Thursday, April 20, 2017

Shipping -- areas and costs

So... my website specifically says that we ship to the USA, and I know that, because I just looked at it, juuuust to be sure.  Just in case you haven't seen it, it says:

Yes, we can ship chinchillas to a major airport near you in the USA!  Contact for more info! 

See the word, "USA"?  Good!  You have normal eyesight, congrats.  I'm finding out a lot of people don't, as they email and ask if I can ship to Canada, or Europe, or some other country that, hint, is not in the USA.  People don't read.

The reason I cannot ship out of country is because that requires very specific licenses, which I do not have, and are not worth getting for the average person who doesn't plan to ship tens of thousands of dollars of chins every year.  For, it's one thing.  For the average person, not so much.

Which brings us to... cost!  Shipping is not free.  Nowhere on my website, does it say, "we will ship chinchillas FOR FREE to an airport near you."  Now, I completely understand that nowadays, with Amazon and free shipping and all that, I can sort of vaguely see where people might think this... and then I take a step back, and say... no, wait, I can't.

Let me explain why.

...and I will start with an example.  The most common places that you see animals shipped would ve in the case of reptiles and frozen feeders.  Frozen feeders... as in, frozen pinkies / mice / etc, get shipped all the time.  Shipping is overnight, and typically runs around $40-50.  That's not regular mail, that's special overnight mail.  Shipping reptiles is similar.  They go overnight or next day mail, and tend to also run about $40-50.  Mind you, the reason these animals can even be shipped through the mail (and I use the term "mail" loosely) is because they can be packaged either in a sealed bag (frozen feeders) with cold packs in the box, or in deli-cups (reptiles), with heat / cold packs in the box, and can be mailed.  They're not going to run out of air overnight.  Chinchillas... not so much.  They need to be in an open-air, ventilated carrier, where they can breathe and not overheat.  Versus, a reptile box which can be stacked with all other, regular mail.

That said.... if it costs $40-50 to mail a reptile through the mail, what makes anyone think that chinchillas can ship, on the airlines (of all things) for free?  I'm honestly not quite sure.

Add in the fact that plastic bags and deli cups are cheap (comparatively, anyway), versus the airline requires special custom carriers that meet their long list of requirements... by the time you add in that cost, definitely not free.  Overnight boxes can be scheduled for pickup from your house, just like you can do a USPS package pickup.  Chins ship out of the airports.  I don't know of a breeder that lives right by the airport, and we're no exception... we're a good 60-90 minutes from O'Hare, depending on traffic and time of day.  This means, a round trip can easily be 3 hours, and that may be just driving time.  That does not necessarily include the time spent in the airport actually checking in the chins, the time spent before that, booking the flight, the time spent getting the carrier ready, and so on.

We've had a few people who have shipped 3-4 chins... but the average person ships one chin.  While that's perfectly fine, consider that if that chin has an adoption fee of $75 (and yes, we have shipped cheap chins before), and we spend $40-50 on a carrier, plus 4+ hours of our time (just on the day of shipping) -- no, shipping will not be free.

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