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Shipping Kits USPS (Post Office) Sweet Spot

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Shipping kits from California to Illinois.

Do 4 kits fit in a 12x12  cardboard box?

What do some of the other sizes cost to mail/ship?

How many kits at once is best deal? (sweet spot)

Thanks.

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The USPS Shipping Calculator should answer all your questions. Enter the 2 ZIP Codes, the weight and the size and it will show you the different shipping options.

https://postcalc.usps.com/

 

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3 hours ago, regular guy said:

Do 4 kits fit in a 12x12  cardboard box?

 

Not all kit boxes are the same size. You'll probably have to do a trial and error test.

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Thank you.

I'll look at calculator and kit boxes are all AMT and 2 Monogram flat nostalgia ones.

Did hear to avoid 'Priority Mail' boxes.

Just use a brown box.I am Walmart person and they have them in stationary.

Will post what I learn.

Edited by regular guy

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The actual Priority Mail boxes you get from the Post Office have a flat minimum price attached regardless at to what an item weighs.  So it is more economical to ship stuff in plain brown boxes either buying them new or recycling older ones since you then can ship for Priority using the size and weight scale rather than having an artificial pricing "floor".

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Actually Priority boxes come in a bunch of varieties. The Post Office often only has the flat rate boxes in the lobby. Ask for others. They have the OSHOEBOX which is great for  shipping standard 1/25 or 1/24 kits. I often sometimes use Regional A boxes. I use the calculator to determine which is best. It all depends upon distance. Priority Mail 7 boxes are 12 x 12 x 8. I can get three kits in one but four can be a challenge. Fortunately, USPS has gotten better with larger boxes. The used to be a stickler for things measuring over 20 inches in one dimension. That seems to changed.

As for flat rate, unless the item is heavy, avoid flat rate. Typically, it seems $5 a box higher than paying actual weight to ship.

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I don't know why anyone would warn you away from Priority Mail.  It's a pretty good deal and you get a Tracking Number and insurance.  What you have to be careful of is the "Regional" boxes.  I got some of those by mistake once, thinking they were regular Priority boxes.  They have different rules.

There are 2 different kind of Priority Mail boxes. As NiteOwl said, the post office usually just carries the flat-rate version.  If they have free Priority boxes at all, they generally only have one or two sizes.

But at the USPS website, you can get all the FREE Priority Mail boxes you want, in a variety of sizes.  The square 12x12x8 box will take 2 kits easily, unless they're a weird size. The flat "shirt boxes" will take most kit boxes sized like Italeri or Tamiya.  You can also get the "shoeboxes" that Iborg mentioned free.

You just create an account, order the boxes you want, and USPS will ship them straight to your front door.  All absolutely free. I'm getting ready for an eBay sale and just recently ordered a bunch.

This link will take you to the official USPS site for free boxes.  Beware of any other "USPS Shipping Supplies" links.  They might link to private, third-party shipping vendors who will charge you for boxes.  And everything else.

https://store.usps.com/store/results/shipping-supplies/_/N-7d0v8v

Edited by Mike999
omit2

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Utterly fascinating link.  Never saw so much with a $0.00 price.

Thank you for posting that link and the very useful information.

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' This link will take you to the official USPS site for free boxes. '

FREE BOXES

I will go with that it says 00.00 because they are free.

Did my bit.

FINALLY had time to call post office this morning.

Guy there's brother builds model so he knew how big a kit box is.

It got a little murky though about getting a good deal or the best deal.

I looked at two pages of the six of boxes and did see a 'Regional Rate'. That might be cheaper than 'Flat Rate Priority'.

Did see 'Oshoebox' somebody mentioned.

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Well you can still get Priority Mail service with a regular "brown" box, you just don't have to a fixed "lowest" price which is something you do get with those "free" boxes from the USPS.  They're not free, they charge you a minimum shipping rate depending on the box size (or the Region) no matter how much the contents weigh.  I can ship a kit in a regular box for about $8, the same size flat rate box is $12.65...that box isn't free. 

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Hopefully not to confuse things further. But Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes are NOT the same as the free Priority Mail boxes you can order from that link I posted. 

The Flat Rate  boxes say "Flat Rate" on them in big red letters. When you buy a Flat Rate box at the P.O., you're pre-paying for the shipping and they are costly.

The free boxes at the link are regular Priority Mail boxes, not Flat Rate boxes.

Warning:  the boxes from the link only come in packs of 10 or 25 boxes.  So if you're not selling on eBay or doing a lot of trading, you might not need that many boxes.  If you can't find a free box, you can pick up a plain brown box at places like Pak-and-Ship, Staples or Wal-Mart.  The shipping stores will also ship Priority Mail, but they charge a lot more than the Post Office.

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Or you can order boxes from USPS and drop off the ones you ordered and did not use. Whatever you do, don't buy boxes from the post office. Typically they're almost $4 or $5 each and near the same size as the free boxes from the post office.

I concur with Michael. free Priority Mail boxes are NOT the same as Flat Rate. I've had success in some cases with Regional A boxes but the Regional Bs have been useless to me as they're almost as expensive as Flat Rate.

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I use the free priority mail boxes from USPS as others refer to above. I have found that some of the flat rate boxes are the size I want, so, in order to avoid the flat rate, I just turn them inside out (there is only one glued joint that you have to open) tape them up and you can use them as regular priority mail or just general package shipping. And, they are free from USPS - at your post office or online. Works great for me. 

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On 4/14/2019 at 1:55 PM, BigTallDad said:

Not all kit boxes are the same size. You'll probably have to do a trial and error test.

That was my first thought

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On 4/18/2019 at 10:08 PM, dwdirks said:

I use the free priority mail boxes from USPS as others refer to above. I have found that some of the flat rate boxes are the size I want, so, in order to avoid the flat rate, I just turn them inside out (there is only one glued joint that you have to open) tape them up and you can use them as regular priority mail or just general package shipping. And, they are free from USPS - at your post office or online. Works great for me. 

Most of the boxes you get from the Post Office have printing inside, so you can no longer turn them inside out. It was good while it lasted.

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Shipping rates are all over the place,  I just sold a Utility bedless Ford kit and it was cheaper by $2 to go Priority Region A Flat Rate Box then it was to use my own box.


Ive heard from another fellow modeler that sells a lot, that you can get away with using the Region A boxes all the time, so take that for whats it worth.

It sucks selling the kits that I am into( none US kits) as its a pain in the rear trying to find boxes for those kits,  some of the smaller ones will fit in the USPS Flat Rate Boxes.

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You need a degree in shipping!  I just did a quick look.

A single model kit (Revell 1968 Chevelle) weighs  12.6 oz.  Dimensions are 9-1/4" x 4-1/4" x 6-3/4"

It fits in the 11" x 8-1/2" x 5-1/2" Priority Mail Flat Rate Box -  That box costs $14.35 to ship

IF I'm mailing it from my home in Pennsylvania to California, and I use my own box (5oz) I'm shipping 1 lb, 2 oz.  That will cost me $14.20 by weight. So it's only a .15 cent difference.   Now,  the whole idea of the flat rate box is that you can ship things that are heavier in that box.  Basically you can fill it up solid with screws and it still cost $14.35.   If I use my own box to mail 2lbs 2oz  it jumps to $19.05 and 4lbs 2oz is a whopping $25.45  so the priority flat rate is the winner here.

IF I'm mailing from my home in Pennsylvania to New Jersey, that's zone A.  That flat rate box is still $14.35, BUT since this is a lot closer regular priority mail is only $7.85.  Using a Regional A box, it's even cheaper at $7.65.  The catch is that the Regional service isn't available at the counter, only click and ship.  In this case you want to avoid the flat rate box. Even getting heavier,  2 lbs, 2 oz is only $8.30 and 4lbs, 2 oz is only $9.80.  

 

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I go through fits of kit-thinning on e-Bay, and you are exactly right. I use Priority Mail and a "normal" US kit is $14.20 pretty much anywhere east of the Mississippi for me. I ran out of Amazon A3 size boxes, so I bought some new 10x8x6 boxes from Amazon for a reasonable price. I have a 1:1 car distributor on my "to sell" list, and I will probably use a flat rate box for it because of the weight.

I have excellent luck with Priority Mail (so far). I try to end my auctions on Friday evenings. If the buyer pays right away, I drop the package(s) at the local Post Office on Saturday morning. Even with "2-Day" Priority, the buyer usually has their kit on Monday unless they live a long way from a regional sorting center. I dropped off five boxes one Saturday and everyone had their kit on Monday, even the guy in Puerto Rico!

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