When you want to send something through the mail and it’s made of glass or porcelain or even ceramic, you also want to make sure it gets to its destination in one piece.
Therefore, you must pack it up correctly, and use as much bubble wrap or packing peanuts as you can. But can you also mark the outside of the box? Can you write fragile on a USPS box and ensure the package receives preferential treatment? Keep reading to find out!
Can You Write Fragile On a USPS Box In 2024?
You can write fragile on a USPS box, but that doesn’t always mean the package will receive the gentlest care while in transit in 2024. Customers might instead consider purchasing a “Fragile” sticker from USPS, though this does not ensure protection against damage either. Instead, customers are encouraged to purchase insurance as a backup in case damage occurs.
To learn more about how much a fragile sticker from USPS costs, if they actually protect your packages from rough handling, and even some best practices for shipping fragile items, keep reading!
How Much Is a Fragile Sticker From USPS?
Did you know you can purchase “Fragile” protection from the United States Postal Service?
For $12.15, you can add on Fragile special handling to your package to ensure that, while it’s within the USPS system at least, it is handled with a reasonable amount of care.
But what does that mean, exactly? Well, while there is no guarantee that your package will arrive with its contents fully intact, your parcel nonetheless receives “preferential handling.”
In other words, USPS would likely prevent package handlers from tossing or throwing the package, such as when it’s being loaded or unloaded from a truck.
As well, it would be reasonable to conclude that the sticker is going to work slightly better than just writing ‘fragile’ on the package, as you are actually paying for a service.
Does It Cost More to Put a Fragile Sticker On a Package?
It does cost more to put a fragile sticker on a package if you’re shipping with USPS.
In addition to your regular postage, you will pay an extra $12.15 currently in order to get a fragile sticker and for your package to receive preferential treatment on its journey.
Do Fragile Labels Protect Your Packages?
There is some debate over whether putting the Fragile sticker on your USPS box helps.
Since we can’t watch our packages as they go through every step of their journey to the destination, we have no way of knowing for sure.
Obviously, if it reaches the destination without anything broken, that’s a great thing – but was it due to the ‘fragile’ label purchased or written on the box?
This would be expected, but there are other ways you can ensure that your fragile items arrive in one piece, so let’s look at these in further detail:
There are a few different mail services that you can add on to help protect your fragile shipment, including the following:
- Insurance: You can add on up to $5,000-worth of insurance for most package services.
This ensures that even if the item doesn’t reach the destination in one piece, you will still receive compensation to go toward fixing it or replacing it.
The cost of adding on insurance is based on your estimate of how much the item is worth.
Therefore, the more you deem the item to be worth, the more you’ll pay (the most you can end up paying is about $70).
To see the pricing scale, visit this page.
- Registered Mail: This mail service is more about security, but it does ensure that your package, when it is moved anywhere, is moved by hand.
Packages are manually scanned (versus scanned by a machine) and then kept under lock and key until being placed on the next truck.
Like Insurance, its pricing rubric is based on the declared value of the item(s) contained within.
Possibly the best way to ensure that your items reach their destination without breaking is by packaging them up safely.
- Using a box that fits: Namely, not using a box that is too big for the item.
When you use a box that has a lot of open space, you’re creating opportunities for your fragile item to move around or get crushed.
Also, while bubble mailers can save you a lot in postage, they aren’t great for mailing fragile items.
Rather, you’ll want something with six sturdy sides encasing your item.
(On that note, if you’re sending something fragile, don’t reuse a box for this one; get a new one, as you’ll want the sturdiest possible box.)
- Wrapping up items: If you can, wrap up your items in bubble wrap or newspaper, anything that helps provide some cushion in case the worst should happen.
- Include packing peanuts or other materials inside: Even if your item fits relatively snugly within the box, it can’t hurt to add some packing peanuts or other materials.
This way, if the box gets smushed or dropped, there is more there to absorb the shock of the fall or to take the impact of the smushing.
How Do You Ship Glass With USPS?
It is possible to send glass via USPS, even glass bottles that are filled with non-hazardous liquids, but it does take some special planning.
The main takeaway is that you should place it in a container that is sealed and waterproof, and then place that inside the main package, with lots of cushioning materials.
As well, it would behoove you to write LIQUIDS on the box, as well as to purchase Fragile protection from USPS.
Overall, the combination of the two would send a good message to USPS that this is not a shipment they want to treat roughly.
You can write fragile on a USPS box, but it might be even more worthwhile to purchase USPS Fragile protection.
On top of that, you might be further ahead to add insurance to your shipment, in case of breakage, and always package your box safely and securely.