Pak Mail Colorado Springs
4419 Centennial Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
Tel: 719-593-1212
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Call: 719-593-1212
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Moving Boxes and Shipping Boxes Are Not Created Equal

July 21st, 2013 by

Customers walk through our front door and say, “I need a box.” Our first response is, “Are you moving or shipping?” What’s the difference? Standard moving boxes from big-box stores, moving and storage rental businesses, or packing and shipping stores are not as sturdy as shipping boxes. Some have pre-cut side handles, which work well for moving. A box shipped with UPS, FedEx, or DHL does not necessarily remain upright in its journey, so small items might escape through the holes. Moving boxes are great for packing and moving everyday items, but even packing a heavier item for moving requires a sturdier box, or possibly a crate.

How do you know the strength of a box simply by looking at it? The bottom flap will most likely contain one of two stamps indicating the strength test certification for that box. For single-wall corrugated boxes, the stamp indicates Edge Crush Test (ECT 32) or Bursting Test 200#. Lee Fredrickson, owner of the Cedar Rapids Pak Mail, co-authored a franchisee newsletter article a number of years ago about box quality. The difference between the two tests (ECT and Bursting Test) is the orientation of the testing equipment – up and down on a vertically oriented sample of the corrugated (edge crush) or from the sides (burst). The strength of an ECT 32-stamped box can vary depending on the weight of the facing paper, which is not part of the ECT process and subsequently not controlled. A 200-pound Bursting Test carton will have minimum rated facing weights totaling 100 pounds (half the Bursting Test), using at least 50-pound paper on each facing.

Some moving and storage businesses claim their boxes are approved for shipping with UPS and FedEx. That’s true, but the statement is typically based on the ECT 32 rating and the box would only be suitable for soft light-weight, non-fragile items. Even when using the small moving box for moving books, the pre-cut handles should be reinforced with tape.

Are you moving or shipping? Choosing the right box can make all the difference in getting your treasures to their new home safely.

Bursting Test 200# stamp

Bursting Test 200# stamp

Bursting Test 200# stamp

Bursting Test 200# stamp

Edge Crust Test 32 stamp

Edge Crust Test 32 stamp


Balancing Creativity for Your Business with Making Your Art

July 10th, 2013 by

Ownership and continued growth of a packing and shipping business keep my creative juices flowing. In addition to daily operations, I often ask myself: Should I create new pages for our website? What form of online advertising should I use? Should I start a packing and shipping blog? What will I write about? Which meetings will I attend this month? What will I say in my 30- or 60-second speech? These are all legitimate questions. With the response to each comes a resourceful plan of action. Results? New faces appear in the store.

But what about my vision outside of my business? How do I find – or is that “make” – time for my artwork? How do I bring a similar creative focus to my yarn spinning, knitting, and weaving? It’s a constant battle… sometimes a battle cry. Some of my inspiration comes from Cass Mullane, a business coach and owner of Prosper Creatively. She has a passion for teaching business plans for right-brained people. She has an equal passion for her fiber artwork. And now she’s sharing studio space at Cottonwood Center for the Arts and is the owner of Planet Cass.

With Cass’ lessons in mind, on the July 4th holiday Sunday I awoke with a plan for the day. Note I said “the day.” Baby steps are good. The plan? Exercise, eat breakfast, and wash the three small bags of Merino wool (some in my closet for a year). So I walked, enjoyed eggs and waffles with my husband, and spent the next five hours washing the wool. It worked! Now I’m prepping the wool further for spinning a fine lace-weight yarn.

My list – scan family photos and Dad’s WWII letters, spin yarn, create and knit sons’ sweaters, design small nature tapestries, reupholster chairs in our fifth wheel, finish needlepoint – can be overwhelming when placed on top of what I do for Pak Mail. Perhaps “alongside” with small planned steps is the way to go. I’m still learning.

How do you balance your business and personal creativity?merino wool


Accurate Shipping Estimates Mean More Profit for Online Sellers

July 2nd, 2013 by

Folks sell their treasures online for a myriad of reasons. Some finish their spring cleaning and sell the only-used-once exercise equipment. Others reach new life stages – babies grow up, empty nesters decide to downsize. Occasional sellers are inclined to list items on ebay or craigslist. Artists sell their creations directly from their studios or list them on Etsy or similar venues. No matter the reason for selling, the goal is to make money.

Pak Mail ships for online sellers, both online businesses and sporadic peddlers. Online business owners have learned – usually through trial and error – how to estimate shipping costs. The occasional seller may be caught unaware. She used the online venue’s shipping estimator, but may have used the dimensions of the item instead of the outer dimensions of the packaging. Here are some tips for the occasional seller using an online estimator:

  • Accurately measure the item – length, width, height – rounding up to the next inch.
  • Determine the packaging needed for the item.
    • Non-fragile items can ship in a box with inner dimensions the same as the item.
    • Fragile items must ship in a box that allows for at least 2 inches of protective packaging (bubble wrap and packing peanuts, not paper) around all dimensions.
    • Very fragile items, especially those with a high value, should be double-boxed.
  • Weigh the item, including the shipping box and all packaging materials.
  • Enter the outer dimensions of the final box and the final weight into the shipping estimator. Keep in mind that a box stamped on the bottom flap with 12”x12”x12” (inside dimensions) actually ships at 13”x13”x13” (outer dimensions rounded to the next full inch).
  • Enter the value of the item. UPS and FedEx include $100 declared value coverage at no additional cost. Items must be properly packaged to receive carrier compensation in the event of a damage claim.
  • Post your item for sale, making sure to account for the cost of shipping in your price.

If you don’t have time to do the packaging or the item is extremely fragile, odd-shaped, very large, or very heavy, consider using the services of a professional packing and shipping store. Get a quote for packing (possibly a crate or pallet) and shipping before posting the item online.

Eliminate shipping surprises and keep your profit!




Why Choose Pak Mail

Pak Mail Colorado Springs is a full service shipping store located in Colorado Springs that specilaizes in custom packing, custom crating, and specialty freight shipping. Request a Free Online Estimate or call us at 719-593-1212.

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