Since people have been asking about shipping lately, and then today we had someone ask about shipping our rescue rat... I wanted to do a quick blog post on this. We are only shipping chinchillas at this time -- and without sounding like it's all due to the money... it somewhat is.... but also, due to the time and effort involved.
Let me explain. The two times we have shipped this year (well, last year I guess) were three chins each. Both times, the total cost of chins was $575-600 and then of course, shipping was $200-250 because of weight differences. Now, out of that $200-250, most of the cost is taken by the actual shipping. The flight ranges from $97-143, plus the crate which ranges from $30-40. Let's add in gas to and from the airport, let's roughly say that's $30 for my gas guzzler. So, adding this all up, we have a total of $157-$213. Yes, I realize, that's less than the cost of $200-250... by a range of $37-43. Yes, that's money the rescue makes for shipping the critters (and we'll get back to these numbers), but let's keep in mind that to ship these animals, I need to book the flight, get the pickup address at the destination, get the chins to the airport and then get back home... and have all this work with the schedule and life of the adopter on the other end. At all points in time, both us and them have all the flight information, we're communicating back and forth about which day for the flights, which flight, what time the flight will arrive, how the new owner will go about picking up their new family members... you get the idea.
On shipping day, between getting the carrier ready, packing up the chins, going to the airport, shipping the chins, getting home... it's easily a 4-5 hour ordeal. 2-3 hours are spent just traveling to and from the airport, then there's an ungodly amount of paperwork when we get there, plus of course, getting the crate ready and... perhaps most importantly... taking pics of how the crate opens and closes, and what the new owner will need to do, in order to open it when they get it (as this is not necessarily obvious)...and passing this info along to the new owner.
Further, because shipping is weight-dependent, where we would normally include a goodie bag and 2 pounds of food with each chin... we typically cannot just strap this onto the crate, because it would push us over the weight limit and into a higher weight class (and higher shipping fees). So, for both instances when we shipped, we also sent a medium flat rate priority mail box to the new owners with their food and goodie bags. We absorb the cost of this, as these items come with the chins, and we want their new owners to have these. But note... this also costs us. So, that box costs $13.45 to ship. So hold on, that $37-43 that we were making on shipping? Oh yeah, it's now down to $23.55-$29.55.
The reason I mention this all is not to complain, or to gripe about the cost. Shipping is great, and if the new owner wants to splurge for it and get a chin or chins from us, hey, more power to them. The reason I mention all of these costs, though, is to show that we're not getting rich off shipping. As you see, it breaks down to $23-29 bucks for 4-5 hours of work. Honestly, I'd do better sitting here making houses or dyeing loofah, or doing just about anything around the rescue, to make more money than that for the rescue.
Which brings me to the topic of this post -- shipping other animals (as in, not chins). It's fine to say, ok, we're close to breaking even on shipping, making $20ish, when we're bringing in $500-600 in adoption fees. Heck, even one chin adopted at $200 would be worth a good amount of effort. But the reason we've been telling people that, sorry, but we cannot ship the guinea pigs, or sorry, we cannot ship the rat, is because honestly, it is not worth it. The rat has an adoption fee of $10. Bless his heart, he's a sweetie, and deserves a great home just like the chins... but for a $10 adoption fee plus $20ish that we make, for 4-5 hours of effort, it's just not going to happen. While $10 is $10, effort and time spent has to count for something. Unfortunately, there's not enough hours in the day, already, for me to accomplish everything I'd like to get done, much less for me to find 4-5 hours to make a combined total of $30. We've always been able to find good homes for the other animals locally, and I have no doubt that we can continue to do so. Shipping is a luxury that's available for some, but we are restricting it to chinchillas at this time.