Packing for shipment and getting plants safely to any part of the United States is an art and a challenge! Customers send us happy notes about our plants, the way the plants were packed, and the great arrival condition! We create the finest True Indoor Bonsai and put just as much effort into packing! Shipping is complex and we do our best to cover all details. We ship throughout the year, but only to destinations that www.weather.com report low temperatures will be above freezing (32°F). For those areas that are too cold to ship, we hold back shipments and try to send email notifications. When it starts to get chilly, we begin using extra insulation. In borderline situations, we utilize shipping heat packs.
|SHIPPING A LARGE
In November 2016, we received a request for quotation of a large Custom Collection by Bob Sun of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania with sufficient budget allowance to be offered a larger, older premium tree that are amongst the oldest custom collection not generally posted on the Fuku-Bonsai website. Bob ordered two with the smaller one for immediate trial shipment with a deposit for the second larger one to be shipped in spring when the weather warmed up in his area.
We sent off the smaller one with our standard packing but horrified when Bob sent a photo after it arrived at his business showing about the top 1/3 of the box caved in as it something very heavy had been on top of it. It was a relief to receive word after he unpacked it that our packing somehow worked and there was no damage. Although it costs a bit more, we leave a generous amount of air space around the plants so there's usually no damage even when boxes are badly crushed in shipping. But we immediately began planning for the spring shipping which was too large for our standard shipping cartons. The photos below give an idea of the large tree in a 25"x15"x2" rectangular plastic pot-tray.
| PACKING THE LARGE
TREE. Edison and Myrtle used our standard packing system but
with a larger custom-built wood pallet. After the pot was cushioned
and wrapped we used extra foam to absorb the shocks if and when the
box is dropped. A support wood tilted the tree to be in the center
of the carton and once the potted bottom section was strapped to the
pallet, Edison used sheets of newspaper stapled together to wrap and
capture air around the foliage.
At time of shipping, weather was considered safe and warm. If cooler, we would use several layers including bubble wrap or foam sheets, plastic sheets, or more newspaper layers to trap a lot of air as insulators. We also use shipping heat packs and for the past few years, plants have arrived safely without damage.
| We opened the
largest shipping carton that we keep in stock and re-scored it so
what would normally be four sides of a carton fitted over the long
side, one end, and the other long side. Another such opened and
re-scored box fitted over the long side, the other end, and the
other long side. So the long sides had a heavier double thickness.
The bottom of the wood shipping pallet had a cardboard layer and the bottom of what is normally the carton flaps were gun-stapled to the edge of the wood shipping pallet. The top flap extended several inches above the top of the tree so it was scored to be bent over and stapled to create a rigid reinforced top section.
|Another cardboard panel closed the top with flaps that came down on all sides. So there were portions that had three panel thickness as well as additional overlaps at the corners. All openings or where staples were exposed were sealed with plastic tape as required.|
|The shipping carton measured ___x___x___ high and weighed ____ pounds. After all needed labels were affixed, Hawaii certified nursery and USDA regulatory rubber stamps were placed over the plastic tapes to prevent opening and tampering until delivered.|
|The plants were packed and ready by the FedEx pick-up time. FedEx allows tracking all shipments and guarantees arrival in any part of the continental U.S. from Hawaii within 48 hours. They usually deliver within Hawaii and West Coast addresses within 24 hours. We have scheduled pickups every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and can call in a pick-up if a Thursday inter-island shipping is necessary. Wednesday is our slowest shipping day so we had more than enough time to pack all plants going out. As one of over 500 members of the Hawaii Shippers Association, we receive a special shipping rate to allow us to create FLAT RATE SHIPPING CHARGES!|
FUKU-BONSAI FLAT RATE SHIPPING CHARGES
It is preferable to have a simple flat rate system to make it easy for customers to compute their orders rather than having to calculate each order separately. Most of our orders are either for a single gift plant or several plants going to the same address. So we came up with the following easy to use system. Pricing of our plant model items were calculated and adjusted based upon the FedEx Hawaii to Continental U.S. rate (which is the same from Hawaii.) The $15 for the first plant just barely covers the actual cost of packing and shipping our smallest items and this covers the cost of the packing carton, all packing materials and supplies, as well as the actual FedEx charges.
Customers who mail or ship parcels recognize that the $15 for the first plant is very reasonable --- especially when it applies to the first plant possibly being a HL8 Large Size Dwarf Schefflera Lava Planting or a Custom Collection! SO HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?
Because it is very desirable to have a simple system, the larger plant prices actually subsidizes the cost of shipping so there is no "shipping sticker shock" or "abandoned shopping carts" when you complete your order as you already know your shipping costs! Shipping costs per pound reduce as the parcel gets heavier so when two plants are shipping to the same address, the cost is $22 ($11 each instead of $15). And when three plants are shipping to the same address, shipping is just $24 ($8 each instead of $15!) That's a good deal --- but it gets better! FREE SHIPPING WHEN 4 OR MORE PLANTS ARE SENT TO THE SAME ADDRESS! (Note: Alaska FedEx $10 surcharge; Arizona $20 phytosanitary certificate fee)
SO WHAT'S THE ANGLE? It's simple. Every order also has an administrative operational cost built into the first plant. For two or three plants, there administrative costs, carton costs, as well as FedEx lower costs. But at four or more, there's enough savings to justify FREE SHIPPING!
Customers are impressed that shipping charges from such a small Hawaii company are very reasonable. This is due to being a member of a large shipping organization and we can send by FedEx Air to the East Coast at a lower cost than shippers from the West Coast! Unlike in the Continental U.S. where only the largest shippers get discounts, FedEx (or UPS) needs consolidated volume to Hawaii and will give all members of our organization a discount rate regardless of size. (***Revised from original; shipping charges subject to change without notice.)
Bob Sun reported the tree arrived without incident with just a small amount of loose media that had popped out in shipping. The first tree behind him was shipped in cooler November and was doing well. Bob has grown traditional temperate climate outdoor bonsai and is familiar with general bonsai practice and seems to have no problems with our True Indoor Bonsai. Increasingly experience traditional bonsai growers are ordering our True Indoor Bonsai for themselves or as gifts. They quickly master the differences. For another such story, go to www.fukubonsai.com/1a.html