Shipping and transporting luxury timepieces isn’t hard at all once you understand best practices and what pitfalls to avoid.
Whether you’re transporting $2K watches domestic, or $200K watches internationally, there are ways to protect yourself and make it very cost effective and easy on yourself.
The point of this article is to educate you on these best practices, hacks, and things to avoid in hopes that you won’t be too fearful about the process. After enough practice, you’ll be a pro in no time, and always feel confident making deals happen even if you never have seen the other counterparty before.
What NOT To-Do:
- At all costs it’s best to avoid basic or government run shipping services like the United States Postal Service (USPS). These logistics companies are not rewarded by their ability to deliver on time, securely, accurately, or on any performance for that matter. This is a huge issue when it comes to the watch trading game. Where promised timelines are paramount, and losing a watch can mean the difference between your expected $1500 profit or a $15K loss. Assuming the watch was that value. Basic shipping entities are the worst option for you because they are slow, careless, and don’t specialize in expensive asset transport. Their options for insuring the timepiece in full are also very limited and not beneficial for you financially.
- Throw the watch and/or watch set into the box loosely. Packages are constantly thrown around in transport, and will get damaged if you don’t pack the watch in right and securely. Use bubble wrap, packing paper, or other shipping supplies to make sure it’s nice and safe
- Ship a watch without requesting an adult signature or Hold at Location with Adult signature. If you don’t, logistics companies can leave the watch on the doorstep, and out in the open for anyone to steal. Also, it’s as bad as sometimes them just not dropping it off and then updating the tracking saying the did leave it at the location
- Do not ship to unverified addresses if you’re going through eBay or Chrono24 or PayPal. These addresses that have not been verified are not protected under the terms and conditions of these platforms and so if the deal ends up being a scam or a package gets lost you get no protection.
- Skimp out on insurance coverage. It’s not wise to try to save a few dollars on shipping by under valuing the watch that’s in the package. Always insure for at minimum your cost. This way if anything goes wrong you will get your money back as long as you follower the shipping guidelines from the insurance company
- Sign-up for a third party insurance company like IFS Inforsure that will cover the costs of the timepieces being shipped. They’re much cheaper than going direct through companies like UPS and FedEx and offer customer support service to ensure your watches arrive safe
- Use a private shipping company with proven results to deliver on-time that offers more premium options like “Priority”. This level or promptness and care will ensure the shipping company has less room for error to lose a package. None are perfect but it’s best to be on the safer side with the company that lives and dies profit wise by its ability to perform. The ones that I prefer are FedEx and DHL. Then UPS after that. There may be some international logistics companies that work well, but for the most part those are the major ones. Again don’t use government or slow companies like USPS
- Double box and pack your watches so that if the package is intercepted or interfered with you are covered by insurance. Make sure you read the insurance company’s info about what’s covered before you do so.
- Whether shipping domestic or international, I always recommend choosing the priority overnight option. This gets the watch there quickest. Another tip that helps is always drop off the package yourself. Don’t schedule a pick up if possible. Get a drop-off receipt for proof of shipping , send the buyer the tracking info immediately, and also aim to drop off at a Hub Center location. By that I mean not an ancillary branch of FedEx for example but a shipping center. One where all the packages come to at the end of the day before being flown out.
- When shipping internationally. Always make sure you fill out all of the appropriate customs forms and commercial invoices. There are steps in the process to ensure delivery is as quick and painless as possible. Using services like IFS can help, and representatives at FedEx and UPS can typically guide you as to what they need signed and done. Ensure you’ve taken proper steps and done due diligence so that you understand the person receiving the watch is legit and you won’t run the risk of losing money