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Hiring a LBS to ship a 3rd-party sale

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Hiring a LBS to ship a 3rd-party sale

Old 05-26-07, 01:45 AM
  #1  
pocky
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Hiring a LBS to ship a 3rd-party sale

I may have a lead on a way out-of-state tandem being sold by a third party. I suspect my non-bike-savvy mother may be able to bring it to a local bike shop and ask them to disassemble, pack, and ship it.

What would be a reasonable fee for such a service? I suspect I'm looking at around $100 for the shipping cost (less if they can get the thing to fit in standard Ground dimensions), plus labor.

What if I were hiring the shop to do the pickup as well? My mother is not very strong or mechanically-inclined, so asking her to shove a tandem in her car is asking a lot. Is a shop unlikely to be willing to do this at all? (I suppose I could always hire a courier to truck it to the shop in that case...) How much should that increase the "labor" cost? This obviously increases the security risk, but I've moved computers this way before, and I imagine this is not really any different. I have some good ideas of how I might guard against potential security/fraud risks here (pay with credit card, verify bike shop is reputable, get faxed contract), but I would definitely appreciate any tips you might have.
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Old 05-26-07, 05:41 AM
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What you're asking is a big deal.

A standard boxed tandem will not meet standard ground shipping dimensions. Single bikes barely fit standard ground shipping dimensions.

For avoiding shipping damage, a good packing job is absolutely essential. While it's possible to kluge together a tandem shipping box from two single bike boxes, I don't recommend it. When I owned my own bike shop I never threw a tandem shipping box away and I always found somebody who needed one.
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Old 05-26-07, 07:08 AM
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Somewhat pointless to ask that here. What anyone here thinks you should pay will mean nothing to whomever you contract to do the services.

Having said that I have done something similar on 2 occasions. In the first, the owner got the bike to the shop for an inspection. The owner then picked up, packed and shipped the bike. In that case the owner had enough shipping experience to do the shipping and actually "over" packed the tandem with box bracing and pipe insulation on the tubing. I say over because it is over any packing I have seen on a bike before, and I was glad to have it done. In that case my cost was ~$50 for inspection and ~$150 for shipping. Having the third party confirmation of alignment and good working order was cheap insurance.

In the second instance, the owner wanted the bike to be picked up. I was working out arrangements for my father, in good health, to pick up, transport and drop off at a shop for inspection, packing and shipping. The hard part in this case was actually finding a shop willing to do the work. They were all willing to inspect, but they were not very willing to pack and ship. Some would pack but very hard to find one that would ship. It was starting to be where my father would have to pick up the box and get it to a shipper. However REI agreed that they could do it, although there would be a 2 week backlog for the process. I was rather surprised as this was the LA area and I thought that such a large city would surely have a more tandem friendly full service shop. In the end, it was just too much. That deal fell through due to logistics. We eventually found one where the seller was willing to get the bike to where it needed to be.

For all that you want, I would think close to $300 might get the tandem to your door. YMMV.

Any more tandem details, like age, components, etc? At this cost this does not seem very effective unless it is a very unique tandem. If your size and component requirements are not too unique and you have patience you will eventually be able to find a seller that will be willing to do the movement parts to get the deal closed. If this is a unique bike, this cost could be worth it. The participating seller deals seem have worked best in my 2 experiences.

Good Luck.
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Old 05-29-07, 01:22 AM
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Shipment of 3rd party sale part deux: LBS vs shipping agency, bus vs. plane vs Fedex

OK, I bought it!

To respond to Masiman's question, nothing terribly unique, except that the condition is pristine (if as advertised--keeping fingers crossed, but I had a very nice chat with the seller and have no reason to think he's lying to me), and the price was excellent.

It's a 2001 (judging by paint color, waiting to hear serial number) Burley Rumba, with less than 100 miles on it. Sniped it for $600 (the reserve price) on eBay. According to thetandemlink.com's tool with a $1700 replacement value based on discussions of this model from another thread, this thing ought to be worth $955 in the condition it's in. Even if it were in "mid-range" condition, which it's definitely not, it would be worth $815. In "low range", it would still be worth $644! The seller offered no shipping, and the location was a bit out of the way--but luckily near where my mom is staying--plus the reserve price was set "high", so I guessed all those things might discourage other bidders. Apparently I guessed right.

So, whatever it's going to cost to bring it up here is gonna be worth it. Turns out my mother will not need to go over there to get it at all--the seller is willing to drop it off anywhere nearby, and is also willing to take off the tires, seats, bars and fork if I lead him through it over the phone.

Since it was memorial day today, all the local bike shops (there are tons around) were closed. Tomorrow I'm going to call around and see what various places will charge me to pack it, and what various shippers will charge me to ship it once packed. DHL will charge $85-95 to get it to Boston, depending on the size of the box according to the box sizes on briandesouza.com. FedEx and UPS will both charge $95-$105. Yes, I plugged in the 69"-long and 80"-long package dimensions from briandesouza.com, and a 60-lb weight overestimate, into DHL and FedEx and even UPS, and all seem to be willing to ship my bike by ground delivery, in spite of what Retro Grouch said. (If I increase the package size to the point that it would need to be for the tandem to fit with the wheels on, of course, it exceeds their ground limit--so maybe that's what others have been discouraged by?) Any other shippers I should check that you can think of? What about forgoing the bike shop altogether and bringing the (wheels, seats, bars, and fork removed) bike to something like a UPS Store or a Mailboxes Etc and letting them pack (and insure) it?

Another option is Greyhound Package Express, if my mom can transport the packed bike in her car. They will charge $70, maybe $55 if I can manage to get the student discount from up here, but I don't know what the deal is with insurance with them. Someone on another thread said $1000 declared value with them, but their site seems to be saying $300 now. I'm not sure if my condo insurance would cover this, though. Any ideas? Amtrak Express seems to say they have a 4'x4'x4' limit; I will have to call them to ask. But also, my mother is flying back here some point soon, and did offer to bring it on the plane. Estimates for how much it should cost by plane seem to vary greatly. I had been assuming it would be more expensive to pay the oversize fees than to ship it, but after reading briandesouza.com I'm not so sure anymore. I will have to call her airline and ask.

Since the seller is willing to disassemble it for me if I lead him through it over the phone, I suppose I may be able to avoid paying shop labor at all if my slightly-mechanically-inclined cousin would be able to pack it (with me leading him through it over the phone of course and insisting he take a digital picture of it and email me for approval) -- but then we have to get a suitable bike box. From where? From a shop? That sounds easiest. Or from Amtrak or Greyhound or the airline? Or do UPS/FedEx/Mailboxes Etc sell huge bike boxes?

Appreciate any suggestions you can make! Attached are some pics of the new ride. Got to go to sleep now; I am excited but I have spent way too much time on this, and I still need to go outside and put my '81 Schwinn World fixed/free project back in the shed, since I failed to finish it this weekend.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
rumba-profile.jpg (36.5 KB, 41 views)
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rumba-forward.jpg (14.8 KB, 18 views)
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rumba-frontend.jpg (17.2 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg
rumba-middle.jpg (16.0 KB, 22 views)

Last edited by pocky; 05-29-07 at 01:39 AM.
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Old 05-29-07, 06:39 AM
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It is easiest to have it all done in one spot (inspected, boxed and shipped), but that goes without saying . Your best bet is a good bike shop. It sometimes can be hard to find one that will ship though. UPS is my least preferred carrier. Insure it for the replacement cost. I am pretty sure your insurance policy will not cover it but you can check with your carrier. The shippers insurance cost was not that much and is worth the peace of mind.

Let us know how it turns out.
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Old 05-29-07, 07:54 AM
  #6  
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Go to the local bike store and organize for two single bike boxes. Wrap tandem tubes in pleny of bubble wrap. Pedels off and wrapped. Handle bars off and wrapped. Seats down/off/wrapped. Remove the end of each bicycle box and stick one end of the box on the Tandem from the rear wheel and the other box from the front wheel. Use 1-2 rolls of packing tape to "seal" the overlapping boxes.

Lots of tape.
Lots of bubble wrap.
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Old 05-29-07, 08:17 AM
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I sold three road bikes (not tandems) on Ebay and took the bikes to my LBS and they professionally packed (secured bubble wrapped and etc.) them in a box and shipped them. The fee was USD 50.00 plus shipping cost. If I took a tandem to an LBS that sells tandems, I would expect a similar service. The fee may be more but not much. Many times, the LBS shops that sell tandems keep tandem boxes. Good luck.
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Old 10-05-07, 01:21 AM
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This is long overdue, but DHL got the bike to us safe and sound, and we rode it all over Charleston for a week on our honeymoon--even got really good at going really really really slowly while following a tour tram at Magnolia Plantation. I just posted a full post-mortem on the buying process in https://www.bikeforums.net/tandem-cycling/349615-buying-used-tandem-success-stories.html#post5395991

It's a beautiful ride. It feels exact, and *loved*, as if the Burley folks really take pride in their work. (Duh.)
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Old 10-05-07, 09:06 AM
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In August I bought a tandem over the internet. Bike was packed, boxed and shipped in a tandem box; seller knew what he was doing and did a really good job of it. Spacer between the forks, front wheel off, seat posts pulled, front handle bars turned, odds and ends of parts in ziplock bags, pipe insulation on the tubes, and everything that might wiggle, secured in place with plastic wire ties. Seats and some other pieces were in a separate cardboard box under the boom tube which served to keep the chainrings from contacting the bottom of the box.

I'll post some pictures of the basics of how he put it in the box -- but need to be home where the pictures are to do that!

I had it shipped FedEx. The forklift drivers did not run over my box; YMMV, I have read that some bike boxes were not treated well by FedEx.

At first, it seemed like Greyhound was the way to go . . . reasonable price, not a problem for either of us to get the bike to a depot, or to pick it up. But, their insurance scheme was bizarre, although it may be more directly related to risk than they would like to admit. Basically, the farther you ship something on Greyhound, the more you can insure it for. That's right, the more times that they might handle the box, the more you can collect after they damage it. In my case, WI to WA would only qualify for $300 coverage, and I was buying the bike for $850 ...

On one bike I was dealing on, and actually won the eBay auction, and then it became a great pain for the seller to get the bike across town to an LBS as we'd been agreeing to, I got a lead on a very good LBS by posting a message on another list asking "anyone in XYZ know a LBS that could pack a bike for me?" The other list is rather club-like, and information from members is typically extremely reliable, and in this case almost instantly forthcoming. I was connected to an LBS, whom I spoke to in person, which was indeed very helpful, very hospitable, very knowledgeable, and really reasonable for price ($60, and they were going to use about 4 regular bike boxes, spliced, to get multiple layers of protection). I know that if I'm ever in XYX-ville, I will stop in to that shop just to see them.

If you work for a business which has a FedEx account, and if your accounting department is willing, you may be able to give the seller/shipper the account number and have it shipped "prepaid", charged to your account. That way there's no last minute "how much does the box weigh?" cost/shipping question. You may even be able to arrange for FedEx to come by and pick the package up from the seller / LBS, to save them a trip.
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Old 10-07-07, 03:41 AM
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Has anyone tried Sports Express for shipping a tandem? They will pick up your package at your home and deliver it to your destination. I did a quick rate quote from Florida (where we live) to Seattle, thinking that would be the highest rate I'd ever have to pay, and it came in just under $180. Just wondering if anyone has used this option and what kind of service you received.

Here's a link to their site. https://www.sportsexpress.com/
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Old 10-08-07, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by moleman76 View Post
If you work for a business which has a FedEx account, and if your accounting department is willing, you may be able to give the seller/shipper the account number and have it shipped "prepaid"
You don't have to work for a business that has an account; you can easily get an account yourself, as a person, by registering online on the shipping companies' web sites. I have both a FedEx and now a DHL account (which I got specifically to ship the tandem, since their quote, including pickup, was cheaper and faster than FedEx's.) I ended up paying $50 to the shop and $100 to DHL to ship from FL to MA. There was a hole in the box when I got it (forklift mishap?), but the shop had nicely bubble-wrapped the bike and it was completely unscathed--plus I had insured it for more than I paid, anyway.

Originally Posted by transam View Post
Has anyone tried Sports Express for shipping a tandem?
Wow, I just got a quote on Sports Express's web site for the same shipment, it came to $170. This would have been a GREAT option if the selller hadn't been willing to take it to a bike shop--and if I had known about it at the time! But does anyone know if Sports Express would have any problem shipping a bike from a seller to a buyer, when the *buyer* is the one paying the shipper?
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