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Shipping Bikes?

Old 05-07-10, 03:09 PM
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Shipping Bikes?

Any thoughts on shipping bikes. I am probably going to list one on Ebay next week. I am a regular Ebay seller. But have never sold anything like this. Do you think it's better to deal with a bike shop for packing the bike, or Fed/EX, or UPS. I will have to ship it through FedEx, or UPS I am assuming. I am familiar with the packing fee. And shipping fee. I am concerned that it may not be packed properly. Any advice is welcome.
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Old 05-07-10, 03:22 PM
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Because you've never packaged a bike before I'd highly recommend a reputable shop to do it for you. Expect to pay ~$50+/- for packaging (I'm guessing). I exclusively use FedEx to ship my bikes. As a reference, Tampa to Southern CA is ~$60 give or take depending on weight.

When I buy bikes I frown upon any shipping charges above $75 simply because it shouldnt be my problem or expence if the seller doesnt know what they're doing. If I were you I'd charge a flat rate of $75-85 and eat the rest.
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Old 05-07-10, 03:59 PM
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And be careful. I have seen some bikes that bike shops packed very poorly. Packing a bike to withstand FedEx/UPS is a skill, and one that some bike shops don't have either. Jim posted a tutorial on properly packing a bike. I would study it carefully.

+1 Don't charge too much for shipping, or you will turn off buyers. I commonly look for bikes with super high shipping. I know it scares away other bidders, so it keeps the price down. And then if I can pick it up locally (I use the term local loosely, I drove 225 miles ONE way to pick up an ebay bike), I avoid the ripoff shipping charge entirely.

Myself, even if the seller is experienced, unless I see repeated positive feedback on shipped bike sales, I won't bid. I am 0/2 on having bikes shipped to me on ebay auctions (both were packed poorly, both were damaged).
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Old 05-07-10, 07:35 PM
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Assume the bike will be destroyed by a 300-pound Gorilla in a brown suit, and insure it accordingly. Or be prepared to eat the whole transaction.
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Old 05-07-10, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by JML
Assume the bike will be destroyed by a 300-pound Gorilla in a brown suit, and insure it accordingly. Or be prepared to eat the whole transaction.
Unfortunately, collecting on insurance is difficult. The carriers have become experts at blaming the shipper (you packed it wrong). Read some of the various complaint threads.

On my last fiasco (UPS) where it was poorly packed BY UPS!!!, and INSURED, their plan was to pick it up at my house, loose in the box, ship it to their claims center, inspect it, and then decide what if anything they were going to do. I pointed out the reason it was damaged in the first place was that they had packed it poorly, and I asked the driver HOW DID HE PLAN TO PACK IT? And I was going to watch to make sure the bike did not undergo further damage in the shipment to their claims office. He had no provisions, supplies, nothing to properly pack it.

In my case, it was a relatively rare model, in my size, that I had been looking for one for over two years, so I basically ate it at that point. If the bike had made one more shipment in this box, there would be nothing left of it.

Seller settled with me, I repaired it, and off we went. But the original paint on the fork was badly scraped up, as you can see, the front wheel is loose between the two fork legs. This shipment was from Logan, UT, to South Carolina.

Here's UPS's great packaging (done by Mail box etc storefront, which is owned by UPS).

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Old 05-07-10, 09:56 PM
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I don't know how you people are getting such a cheap rate for shipping. Yes I do. The bike is packed down into the smallest package that the creative shipper can get into. The smaller the dimensions of the box, the cheaper the shipping. This will keep going on as long as customers keep seeing these cheap shipping prices without understanding the risks. I just shipped a very desirable bike by UPS ground with a commercial account for 120. The only thing I took off were the front tire and the handle bars. The front fork was supported by a shim and the saddle lowered. Every tube was wrapped with extra attention to bubble wrapping the drivetrain. Your asking for real trouble to remove the rear wheel without some sort of support in the rear triangle and expect the shipping gorillas to sensitively understand this package is not to be treated like every other box and thrown cart wheeled down the conveyor belt.
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Old 05-07-10, 10:14 PM
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about shipping bikes... as a seller I avoid it as much as possible. As a buyer I had 2 ebay experiences the last year. The first one was a bike shipped on a high definition TV box with handlebars, wheels and pedals off and thrown on the box. No padding or packing material whatsoever. Not good. Second one was a newbie. It was a BIN about a minute after it was listed. Seller admited that had no idea how to ship it. So... I handheld: I instructed her to go to a local bike shop to ask how much it will cost to disassemble and pack the bike in a bike box. She gave me the quote. Then I told her to take the package to FedEx ground and ship it (I knew what FedEx ground shipping cost so I forwarded that money plus the packaging cost plus $10 for gas in addition to the price of the bike.) No problem whatsoever. Happy customer, happy seller.

In another occasion, I got a frameset totally disassembled with the headset in a baggy, the fork taped underneath the TT and the whole thing wrapped in a brown paperbag material with zip padding. Not good. But cheap. I think that the UPS cost was like $11 cross country. Bad move on the seller's part, but the bike arrived perfectly probably because of the irregular shape of the package.

I would really really have a hard time shipping a whole bike - the time it takes to do it correctly and the risk, does not justify the extra $ you could be making over selling it locally. On the other hand, I would drive 75 miles or so to deliver a bike, if that's what it takes (cheaper for both seller and buyer as well...)
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Old 05-07-10, 10:25 PM
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I've never had a problem selling a bike locally for the money I was looking for, so I've never had to resort to packing/shipping a bike and hoping for the best out of UPS/FedEX..

I did act as an agent for OFG once, and bought and shipped a De Rosa to him. - CA to AZ. I packed it carefully, sent it on it's way, and sweated bullets until it arrived safe and sound on the other end.
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Old 05-07-10, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by miamijim
When I buy bikes I frown upon any shipping charges above $75 simply because it shouldnt be my problem or expence if the seller doesnt know what they're doing. If I were you I'd charge a flat rate of $75-85 and eat the rest.
+1. I've avoided selling whole bikes on ebay because of the shipping hassles/expense on my end. However, to get fair value for some higher end guitars, I've used ebay. But like with bikes, I don't really trust my packing skills, so I've just charged the going rate for guitar shipping in the ebay ad, then take the guitar to UPS, let them pack it. It usually ends up adding $60 to shipping expense, but the peace of mind/convenience and the ability to make damage claims are enhanced by going this route. Of course, $60 extra dollars is a much smaller percentage to eat on a 5k guitar than a 500 dollar bike, but even still. I'd be more than happy to let a good bike shop do this for 50-60 dollars so I can use my afternoon doing something I enjoy. But buyers don't expect to finance my choices, so I agree with the eating the charges stuff, high shipping charges definitely make it look like a seller is pulling a fast one on the auction.
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Old 05-08-10, 11:05 AM
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Thanks for the info. I will not eat charges. Many folks are selling bikes with $120 shipping, and although you can say you would not pay for someones inexperience packing, people do. I am not saying you shouldn't have that right.
Has anybody sold a complete bike on Ebay this way? Doesn't really seem like anybody that has responded has.
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Old 05-08-10, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by bigbossman
I've never had a problem selling a bike locally for the money I was looking for, so I've never had to resort to packing/shipping a bike and hoping for the best out of UPS/FedEX..

I did act as an agent for OFG once, and bought and shipped a De Rosa to him. - CA to AZ. I packed it carefully, sent it on it's way, and sweated bullets until it arrived safe and sound on the other end.
I have a large frame Bike. 25". It's been a bear to sell. It's not mint, but far from bad. It needs a frigging rear tire, and that's it. Many lowballers. I have pretty steadfast at $300, taking the condition into consideration. Large frame bikes are tough to sell. I sold a large frame Fuji that was very clean quickly. But that's because I sold it inexpensively. $150. I also remember everybody wanted it. I had a best offer on it so it wasn't like the $150 price was listed. I just said the hell with it.But really weird compared to the bike I am selling now which is a very nice bike. I have another large frame at the moment, and would have sold it yesterday if it wasn't a large frame.
As for UPS, and FEDEX, they have a special way they do this. I have watched a bit of it at UPS. I actually think they would do a better job then a bike shop. I think they have more at stake them some shop who wants your money, then says have a nice day.
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Old 05-08-10, 11:39 AM
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I just want to add that poor packing is not limited to large, fragile, complex items like bikes. There are just a lot of idiots on eBay and none except the professionals want to spend time packing—they just want that paypal transaction.

I used to buy and sell old video games. I once got a 3rd gen Sega Genesis for a deal, but when it arrived, they had just thrown it into a too-large box, wrapped in a plastic bag and then tossed in a handful of packing peanuts and a single air pillow thing. The box was large enough that all of this could just roll around in it. Of course the machine no longer worked properly and I had basically no recourse as the post office said it was the seller's fault and the seller said it was the post office's fault. Luckily it was for a project that I never finished anyway, and the price was in the $20-30 range instead of 10-40x that.

On the other hand, I took a chance on the Pro Tour in my sig recently with a buyer that did not have experience shipping bikes, and I was fine. Shipping charges were high ($100), but he had his shop pack it for him, so he actually paid more than $100 to get it to me, plus the high shipping kept the cost of the bike down ($300!). Great experience and if all eBay transactions were that great I wouldn't buy anything anywhere else.
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Old 05-08-10, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by jtgotsjets
I just want to add that poor packing is not limited to large, fragile, complex items like bikes. There are just a lot of idiots on eBay and none except the professionals want to spend time packing—they just want that paypal transaction.

I used to buy and sell old video games. I once got a 3rd gen Sega Genesis for a deal, but when it arrived, they had just thrown it into a too-large box, wrapped in a plastic bag and then tossed in a handful of packing peanuts and a single air pillow thing. The box was large enough that all of this could just roll around in it. Of course the machine no longer worked properly and I had basically no recourse as the post office said it was the seller's fault and the seller said it was the post office's fault. Luckily it was for a project that I never finished anyway, and the price was in the $20-30 range instead of 10-40x that.

On the other hand, I took a chance on the Pro Tour in my sig recently with a buyer that did not have experience shipping bikes, and I was fine. Shipping charges were high ($100), but he had his shop pack it for him, so he actually paid more than $100 to get it to me, plus the high shipping kept the cost of the bike down ($300!). Great experience and if all eBay transactions were that great I wouldn't buy anything anywhere else.
If he was in the U.S. he did not pay that much more in packing fees to ship it if any at all. $40-60 is the packing fee. And the shipping fee is the same also.
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Old 05-08-10, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by StarBiker
Thanks for the info. I will not eat charges. Many folks are selling bikes with $120 shipping, and although you can say you would not pay for someones inexperience packing, people do. I am not saying you shouldn't have that right.
Has anybody sold a complete bike on Ebay this way? Doesn't really seem like anybody that has responded has.
Sure, some sellers charge that much. But IMHO they get a lot less for the bike as it scares away bidders, and then someone like me buys it with a local pickup, no shipping.
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Old 05-08-10, 01:53 PM
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I have no problem with local pick up. I don't like selling large, or heavy items on Ebay. They are a pain.
What I want for this bike is very reasonable. I just am not giving it away. It's only been two weeks. It will sell.
And if goes on Ebay, it will sell even with a $120 shipping/crating fee. And I will get after the fees, what I wanted for the bike.
I have been selling on there for a long time. I am well aware of high shipping costs chasing people away. I am also well aware if it is a popular item it will sell. And sell well.
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Old 05-08-10, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by EjustE
about shipping bikes... as a seller I avoid it as much as possible. As a buyer I had 2 ebay experiences the last year. The first one was a bike shipped on a high definition TV box with handlebars, wheels and pedals off and thrown on the box. No padding or packing material whatsoever. Not good. Second one was a newbie. It was a BIN about a minute after it was listed. Seller admited that had no idea how to ship it. So... I handheld: I instructed her to go to a local bike shop to ask how much it will cost to disassemble and pack the bike in a bike box. She gave me the quote. Then I told her to take the package to FedEx ground and ship it (I knew what FedEx ground shipping cost so I forwarded that money plus the packaging cost plus $10 for gas in addition to the price of the bike.) No problem whatsoever. Happy customer, happy seller.

In another occasion, I got a frameset totally disassembled with the headset in a baggy, the fork taped underneath the TT and the whole thing wrapped in a brown paperbag material with zip padding. Not good. But cheap. I think that the UPS cost was like $11 cross country. Bad move on the seller's part, but the bike arrived perfectly probably because of the irregular shape of the package.

I would really really have a hard time shipping a whole bike - the time it takes to do it correctly and the risk, does not justify the extra $ you could be making over selling it locally. On the other hand, I would drive 75 miles or so to deliver a bike, if that's what it takes (cheaper for both seller and
buyer as well...)
I don't drive so delivery is out of the question. And the more I think about it my one local bike shop for packing might be the way to go. Then Fed Ex.
It's a tough sell because it's more expensive, and large frame. I can sell good condition bikes that might need tires at best, all day long for $100-$200. It's when you cross that $200 threshold they become tougher to sell.
And somebody had mentioned Peugeot in another thread selling quickly. I never have a hard time selling a good condition Peugeot. I sold one for $275 in February .

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Old 05-08-10, 05:54 PM
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I have packed and shipped between four and five hundred bicycles, from Thunder Bay, Canada to many different countries, all over the world. The intricacies of proper packing go way beyond what can be comfortably described in this thread. There is a lot more to it than sticking a bike in a box. But it is not a daunting task if you take your time, learn as you go and always try to do a really good job.

Suffice it to say, the bicycle and its container will experience the most challenging journey of its life, once dropped off at the shippers. Pack accordingly! Ensure that nothing can move around in the box. Tie wrap everything together and pad the contact points carefully. Protect art (I use cardboard tubes made from bicycle boxes, not expensive and non-biodegradable plastic pipe wrap). Brace fork ends since the front wheel must be removed. Do not remove rear wheel. Turn forks backward to shorten the length of the bike if necessary. Protect rear derailleurs by shifting them to the big cog before packing the bike. Protect axle ends from protruding through the box. Label the box to indicate which side goes up and that the contents are fragile.

Packing charges, or handling costs, are important if you want to recoup your selling and PayPal costs. It is also important to cover your costs for packing materials and transporting the boxes to the shipper. I charge $25.00 to pack a complete bicycle and $15.00 for a frame set. All other items are roughly 10% of the final value since that is about what Ebay and PayPal charge me.

It goes on and on. Way to much to share here, and one would need a ton of pictures to do it. All you can do is your best and your best will take you a few hours to achieve.

Good luck.
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Old 05-08-10, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa
I have packed and shipped between four and five hundred bicycles, from Thunder Bay, Canada to many different countries, all over the world. The intricacies of proper packing go way beyond what can be comfortably described in this thread. There is a lot more to it than sticking a bike in a box. But it is not a daunting task if you take your time, learn as you go and always try to do a really good job.
Randy, have you considered doing a detailed write up on packing bikes for shipment, with pictures, on your great bicycle web site? Maybe you already have it there. I like your ideas, and shipping several hundred bikes through multiple countries is a heck of a test of your packing.
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Old 05-08-10, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa
I have packed and shipped between four and five hundred bicycles, from Thunder Bay, Canada to many different countries, all over the world. The intricacies of proper packing go way beyond what can be comfortably described in this thread. There is a lot more to it than sticking a bike in a box. But it is not a daunting task if you take your time, learn as you go and always try to do a really good job.

Suffice it to say, the bicycle and its container will experience the most challenging journey of its life, once dropped off at the shippers. Pack accordingly! Ensure that nothing can move around in the box. Tie wrap everything together and pad the contact points carefully. Protect art (I use cardboard tubes made from bicycle boxes, not expensive and non-biodegradable plastic pipe wrap). Brace fork ends since the front wheel must be removed. Do not remove rear wheel. Turn forks backward to shorten the length of the bike if necessary. Protect rear derailleurs by shifting them to the big cog before packing the bike. Protect axle ends from protruding through the box. Label the box to indicate which side goes up and that the contents are fragile.

Packing charges, or handling costs, are important if you want to recoup your selling and PayPal costs. It is also important to cover your costs for packing materials and transporting the boxes to the shipper. I charge $25.00 to pack a complete bicycle and $15.00 for a frame set. All other items are roughly 10% of the final value since that is about what Ebay and PayPal charge me.

It goes on and on. Way to much to share here, and one would need a ton of pictures to do it. All you can do is your best and your best will take you a few hours to achieve.

Good luck.
Yes. You are saying what I am thinking. I am an Ebay seller, and want to pack things thoroughly. It takes time, and materials to do this correctly. I would imagine even using some 2 X 4's and building a cage around the bike, then boxing it. A real pain in the ass!
I have watched one Audio Nut (I am one also) pack a $3500 pair of speakers to ship to England from here in Maryland. It took him 4 hours, and the shipping was $1,500. So I have seen, but not done tough packing jobs myself.
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Old 05-09-10, 04:47 AM
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Randy, have you considered doing a detailed write up on packing bikes for shipment, with pictures, on your great bicycle web site? Maybe you already have it there. I like your ideas, and shipping several hundred bikes through multiple countries is a heck of a test of your packing.
I did write an extensive article on packing frame sets and complete bicycles but it got blown away when I did something. The pictures all disappeared, but the information is still on MY "TEN SPEEDS". I will fix the articles soon and upload the information.
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Old 05-09-10, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by StarBiker
Thanks for the info. I will not eat charges. Many folks are selling bikes with $120 shipping, and although you can say you would not pay for someones inexperience packing, people do. I am not saying you shouldn't have that right.
Has anybody sold a complete bike on Ebay this way? Doesn't really seem like anybody that has responded has.
It sounds like you have your mind made up. We've experienced everything on theses pages. We all have reall life experiences. To be honest you probably only hear about the bad stories becasue like anything else bad gets good press.

1. Recieved self packed bikes show up damaged
2. Recieved self packed bike show up undamaged
3. Recieved professional packaged bikes show up damaged
4. Recieved professional packaged bikes show up undamaged

I have a bike on the way that I'm being charged $100 shipping for (from Utah) and told the seller that for $100 I'm expecting a very thorough and proper packaging of the bike. He's nervous. (rookie)
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Old 05-09-10, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by StarBiker
, it will sell even with a $120 shipping/crating fee..
Originally Posted by StarBiker
I have a large frame Bike. 25" I have pretty steadfast at $300.
I dont want you to take offence and I'm in no way implying to be rude or impolite...I'm just trying to help....but,

Your going about this all wrong. What kind of 25" bike are you planning to sell? And good luck getting a 25" framed bike into a 130" box.

I'm not sure why I'm putting so much effort inot this thread but f'ck it.....I did a 'search':

https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...&highlight=how
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...&highlight=how
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Old 05-09-10, 12:42 PM
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Bikes: Bianchi Grizzly, Cannondale F700,

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Originally Posted by miamijim
I dont want you to take offence and I'm in no way implying to be rude or impolite...I'm just trying to help....but,

Your going about this all wrong. What kind of 25" bike are you planning to sell? And good luck getting a 25" framed bike into a 130" box.

I'm not sure why I'm putting so much effort inot this thread but f'ck it.....I did a 'search':

https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...&highlight=how
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...&highlight=how
Hey, I like those pics. I like the pipe tubing idea. What you are saying about the size is curious. So a 25" frame Bike is to large to ship? Why does the box have to be 130". Yes a bigger box adds more cost.
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