HISTORIC TRIANGLE — The holidays are fast approaching and getting gifts sent to those both near and far has become a priority.
Take note that this year, Christmas falls on a Monday, and that will impact shipping dates. Here are a few tips to help you make sure your gifts arrive on time.
In order to reach its destination, be sure to check with the carrier, as each has individualized deadlines based on your shipping needs. The webpages for each can be located here: United States Postal Service (USPS), FedEx, UPS and DHL.
While deadlines vary from carrier to carrier, Sheila Sullivan, Manager of Parcel Stop in Williamsburg, stated the best way to ensure your gifts arrive on time to to mail them early, suggesting that all packages be sent by Dec. 15.
Shipping early keeps costs lower, eliminating the need for express or overnight service.
According to Sullivan, how to ship, which carrier to use, and cost are the most asked questions customers have.
“And, that is a loaded question. There are so many variables that go into shipping. How heavy is the package? How big is it? Where is the destination? So, to sum that down, the cost of shipping is determined by the distance the package is going along with the weight and dimensions of the package.” Sullivan explained, “I know that seems simple but, many people are not clear on the process.”
Understanding how carrier insurance works is also important when shipping items, Sullivan said. “Many people do not realize that you can’t just insure anything. Carriers will not pay an absurd amount for your Grandma’s tea set without some proof of value. If something happens to that package during transit the first thing the carrier will ask for is proof.”
If you do not have a receipt, Sullivan suggests taking photos. The picture should include the brand and any distinguishable markings, such as a pattern, which can help prove the item’s worth.
Carriers also want to see how the box was packed. Using the packaging service from an authorized shipping outlet can eliminate this step.
“Our employees are trained on how best to pack specific items for transit. Additionally, we take pictures of the packing, depending on the value, and saving that in case proof is needed,” said Sullivan. “We also handle claims for our customers.”
Expect the biggest shipping week, with the most lines, to be the week leading up to that Dec.15 deadline.
“A big issue continues to be labor. So, it is taking things a bit longer to arrive.” Sullivan stresses, “If you absolutely need your packages to arrive by Christmas ship before the 15th unless you are planning to use an overnight or express service.”