The absolute best shipping insurance is a properly packed container.  Keep in mind that, what ever is contained in the box, will be travelling hundreds, and/or thousands, of miles, before reaching target destination.  The package will experience many handling situations, from drop off at the shipping depot, to being pitched, from one shipping vessel, into another.  Finally, to be dropped of, and sometimes simply left, at the recipient's front door.  Be absolutely assured that, once the package is out of the seller's or buyer's sight, neither will have any control over what happens to it, during the course of its journey.  NONE!

Your package will be subjected to huge temperature swings.  Your package could well be subjected to enormous pressure differences.  Rough handling.  Rain and water damage.  Theft.  And even scams, at the receiving end.  The list of shipping hazards goes on and on.  As a shipper, one must be aware of these things and hope for the best, while planning for the worst, because your package will experience situations, you would never, knowingly, place your shipment in.

The first thing to be aware of, when shipping is the issue, is size/weight.  All shipping costs are based on these two fundamental parameters.  To those two, add distance.  So, the heaviest, biggest item, that travels the furthest, will cost the most to ship.  And, the numbers can go up quickly, finally reaching the point of No Go.  In other words, once a package weight and/or size limit is exceeded, the cost to ship will skyrocket.

A Peugeot PX10 can fit easily, into a full sized bicycle box, but it will be poorly packed and cost a fortune to ship.  With this in mind, the Peugeot must fit into a box size, defined by the black tape in the picture.  Any larger, and the price to ship will jump from two hundred dollars, to well over $700!  That second shipping cost is unacceptable, to most buyers, when it is an old bicycle being purchased.

Container size eligibility is determined by measuring length plus girth (Length + 2 x Height + 2 x Width = Girth).  For shipping companies, such as FedEx, or UPS, that number is usually 130".  For postal shipping, the max number will usually be 118".  And, for some countries, Australia first coming to mind, the max size for a postal shipment will be 114".  That last number makes it, all but, impossible to ship a bicycle, or frame set, since the box is just too small to contain either.

With this in mind, consider the Peugeot PX10 being shipped, from Canada, to Osaka, Japan.  The weight, of the 22lb 14oz bicycle and container, will be a constant (32 pounds), but the size of the box can be variable.  How does size impact shipping cost...

The thirty two pound package will measure a minimum of 40" in length.  The length can be altered, as required, but less than 40, might make it impossible to fit, the complete bicycle, into the box.  Be careful when selecting the best length.  Too small = won't fit and too big = costs too much to ship.

The width of the box should be no less than eight inches and need not be more than eight and a half inches, for most shipments of vintage road bicycles.  The width will remain the same (8") but the height will  change, in accordance with the package's contents.  In other words, the height of the bicycle, and/or the wheels, will determine final height. 

Let's see what happens, as the length of the box changes.  Keep in mind that the width (8") an the height (28") will not change.

40" long x 28" high x 8" wide = $199.00

42" long x 28" high x 8" wide = $204.00

44" long x 28" high x 8" wide = $209.00

45" long x 28" high x 8" wide = $221.00

46" long x 28" high x 8" wide = No Go because the box is too big, for Canada Post Surface shipments, the least expensive means to ship across the ocean.

So, ensure that, as a shipper, you know size and weight limits, before you offer to sell a bicycle or quote a selling/shipping/handling price.  And, know too, that there are additional shipping costs, to consider.

It costs a seller money to sell on-line.  It costs a seller money to pack up an item, be it big or small.  And, it costs money to deliver, that item same item, to an appropriate shipping service.  These are all handling costs, that the seller/shipper must pay - every time.

Consider the costs that add up.  Ebay and PayPal, charge close to five percent each, for items purchased and/or shipped.  Every item sold, through Ebay, and paid for with PayPal's service, costs the seller about ten percent of his profit.  No big deal, on an item costing twenty bucks, but a sizeable amount, when the item sold for a thousand dollars.

It costs little to package up a set of pedals, but considerably more when the item in question is large, like a bicycle.  Large items demand special containers, usually a bicycle box, that can often be obtained, usually free of charge, from a bicycle shop.  But it still costs money to get the box and bring it home.

Then there are several items one must have to pack.  Packing tape, a ruler, a sharp locking blade knife, tie wraps and an assortment of special items, used to help pack bikes.  It takes time, and money, to acquire all of these items.

And, to pack a frame set, or bicycle, takes quite a bit of time.  The PX10, in this example, took nearly six hours to tuck, securely, into its shipping container.  Some sellers might include this service for free, while others add on a handling fee.  The handling fee should be reasonable and not intended to help the seller make more money on a sale.  Sadly, many sellers take advantage of the handling fee.  It is up to the buyer to recognize these unacceptable shipping costs, before bidding on an item, not after!

Tracking a package's journey, to and from, is an important part of buying and selling on-line.  Most shipments will have a tracking number, or waybill number or invoice number that can be used to see where a package is, during its journey from and to.  This is a valuable tool, for both the seller and the buyer, to use.

Any shipped item can be, and should be, insured for damage and/or loss.  Insurance costs, like handling costs, can be passed on to the buyer.  And, for almost every single items sold, on the face of the planet, there is a handling cost - even for that can of soup, you intend to have for lunch.  Everything!

So don't feel bad, when an on-line seller attaches a handling fee, to his or her product or service.  He/she is not making money, by doing so - usually.  The seller is merely trying to cover costs for doing business, in a new and emerging business world, that makes us all importers and exporters, if we so choose.