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How To Ship Vinyl Records? The Best Guide To Shipping

How To Ship Vinyl Records?

Shipping vinyl records may seem like a very basic thing to do. There are some things you need to think about and consider before you just throw your records in a box and send them out. It needs to be done properly or it is almost guaranteed that the records will be damaged once received.

Shipping Materials

We just want to make sure that you have all the shipping materials you need to properly send vinyl records no matter who the carrier is you choose. In each category, we are going to go over our recommendations on what to use, where to get it, and how to use it properly.

Vinyl Record Shipping Boxes

This is a super important thing to consider when shipping your records whether you are a seller or a collector. You need to make sure that your records are very well protected. We can stress the importance enough of using a vinyl record shipping box that is specific to records. You can buy them in quantities of 10, quantities of 25, and even quantities of 100. If you are a full-time seller you may consider buying even more at once as the cost per box goes down in conjunction with the quantity purchased. There are even some models of mailers out there that let your fold in cardboard bumpers on two sides for extra protection.

Vinyl Record Mailer

The great thing about these boxes is that they fold around the records and wrap them in multiple layers. You simply just fold each side up and depending on how many records you are sending will determine the fold. Add some extra cardboard or bubble wrap and seal it up and it is good to go. 

Some of the reasons we specifically recommend buying vinyl record shipping boxes:

  • The Safest way to ship
  • You can fit between 1-4 single LPs per box
  • The receivers perception of professionalism
  • Ease of use

Other vinyl record shipping boxes could be 

Some people prefer using the USPS Priority Box #2DPCON-13-B-0008 which measures 12.25 X 2.875 X 13.375 inches when put together. However, if you leave the box flat instead of folding it into a box the record is reported to fit. We do not recommend this if possible as this can easily be damaged in transit. If you do not label this as fragile, there is a big chance that the records will be damaged or at a minimum, the jackets and sleeves will be damaged. Be sure if you use this method to bubble wrap as much as you can.

How To Ship Vinyl Records

Bubble Wrapping Vinyl Records

Bubble wrapping vinyl records is not very different from bubble wrapping anything else. You just want to make sure that the corners are not going to be exposed to bending if you are bubble wrapping. If you wrap the bubble wrap too tightly you could bend them and if the record is not in the proper box this could also lead to corners being bent during transit.

Packing Vinyl Records For Shipping

So now you have all your packing materials and you have your records for shipping and it is time to put them together, correctly. The method we always prefer regardless of boxes or mailers is what is commonly called the record sandwich. It is up to you what you prefer to sandwich it with. We prefer a scrap piece of cardboard however you can sandwich it with bubble wrap as well. 

  1. Lay down your scrap piece of cardboard or bubble wrap that is at least the same size as the record.
  2. Place your record on top of the cardboard or bubble wrap
  3. Lay down another piece of scrap cardboard or bubble wrap that is at least the same size as the record.
  4. Wrap tape around your record sandwich tight enough to keep it together but not so tight that it will bend the outer jacket.
  5. Be sure to label your box as fragile no matter who you ship with. It also would not hurt to write “Do not bend” on the box.
  6. Now it is time to pick who you will ship your vinyl records with

Shipping Vinyl Records USPS

Shipping vinyl records using USPS is a great option. They have several options for just about any budget and just about any speed you could want. We really like Media Mail for selling records because it is budget-friendly. We are going to go over your options here and for some scenarios of how you have to package or approach shipping with a couple of their methods. We have some really great tips to share to help you save money and help you get it done.

Why Ship Your Records Using USPS Media Mail?

We like sending vinyl records using Media Mail because you get a great deal on shipping rates and some awesome free add-ons that you just have to ask for at the clerk’s desk. How does $2.80 for 1lb sound? What if we told you it even comes with a tracking number? Well, with Media Mail that is the case. There are several pros and cons of using media mail for shipping vinyl records. Some people do not think that a vinyl record qualifies as Media Mail but we have talked about that in this article titled “Are Vinyl Records Media Mail?

Are vinyl records media mail | USPS Media Mail for Vinyl Records

Pros and Cons of Shipping Your Vinyl Records Using Media Mail

ProsCons
Reduced shipping ratesYou can not upgrade the speed of shipping
Free tracking numberSlow – Typical delivery is between 2-8 days
Already insured Package inspections
Variety of packaging optionsNo additional advertising allowed in your box
Low priority

Current Media Mail Shipping Rates*

Weight Not Over (lbs)CostWeight Not Over (lbs)Cost
1$2.8036$21.64
2$3.3337$22.18
3$3.8638$22.72
4$4.3939$23.26
5$4.9240$23.80
6$5.4541$24.34
7$5.9842$24.88
8$6.5243$25.42
9$7.0644$25.96
10$7.6045$26.50
11$8.1446$27.04
12$8.6847$27.58
13$9.2248$28.12
14$9.7649$28.66
15$10.3050$29.20
16$10.8451$29.74
17$11.3852$30.28
18$11.9253$30.82
19$12.4654$31.36
20$13.0055$31.90
21$13.5456$32.44
22$14.0857$32.98
23$14.6258$33.52
24$15.1659$34.06
25$15.7060$34.60
26$16.2461$35.14
27$16.7862$35.68
28$17.3263$36.22
29$17.8664$36.76
30$18.4065$37.30
31$18.9466$37.84
32$19.4867$38.38
33$20.0268$38.92
34$20.5669$39.46
35$21.1070$40.00
* According to this pricing chart found on USPS.com at the time of writing this article.

Given that vinyl records range in weight depending on the size, number of LPs, jacket, and press weight you could budget around 8oz per single LP. 

We usually come prepared and budget for 1 pound per LP, although they rarely hit this rate, that way we can consider the rest additional savings. With the lowered shipping rates you are going to see some nice savings!

Steps For Using Media Mail With Your Records

  1. Be sure to leave your packaged vinyl record or records unsealed and bring your packing tape.
  2. Bring your properly packaged vinyl record to the post office unsealed.
  3. Be sure to already have your addresses written on your package. This is really just to keep things quick for the postal worker.
  4. Let them know that you plan to use Media Mail so they can inspect the contents. Depending on the post office and clerk they may skip this step and just ask you to seal the box.
  5. Once they have inspected the contents of your package they will ask you to seal your package. 
  6. It’s important to ask for a tracking number at this point. Currently, according to USPS.com, all media mail is eligible for a free tracking number. All you have to do is ask for the tracking number.

Would We Ship Using USPS Media Mail For Records?

This depends on personal preferences as brought up in the chart of pros and cons. If I was just sending a record to a friend as a gift or for them to listen to, I would likely use Media Mail. If I was a store or selling vinyl records online, I would likely go for Priority Mail, if viable, to get the package to my customers faster and with a little more confidence. That would mostly just be for peace of mind. 

Why Ship Your Records Using USPS Priority Mail

We like sending vinyl records using Priority Mail because you get a much faster service with insurance and tracking built into the cost. We especially like knowing that for the most part your package will be received between 1-3 days after shipping. There are several pros and cons of using media mail for shipping vinyl records.

Pros and Cons of Shipping Your Vinyl Records Using Priority Mail

ProsCons
Very fast shippingHigher cost (starts at $7.50)
Up to 70lbs 
Free package pickup
$50 in insurance included
Tracking information included

Steps For Using Priority Mail With Your Records

  1. Bring your properly packaged vinyl record to the post office.
  2. Be sure to already have your addresses written on your package. This is really just to keep things quick for the postal worker.
  3. Let them know that you plan to use Priority Mail.

That is it. You will pay for it and on the receipt at the bottom should be your tracking number.

Would We Ship Using USPS Priority Mail For Records?

With shipping, it all comes down to cost as it is an expense to the seller. If you do not charge enough for shipping or account for the cost of shipping in your selling price Priority Mail can be costly as it starts at $7.50.

how to store vinyl records flat or upright

Shipping Vinyl Records UPS

Ups is a very good option for shipping vinyl records. They even wrote an article themselves about shipping vinyl records you can read to see what UPS recommends. We like seeing that because it means they are conscious that there are lots of packages going out that are records and understand the need to be careful.

Why Ship Your Records Using UPS?

In our experience, we have had far fewer issues with damaged records when they come from UPS. UPS gets them there generally safely and quickly. Any time we have had an issue they have swiftly moved to help us make it right. The issue here is like USPS Priority Mail the rates are higher if you do not have a wholesale account.

Pros and Cons of Shipping Your Vinyl Records Using UPS

ProsCons
Very fast shippingHigher cost
Several options and speed
Free pack pickup
Customer service
Tracking information included

Steps For Using UPS For Your Records

  1. Package your records according to the instructions given earlier in this article.
  2. You can then go to the UPS website to pick a shipping method or you can bring your properly packaged vinyl record to the local UPS store and purchase it through them. If you bring your record locally they will even properly package it for you for a small fee.
    1. If you go in person be sure to already have your addresses written on your package or have it handy for the UPS worker. This is really just to keep things quick for the UPS worker. Let them know which method you prefer to send your package with.
    2. If you use their website you can choose to have it picked up if you are a business or drop it off at a local UPS Store or dropbox. If you need to find a drop-off location use this awesome tool on their website

Would We Ship Using UPS For Records?

So this is again about cost and personal preference. If you want to use UPS for your shipping that is ok and you will likely be happy. Just make sure to bring your cost down that you sign up for an account with them for reduced shipping if you are a business. Just know if you need the cheapest shipping this is not going to be your option. We would definitely use UPS for shipping out vinyl records if the money was in the budget and we had wholesale rates.

Shipping Vinyl Records FedEx

We do not personally have experience with shipping vinyl records using FedEx but we have shipped other things using FedEx. What we can say is they always did a great job in those times. Unlike UPS they do not have any cool posts or things to say about shipping your vinyl records with them. This does not mean they will not or can not do it just that they likely do not see the need to address the topic.

Records Stored Upright

Why Ship Your Records Using FedEx?

There are many reasons why to choose FedEx and UPS for things of higher value or faster shipping speeds. Much like UPS, FedEx gets them there generally safely and quickly. Any time we have had an issue with a package they have swiftly moved to help us make it right. The issue here is like USPS Priority Mail the rates are higher if you do not have a wholesale account.

Pros and Cons of Shipping Your Vinyl Records Using FedEx

ProsCons
Very fast shippingHigher cost
Several options and speed
Free pack pickup
Customer service
Tracking information included

Steps For Using FedEx For Your Records

  1. Package your records according to the instructions given earlier in this article.
  2. You can then go to the FedEx website to pick a shipping method or you can bring your properly packaged vinyl record to the local FedEx store and purchase it through them. 
    1. If you go in person be sure to already have your addresses written on your package or have it handy for the FedEx worker. This is really just to keep things quick for the FedEx worker. Let them know which method you prefer to send your package with.
    2. If you use their website you can choose to have it picked up if you are a business or drop it off at a local UPS Store or dropbox. If you need to find a drop-off location use this awesome tool on their website

Would We Ship Using FedEx For Records?

Much like UPS and USPS Priority Mail, this would depend on the cost and speed. Unless the budget is there it makes it difficult to use. They do also offer a wholesale account like UPS where you could get discounted shipping but unless you need faster shipping or have something of higher value this may not be budget-friendly

How To Ship Vinyl Records? What Would We Use To Ship Vinyl Records?

So there you have it, a breakdown of options for shipping your records. You may find yourself asking what we would use to ship vinyl records. The answer is USPS Media Mail. Hands down the value to cost ratio is the best and most shipments will be received in 3-5 days. This is an amazing value for only $3-$5 with a tracking number included. At the end of the day, you will have to decide if you are willing to spend the extra money to speed up the process. For us Media Mails speed for the most part is satisfactory and the cost is great for being able to pass some savings to your customers. 

Happy listening, and we hope you enjoyed the read.

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