Your startup is starting up, things are going well, you’ve had a lot of interest, and now people want to buy what you’re selling. Here’s the problem though: they’re in Outer Borneo and you’re not. That means you’ll need to send it internationally, and that’s scary right? Don’t worry! International shipping isn’t as intimidating as it sounds and to prove it, delivery experts ParcelHero have put together a few tips that make it even easier.

Know your destination

Although it might seem an obvious and logical step, knowing where you’re sending your package is very important. Why? Because costs, shipping time and – most importantly – duties and taxes are changed depending on your destination. The key point to consider is whether or not your destination is a part of the European Union.

If you’re sending from the UK, it’s significantly easier to ship to EU member countries. That’s thanks to the EU’s commitment to the free movement of goods and services, which means that you don’t have to pay duties and taxes when shipping between member nations. This allows for faster and cheaper shipping – it’s why I can send a package today, and it can be in Munich tomorrow without breaking the bank.

Parcels sent to countries outside of Europe however, will incur duties and taxes while they pass through customs, which will have to be paid for by the receiver. This also brings in the requirement for customs documentation, which will likely mean significantly more time and effort on your end as the shipper.

Pack properly

Properly packaging your goods is the most underrated parts of a good shipping experience. There’s nothing quite as saddening as opening a much anticipated box to discover the contents in pieces, so making sure that doesn’t happen is vital. Proper packaging is a topic that could have a post all of its own, but there are a few key points to stick to:

  • It’s best to invest in a new cardboard box for the outer packaging, especially for fragile items
  • For internal packaging, use bubble-wrap and wrap your items individually.
  • Remember to fill any remaining space left in the box with any left-over bubble wrap, newspaper or foam. No part of your item should touch the walls of the box.

You might end up paying a little more to ship the slightly larger box you need for all that packaging material, but in the long run it will be cheaper to avoid all those damaged goods and negative customer feedback.

Measure well

There are plenty of horror stories about parcels suddenly costing hundreds of pounds more than expected to deliver. There’s no denying that it happens, but more often than not it’s down to the shipper providing incorrect dimensions when booking.

If you take your time and make sure you get the dimensions of your stock exactly right, you should be absolutely fine. Take the time to record them too – if you do get bitten, then having evidence, ideally photographic, will help you argue the extra charges and get them removed.

It’s also worth thinking about volumetric weight, as it could affect your shipping costs quite heavily. Difficult equations aside, volumetric weight basically translates to the size of your box in comparison to what it weighs.

To make sure you’re getting the best possible price for your shipping, try to ensure that your parcel is as compact as you can without risking damage to the contents – as mentioned above, proper is important too!

Paperwork is king

Customs can be the bane of a shipper’s existence, but having good paperwork is a great way to help nullify that. Do your research for your destination and learn what they like.

Some countries ask for a wide array of information about the contents of your parcel, the point of origin and value alongside the reason for import and other details.

Others prefer less information, or certain forms to be sent with your parcel. By learning what your customs officers will require to clear your package, you can make sure they have everything they need.

Pay your dues (or not)

When shipping outside of the European Union, duties and taxes will probably be applied to your parcel while it’s clearing customs. The general rule is that these are paid by the recipient of the parcel, but many businesses choose to take the cost onto themselves.

You have to decide if you want to do so, and if yes, you have to organise in advance to pay the costs – you can’t do so once you’ve sent the parcel off.

Whether or not you decide to pay the fees or leave them to the receiver, it probably best to know the de minimis value of wherever you’re sending – that’s the value below which customs doesn’t charge any duties or taxes.

For some countries, like the UK for example, this value is extremely low (around £15!) and for others, like America, the value is much higher – in fact, in America’s case it has been recently raised to $800! Knowing whether or not certain goods will require duties and taxes be paid will save you time and money, so be sure to check it out.

I’m ready to get sending… Where can I get the best price?

ParcelHero ships to 220 countries and offers a high quality, reliable service at a fraction of the cost of booking couriers directly. We only use the world’s leading couriers, including UPS, DHL and FedEx, ensuring our delivery services are of the highest quality, but without the premium price tag.

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