Whether you’re a hipster millennial jumping on the new vinyl record trend or a vintage collector, lots of people find themselves needing to send their vinyl overseas.
As you may well be aware, vinyl records are fragile and all too easily broken. Knowing how to ship vinyl records properly will reduce the chances of them getting damaged or broken in transit.
The Process in a Nutshell
If you’re going to ship vinyl records, there are four basic steps to follow.
- Picking a good box: Having the right shipping box is crucial to any package, and the same goes for vinyl. Here, you have to strike a balance: you want a sufficiently sized box to hold the record safely, but you also want to minimize unnecessary space around the records to keep costs down. The smaller the box, the cheaper the package! What’s more, you want to avoid your record rattling around as much as possible (which would happen in a large box), as this can cause the record to be damaged.
- Arrange the pick-up or drop-off: In the case of both personal collections and commercial sales, you can usually arrange for a courier to pick the package up, or you can take it to a local storage spot for drop off on your own schedule. If you’d like to use Stasher’s extensive network of local partners, head over to stasher.com or drop us an email at [email protected]!
- Insurance: Records are naturally fragile items, and many of them can be highly valuable (particularly first editions and rare releases). Make sure you have the right insurance coverage for your shipment.
- Get a tracking number: Even ‘old school’ items like vinyl records can be a part of the digital world! Make sure that you can track your shipment online until it makes it to its final destination.
How To Pack Vinyl Records
If you have never shipped vinyl records before, you might be looking for some advice wrapping and packing them for shipping. The Stasher delivery team of experts are on hand to help you. Follow our guide below, and your records will reach your buyers intact and without a single crack.
Clean the records with a soft cloth and insert them inside their sleeves.
Before you do anything else, the records should be cleaned with a soft cloth. This removes any dust that may have accumulated on them recently. Cleaning them also prevents them from becoming scratched by dust particles in transit. Then insert them into their original sleeves and finally into their cardboard sleeves before proceeding.
Bubblewrap is your best friend
Bubblewrap is your best friend when it comes to shipping records. Get huge sheets of this stuff and wrap each record in about three layers all the way around. It may seem excessive, but when dealing with a vintage product that can break when dropped or bumped, that bubble wrap will keep the records safe. The larger the “bubbles” in the bubblewrap, the greater the protection because the big air bubbles cushion the records even better than smaller bubbles.
Put the records in a box
The next step is to put your records in a box for shipping. It’s important that the records don’t rattle around, which can cause damage. You can do that one of three ways:
- Use LP record mailers, ensuring that any gaps in the mailer box are filled with cardboard, more bubble wrap, etc.
- Use a box the right size for mailing records and fix them in place by placing cardboard spacers and/or more bubble wrap between each record in the box.
- Place your bubble-wrapped records into a much larger box half full of packing peanuts. Fill the box the rest of the way with packing peanuts so that the records cannot move inside the larger box after you seal it.
Now you are ready for the last step.
Seal the outer box and add a shipping label
Make sure you use enough packing tape to seal the outer box fully. Shake lightly to ensure that the records inside cannot move. You should not hear anything except for shifting packing peanuts if you have used them.
Label the box as “FRAGILE” and “THIS END UP.” Doing so tells the shipping company representative that he or she shouldn’t shake, drop, or turn the package upside down during the course of shipping. Finally, add the address label.
The Costs Involved
If you’re on a budget, then you probably want to know how much it will cost to ship your vinyl records. That might determine whether or not it’s even feasible. Several factors will affect the overall costs involved:
- Which courier service you use: This isn’t just which particular company you use, but also what speed of delivery service you choose from them. Most courier services include at least three options. The first is usually a guaranteed overnight service that ensures your package will arrive by the next day in most locations. The second is frequently a priority service that only takes a few days but doesn’t have an overnight guarantee. The third is typically a ground service where the packages aren’t sent by plane. This last one is the slowest and usually the cheapest.
- Packaging costs: Not only will you need mailers, but you’ll also need proper padding materials to go inside. You might be able to reuse these from deliveries that you have received, but if you’re going to be sending large quantities of records then you’ll want to factor in the cost of these packaging materials.
- Recipient Location: If you’re mailing to the next state or county, it’s probably going to be cheaper than mailing your records cross-country.
- How many you’re shipping: As a general rule of thumb, fewer records cost less to ship. However, packing multiple records together is usually possible, so sending two discs in one shipment is not much more than just sending one.
- Type of insurance: Some carriers will offer to replace a lost record, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get full market value for something priceless. Make sure you get relevant insurance instead of something called ‘declared value’ or the like. If your records are really valuable, then it’s definitely worth investing in comprehensive insurance.
If you’re looking for a reliable, affordable and convenient way to ship your records, then look no further than Stasher’s delivery service. Our experts will give you a free quote for your delivery, help you arrange the pick up and guide you through the process to ensure a stress-free shipping experience. Oh and of course we’ll make sure your records are delivered safe and sound.