When the courier arrives to collect your parcel, pallet or crate, you’ll need to have it all ready to go. Here’s a quick preparation checklist.
Finding the right box
The three main things to consider when choosing the appropriate box are size, strength and quality.
The size of your box should be appropriate to the contents—not bursting and not under-filled, as both can lead to damage.
For strength, you should use corrugated cardboard with good quality outer liners. Use double-layered cardboard for extra protection.
If reusing an old box, check that it’s still in good condition, and has no hazard signs or labels on it, including UN numbers.
If you are sending a suitcase, it must have a hard shell.
Sealing and securing
Inside the box or crate, use loose fill polystyrene, kraft paper or bubblewrap to pad each item and fill all remaining space. There should be at least 5cm of padding between each item and between the items and the walls of the box.
To seal your box, use quality adhesive tape. We recommend using an H-taping method, which means taping along the sides of the flaps as well as where the flaps meet.
Then, following the labelling instructions for your specific carrier as to the quantity, attach your labels to the flat topside of your parcel where they are clearly visible.
For more information on securely packing specific items, please see our packaging guidance.
Goods transported on pallet should fit squarely and not overhang. Boxes, crates and palletised goods should all have a flat and level top surface to support stacking. See our stackability guidance for more information, including how to deal with irregularly-shaped or non-stackable items.
DHL Express in particular is quite strict about the boxes and crates it will accept. There is a more specific list of requirements for DHL.
Weighing and measuring
You’ll need to weigh and measure your consignment after it has been packaged and sealed. Measure the length, width and height. If your consignment is irregularly shaped, such as a suitcase with a handle and wheels, measure to the furthest point on each side.
We recommend taking photos to document the condition of your consignment prior to sending. If you have photos of your consignment on the scales or next to a tape measure, this can be helpful if the carrier disputes the weight or dimensions you have provided.
Take photos both of your sealed container and of the packaged contents inside before it is sealed. In the rare event that your consignment is damaged, this will help you to make your claim by showing that it was properly packed.
If there's anything you're not sure about, you can contact us ahead of collection and we can advise.
If you're looking for a parcel delivery service, why not get a free online quote? Just put in your weight and dimensions for each parcel and compare services instantly.
Header image: Samantha Hurley