The Carburetor Shop LLC
204 East 15th Street
Eldon, Missouri 65026
SHIPPING WOES and how to MINIMIZE them
We have been shipping packages (carburetor kits, carburetors, and multiple carburetor setups) with one carrier (will remain anonymous for the purpose of this thread) since 1984. During that time we have shipped in excess of 50,000 packages with destinations of all 50 states, and 21 different countries.
We have processed 8 claims as follows:
(A) Lost items – 4
(B) Damaged items (3)
(C) Stolen items – 1
Since we are the shipper, when notified of an issue by the customer, we contacted the carrier, filed the claim, and claim was promptly paid. Fortunately, in all cases, we were able to reship.
Eventually, all of the lost items were found (there is a good reason for this, which will be covered later). Since the items were found after a one month, they were returned to us, and we were not required to refund the claim (I call that service!).
Of the damaged items, one was a record, that while well packaged, arrived cracked at the customers destination. The second was left on the back porch, and destroyed by two Labrador retrievers (interesting to see what a half-grown Lab can do to a carburetor gasket). The third was more interesting. Seems the driver parked to truck on a hillside, unloaded the packages for the customer behind the truck, and then the truck jumped out of gear! Did you ever see a carburetor that was approximately one inch tall?
The stolen item was left on the back porch. Customer reported to us not received, carrier stated left on back porch. Police report filed. Police stated that there had been a number of thefts where the thieves followed delivery trucks.
So things DO happen. However, a claim rate of 8 in 50,000 packages isn’t too bad. Contrasting this rate, at least 10 percent of the packages sent to us have some damage. So here are some suggestions:
Air bags should NEVER be used! They offer no support. When the carrier stacks another box on top of a box with air bags, the vertical pressure on the top of the box is transformed to horizontal pressure pushing on the sides of the box, causing the box to split, and small items to fall out.
Plastic peanuts. We use these when shipping a carburetor kit (about 5 ounces) overseas, to help with the weight (overseas shipping charges are ridiculous!). We do not use them for anything else; although there are many LIGHT items that may be shipped with these. Anything heavy will drop through the peanuts and rest on the bottom of the box.
Crushed newspaper is our standard. Our neighbors save all of their newspapers for us, and we reuse the newspaper in shipping. At least 2 to 2 inches on ALL six sides of the item. Really scarce items (i.e. RAIV carburetors) are double boxes with an additional 2-3 inches on all 6 sides between the two boxes.
Give some thought to what is being shipped. As an example, many carburetor throttle arms extend below the bottom surface of the throttle body. We receive MANY carburetors with bent or broken throttle arms. Very easy solution – simply acquire a wooden block (cut one from a 2 by 4 or 2 by 6) and sit the carburetor on the block.
We ship quite a few multiple carb setups complete, less air cleaner. By shipping them complete, the customer does not have to figure out how to assemble all of the fittings, fuel lines, etc. We bought some large cardboard boxes as a starting point. We cut two 2 by 4 runners to bolt to the manifold (wooden heads, if you will!). We then acquire a ¾ inch piece of plywood that exactly fits the inside of the cardboard box. The manifold is then centered on the plywood and affixed to the plywood using wood screws. 1/8 inch scrap paneling is then inserted along the four vertical sides, and the box is filled with crushed newspaper.
And finally (and the reason the lost items were found) ALWAYS place a paper with the addressee’s name and address inside the box that will be found if the box is opened. All of our lost packages had lost their shipping label, and arrived at a “dead package facility”. Once opened, the address enabled the carrier to proceed.