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Best Practices for Mailing in your Film

Discussion in 'PHOTRIO Advertisers Forum' started by NortheastPhotographic, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. NortheastPhotographic

    NortheastPhotographic Advertiser

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    For many of us, having to mail your film is a new and risky-seeming experience. But there are a few ways to minimize your worries by following these best practices.
    • Do trust the postal service. Lost packages are exceedingly rare, and our package acceptance system is completely risk free!
    • Don't use a shipping service that can't be tracked.
    • Do take advantage of USPS flat rate boxes.
    • Don't pack your film in a bag, envelope, or bubble style mailer. Some sorting facilities use rollers and they will literally pop out rolls of film.
    • Do seal your film in a ziplock to guard against any form of water damage.
    • Don't pack your box with too much empty space, this can lead to the box getting crushed and developing a hole. Stuff it with grocery bags or newspaper.
    • And finally Do clearly label your package with a return address, and include a completed order form inside so that we can follow your instructions and get in touch with you if need be.
    We haven't had a client experience a package loss yet, and if you follow these guidelines you can be as sure as possible that your film will arrive safely.

    If you're in Maine, contact us to set up a drop off!

    More info at Dead Link Removed
     
  2. Good advice.
     
  3. wyofilm

    wyofilm Subscriber
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    While I agree with most of the above, usps dependability is geographically variable. If this is surprising to you, then you don't have anything to worry about. For the rest of us, ups and fedex is the way to go.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    NortheastPhotographic

    NortheastPhotographic Advertiser

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    If you've had bad experiences with your local branch, then certainly defaulting to FedEx and UPS is just fine!
     
  5. AgX

    AgX Member

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    How to send it then ??

    A address sticker on the plastic container? A cardboard box?
    As long as I remember for sending in consumer films the manafacturers or industrial labs offered bags.
     
  6. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Tapes along two directions of a bag likely would avoid film containers popping out as you described.
     
  7. lantau

    lantau Subscriber
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    My lab is providing plastic mailing bags. I put in a cardboard sheet to make it keep its shape. When I put in enough films to get close to capacity it's a pretty stable entity. Without the sheet it's just a wobbly something. I wouldn't be worried about 135 cartridges, but I am a bit worried about 120 rollfilm. Once I mailed the films in the bag only, no sheet, and everything worked out fine. Shipping films this way costs €2.45 in postage. Expensive enough!

    A flat box, just big enough for film, would cost the same postage, but I'd need to buy those boxes somewhere. Over in the US using a USPS flat rate box for $7.15 would really take the fun out of it.
     
  8. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member
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    See prior tip - box, cardboard.
     
  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber
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    Don't rely on stick on return address labels that can get separated from the box or order form.
    Courtesy of the late, lamented North Vancouver Kodak Canada processing lab, and their un-adressed film department :D.
     
  10. darkroommike

    darkroommike Subscriber

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    I now have a complete darkroom up and running again but when I sent film out I used multiple "security blankets"
    1. Each roll of film or box gets it's own mailing label, I get hundreds of mailing labels from non-profits soliciting donations all the time. I used to print our labels using my printer and would probably resort to that again if I were sending in a lot of film.
    2. Put a piece of tape around the label for better security.
    3. Put all the rolls in a Tyvek envelope, seal it, and then reseal it with tape. Don't make it air tight just very secure.
    4. Write your return address on the envelope with a permanent marker in addition to the labels.
    5. Place everything inside a bubble wrap envelope and put that inside a mailing box. USPS "if it fits it ships" or other (some labs will provide prepaid shipping boxes, some of those boxes are very good, some are junk). Print your address on both the inside and the outside of the box as well as the label.
    6. Tape the label down with heavy duty packing tape.
    7. Ship with tracking.
    If you are shipping off a wedding don't ship all your film in the same box and don't ship all you film out on the same day. It's always a good idea to let the lab process some film in each of 2-3 batches rather than run all the film at the same time, Processing machines break and go out of control, too.

    If the film is from something a little less mission critical than a wedding, you could back off on some of the measures taken.
     
  11. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    Box? I shipped all my Kodachromes to Kodak for years using that little bag. They always got there and back. Those flat rate boxes are economical for heavy stuff; not so much for light weight items. Most people use them because they are convenient, not because they are economical. You can ship with tracking, but it is more expensive than simple first class. I do agree that you should use a return address, but that's sort of obvious, isn't it? Isn't the OP just advertising his processing business?
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber
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    In its day, Kodachrome (and other film) mailers were mailed in huge volumes. US (and Canadian) postal services had special handling systems set up for them, along with preferential postal rates.
    Those handling systems are long gone.
    It is best to adapt to the systems that are prevalent now.
    In Canada, with the demise of the special postal rates, we have to send film as a parcel - it is too thick to meet the "envelope" specifications - and it costs several dollars to send a single roll.
     
  13. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member
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    I, too, still use the mailing envelopes provided by a specific mail order processor and have never had a problem. I heed all of the suggestions in Post #1 except that to use a box.
     
  14. AgX

    AgX Member

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    He is advertizer at Apug, this is the advertizers' forum, and he states what he expects his customers to do.
     

  15. I cover those with clear plastic shipping tape to make sure that it stays on.
     
  16. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    My apologies to the OP. Thanks for supporting APUG.
     
  17. Chuckwade87

    Chuckwade87 Subscriber

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    As a Letter Carrrier for the USPS, please use a box in conjunction with your envelope. I've seen some terrible things happen to parcels.....

    Especially the little plastic mailers from China, they can get caught/stuck very easily.

    Better to err on the side of caution.

    Honestly, darkroommike has the best method.
     
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