How to Ship Vinyl Records: 7 Key Tips
When You Start Moving Fragile Records From One Place to the Next, It’s Easy to Get Concerned About Their Safety.
Shipping fragile items like records takes some intention, knowledge and thought. Putting these seven helpful tips into practice when shipping your vinyl records will put your mind at ease. When you approach record shipping the right way, you will know your records are safe, well-packaged and ready to head to their new home.
These tips cover the bases of the essentials of record packaging, as well as how to ship records in a cost-effective and responsible way. After reading, you’ll feel more comfortable than ever about shipping your records. There is a lot more to shipping records well than some might think. A record is precious cargo and the more care you put into the process, the better the outcome will be.
1. Wrap the Vinyl in Plastic
When you are shipping a record to someone, presentation is essential. Whether it’s a gift or returning a record to someone you borrowed it from, one way to improve your record’s presentability is wrapping it.
When you pick up a new record from the store, it’s typically packaged in shrink wrap. For wrapping your own records at home, this can be difficult to replicate, but it’s not the only packaging option. Some record stores put records in plastic sleeves that function like slipcovers, sliding over the outer jacket of the record. A plastic sleeve protects the jacket, the vinyl, and any other fragile items like lyric sheets or inserts.
Even this little display of effort takes your shipping job to the next level. It shows you value the person receiving the record and want to give them the best possible experience. And it’s always best to show the record itself the respect it deserves.
To keep the record itself safe, make sure to remove it from its jacket before packing. The record or records inside should have their own individual sleeves inside. Place these carefully on top of the jacket, then put all these pieces together inside your choice of either shrink wrap or a protective sleeve.
Packaging the discs outside of the jacket adds an extra protective element to your packaging. Shipping your record in the jacket puts it at risk of being scuffed in transit. If you want to be extra careful, you can even wrap the jacket, discs and any other inserts and lyrics sheets individually.
2. Use a Vinyl-Specific Package
Instead of trying to repurpose an old cardboard box or pick up a multipurpose shipping package, make use of boxes that were designed for shipping vinyl records. These unique boxes are specifically made to keep records safe while in transit. They typically include a buffer layer of space between the record and the outer layer of the box.
A set of vinyl record mailers can be easily purchased online for a little over a dollar per box. This will not significantly affect your shipping costs and will keep your packaging of records consistent and reliable. Using a nice box for any shipment also helps make your presentation better. Who wouldn’t want to receive a record already packed in a beautiful container?
Vinyl packages can be purchased in bulk. Typically, the more you buy, the lower the price you pay per package. If you are sending a large collection of records, you’re in luck. Buy your packing supplies in bulk and you’ll likely save money.
3. Use Bubble Wrap or Cardboard to Reinforce the Package
Adding reinforcements to each package guarantees that your records arrive unbent and protected from any accidental drops or jostles. The added stability provided by reinforcing material is another helpful means of protecting and caring for your records.
As with any other fragile item, shipping a vinyl record safely means making sure the record is packed snugly. Bubble wrap can help with this because of its flexibility and soft, harmless texture. There is virtually no way to damage the surface of your record, especially when you have already made use of a protective sleeve.
Similar to record mailers, bubble wrap and cardboard reinforcers can be purchased for cheaper in bulk. Again, if you plan on shipping a lot of records or you have a large collection, this may help you to save money, all while treating your vinyl records the way they deserve to be treated.
4. Put a “Fragile” Label on the Package
This is an essential step in the process of protecting your record shipments. Records are precious cargo and should be labeled accordingly, instructing anyone handling them to use care. In situations where you are shipping high-value records, it is also beneficial to add package insurance. Since records do not weigh much, this extra step does not add a significant amount to the cost of shipping.
Regardless of whether you add insurance to your record shipments, make sure to label them as fragile. If you want to level up your presentation, get a roll of “fragile” labels instead of writing one yourself. As with using a plastic sleeve and a record mailer, using premade “fragile” labels levels up each shipment’s presentability.
5. Handle Shipping Costs Wisely
Remember that even shipping something as light as a record is going to add to the cost of the record. Make sure that you take this into account next time you offer to send your buddy a few records— maybe you can split the shipping costs.
Some record websites will ask you to either add a flat rate for shipping or to include the cost of shipping in your record’s price tag. However, other websites will calculate shipping costs based on the buyer’s location. Make sure that you know which kind of shipping costs you’ll be paying before you actually send out your records.
The cost of shipping can vary dramatically depending on how far you have to ship a record. In addition, some records will vary in shipping cost based on weight. Some vinyl records weigh twice as much or more as others. This is especially true of double LPs.
6. Add a Thank-You Note
When shipping records from your personal collection to a new owner, a great way to go above and beyond is to add a handwritten thank-you note or personal message to each package. This may be happy birthday wishes, a good luck gift, or even just a simple hello. Regardless of what you say, your recipient will be happy that you thought of them. Your friends or family members will appreciate this gesture, and they’ll know that you’re trusting them to give this record a new home. Like the other tips on this list, a handwritten note adds an additional element of presentation and care to your record shipment.
7. Be Communicative With Customers
No matter what you’re shipping your records for, communication is key. After a purchase, reach out to the recipient to let them know that a package will be coming, even if you don’t want to tell them what it is. Provide details about shipping and estimated delivery dates as they come.
Doing this can help to prevent any damage to the records if they’re left outside or in a P.O. box after delivery. You definitely don’t want the package to be caught outside in the rain, especially after you’ve put all this effort into shipping it safely! You want to make sure that a record makes its way to a safe home as soon as possible.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you’ve never shipped vinyl records before and feel overwhelmed by the tips listed above, fear not. The more you do it, the more familiar and comfortable the process gets. Like so many other things, getting record packaging and shipping down takes practice. Don’t let your nervousness hold you back from sending your friend the perfect gift (or ordering one from us!).
There are so many ways to protect vinyl records while shipping as long as you are careful, so don’t hesitate to send or order some. With so many ways that you personally can safely ship vinyl records, you just know that we, as experts, know how to ship them just right. Now that shipping records is so east, you get to watch as favorites from your record collection become prized pieces of others’ collections or grow your own collection.