A secret, fast and inexpensive way to ship

greyhound_puppyIt’s amazing the things a body can forget if you live long enough. I should have told you about this eons ago. There is a surprisingly inexpensive and often faster shipping option other than FedEx, UPS, DHL and USPS that you might not know about. Under certain conditions, you can get a package to a customer (or a contractor) in a matter of hours and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. But first, how I came to remember it because that will explain this how this largely unknown shipping method can save you when you’re in a real bind.

Last Saturday, Mr. Fashion-Incubator drove down to our house in Las Cruces (that we still haven’t sold). A nice lunch and 250 miles later, he called me with the news that he forgot the house keys. What a quandary! I dimly remembered there was a solution for this mess, there was a way I could get those keys to him in just a few hours without having to drive them down myself. Can you guess? Ah come on, the photo* is a clue!

greyhound_logoYes, Go Greyhound! Greyhound offers package express services. Did you know? In fact, I suggest applying for a commercial shipping account ahead of time in case you ever need it because it may take a few days for them to get back to you. In my case, our problem was solved with a bus leaving for Las Cruces in 30 minutes.

The Greyhound representative followed up with me on Tuesday (I’d applied for a commercial account, I didn’t see an option for personal). He was particularly intrigued because I was (ostensibly) an apparel business. He told me that the apparel industry is a very good customer for them. I was very shocked when he rattled off the names of their three biggest customers. He said that greyhound shipping is very popular for apparel businesses because our boxes can be so big. He explained that their cost of service on over-sized packages (to include rolls of fabric and cut bundles being sent from a cutter to a contractor too -can you believe it?) was roughly half the cost of UPS and FedEx because those shippers also charge based on carton size. Namely, that half the charges for a standard shipper is based on size not weight. Greyhound only charges based on weight. Pretty wild, huh?

And like I said, I’d forgotten about this. I had a customer back in the mid 90’s who did all of her shipping on Greyhound. Who knows if this will work for you, the best way to know delivery times is to check the bus schedules for your desired delivery destination. Imagine how handy this could be; how many times have you arrived at a trade show without a critical item? Depending on where you and your item respectively are, you can get it faster and less expensively than it would cost to overnight it on the standard carriers. It won’t hurt to look into it; they also offer courier service if the package recipient can’t go to the station to retrieve the item. See the FAQ for more information and I hope this solves a problem for you some day.

*Have you ever been around greyhounds? There is a racetrack in southern NM so the greyhound rescue people are very active and we saw the dogs around town frequently. If you haven’t been around them, they are nothing like you’d imagine. They are the calmest, most even-tempered, quiet, low energy dogs I’ve ever seen. They are lazy! They aren’t called “forty-mile-per-hour couch potatoes” for nothing. Speaking of, they also steal. Couches. They love comfort.

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12 comments

  1. Theresa in Tucson says:

    Kathleen,
    we have a greyhound track here in Tucson and have an active rescue group as well. They are lovely dogs, my favorite mechanic has one. And you are right about the shipping. I had forgotten that they did that. Eons ago I knew someone in Texas who did all her shipping with Greyhound because they were cheaper and more dependable.

  2. oliviacw says:

    For certain routes, Amtrak can also be an effective option. They tend to only accept shipments at major stations, and of course have a more limited network than Greyhound. But they also charge by weight only, not size, and if you are going big city to big city, it works very well. My husband often ships things from, say, Portland OR to Los Angeles quite inexpensively.

  3. Quincunx says:

    Poot. Unattended parcels aren’t sent on my local bus service. The setter is not so useful as the greyhound. But if they’ll take attended oversized parcels, it’ll beat flying to a garment district for fabric shopping and having to mail the purchases home separately.

  4. Amanda says:

    Great post! I have been shipping things I forgot (usually on weekends home or spring break i college) somewhere else by greyhound for years! It’s a great way to get a box of line sheets that’s a short trip away (like the ones I left in philly that I needed for a trade show in new york).

    The only downside I’ve found is the necessity of conducting both ends of the transaction at the bus station. Good if I’m going to be meeting the package somewhere, but can be a challenge to convince a receiving party to go pick up the package from the greyhound station.

  5. Kathleen says:

    Olivia: when I was bitterly poor and moved from Austin to Arizona, I did the whole move on Amtrak. At 30 cents a pound, it was less expensive than a rental truck. You can do that when you’re still so young that you don’t own much more than books and clothes and even then I had tons of books. Coordinating drop off and arrival (days later!) was nerve-wracking. At that time they just offloaded your shipment and left it on the dock unattended… at least Greyhound tends parcels until someone comes to claim them.

    … Speaking of, the Amtrak move was a formative experience. When packing stuff every move since then, I ask myself if it is worth 60 cents a pound to move it.

  6. Kai Jones says:

    I have used Greyhound…and if you’re worried about a customer picking up at the bus station, hire a local messenger service in that town to pick up at the bus station and deliver to the customer. That’s what I usually did. Of course it assumes a big enough city to have messengers or cabs–I’ve used cabbies, too.

  7. Here is the info I got from Greyhound (sorry, meant to post this sooner)
    ————
    It was a pleasure speaking with you the other day.
    I have included some info about our services and the applications where we would be a good fit.
    Some of the companies we work with in the apparel industry…
    deleted big name #1
    deleted big name #2
    deleted big name #3
    deleted big name #4

    A. Most companies use us for our priority sameday and next day service. Commercial customers who ship with Greyhound can save 30% to 60% on priority shipments over other carriers.

    B. Oversize pieces are some of the common reasons why customers ship with Greyhound Package Express. A commercial customer can ship an item with dimensions of 30x47x82 up to 100lbs over 1,000 miles for less than $160.00.

    The typical charge with other carriers is around $300.00 to $500.00 or more depending on time in transit. Carriers calculate by dimensional weight which can turn a 40lb shipment into 1100lbs just based on the dimensions. Carriers do not like the bigger pieces because it does not fit in the conveyor belts, it requires special handling and takes up extra space in their trucks so therefore you pay a premium for these larger items.

    C. We have multiple schedules in major cities and in most surrounding areas including weekends and holidays. We have also have courier services that can pick up and deliver and build a route specific to your needs.

    I have attached some links to view and compare:
    GPX Locations:
    http://www.shipgreyhound.com/locations/locations.asp
    GPX Value:
    http://www.shipgreyhound.com/value/
    GPX Commercial Charge Account:
    http://www.shipgreyhound.com/my_account/creditapplication.shtml
    GPX Online:
    http://www.shipgreyhound.com/online/
    GPX Door to Door Service:
    http://www.shipgreyhound.com/partners/

    If you need additional information feel free to call me directly and let me know what I can do to help.

  8. Anka says:

    Great post! Thank you Kathleen. Do you happen to know if there are any European based coach companies to offer the same kind of services for this side of the Atlantic?

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