What is the best way to ship a package to Hawaii?
For small to modest size boxes, the answer is Priority Mail 98 times out of 100.
Throughout this blog post, we will continue to say Hawaii, because it is easier, and more of our orders are shipped to Hawaii vs. Alaska, PR, USVI, GU, and any other territory with a US Zip Code. We will however be referring to all these territories equally. The US Postal Service has a tiered ZONE rate chart. We are based in Florida. When we ship Priority Mail to California, Nevada, Oregon, or Alaska and Hawaii, it costs the same. Pretty cool, huh? We cannot say the same thing about UPS or FedEx. When using those services to ship outside of the continental 48 States, the rates go up a lot. But Priority Mail does not discriminate. Nor does the mail add on a residential surcharge or a fuel surcharge. As of May, 2020, to use current rates, if we ship the Small Flat Rate Box anywhere in the US, it costs $8.30. Whatever can fit into it, which is not a lot, costs only $8.30 to ship. The Medium Flat Rate which can hold quite a bit is $15.05.
Examples of shipping costs:
Not everything is about Flat Rate, although we will always use the Flat Rate Boxes when they save money. It is best to convey shipping cost info by example. So here is our first example. We sell ceramic bathroom hardware. One of the items is a recessed soap dish. It weighs just under 3 pounds, but when packed, it weighs over 3 pounds. So it ships at the 4 pound rate. This item can fit in the Medium Flat Rate box with enough padding to protect it. So here is what we do when we receive an order for a quantity of one. If shipping to Hawaii and all the other western states, we will use the Medium Flat Rate box to send it for $15.05. The normal 4# rate to Hawaii is $23.15. So that is a good savings. If we need to ship it IA, KS, NE and other midwest states west of the Mississippi, we will still use that box, because 4# rate would be $17.25 if not. But if it is going to PA, OH, KY, etc, that is considered zone 5, and zone 5 for 4# is only $13.95. So we would not use that box because it costs more. Thus, there is a balancing act. And we do choose the lowest cost option to save you money.
Example two: A Stylish 700 Series towel bar also when packed is just over 3 pounds, so again it ships at the 4# rate. And this will be sent in a 24" long box. Thus, no way to fit it in any of the flat rate boxes. So 4# to Hawaii would be $23.15 to ship. Four pounds to the USVI would be $17.25 to ship. UPS Ground to Hawaii, yes that may sound funny 'Ground,' but that is what the service is called, would cost about $56 to ship to Honolulu. If delivery to a more remote section of Hawaii, it could suffer surcharges from $6 to $50 more. So I think you see that Priority Mail to Hawaii is a good deal. Also, that towel bar packed in a 24x6x5 box ends up being a 6# dimensional weight with UPS. The postal service does not apply dimensional rates until the package is greater than one cubic foot. They are more generous in that respect too.
What if something is really heavy?
Good question. We do offer a lot of steel, brass, bronze, and stainless steel cabinet handles. All very heavy metals. The handles that are small enough can ship in the Small, Medium, or Large Flat Rate boxes to save money. Even the Padded Flat Rate Envelope too. We have been shipping 8 to 12 pound boxes tucked inside the Padded Flat Rate Envelope for $8.40 plus insurance coverage to any US zip code. So boxes that would cost us $20 to $28 to ship with UPS, the post office is delivering for $8.40. And that means Hawaii too.
Not all handles can fit into these boxes. Some of our longer handles from Siro Designs or the custom made stainless steel bar handles from Arthur Harris are too big to fit. So that slogan from the post office, "If It Fits It Ships" is only nice for the items that actually do fit. If you are looking to order a kitchen slide out trash can, sorry, something like that would never fit. And sadly it is extremely expensive to ship off the continent. Dimensional rate pricing applies big time on a box like that.
When we ship to Hawaii and other states and territories, our goal is absolutely to save you money on shipping. We do not own stock with UPS or the Post Office. We utilize the best option for shipping for all packages. Priority Mail comes automatically with $50 insurance coverage and tracking. We can insure boxes more to cover higher value, and we do. If we are shipping $800 in Hera Lighting to Hawaii, it will have $800 insurance on the box. To cover against damage and loss both. And we are happy to say, we may incur about 5 to 7 packages a year encountering damage through the post office. And I believe in 19 years time, maybe ten boxes actually became lost. That is pretty darn impressive. In fair play, we will also say that UPS has lost very few of our shipments, maybe a dozen in our 19 years. But damage counts with UPS are sadly noticeably higher. Approx. 3/4 of a percent of the boxes we have shipped have been damaged. So yes, less than 1%. Pretty good considering the high volume of bubble wrap that we use.
We have heard stories about expensive shipping to Hawaii. Some companies will not use the US Postal Service. We will. We use it to ship out of the country also. And Flat Rate Boxes are used Internationally too with some nice rates.