. In that case, you’ll be able to file an insurance claim with USPS directly on their website in case your package gets lost or arrives damaged.