Monday, June 17, 2013

Shipping Prices & Weights & Time Delay for Orders

Ok, so a situation arose the other day leading to the subject of today's blog.  Er, subjects.

First -- time delay for orders.  Most orders I can get out within a day or two.  Those include orders for food, dust, treats, etc.  The orders for hidey houses, the wooden vehicles, and other such things list on the webstore that they can take up to two weeks as they can be made to order and are not always just sitting here ready-made.  Shelves are one of those things that can take longer as well, as I have to cut the shelves on a table saw.  That cannot be done if I am getting home at 10 pm, as the saw is, oh I dunno, loud, and would wake everyone up.  

And the last thing that will not take one day to do -- figuring out shipping.  I'd say at least 70-80% of what I deal with with orders are people asking, I want this, this, and this, how much will shipping be?  I mean, it is a LOT of what I do.  That is also not something that is going to take one day.  Let me explain.  First, if you want an order of whatever, I have to get it all together.  That means, if you want a 16" shelf, I have to cut a 16" shelf (see part about using the table saw), put on bolts, because it's rather difficult to find a box that will fit a 16" shelf without actually having the 16" shelf in front of you.  Then, I get that sanded, together, and with everything else, find a box that fits the stuff without me having to throw in 5 pounds of extra packaging material, and weigh it all.  Maybe this doesn't sound like it takes a long time, but say this person wants a water bottle.  I need to accurately pack that water bottle like I would if I knew the order was going out, because that can change the weight of the entire package.  Same with anything breakable -- it gets packaged and wrapped as if it was going out.  
So, I had this order the other day where someone wanted a shipping quote.  For a 16" shelf and two chin chillers.  I believe they emailed Tuesday.  I told them that I wouldn't be able to get to it until likely Thursday, because I already had orders in front of theirs (Tuesday), Wednesday I have class, not home until 10 pm (no table saw), and so maybe Thursday.  Turns out I actually got to it Friday, so I got their shelf cut/sanded and the chin chillers wrapped in bubble wrap and box found and packaging put in.  I email the person that the box weighs 9-10 pounds, so shipping comes out to $17.50.  This is the email I get back:

Sorry I am all set. The package can't weight more than 5 pounds even if the tiles were made of brick. You took to long to get back and I was looking to have these items paid and shipped by now. 

So, I'm not upset that I lost the order, I have plenty.  What I have really come to dislike, though, is the mentality that when someone emails me, I'm supposed to drop whatever I'm doing, whoever is in front of them, to work on their order.  That's not how it goes.  Paid orders typically get done before I do shipping quotes, and even then, those go in the order of how I received them.  Hers was not first in line.  It took four days for me to get her a shipping quote.  I guess for her that was too long.  Me?  I think that's reasonable, considering I have a full time job, run the rescue, and do stuff for the store.  If I sat home doing nothing but the store, I would think four days would be too long.  But not considering I have a real job that requires 40+ hours per week.

Moving along.  What I am really upset about is the fact that she doesn't believe that it weighs 9-10 pounds.  I emailed her back saying that if she'd like, I'd be happy to show her a picture of the box on my scale.  The one thing that I pride myself and the store on is that I don't overcharge on shipping.  I typically charge actual shipping + $0.75-$1.00 as a cushion in case I'm off (because shipping is typically calculated before the box is sealed, so the tape and such can sometimes add a little bit in shipping).  I hate the stores that charge $15 to ship something, and when you get it, it's in a priority mail box (small) which is $5.35.  Unless that is the only store in the world that sells what I am looking for, I will buy elsewhere.  So usually, those companies do not get repeat business from me.  I HATE that and so I will not do it to my customers.

So, she has not responded, which is fine, and I really don't care specifically about losing one order, but for everyone who reads this, I want you all to see:  

Box open showing shelf in box, two bubble wrapped chin chillers, and packaging paper
box closed on the scale showing 9 lbs 4 oz.
Sorry for bad picture quality, was using my phone for the pics.  So, between 9-10 pounds?  Sure.  5 pounds?  No way.  I don't know how light people think things are, but here's about how it works:  
  • a 6' x 8" x 1" board of pine weighs roughly 6 pounds
    • consequently, 16 inches weighs roughly 1 pound, 5 ounces
  • four bolts, eight washers, and four wingnuts weigh roughly 7 oz
  • chin chillers weigh roughly 2 pounds 11 oz each
    • so, two chinchillers together weigh roughly 5 pounds 7 oz
  • the box isn't light as air, and this one is thicker (to support the chin chillers and not rip), so the box could be 1 lb itself
  • packaging isn't light as air either -- so add in maybe another pound of packaging/tape/etc
  • TOTAL = 1 lb 5 oz (pine board) + 7 oz (hardware) + 5 lb 7 oz (2 chinchillers) + 1 lb (box) + 1 lb (packaging/tape) = 9 lbs 3 oz.
Amazing, isn't it?  I am happy to show people their package on the scale when they do not believe the weight.  I have had people tell me that my shipping charge is considerably too much, and I will tell them, well, if it is, I will refund the excess shipping once it's been shipped out and I know how much it was over actual shipping.  Almost never fails that I will quote someone $12 for shipping and shipping will be $11.50.  I do typically keep an overage of $0.50-0.75 cents for handling charge, so that person would not get refunded anything.  I can't help that shipping is expensive.  I wish it was less myself.... but it is what it is.
Oh, and by the way.... granite/marble are more dense materials than brick.  So the same piece would weigh less if it were made of brick, not more (as she suggested).

Solid granite 2691 kg/cu.m.
Solid marble 2563 kg./cu.m
Brick, common red 1922 kg/cu.m

^^ taken from

I actually sent this person an email a few mins ago with the picture below -- I just let her know that I didn't want her to think I was trying to cheat her (cause I'm not), and that the entire package would have a hard time being under 5 pounds, when the readout shows that the chinchillers themselves weigh a combined total of 5 pounds 7 7/8 oz (and 8 oz = 1/2 pound).  I just don't want her to think I'm being dishonest.  Cause word can get around.

May have more to post about later, but for now, this is it.

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