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Thread: Average Cost to Ship Mandolin in CONUS?

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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Average Cost to Ship Mandolin in CONUS?

    Hi All: I'm curious what the approximate UPS shipping cost is within the continental US for an acoustic mandolin plus hardshell case. Also, is insurance recommended, and approximately how much is it? Thanks in advance.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Average Cost to Ship Mandolin in CONUS?

    I shipped a few instruments recently. I ended up using USPS with insurance. Insurance does jack up the price but I don't think I would want to ship without it. Comes to around $40-50 to most places on the continent but not Alaska. I was shipping mandolins worth $2000-3000.
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    Registered User roscoestring's Avatar
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    Default Re: Average Cost to Ship Mandolin in CONUS?

    I don't ship very many mandolins but I do ship a lot of electric guitars. I use USPS too. I probally average 40 -50 with insurance. I shipped one once for $17 from Georgia to Kentucky with no insurance. I have not had good luck with UPS or FedEx. I almost always end up with damage. The Eastman Mandocaster that I got a couple of weeks ago came in a box that looked like it went through a shredder. (UPS) Luckily the mando was ok. I also had a mandolin returned to me that was damaged by UPS. Actually the case had the damage. And it was well packaged by the sender. So far the USPS has been good to me.

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    Registered User LateBloomer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Average Cost to Ship Mandolin in CONUS?

    I agree with the $40-50 price range. I sent my Unicorn #14 from my home in Ohio to Rolfe Gerhardt in Maine for a re-fret and set up. Used UPS without any problem at all. In fact he returned it to me in the same cardboard box and that box could have been used again..... so I used it to send my Unicorn #105 to Rolfe for a re-fret :-)
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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Average Cost to Ship Mandolin in CONUS?

    Have shipping costs and shipper experiences changed significantly since this thread ran in 2010?

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Average Cost to Ship Mandolin in CONUS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Have shipping costs and shipper experiences changed significantly since this thread ran in 2010?
    Never mind. I found a more recent post. Looks like shipping cost has doubled since 2010.

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    Default Re: Average Cost to Ship Mandolin in CONUS?

    I just shipped a mandolin last week USPS. Shipping was about 50 bucks but 3K worth of insurance doubled the price to a hundred bucks. That insurance price sucks, but you should have it.

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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Average Cost to Ship Mandolin in CONUS?

    They seem to grab individuals by the ankles, hold them upside down, and shake all the contents of their pockets into the cash drawer.

    A case I have been waiting on for six months is finally inbound. The shipping fee is $15, via FedEx ground, three-day delivery. This is an empty case, so not too fragile and it doesn't need much insurance, but still, the sellers (retailers) can't be paying north of $50 to ship it. (This is not an expensive case!) Businesses get a much better rate.

    Sherry, from other posts, I assume your question has to do with having a mandolin shipped to you to try out. A lot of the retail stores ship at no charge, but if you return it they ask you to pay the shipping fees both ways. (It would be interesting to see what the actual rates would be for the retailer versus return shipping as an individual.) Bottom line: if you are pretty sure you want one, it's a very acceptable risk. If you want to try out three, it gets spendy. Bottom line #2: if you have a very good friend or a family member who works in a retail business or is selling tons of things on Ebay, you might be able to swing a deal shipping something through them.

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    Default Re: Average Cost to Ship Mandolin in CONUS?

    From a purely economic standpoint, unless there is a monopoly, something becomes too expensive only when people stop buying it. For American shipping these days, we basically have a tripoly (???), with USPS, UPS, and FedEx, so pricing is not going to be super-competitive.

    I hate to say it or pay it, but all things considered, carefully (we always hope) transporting and delivering fragile and possibly valuable instrument for $100 insured ó- about 3 cents a mile if itís cross-country ó- isnít all that ridiculous. The shipping companies are saving the seller the tremendous inconvenience and expense of traveling to the buyerís door, which could easily be on a path not so well-worn. When you check the tracking history, each step represents several people briefly involved in moving your package along. I want those people to be paid well enough that theyíll care about the job theyíre doing. I want them to be trained well in how to pack a plane or transport truck. I want my instrument to have a bon voyage.
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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Average Cost to Ship Mandolin in CONUS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus CA View Post
    From a purely economic standpoint, unless there is a monopoly, something becomes too expensive only when people stop buying it. For American shipping these days, we basically have a tripoly (???), with USPS, UPS, and FedEx, so pricing is not going to be super-competitive.

    I hate to say it or pay it, but all things considered, carefully (we always hope) transporting and delivering fragile and possibly valuable instrument for $100 insured —- about 3 cents a mile if it’s cross-country —- isn’t all that ridiculous. The shipping companies are saving the seller the tremendous inconvenience and expense of traveling to the buyer’s door, which could easily be on a path not so well-worn. When you check the tracking history, each step represents several people briefly involved in moving your package along. I want those people to be paid well enough that they’ll care about the job they’re doing. I want them to be trained well in how to pack a plane or transport truck. I want my instrument to have a bon voyage.
    Some good points here, Marcus. Thank you.

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    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Average Cost to Ship Mandolin in CONUS?

    Good stuff in this thread. I'll just add my observation that shipping cost for a mandolin is almost always dependent on the size of the box, not the weight. Thus if you find an old dreadnaught guitar shipping box and use it for that mandolin, you will pay a huge shipping cost. Plus you'll have to pack all that extra empty space with something - maybe you buy some plastic peanuts (aka ghost-f@rts) or sealed air pillows. It all adds up.

    Another tip - if you plan to use UPS, sign up for a free account and use it to print the label. You'll be billed later for the shipping plus you'll get a discount over the "walk in and drop off" price. Not as much as a mail order business, but still significant.
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    Registered User MB-Octo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Average Cost to Ship Mandolin in CONUS?

    Iíve shipped two instruments in the past 36 hours using UPS Ground. Both 15lbs. The one valued at less than $1K @ 300 miles was $35. The +$1K value @ 2400 miles was $115. Also - I recently paid $65 UPS Ground on a $300 baritone uke from NY to WA State.

    Glad I donít have to do this very often, but itís actually easy enough to package something up, measure & weigh it, print your own labels, and either arrange for a pickup or take down and just drop it off. Theyíll even email you the dropoff receipt when itís scanned in. Pretty slick.
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    Default Re: Average Cost to Ship Mandolin in CONUS?

    I prefer to use USPS Priority Express 2 day guaranteed shipping. It's doubled in price since I last used it, but still cheaper than FedEx/UPS 2 day. If it doesn't get there in 2 days, you get a refund. The fewer days it's in the hands of shippers, the less likely (I hope) they break it.
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