How We Protect Your Mails with Jim Duncan of AIM Mail Center

Jim Duncain - AIM Mail Center - Packing & Shipping Expert

Jim Duncain – AIM Mail Center – Packing & Shipping Expert

Jim: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays. I really enjoy this industry. And the best part about it, in fact, the oil industry was great, very lucrative. But you deal with the oil well. When you deal with people it’s so much more enjoyable. So much more enjoyable. Now the reason I got this business was I saw an opportunity to use some engineering skills in making sure that your items are packed and shipped properly.

Now, you’re thinking well I’ve seen the FedEx video, the guy throwing the stuff over the fence and all those kind of things. And really, it’s so rare that’s why it was on a video. The way they handle things is not the issue. It’s the conveyor belts. By the way, packing part of this business is what I really love. But the conveyor belts and these 24 miles of conveyor belts in Memphis, Tennessee to handle, in one building, to handle all your packages.

Those conveyor belts, if you can imagine a hundred pound box of books coming down a ramp on a conveyor with your iPad with some tissue paper around it and a little small box down at the bottom of that conveyor belt. You can imagine what’s going to happen. That’s the issue you’ve got to deal with.

So if you’re packing anything, especially this time of year with a lot of temp help, if you’re packing something, whatever it is, you should be able to take it and drop it. And that should be safe. You got things like, we have problems like with inherent risk. So if you have, if she has like a… But she wouldn’t do that because she takes a picture.

If you have a shadow box, inside that shadow box might be something intricate but you have a shadow box because it’s got three dimensions. The problem with that shadow box is it’s fine. I can pack that and keep things from happening to that. But inside that shadow box you can’t do anything about it. That could shake around and break loose. That’s called inherent risk. You can’t insure against that.

Or like the one sculpture I sent to Paris. It had that little ball bearing that broke loose from a bad weld and was like a pinball machine delivered to Paris. So by the time it got there everything was destroyed. Can’t do anything about that. It’s inherent risk. But everything else I can pretty much protect.

I’ve done a lot of things over the years that have been really unusual, extremely unusual, but there’s ways to protect again. We had one, this piece of sculpture. It wasn’t very big, but all the outside was like a dress. And it was all these leaves. And you actually could not touch it without breaking things off. So I had to find a way of protecting it on the bottom, which I got a doughnut… Like a Styrofoam doughnut on the bottom to hold it in place in this box. And the top I was able to build something around the head of the figure and then connect it to… I glued it into the top of the box. Then connect the two so it wouldn’t shift. And then the rest of the box was empty. And then I put wood around that to make sure it wouldn’t crush the box.

So things like this, you’ve got to think about how they’re going to be handled. I’ll go around, let’s see… Bruce. Bruce, food. The issue with food and the biggest problem there is it’s something perishable and it’ll just be destroyed. So you’ve got to think, okay, is it summertime, wintertime, going across the country in the hot summer? Is it going across the country in the snow? If you use dry ice to protect it you could freezer burn the items. You’ve got to make sure that dry ice is, especially in the air it’s… Is there anything in it that would explode? Get to keep the dry ice in a separate box inside there so it doesn’t condense on the outside of the box. Things like this you’ve got to concern yourself with just in handling his food.

Sherry’s interesting. If you buy yourself a Costco basket and you have that bottle of wine next to that metal box, don’t ship it. It’s going to be wine soup in there. Cheri’s [sp] always aware of this. When she builds something, it’s always protected like that. But you’ve got to look at inside there and how those things protect the inside of it. When you ship a gift basket which I do all the time, sherry’s no problem but the rest of them you’ve actually got to slit that shrink wrap open and stuff some things in there and make sure it’s going to be safe.

A guy. I mean, guy’s problems are mostly value. His things are easily protected if it’s a loose stone it’s not insured anyway, but one of the best ways of doing it is registered mail. I mean, otherwise I’ve used Brinks for shipping some really expensive things. But registered mail is pretty much the easiest way to do it because it’s not really fragile. It’s fragile in itself, but it’s usually so well packed you want something, at least, ten by ten by ten or bigger to keep that thing from breaking.

Bruce. Let’s say you’re shipping tile, like tile for your floors. The thing there is you need to protect each layer because tile is very fragile. Ceramic tile is very fragile. Or even stone tile is very fragile. It’s thin. You put something between each layer, and then you make sure it’s really tight in there and double box it so you drop it and not worry about breaking the inside. It’ll be pretty safe.

Shelly. I probably do two or three large framed pictures every week. The problem with that is you can’t protect against the glass. If the glass breaks, it’s not insurable anyway. So what you do is you put glass mask on the glass itself so if it does break, it won’t hurt the picture. It breaks in small pieces. It won’t hurt the picture.

And then you build the box big enough, again so you can drop it or whatever and because it’s so fragile it won’t hurt the glass and it won’t hurt the frame. But you have to have enough room around it to make sure that that doesn’t happen. And typically, and so often, the pictures are so valuable that I’ll end up putting it in a wooden crate. Wooden crates, nothing’s bad in a wooden crate. Knock on wood. I’ve never had anything happen to a wooden crate where it broke.

Let’s see, Hiro. Shipping cars. Well, you don’t pack cars; you just ship cars except I have done some overseas where there’s a little more packing involved. But the hardest part about that is making sure you find someone that’s going to move it in the right places around the country. And I’ve done it a number of times. I’ve done some to Dubai, but there you have to look at containers. And then protecting things in containers. Make sure it’s sealed and also not movable inside the container. But also, which is never understood, people think well if I have an empty car why don’t I just pack it full of crap? So I ship it? Don’t put anything in it. Don’t put anything in it. Because it’s gonna be rifled, first of all. But they’re going to wonder what’s in it, is the big part. And that’s going to be your biggest problem.

Val. Car parts. Car parts are interesting because usually they’re really big, heavy, and long boxes. Now, the problem with people will bring in a box like so. If it’s like four feet long but then they’ll have to be three feet wide because boxes aren’t usually four feet by one by one. So they’ll bring in this big box expecting to be shipped, and that’s a dimensional weight issue especially when it’s an air shipment. And those considerations are pretty major because you’re 20 pound box that’s really long, weight-wise, now becomes a 150 pound box because of the dimensions. You’ll pay for 150 pounds. And shipping her type of items, typically if it’s heavy like an axle, for instance, which I’ve done a number of times, you can strap them to a pallet and put a flat crate around it. Makes sure that’s safe then. No problem.

Burke. The interesting thing about shipping clothes. You’ll find these people that think they’re really special wedding clothes, and they lay it nicely in a big box and put some tissue paper around it and send the thing. Probably the worst way you could do it because what happens is that box gets up ended and all that nice clothing falls down at the bottom. It’s all wrinkled. The best thing to do is to put it in that box really tight, if you can roll it even. It’s going to come out better.

What you do you’re going to have it pressed at the other end anyway. So if you can roll it or have it in there tight, then you’re not going to have to worry about those items being all wrinkled and screwed up. So, but usually people just put “this end up”. On the outside this end up and they flatten the box. Nothing like that will ever happen in a conveyor belt. This end up doesn’t work; it means nothing. Don’t bend, fragile. Who’s going to read it? Conveyor belts don’t read. They scan the numbers. They don’t read anything. So nobody will see your box.

When that guy is unloading the truck, he has literally four seconds to touch your box. That’s the longest he can touch it for. So they’re not going to be reading fragile. They’re going to be reading where it’s going. Which zip code it’s going to, which conveyor belt it’s going on. So you got to consider that when you do it because your items, whatever you say fragile or whatever, don’t count it. You have to be able to consider who’s handling it. And this time of year, more and more people out there are temp help and they’re not going to handle it as well, or not considering it as well, so you have to take more precautions to make sure that’s good.

Dennis is in electronics. Dennis’ electronics are pretty good because they’re well packed on the inside. But often we have to double box those anyway. So we’re pretty safe that.

Plants. Plants, especially flowers. The challenge with that is is making sure that they get there like they’re supposed to get there, like they look good. I’ve done a lot of plants where you have the plant in the pot and everything, and you have to make sure that soil stays compressed in there. Or I’ve done some where I’ve taken the soil out. You put some items around it. I was doing it for a nursery down in Huntington Beach. Shipped all his plants to Hawaii. You have to take all of the material off there, and you have to pack it separately because Hawaii has their own restrictions because of the plant requirements over there. And you have to look at each individual one. It’s a very expensive process to make sure they get there like they’re leaving here. Anybody else?

Business Growth Innovators Member: Attorneys. Can you ship attorneys?

Jim: All the time. All the time. There’s only one way. You put them in a box, put some Dots in there, and they’re happy guys.

Business Growth Innovators Member: Wow. Don’t say that about my friend Mark Olms [sp]. Other than Mark Olms or Don Shorta.

Jim: All of our attorneys… Anyway, that’s the shipping business from my end. And I love the packing and making sure your items are safe. Any questions? Great. Covered it. Thank you.

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