Shipping mirrors is a tricky business. Not only are they one of the most fragile glass-based items to ship, but they’re also very heavy, bulky, and require specific packaging treatments to fit their (often) odd sizes. If you find yourself needing to ship a mirror, you’ve come to the right place! This guide is all about how to package mirrors properly, choosing the best service based on what you need, and how to save the most money on your labels. Time to get reflective!
Table of Contents
- UPS Will Typically Offer the Best Rates for Sending a Mirror
- Protect Your Mirror with a Sturdy Outer Box and Ample Packing Material
- You May Not Be Able to Purchase Shipping Insurance
- Use Shipping Software to Save the Most Money on UPS Labels
UPS Will Typically Offer the Best Rates for Sending a Mirror
Compared to normal items people tend to ship, mirrors are an odd shape; you generally have two longer dimensions, and then a third very small dimension (usually just a few inches or less). This smaller dimension accounts for the height, when you lay the mirror down flat. Due to their irregular shape, mirrors are on the more expensive side to ship, and some of their dimensions are too big for USPS to handle. So, if you’re looking for the cheapest and best all-around service, look no further than UPS Ground.
UPS Ground is the cheapest service that UPS offers, with a maximum weight of 150 pounds, making it perfect for sending mirrors. It’s also the slowest domestic service, but typically, there’s no real rush for a mirror to be delivered overnight or in a couple of days (unless your customer specifically requests it). So, the delivery window of 1-5 business days for UPS Ground is totally fine. Plus, for packages of such irregular sizes and weights, Ground is much cheaper than the other UPS services.
If You Don’t Want Your Mirror in Transit for a While, Use Express Delivery
Of course, the longer a mirror sits on a delivery truck, the higher chance it has of breaking or cracking during transit. If you want to minimize the time your mirror spends on trucks, then you can always pay for an expedited delivery service. We’ve listed two of the most popular express delivery services that UPS offers below:
Keep in mind that if you want speedy delivery, you have to pay for it! Next Day Air and 2nd Day Air are very fast, but they’re also two of the most expensive services UPS offers. Also, since mirrors often weigh a good amount and require irregularly-shaped packages, these services will cost you even more.
Protect Your Mirror with a Sturdy Outer Box and Ample Packing Material
By far, the most time-intensive part of sending a mirror is properly protecting is with the right types of packing material, and finding the right size cardboard box to fit it. Mirrors are some of the most fragile items out there, so we’ve listed out some basic steps you can follow to best protect them for shipment:
- Begin by finding the right size outer cardboard box. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want a box that fits the mirror as close as possible, but still leaves room for ample amounts of packing material
- Cover the glass portion of the mirror with bubble wrap (we suggest using the biggest bubbles possible, depending on the size of the mirror you’re sending). Wrap it around the mirror at least twice for extra security
- Once you’ve bubble wrapped it, lay two sheet of strong, corrugated cardboard on the top and bottom of the mirror. Then tape these cardboard sheets to the first layer of bubble wrap to secure them in place
- Use another layer of bubble wrap to completely cover the mirror a second time, and secure the bubble wrap to itself with plenty of packing tape
- Place the bubble-wrapped mirror inside a strong, corrugated cardboard box specific to the size of your mirror (it helps if you don’t do this by yourself!)
- Once the mirror is in the box, fill as much of the empty space inside with “filling” packing material like packing peanuts or air pillows
- If your budget allows, it’s better to use molded styrofoam inserts that fit to the exact size of your mirror and outer packaging
- Tape the outside box shut and clearly affix “Fragile” stickers on the outside of it
Need Different Kinds of Packing Material?
If you’re on the hunt for all of these different kinds of packing material we listed above, the ULINE website has it all. You can search for bubble wrap, cardboard boxes of all sizes, styrofoam sheets, and more! They even have special boxes dedicated to small, medium, and large mirrors, which you can check out here.
You May Not Be Able to Purchase Shipping Insurance
Now, for the bad news: if you want to protect your shipment, you may not be able to. A lot of shipping insurance companies specifically exclude glass-based products from coverage. Since mirrors are made of glass, unfortunately, that excludes them, too. They’re simply too fragile, and as a result, insurance companies don’t want to assume liability if they break during transit.
This said, some websites do allow you to add coverage for your mirror when you purchase your shipping label! So, you’ll have to do some research of your own and go through some Terms and Conditions to see if mirrors and glass-based items qualify for coverage, or not. Whether or not they do all depends on the insurance company that partners with the shipping software service you use. If you’ve never heard of shipping software, don’t worry; we’re about to go into that next.
Use Online Shipping Software to Save the Most Money on UPS Labels
Since mirrors require packaging with odd dimensions, the cost to ship them is often higher than most other “normal” packages that the carriers transport on daily basis. In the case of sending a mirror, every dollar counts. That’s why it’s so important to save as much money as you possibly can on your shipment—and the only way to do that is to use online shipping software to buy postage at deep discounts.
When you use shipping software, you gain access to special levels of pricing that carriers usually reserve for huge shippers who send tens of thousands of packages per year. For UPS, this level of discounts is called the Digital Access Program. With this program, you can sometimes save up to 50% off of what you’d pay to ship the same package at the UPS Store!
On top of the savings, shipping software also allows you to schedule pickups from your home or office. This way, you don’t even have to worry about transporting the mirror to your local UPS drop-off point. So, say “no” to the potential back problems and use shipping software to purchase your label and schedule a pickup. Once you’ve packed your mirror as best as you can, that’s really all there is to it!