USEFUL TIPS

GETTING IT TO ME

  • We do not post the address on this website because we do not accept shipments from unregistered shippers. Please retain the address sent to you for future reference.  

  • Getting your packages to us is your responsibility. Always track your packages until you receive an email from our warehouse acknowledging that we are in possession of it.  You are the only one that knows what packages you sent so make sure you get an email for each package you want forwarded to Costa Rica. If you have a delivery confirmation from your vendor or the carrier but have not received the email from Island Bargains (please allow them one business day to get it to you) you can contact me with the tracking number, the date/time delivered and the contents. I will locate it and independently confirm its receipt.

  • Don't wait until the last minute. Be aware that packages arriving very late on the last 2 days may not be received into inventory in time to make the load, particularly if there is any problem with the addressing.

  • Make sure you use the exact name we have registered for you, exactly as presented in my introductory email. If you wish to use a different name or a different email just let me know.


PACKING

  • Cardboard boxes are designed to 'contain' your goods and not to bear weight. There is no piece of advice I can offer that is more important. What's more, in our tropical environment, they will lose whatever weight bearing structural capacity they might have had when you packed them. This is important; it is the contents that will bear ALL weight stacked on top -- and keep in mind, your boxes will go into a container stacked to the ceiling, front to back with no guarantees as to where it will be in the stack. Sticks of wood cut to stand in the corners and plywood or extra layers of cardboard fitted in the top will go a long ways in distributing weight and protecting contents. A second box that fits inside the first is helpful but may not add as much structural or weight bearing capacity as you might hope.

  • Please keep in mind that while a cardboard box twice as big may hold double the volume it does NOT hold double the weight. In fact it may actually hold less weight.

  • Remember that you are billed for maximum outside dimensions. If the box balloons outward that becomes the billed dimension.

  • Bubble wrap is a shock absorber only. It does not resist pressure nor deflect blows.

  • Wood crates are ideal but expensive.  

  • Large crates can be built onto a pallet, incorporating the pallet as the bottom. If this is your intention make sure your plywood sides do not cover the forklift/pallet jack entrances in the pallet. It is structurally best if the sides actually set on top of the pallet

  • If you build your own crate without a pallet then skids should allow 4 inches of clearance and be spread far enough apart for pallet jacks and forklifts.

  • A less expensive alternative to a wood crate is a gaylord. A gaylord is a pallet sized, 3/4 inch thick corrugated box used by importers of everything from clothes to auto parts.  They can usually be found used on Craigslist for $20 or less without the pallet.  Look for the square cornered variety. Many have 45 degree corners for structural integrity but that makes for wasted space that you pay for but cannot effectively use.  Most do not have tops.  Plywood can be cut to outside dimensions of the gaylord and long screws run down into the corrugation holes. You do not need to secure it more than that. If you do not need the full height you can cut them off easily with a saw or score and fold over to make flaps that can be taped or shrink wrapped down, or screwed to a wood top.

  • D-Containers are another pallet sized alternative and can be purchased new for around $50 including pallet. They are single or double strength cardboard walls stood up in a stapled cardboard tray and fitted with an inverted matching tray as the lid, and they usually include the pallet.  They do not have the weight bearing capacity or structural integrity of a gaylord but are very effective at containing your personal effects and fully utilizing shipping volume. If this is your choice I recommend that 2x2s or 2x4s be secured into the corners, and maybe stood up in the middle, for extra vertical load bearing capacity. Plywood fitted into the top and supported by your new wood corners will also help to distribute loads. Liberal use of shrinkwrap is also recommended. Again, if it bows out on the sides that will become your billed dimension.

  • Do not make boxes and crates intentionally difficult to open by inspectors.  It will not deter them, only frustrate -- and a frustrated customs agent is not your friend. To this end, properly constructed crates only need a couple screws to adequately secure the lid in place.

  • Be cognizant of weight.  Very heavy boxes will always go on the bottom. If your very heavy contents cannot bear to be at the bottom of 8 feet of cargo then your packaging must be designed to bear that weight instead.

  • While we bill on the basis of volume, freight companies actually use a complex formula that considers weight and volume. If you are shipping pallets across country you should use a reputable freight company or broker that can help guide you.

  • Fully Assembled Furniture can be particularly voluminous. Please remember, you will be billed for the maximum outside dimensions.  "Flat packed" furniture such as Ikea or disassembled furniture is usually much more cost effective.

  • Items that are strapped or shrink-wrapped to a pallet will include the pallet in the billed dimensions. For example; a 200 lb BBQ box that measures 34x38x24 tall, if fastened to a pallet, will be billed at 40x48x30 tall. If that same BBQ is not fastened to a pallet but it needs a pallet for shipping then the billing dimension will be the box dimensions plus a flat $75 pallet charge is added for the space that the pallet consumes that would otherwise be sold for other packages.