When using a delivery service, here are some helpful packing tips

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If you’d like to reduce the risks of problems and damage with your parcels sent via a courier delivery service, it will pay to take care with your packing.

Here are some top tips along those lines:

• Make sure your envelope or carton is of a waxed or otherwise water-resistant material. (Often the delivery service may be able to provide these, at a cost.)

• Use only strong and sturdy boxes that are rated for transport. In some instances your package or parcel might end up with others stored on top of it, so if it’s flimsy cardboard you’re asking for trouble.

• Think twice about recycling. However ‘green’ you are, remember that using a carton that’s way past its sell-by date, and which has a proud history of multiple previous journeys, just might result in a box that’s not up to it in terms of strength. In some cases, the driver might also just plainly refuse to accept it should it appear to be too tatty and vulnerable.

• Your items inside should be firmly secured to the interior somehow – that’s to stop them rolling around in transit. Classically that’s a question of packing materials like newspaper or bubble-wrap but you can also get boxes and cartons that have internal securing straps.

• Don’t skimp on your packing materials. Yes, shredded or balled newspaper is fine for some items but if something is particularly fragile then make sure you use heavy grade bubble wrap and polystyrene packing – and plenty of it.

• Suspend heavier items mid-carton. That will reduce the chance of them suffering shock damage if they’re resting on the bottom. You can do that through things like suspension cradles (maybe only viable for more valuable loads) or simply polystyrene batons. In passing, note that some courier delivery service providers may have low(ish) maximum weight limits and likewise for cubic volume – exceed those and your shipment will need to be considered as freight.

• Don’t be tempted to economise on tape. A single strand of good quality securing tape is going to be miles better than several of a cheap variety. Use re-enforced tape if you can because the cheaper stuff will often start to peel off before the courier’s van has even left your street.

• Ditto for adhesive labels. Poor quality labels will peel off given the slightest chance. OK, in today’s bar-coded and printed world that’s maybe not the catastrophe it might once have been but it still might cause confusion and delays.

• Select and use indelible ink. You may think that your addressing becoming damp, runny and therefore illegible, sounds like a comedy show sketch, but it really does happen sometimes and it can cause delays

• Remove old existing labels from the box you’re using. That’s a particularly good idea if they’re bar codes.

• Supply all required documentation when shipping overseas. One of the commonest causes of delay when shipping overseas is failing to provide all the required customs documentation attached to the carton. An alternative is when the documentation was attached but has fallen off!

These are just a few basic thoughts but they may help remove trauma from your delivery service experience.