Are you looking for a safe and efficient way to get records in your customers’ hands? Knowing how to ship vinyl records will make all the difference in the condition your customers receive their valuable music records.
Vinyls are prone to breaking, splitting, and scratching, so you need to take extra precautions when packing and sending these fragile items. Your customers will appreciate the extra effort and reward you with their loyalty.
Luckily, shipping vinyl records the right way is not hard. All you need is the right packaging materials and good courier service, and you should be able to deliver the records in one piece.
In this article, I will take you through the basic steps of packing vinyl records for shipping. You will also find some great tips for getting your vinyl records to customers in any part of the world. So, let us get started!
Table of Contents
You will need:
- Vinyl brush or cleaning machine
- Mailer boxes
- Paper and plastic sleeves
- Package stiffeners
- Packing tape
Step-by-Step Guide To Ship Vinyl Records
Follow these easy steps to package vinyl records the right way, ready for shipping.
Step 1: Remove the record from the jacket and old sleeve
When shipping a vinyl record, preserving both the outer jacket and plastic disc itself is best. Any person who buys vinyl wants the jacket to be as clean and neat as possible.
Unpacking the record protects the jacket from tears around the edges and prevents dog ears. Don’t worry; you will still ship the jacket and any other covering that comes with the record.
In addition to the jacket, you can also replace the sleeve if it is damaged. A new sleeve will make the parcel look presentable, which is always good for your impression.
Instead of throwing away the old sleeve, you can insert it in the jacket for shipping. It is always best to retain all original items when selling vinyl records, including seemingly trivial things such as original printed paper sleeves.
Step 2: Cover the disc in a plastic sleeve
Once you remove the record from the jacket, insert it in a plastic sleeve. A plastic sleeve will protect the vinyl and jacket from moisture and leaks. It also ensures that the jacket is protected against dog ears, folds, and unsightly tears.
Place the record on top of the jacket, then insert the entire parcel in a plastic sleeve. Remember to place other items such as the lyrics sheet and original disc sleeves inside the jacket.
If you are shipping more than one vinyl, you can place one on top of the jackets and the other under and insert the entire parcel in the plastic sleeve.
Step 3: Place the record in a cardboard mailer
The best way to ensure a vinyl record reaches the recipient undamaged is to ship it in a cardboard mailer. Avoid using normal envelopes to send such a fragile item; the chances of the vinyl breaking in an envelope are very high.
A cardboard mailer is costlier than envelopes, but the few extra dollars are worth the investment. Be sure only to use a new cardboard mailer every time you ship vinyl records to a customer. Not only is a new mailer box structurally fit and safe, but it also looks more presentable than a used one.
Also, avoid recycling any old box and using it as a mailer—this will not reflect too well on you and your business. And, an old box is prone to damage and may not adequately protect the vinyl record.
Remember to sandwich the parcel between a package stiffener. Bubble wrap is an excellent choice, but cardboard can also get the job done.
Package stiffener prevents the vinyl record from shifting excessively when packed inside the mailer box—the more immobile the parcel inside the mailer box, the slimmer the chances of breakage or damage.
Step 4: Fold, tape, and address the mailer box
Fold the mailer, inserting the flaps and sleeves in their respective grooves. For extra protection, apply packing tape around the edges of the mailer box and make several passes across the center.
Be sure to indicate that the parcel is fragile and should be handled with care. Simply write ‘Fragile’ in bold letters on the front and back of the mailer box.
Write the recipient’s address on the box and bring it to the post office for shipping. If you are shipping internationally, you may have to buy stamps.
That’s it! Your vinyl record is ready for shipping. Your customer will surely be impressed by all the precautions you have taken to ensure the record gets to them in the best shape possible.
Now let us take a look at other logistics involved in shipping vinyl records.
How To Ship Vinyl Records: Choosing A Shipping Service
Vinyls are fragile items, so you must choose the best possible shipping service to ensure the safety of your parcel.
I strongly recommend using well-known courier services with a good reputation. These services might cost you slightly more, but the peace of mind you get in return is worth the investment.
Some good couriers with whom you can ship vinyl records are:
USPS’s Media Mail service is specifically for sending packages containing educational materials, CDs, videotapes, sound recordings, manuscripts, books, and of course, vinyl records.
The service is cost-effective and among the safest ways to ship fragile vinyls to customers worldwide. The only disadvantage is the service’s long delivery times.
UPS is a dependable courier service for nationwide and global shipping. The service includes tracking, insurance, and comparably shorter delivery times. UPS may cost a little more than other couriers, but the high quality of service is worth every penny.
FedEx is a mid-range shipping service with a global presence; you can affordably send vinyl records to customers anywhere in the world. The service also comes with insurance, covering you from any liabilities incurred when the parcel is in transit.
How To Ship Vinyl Records: Paying Attention to the Cost
Shipping costs can easily eat into your profit margins. You must find a way to factor in these costs in the final pricing of your vinyl records, especially when shipping internationally.
Be transparent with customers about the shipping costs. Most buyers do not have a problem paying for an item they need if you are fair and honest about the costs.
To determine how much it will cost to ship vinyl records, you must consider a few important factors. These are:
- The cost of courier service
- The parcel’s destination, i.e., local or international
- Cost of mailer boxes and padding materials
- Cost of insurance
- Weight and quantity being mailed
If you determine these costs in advance, you can pass them on or cost-share with the customer.
Extended Tips To Ship Vinyl Records The Right Way
Taking all the precautions you can when shipping fragile vinyl records will minimize damage, impress your customers, and win their loyalty.
You might not be in a position to control the shipping costs. But, there are a few things you can that will significantly improve the shipping experience. Here are a few tips:
Choose the appropriate shipping material
Don’t cut costs when choosing shipping materials. You can be cost-effective without being cheap. Choose the right size plastic sleeve and mailer box and the best quality padding material. Avoid recycling shipping materials as this may not offer enough protection for fragile vinyl records.
Consider insuring the records
Most courier services now offer insurance for parcels at a small extra fee. This extra perk is especially crucial when shipping high-value records.
Arrange for easy drop off and pickups
Make it as convenient as possible for your customers to get their parcels once you ship them out. Many couriers now have a doorstep delivery service, so this is something you may want to liaise with your customer and courier service to make happen.
Keep an eye on the order
Don’t assume that your customer has received their parcel. Once you ship the order, it is your responsibility to track it until it is delivered to the appropriate destination.
Summary: How To Ship Vinyl Records
If you are running a vinyl records business, its success will depend on, among other things, how well you deliver records to the customers. Buyers pay good money, and they want their vinyls to arrive in the best shape possible.
Shipping costs may be out of your hands, but you can fully control how you ship vinyl records. Invest in good quality packing materials and choose the best courier service; your customers will thank you!