With the volume of mail and packages that is transported every day, the risk of one of those packages being lost or delayed is higher than people would like. While you can't control the weather or human error (such as not reading the mailing label) on the delivery company's side, you can ensure any delays aren't due to a problem with how you prepared your package. Each of these ways is very simple to accomplish, and in fact, they seem obvious when you hear about them -- but many packages don't follow these guidelines, and that increases their chances of being lost, damaged, or delayed.
Tape Over the Address
After you write the return and mailing addresses on the package, or after you add the mailing labels if you're using those instead, place tape over each entire address and label. If you wrote the addresses directly on the package, the tape should cover all of your writing. If you used labels, the tape should cover both the writing and all of the label, extending over each edge and covering even blank spots. The tape does three things:
- It protects the label from being ripped off (the tape can still be ripped off, but it provides more strength and makes it harder for the entire label to disappear).
- It protects the address from tampering (it's harder for someone to change the address in an attempt to steal it by having it delivered somewhere else)
- It protects the address from being obscured by something spilled on the package -- you can wipe off whatever it was from the tape)
Cross Out Irrelevant Information
You are best off using new mailing containers, but if you plan to reuse a box or envelope, be sure you cross out all irrelevant information. Take a thick, black permanent marker -- the kind your parents used to write your name on your clothing before you went to camp, if you were sent to summer camp as a kid -- and cross out all old barcodes, addresses, warnings, and so on. Cross out anything that doesn't have to do with this current mailing. That reduces the chances of the delivery service scanning the wrong barcode or glancing at the wrong city name.
Use Adequate Filler
Ensure you've used enough filler material to make the box flaps relatively stable. If you use too little, and the flaps bend in when you press on them, the box could easily be crushed if something falls on it. If you use too much, and the flaps bulge out, the package might not sit that well in a stack and could fall off (which would increase its chances of landing in a pile going somewhere else). While the package might be rerouted to you eventually, it would still be delayed.
Use the Correct Shape
If you have something that is oddly shaped, don't try to customize a box to fit the outlines of the item. If you have something truly large that needs specialized treatment, yes, talk to the delivery service about what they need in terms of packaging, but for smaller items, get a square or rectangular box, or use a round or triangular tube if it's something long and thin. These are less likely to result in damage to the item. If you use an oddly shaped, customized package, you risk parts of the item getting bent or smashed as the package is moved around. A big box or tube with lots of padding is your best bet.
Again, these are simple strategies, but so many times, they aren't followed, and the item inside the package gets damaged, the address gets obscured, or something else happens. Take a few minutes and ensure your package meets these guidelines. For more information, contact a company like Chicago Mailing Tube Co.