Originally Posted by il-gufo
Other shops do it.
Not a good enough reason to change a shipping method that will in the end cost our customers more money. Our method is designed around keeping the customers happy and coming back.
You can't put a one size fits all percentage on an order, because the consumer that buys an esc and some small parts would be helping to pay for the guy that shipped a hauler bag and a massive truggy kit.
You can't ship simply based on weights, for the reasons I'll discuss below. I'm leaving out a lot of key things here because it's a competitive world, and other companies read these forums.
Domestic shipping and handling is all handled on-line, and shown in the order and calculated at time of check out.
On international shipments. So, cutting a long story short, most authorities agree that there are around 193 countries in the world, but there is no guaranteed correct answer. Some authorities suggest there are more like 266 of them. Depends on who's counting and the rationale for it. Look it up, it's hard to even get an exact count. U.N. recognized or not, etc. So imagine that if we can't accurately count them, how hard it must be to ship to them and adapt to their ever changing governments and import laws. If we don't do it accurately, you don't get your stuff, and we're out what could be hundreds of dollars in freight we paid for you... As you can imagine, that's not a good plan.
People get so used to just working in their own piece of the world, they forget there's a WHOLE LOTTA OF OTHER PLACES OUT THERE!
"How hard could it possibly be?.. just ship the dang thing..." Doesn't work that way.
Due to the differences in dimensions, each countrys requirements, right down to export documentation are different and vary, and constantly change. Every box has to be calculated by hand to get an accurate charge and best price for the consumer. A package that fits the methods one week might not the next (remember...190 countries). It is not possible to put an accurate charge on any international shipment unless it is boxed and exact physical measurements are taken of the boxed shipment and those parameters of the boxed items are typed into the shipping software and it is calculated for you. And a clever shipper, can save you money (that's where we come in).
This is what we do. 90% of people that insist on shipping packages some other way that we don't recommend, end up spending considerably more money for freight.
Any site that allows items of many different sizes and shapes to be put in the same box, that just throws up a price for you, has likely hugely padded the bill to compensate. If the package is off just a tiny bit in dimension over the estimate, it's possible a $40 shipping fee, could be $120. And they'd lose $80 on your $40 order. That's not good. There are exceptions to that, for places that sell a lot of super small items or have low inventory counts, they could probably light pad the shipping and make it work.
As an example on why it's best to use our method (and this is hundreds of thousands of packages worth of testing over 20+ years). Mind you, we are only trying to save the customers money on shipping. By doing it this way we are offering to get you the best possible price on shipping and shipping speed. Based on the EXACT package you have to ship.
Canada does not allow any package to be over 79" in girth to be shipped via express post, nor do they allow any package shipped express post with a PO Box on it. If a computer calculated shipping say 5 touring car bodies, based on the weight and size of the body, it wouldn't allow the shipment based on the individual size of each item. "SOME" bodies can be nested into each other and can beat the size shipments. Some bodies nest cleanly, some do not. Some nest with others, some do not. We could have shipped that order and got it to the customer. The computer would have to had rejected it, or charged double for it.
How much packaging should surround that item? I don't care how clever a programmer you are, and we have them on staff, it's not possible for the system to look at an order and realize the tires are soft, will work on the one edge to protect the charger and we'll have to put padding along the other side. And if you put that power supply in with the body, it's gonna crush the body. If not, the box is now bigger and heavier, and has more packing materials in it. Weight of the items is NOT the weight of the shipment. LxWxH of the items is NOT the size of the shipment. It can be half the size of the items, or nearly double if they don't pack well.
These things HAVE to be done by hand if you expect accurate, timely, well shipped packages that were shipped at that best possible price.
In shipping large items like hauler bags, we save the customer oversize shipping fees by putting items in the drawers for them. Using the volume more effectively. I wish it could, but computers can't make judgment calls on what we can and cannot get into a box, especially when it comes to items that have header cards, unusual shaped containers, or things like bodies that nest together "sometimes".
Any RC body that can't be put in a 20x10x6" box cannot go air mail no matter the weight to any country, so now it has to go Global Priority or Express post. Nearly DOUBLING the shipping charge. So if you needed 3 bodies, that nested well, the system would say that we couldn't even ship it because the 3 of them are to big dimensionally and wouldn't allow the order to be shipped air mail. The system would have said only express mail $40+ and we could have gotten that out for you for about half that via air mail because we could nested them effectively.
International packages are a lot like packing a suitcase for a trip. Some people are good at it, some people are not. We are pretty good at it.
We stock anywhere from 600-1000 different bodys, that's different part numbers, not the total amount of bodys we stock. In order to effectively calculate if it were possible to see if each one of them could fit within the other one we have to take each body and test it in each other body. That's over 420 million combinations of bodys in a box, and that's only if there are 3 bodys. That would be the equivalent of 50 people testing and documenting 500 body combinations every single day, 24/7/365 for the next 50 years. Keep in mind, 90% of the bodys we carry now, will be obsolete in 3 years and no longer supplied. So it's not even a task that could ever be completed. Those numbers need to be input into a computer for it to do it's task. And it's simply not possible. An extra 3-4 pounds of cardboard or packing material in a shipment can sometimes put it oversize or to the next weight level. We have packages leave here where the shipping box is heavier than the items. And vice versa.
So, your options on international shipments are. Base the shipment around the maximum physical size and weight of each item. Which is tricky when you stock tens of thousands of unique part numbers, you then find the worst case scenario, and charge for that, on each order. Or you risk losing anywhere from $20-$250 on each order depending on how off your parameters are.
Or, you put the parts in a box for the consumer and simply find the dimensions, bill them for the shipping and handling and send it out.
The point of that long explanation is this. Any site that "auto calculates" shipping for international orders, that sells more than one item and averages say 10-15 unique items in a package, HAS to overcharge you for shipping. Because if they are off more than a smidge on certain packages, You double the freight. If they are clever and can pack the box more effectively, they will save the customer money, and hopefully get you to return as a repeat customer.
If all we sold internationally was a tire, or A motor, be no problem at all to have the system auto-calculate it.
None of us are the "shipping company". We are just trying to be effective as possible at boxing your order and giving it to them, for you.
I'm guessing if you ask around, we are likely one of the top companys in getting international shipments out fast and accurately. We have people here who's job is to just do that very thing. Are we perfect at it? Nope, things will happen from time to time based on volume and the very basics of the law of averages and we'll miss or mis-ship something. Anybody that says there company has never done that... Well, I'd be tempted to call them a liar. International shipping is very complex. We can't do anything for Turkey that makes the Australians unhappy, or we can't do something for the Brazilians that makes the South Africans un-happy. There is no one size fits all solution for a company like ours that hits all the countrys.
This is also the reason a lot of companys just don't do international shipments. It's VERY hard, and time consuming, if it's done accurately and legally and with the required documents.
This would be a good time for me to also mention, AGAIN, that we cannot and will not alter the required shipping documentation for any order. And if you should ever find a company willing to lie and cheat for you... Uh, do you really want to give them your credit card information? If you actually con somebody into doing it, you need to realize the ramifications of getting caught, and the down side if the package is lost. If you claim that your $1000 order is only $110 to get around some import fees or tariffs, and the package is lost, the insurance only pays you $110, and your out the rest. You can't insure a package for more than it's declared value.
I'd say we get more return business because of the way we ship. You're not getting an order that says, $49.50 on it with a charge of shipping and handling of $125.00. Our guys are looking out for you. And although I won't explain it much further, I think the amount of repeat business we get from international customers feel that we've done right by them.
You just have to hope the companys you are dealing with internationally are looking out for you, and have the necessary experience to get it to you, and get it to you fast.
I hope you see that we feel this kind of thing is very important. You typed a quick little 20 second question. I did my best to answer it, and it took about 8 hours for me to put this post together, including the research. I took it very seriously, and hope you appreciate it, and have a better understanding of international shipping.
I can tell you though, in all honesty. Nobody cares about that stuff. They want their package, they want it now, and we had bloody well get it handled for them.
...lol... and that's fair enough, that's what I'd want. I don't want to know all the behind the scenes politics and laws that make my shipment... just get me my stuff, today if possible.
I'm with ya.
Bob Stormer, CEO