So after writing The Truth About Insuring Hatching Eggs ( https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-truth-about-insuring-hatching-eggs ) I have noticed a lot of complaints regarding how hatching eggs are packed. You cannot file a claim on eggs that are not packed well! Not only that, but they can arrive damaged (and often do) and will have a poor hatch rate due to air cell detachment.
ALWAYS over pack eggs!
Think about it...what do you have to lose? You charge a little more for shipping materials.
And what if you do not pack well enough? They arrive broken, air cells damaged, unable to file the insurance claim and your customer angry!
The Result of an Angry Customer
- Customer contacts you to demand a refund or replacement.
- You either refund the money (You are now out the cost of the eggs and shipping and materials)
- Send a replacement (You are now out the cost of the replacement shipment AND the money you lost by not selling those replacement eggs!
- Do neither and deal with the fall out on forums, Facebook and websites.
- The sad truth is a lot of people will complain about nothing at all. You can do an amazing job packing and still have someone bad mouth you. Those people just exist. However, people understand this. One or two bad comments on the Internet will not ruin your reputation- However, 5 or 10 or more WILL!
- A bad reputation = LOSS OF REVENUE
Either way- Both You AND Your Customer LOSE!
Important things to consider when packing shipping eggs
- Double box to prevent the eggs from crushing forces. You can get free Priority boxes from the USPS shipped to your house. A little time and effort is all that is needed to find two boxes that will work. You need the large box to be big enough that you can put packing peanuts or crumpled paper between the two. At least a couple inches on the sides and an inch on the top and bottom of the small box.
- Never leave eggs loose! Even bubble wrapped they can jostled against each other and crack. Never under estimate how rough the USPS will treat your box!
- Bubble wrap is all well and good, but it is never enough. Always use it with other methods. After wrapping the eggs in bubble wrap secure them inside the inside box so they cannot move and cannot be crushed.
- It is not wise to ship in an egg carton. Inside a larger box there is not a lot of space between the ends of the carton and the box which means there is a greater chance of a force being able to push against the carton and thus the eggs.
- NEVER skimp on the packing peanuts or paper. If the cost is too high, get the packing paper. It is only about $10 for a pack of 100 or more. You can divide each sheet into 1/4th and crumple them. With the double box method you will only need 5 or 6 sheets to provide adequate packing between the two.
- NEVER use firm foam. You need a crush zone. You want the packing to absorb any blows. A firm material will TRANSFER the blow TO the eggs. Soft foams, packing peanuts, crumpled paper and bubble wrap can absorb blows BUT only if it is not crammed in there. You want to add enough material that nothing moves, but not so much that there is no air space. You need that to spare the eggs.
- After wrapping the eggs in bubble wrap, remember where the air cell is. To help hatchability you will want to maintain the eggs with the air cells up. Rough handling can still damage them, but the chance is less if they cannot move around.
The easiest and cheapest method to secure the eggs inside the small box
Use packing paper!
- Take a full sheet and fold it in half and then in half again so it is one long rectangle. It will be about 6 inches tall and 2 foot wide. This is the perfect size for a 7X7X6 inch interior box.
- Take the bubble wrapped eggs and place two on the edge of the folded sheet- about 2 inches in. You want to keep both air cells up. So air cell of the bottom one will be under the second egg.
- Take the 2 inches of paper and start to roll it over the eggs. It should not cover them yet. Take two pieces of tape and secure each egg to the edge of the paper.
- Continue to roll the paper until it is all used. Tape closed and mark on the outside with an arrow where the air cells are.
- You can press down quite hard and the folded and rolled paper will resist a LOT of pressure.
- In a 7X7X6 inch box, with 2 medium/large bubble wrapped eggs in each roll, you can ship 18 eggs.
(I use Duck brand Packing Paper that can be bought for $10/120 sheets in Wal-Mart of Office Max. You will need to adjust this for other brands if you use them)
How to mark the Box
It is important to mark the box to make sure the Postal Service treats the box right. Yes, there are rumors (and some might be true) of packages that are marked being treated worse, but over packing will help prevent damage. X-rayed eggs, however, cannot be prevented unless you tell them not to.
LIVE - Marking 'Live' on a box will tell the postal workers that your shipment cannot be X-rayed and it should be hand carried, meaning it will not be put on the conveyor belts and machines.
DO NOT X-RAY - Means just that. It is not a bad idea to write this with 'Live' to get your point across.
HATCHING EGGS or EGGS- This is not recommended since most people will not understand that they are important. Eggs are eggs, right? Not only that, but some postal workers think that hatching eggs are sold mid incubation! This will cause a big headache as they will try to make you ship Express.
EMBRYOS - Since that is what they are and everyone knows embryos are fragile and important, there is no harm labeling them this way and there are benefits.
FRAGILE- You can use this, however that other label 'Live' already makes them hand carry the box and this will not give you any additional benefits.
Arrows Up - These are recommended. I always put two on each side. You want them to keep the package upright to avoid damage to the air cells.
Make sure to mark on every side and the top!
You never know how the box will be sat and if the postal worker will see the label if you only put it on the top or one or two sides.
When marking a box ALWAYS use a thick black Sharpie!
- Using a pen or pencil will not make the label dark enough or big enough to see. You need the postal worker to see what you are writing!
- Using the same logic, you need to write BIG! Just drawing two arrows and writing "Do not X-Ray" "Live Embryos" should take up an entire side of the box.
- Writing on the top should be large enough to be visible and easy to read at a distance, but not so large to cover any area that will have the postage, insurance or address information.
Saving Money on Shipping Hatching Eggs
- Pay for Shipping Online! You can pay for your shipping eggs online at USPS site, Click-N-Ship. This will often save you a few bucks on each package. In addition, you do not need to drive to the post office and wait in line as your postal worker will pick it up from your home. The hassle of trying to explain the rules regarding insuring hatching eggs to the postal worker alone is worth doing this option!
- You will need an account. (Free)
- A postal scale - Any digital kitchen scale that weighs in lbs and oz will work. Choose one that will go up to at least 15 lbs. (Can be found at most retail stores and online for around $20)
- A printer (Prices vary, but more homes have one)
- Buy in Bulk! If you are going to be shipping once a month or more, you will save money buying your shipping supplies in bulk online. Even if you do not ship that much, getting a medium sized roll of bubble wrap will save you in the long run. It might even last you a few years- although you will be surprised how fast you can use it!
- Buy Generic! I know this is almost common sense, but it is worth saying. Buy the off brand! You do not need a Sharpie if the Office Max has a brand that is only $1. Keep in mind that sometimes buying the off brand means the quality will not be as good, but if you are like me and you misplace things a lot, getting a dollar marker might not be a bad idea!
- Buy Supplies Online! You can often find a good deal online, far cheaper than in a local store. If you have an Amazon Prime account, you can also get shipping free- although the yearly fee for the membership will not be worth it if you only use it for this purpose. For this to work, though, you have to think ahead. Do not order online if you already have the eggs collected and ready to be shipped!
- Order Priority Boxes from USPS. These are free and will be delivered to your home! They do take a while to arrive, though, so order months before you will need them. There are many sizes online, so just take your time and look at them all to figure out the ones that will work. I use 12X12X8 for the large outer box and 7X7X6 for the smaller inner one.
- Ship From/To a Business Address. If you can, ship from your work to their work. Most work places are in more central locations and shipping is faster and cheaper. Tell your co-workers in advance so they treat your eggs well, but if you live on a rural road with lots of pot holes, this simple step can spare you air cell damage as your eggs will not be subjected to miles of sub-par roads.
What to charge for Shipping and Handling
There is nothing wrong with charging for handling. The materials to pack hatching eggs right is not cheap. If a customer is unhappy, do not cave! Unless you are REALLY overcharging them, it is better to have them walk away from a sale than deal with an angry customer with broken eggs who bad mouths you all over the Internet!
On average, depending on how you are packaging, you can look to help cover the cost of materials by charging an extra $5-$7 per order. This depends on the number of eggs and size though. The more eggs that are ordered, the bigger the box you will need, likewise with large waterfowl eggs. Since double boxing is the best way (and only way I will ever recommend) this means the outer box will be quite large. It can be cheaper to ship several boxes than one large one. Give the customer the option, but do not let them convince you to ship in a single box if you know this will result in broken eggs and an unhappy customer since they will have a hard time filing for the insurance without the double boxing.
This will not make the package that expensive, since the cost of shipping Priority is fairly standard across the US, with some exceptions to more rural routes. Even shipping to Alaska and Puerto Rico from my house is the same. You will want to ship by weight, though, as this will give you the lowest cost in most cases.
On average the cost to ship an order of 12-15 hatching eggs Priority mail in a 12X12X8 box will be $10-$15.
(Although this will vary depending on what size eggs you are sending, how you pack, where you are shipping to/from, and how much the package weighs)
A realistic total amount to charge for S&H is $15-$22 for a dozen med-large eggs
View of boxes before the last roll is added and they are closed. There is a layer of crumpled paper below the interior box and another layer will be added after it is closed on top.
The interior box before the last roll is added. Each roll is placed so that all the air cells are up.
Writing on the rolls help you remember which way is up and also helps your customer as they unpack.
A view of a roll with a single egg from the bottom. Taping the bubble wrap to the paper before you start rolling prevents the eggs from moving in shipping and unpacking.
A view of the same roll from the top. With a single egg, there is an equal amount of space at the top as bottom. With two eggs they are even with the top/bottom, but NEVER extend over it!
The rolls are able to hold a lot of weight due to the nature of the layers of paper. Always use a full sheet as using less will make the rolls weaker.
Additional images will be added later of a closed box with the labels and how to wrap the eggs.
Thank You For Reading!
To read the original article- The Truth About Insuring Hatching Eggs, go here: