For resellers, the term float the box means to completely surround an item you’re shipping with packing materials inside the shipping box. These packing materials might be peanuts, bubble wrap, shipping paper or any other kind of insulation.
Basically, you want to create a cushion between the item and the shipping box itself. This will act as a cushion in case your package is dropped or impacted in transition.
Floating the box is a simple concept most new resellers need to master so they can ship delicate items without worry. There are a few other stipulations that you should remember when floating a box.
Table of Contents
- What items should be in a floated box?
- What is the best packing material to float a box?
- Does the type of box matter?
- Will shipping services be delicate with your item?
What items should be in a floated box?
Delicate items that can easily break should be floated in a shipping box. This could range from porcelain figures to coffee makers and electronics.
The best rule of thumb is if you really want to guarantee an item arrives to its destination safely, float it in a shipping box.
For some items like used shoes or other pieces of clothing, it doesn’t make sense to float the box. Shoes won’t break if they are dropped or kicked. T-shirts can obviously be shipped cheaply in polybags and will be safe if dropped or kicked.
Use your common sense when it comes to which items need to be floated in a box and which can go without. It’ll save you money, time and shipping supplies.
What is the best packing material to float a box?
The best and most commonly used packing material for floating a box is bubble wrap. It comes in a variety of sizes and spacing and can be used in several different ways.
For example, bubble wrap can easily be wrapped around most items in minutes. It can also be used as a cushion to buffer the area between an item and the box it’s in. Bubble wrap is versatile and easy to use.
If you don’t like using bubble wrap for any reason, consider using styrofoam shipping peanuts instead. It’s easy to fill a box with peanuts, place your item inside and fill the box the rest of the way up.
However, shipping peanuts tend not to work as well as bubble wrap and are messy to use.
Does the type of box matter?
Usually, no. As long as the box is made of cardboard, sturdy and has no holes, it should work for shipping and floating items.
Make sure the boxes you’re using have enough space to house the packing materials you plan on shoving between your items and the shipping box. If the fit is too tight, damage could occur if the item is dropped or hit in transit.
Will shipping services be delicate with your item?
No, USPS, UPS, FedEx and any other courier service will likely not handle your packages delicately. There are high possibilities of the packages being dropped, kicked, left in the rain or a number of other things.
For these reasons, it’s always best to prepare your shipping items for the worst. This means sealing any holes with tape, using the best shipping materials available and not holding back on purchasing shipping insurance.
What is shipping insurance?
Shipping insurance can be purchased through eBay or other third-party and first-party shipping websites. It covers your parcel in the case that it gets damaged while in transit from your location to the destination.
Some shipping methods (like USPS Priority mail) come with insurance included. Others require you to pay a little extra to purchase shipping insurance.
All you need to do is file a claim through the shipping provider if an item is damaged or lost. When the claim is approved, the item’s value will be paid to you.
No shipping service is perfect, but it’s always important to prepare for the worst. Especially when dealing with valuable items.
Floating the box is the perfect way to help secure your packages. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling pre-owned items on eBay or sending a family member a gift; make sure it’s packaged securely.