One of the curses of dealing with shipping automotive parts is that some of the parts are really big. A lot of them, however, don’t weigh a lot. We often end up fighting the freight demon of dimensional weight. Let’s say you have a fender from a Toyota Supra. They are almost 6′ (2m) long, but don’t weigh a lot, even packaged. They weigh around 25 pounds (12kg.) If you try to ship this via USPS, UPS, or FedEx, especially long distances, you get penalized for the fact that it is bulky, but light.
We utilize two services that you may not be familiar with to ship these bigger, lighter, items. The first is offered is Greyhound Package Express (Busfreighter will soon be the new name.) GPX is ideal for bulky, somewhat light, items. You’re allowed up to 100# per piece, 82″*47″*29″. This allows you some serious flexibility in shipping things like fenders, hoods, car doors, etc. There are a couple of GOTCHA’s to watch out for. First, it is NOT a door to door service. You drop the package off at the bus station, your consignee has to pick it up at their bus station. The second is that NOT EVERY GREYHOUND LOCATION IS A GPX LOCATION. It is essential to verify before setting up your shipment that the receiving station accepts freight. Check the website. Finally, GPX does NOT INSURE AUTO PARTS FOR DAMAGE. Only for loss. Declare your full value, package it very securely, and pretend it’s going to be tossed around by college football players who don’t like you. We’ve only had a couple of issues with damage, but they do suck. Oh, and MAKE SURE YOU PROVIDE A GOOD PHONE NUMBER FOR THE RECIPIENT. They have 7 days to pick it up and then storage charges may start. Oh, by the way, you save a TON buying your label on the website. Like almost a 50% discount in most cases.
The other service we have used is Fastenal 3PL. 3PL is great for bigger, heavier parts. They handle your item on a pallet, and it moves like any other freight. You have to get a quote BEFORE shipping. The service delivers freight from Fastenal locaton to Fastenal location, and like GPX, is NOT door to door. You’re also at the mercy of their schedule and freight doesn’t always move to all locations all the time. You may have to be flexible in dropping it off a town or two away, and it is NOT an expedited service. That said, we’ve had very good service from them and the only issue we ever really had was a store employee trying to pull the “little lady” BS on me, which was quickly resolved by a call to my 3PL representative. One Gotcha. If you ship on a pallet without a box/crate around the item, it is NOT insurable. Not really a big deal for something like an engine or engine block. More of a big deal for a fiberglass Corvette hood.
So that’s a small summary of those two services. Both are “we’re going there anyway” services, and not the fastest, but the savings over traditional freight, UPS or FedEx can be SIGNIFICANT.
Speaking of UPS, one other tip that applied to them AND Greyhound. You do not HAVE to package your item. It must be safe to handle by drivers and not be a risk to other freight. But it is perfectly acceptable to ship tires, wheels, suspension parts and the like without a box. While a box/crate/pallet offers better protection, it is not always practical. This is a picture of a Toyota Supra subframe I packaged for transport via UPS (and I did the other subframe the same day to go via Greyhound.) I wrapped it in a moving blanket which I then securely taped around it and sent it on the way to our customer. It arrived safely and intact, as did the one sent via UPS.
I hope you find this useful, the quick takeaways are:
- Know the rules and limitations of the carrier you’re going to use.
- Understand that these services are NOT door to door delivery.
- Make sure that both you and the recipient are comfortable with the idea that it may take 2-4 weeks for the item to arrive.
- USE THE WEBSITES to get quotes, information, tracking and delivery times.
- Think outside the box.
Ciao for now!
Owner of www.sportscarsalvage.us.
There are a ton of automotive magazines here in our shop. Literally – a TON. The freight paperwork that came with this shipment will confirm that I am not exaggerating.
These magazines came from another automotive enthusiast organization in Pennsylvania. Titles include Car and Driver, Hemmings, The Auto Car, Queste, and more. Some of them have already been listed in our eBay store. What you see on eBay right this minute is merely the tip of the iceberg, but more and more are being listed every day.
This shipment also included a box of Rolls Royce and Bentley parts, which you can also find in our eBay store. My goodness, I had almost forgotten how heavy chrome plated items are! The 1974 Corvette that we tore down in 2012 had many chrome items in good shape, as well.
Every so often, when listing large items, I indicate in the listings that the price is for Greyhound Package Xpress shipping. What is it? It’s a service that Greyhound offers, along with their well-known bus services. Packages under 72 inches long and 100 pounds or less are eligible for this service. The packages are placed in the cargo area, along with luggage, and are shipped to the customer’s closest bus terminal for pickup. Price is calculated by length, weight, and the distance it’s traveling. We drop off packages in Akron, Ohio quite a bit.
Why do I choose this? Sometimes, it’s the most economical way to ship large and/or heavy packages. While a Corvette bumper doesn’t weigh much, its nearly 6 feet in length, combined with its width, would cost $150-$200 to ship via FedEx or UPS, if the package is even within their accepted shipping dimensions. The $80 (or less) that we charge for shipping via Greyhound covers the cost of the shipping, plus the cost of the box, for less than half of what it is via common carrier.
I’ve been shipping with Greyhound for 6 years now, in addition to using other services. I have only ever had one major problem, which is the lowest percentage of error among all of the services I use.
What happens, though, is that sometimes customers purchase an item and don’t realize that 1) the package doesn’t come directly to your door, or 2) the closest terminal is not exactly close.
As far as #1 goes, there are a few options. Some locations (but not all) can offer door-to-door service for an additional fee. Customers can also ask for a shipping upgrade to FedEx or UPS, also for an additional fee. Please note that this does NOT include packages that are outside of the common carrier’s weight or dimensions limit.
For #2, my recommendation is to check the Greyhound Package Xpress website at http://www.shipgreyhound.com before buying. Find the closest terminal that is convenient to your home, job, or some other location. Call the number to verify that the location does, in fact, accept packages and has hours convenient to you. In some parts of the country, the closest terminal can be over an hour away. In other parts (like New York,) there is a wider selection of terminals, but some are easier to get to than others. It’s OK to express a preference as to where you want your package to go. However, if picking up a package won’t work for you, please keep in mind that I may or may not be able to ship a particular package by any other method.
This is Greyhound Package Xpress shipping in a rather long nutshell. I won’t throw you under the bus, but your packages will be there 🙂
Well, for those of you who don’t know, I’m expecting.
Expecting great things…
What kind of great things, you ask? Well, it’s a 1984 Corvette from out of state and all I had to do was let my fingers do the walking on uShip. For shorter trips, it’s nice to get out of the house and out of the area for an afternoon or so. For longer trips, well…
There’s the issue of renting a UHaul trailer. Sounds easy enough, considering that we rent from our local Uhaul quite a bit without any problems. However, I have booked reservations online, only to arrive to a destination several hours (and sometimes, several states) away just to be told, “I’m sorry, but your 2wd Dodge will just NOT haul a Corvette properly. I can’t let you rent this.” The last time this happened, I spent two hours at a Michigan Uhaul convincing two separate stores that, yes, I *have* hauled Corvettes before without any problems. They then scared up a lighter (but much OLDER and previously wrecked) auto transport with a VERY bent safety latch. (Manager had the nerve to give us attitude after receiving our honest “anonymous” review, but that is another story for another day.)
Really? REALLY? Can’t haul a Corvette? That’s how I did it three times…with a pocketful of Jack’s magic beanstalk beans. *whatever*
Then, there’s the whole food and lodging thing. I can deal with fast food every once in a while. I also don’t mind spending the night out of town every so often. However, packing for several days, eating on the road, and that sort of thing get old. I also can’t ship out any packages or do most of my other work when I’m gone. It becomes a big deal when we suddenly receive a spike in sales when we are out of town. I like getting shipments out quickly; I am not so thrilled by a huge backlog of shipments. I am not super picky about hotels, but I don’t want to choose one hotel over another for its “AWESOME continental breakfast” to find only weak coffee and carrot-raisin-nut muffins and stale bagels set out. This might have happened once or twice.
Gas is expensive, too. I know, I just heard a collective “DUH” from the audience, but hauling a trailer with a Corvette isn’t great for the gas mileage. Tolls can be pesky, too…the two extra axles from an auto transport can sometimes raise tolls by 1000%. <-- Not a typo. And if you don't believe me, cross over the George Washington Bridge with one of these in tow. I could have made a small grocery run with the money I paid for that little trip. I miss the cats when we're gone. I have three moderately spoiled cats who provide a lot of comic relief, especially when they want attention while everybody at home is busy. (Lucky for me, Spanky is asleep on a recliner as I write this post, NOT purring in my face.) Sometimes, loading and unloading cars from a trailer is not a big deal. However, the cars we pick up are not always picture perfect in somebody's garage.It's Sports Car Salvage, not OMG Shiny Perfect Sports Car Corporation. Having one with all 4 wheels pointing the same direction *and* brakes *and* runs and drives all at the same time is kinda rare. Not having to be the one primarily responsible for loading unloading these cars can be a big strain off my shoulders. Literally. Strain on the shoulders. 🙂
After a 4-state, 5-day trip earlier this year, during which we purchased another salvage car on eBay, I wasn’t in a big hurry to make the lengthy trip to pick up this Corvette in Georgia. Because the trip we had just made was as long as this trip to Georgia and back would be, I totaled up the receipts for our travel expenses. Wow….those $5 and $10 purchases start adding up after a while, around the tune of $600. So, I figured that if we could have it transported for around that amount, it would be worth it. Sure enough, a few weeks later….another Corvette in the garage without all of the travel headaches.
The cats thank me, too.
After my less-than-stellar experience with Lee Ann of FreightQuote.com and problems with that company in general…
I think we found a winner!
We were able to ship our pallet full of C4 Corvette suspension parts to Canada using InternationalTransport.com International Transport specializes in transporting freight overseas. Our customer already had a customs broker in place, so all we had to do was show up to their facility in Cleveland (near Cleveland Hopkins Airport) with our shipment. No hassles. No drama. No jumping through hoops. While there, I also noticed a number of high-performance sports cars that were to be shipped overseas. Depending on the country, importing an American car provides cost and tax advantages. We’ve shipped a number of C4 Corvette parts to the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe. We often sell RX-7 parts to people in Australia who have a hard time finding what they are looking for locally. Our C5 Corvette parts have found their way to satisfied customers in Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and other countries.
SportsCarSalvage.us has always welcomed overseas customers. Most of our items can be shipped overseas, with costs depending on weight and size. Finding a reliable freight carrier will open many avenues for us in dealing with international customers. Each carrier has different weight and size limits, which vary by country. In the past, I have had to decline dealing with customers overseas simply because the product they wanted couldn’t be shipped via UPS or FedEx. I am hoping that is a thing of the past. I also anticipate that, as the American economy grows even more underwhelming, we will have a higher proportion of international customers.
Pardon me while I don my bushy eyebrow toupee and channel Andy Rooney once again.
Earlier this year, we used FreightQuote.com when a customer purchased a C5 Corvette rear hatch. The rep I spoke with told me to bring the item to Cleveland, where it would be crated and shipped. I show up with this approximately 5’x5′ hatch in the back of my truck, only to be looked at like I had three heads when I described what I wanted. “Sorry, we don’t crate items here…”
So, after a 2-hour round trip, we figured something else out.
About a month ago, we had a customer in Canada purchase the complete front and rear suspension from a C4 Corvette. The suspension is wider than your standard 48×40 pallet, no matter how neatly it is laid out on the pallet. Enter Lee Ann Fadler from FreightQuote.com to save the day this time…
She advised us that the “axle” (Axle? Try 4 of them, plus other stuff…) would be shipped if we just put it on a pallet and strapped it down, and said that the overhang was fine. Cue up another trip to Cleveland, where we were quickly told by the UPS terminal manager that he would not accept the package the way it is. Lee Ann’s response? “He’s just being a dick.” Yes, those exact words. Did I mention that we do NOT have a forklift or pallet jack? For anything that can’t be handled with my cherry picker, I have to get outside help for. I herded cats and played Superwoman to get this pallet together. Which is now sitting in the back of the now-parked pickup truck.
But don’t dare tell Ms. Fadler this. It’s doubtful she will even listen.
After my business partner had spoken to her numerous times about this shipment, I called her myself. The conversation went well…for the 2.5 seconds she thought she was going to say “JUMP” and I was going to ask “How high?” I was given a 6-hour window of time during which the shipment company would pick up the item. Her question: Can you push this pallet onto the truck? Well, considering that I’m one person, that wasn’t going to happen. I asked some questions about time-frame in case I could get some help together. She was all sorts of snippy at this point, telling me she did not know exactly when. Further questions to get a better idea of the day’s agenda and to come up with solutions (remember, no forklift or the like on my end) were met with terse answers, teenagerish attitude, and an absolute REFUSAL to accept ANY responsibility for her previous information. After 5 interruptions in short order, I finally let her have it:
“EXCUSE ME FOR TALKING WHILE YOU ARE INTERRUPTING!” *click* What can I say, even Mister Rogers would have been frazzled by now. Obviously their phone calls are NOT monitored for quality assurance and training purposes.
After a snide email from her decrying my treatment of her (really? Because constant interruptions and “being a dick” is just so prim and proper?) we emailed her, copying the customer AND her supervisors. Lee Ann Fadler backed out with her tail between her legs, suggesting we find another carrier who is more familiar with our kind of shipment. So we did!
It all started with a couple of mishandled shipments by the USPS… We decided we would explore some other carriers, and it looked like FedEx had the best pricing and service…
On May 7th our customer, Scott W., won an auction on eBay for a bronze Targa top for an 86-88 Corvette. He paid, we packed the thing VERY carefully, as they are fragile, took it to FedEx Kinko’s in Kent, OH and shipped it. A couple days later I get an email from a VERY upset customer… The shipment is not right (our fault) and it’s SERIOUSLY damaged. (FedEx’s fault.) We immediately set out to make this right, as we had, just 2 days before had a C5 Targa Top destroyed by FedEx… Are ya’all getting this? 2 Targa Tops.. Fragile… And we pack them VERY well… Damaged beyond repair. If they were new the C5 top is $1400. Scott’s C4 top, if you can find it, is now only made by aftermarket companies, and runs $875 with a $200 core charge.
In less than 72 hours we had almost $2200 worth of merchandise, plus several hundred dollars in shipping charges, lost… What’s worse, we looked like fools to our customers. During this whole process we ended up with about $1400 tied up with FedEx after they somehow managed to destroy a METAL FENDER for a Mazda Miata… And it has put is into somewhat of a cash crunch because it’s taken forever to get our claim approved and paid. 20 days and counting… We were told last Friday that it was approved and would go out… We were told on Tuesday it went out…. We called today (Friday a week later) and were told it’s en route… VIA USPS… Wow, FedEx doesn’t even use their own services to send insurance checks? Wow.
Scott W: I want to PUBLICLY apologize to you for this entire mess. It’s not how we do business, and it’s making us look bad in your eyes, and we will do anything we can to correct that.
I could chew up a kitten right now… But only if it had a FedEx logo on it.