Shipping and Handling Charges
“Why are my shipping charges so high?” This is a common question, unfortunately heard more often these days. Below is a bit of an explanation of our shipping charges and how we arrive at them.
Please note: Shipping and handling includes more than just paying for freight or postage. There are fixed expenses involved in preparing your order that someone has to pay. Production costs are incorporated in the price of the plant, but shipping and associated handling costs must be passed on to those that use these services. Your order is handled in an efficient and professional manner to hold down costs and guarantee safe arrival (see limitations below). What follows is an outline of some of the process involved, to further explain what is involved in shipping your plant order.
Handling is basically processing your order, and includes: Paperwork initiation, pulling your order, cleaning and preparing the plants to ship, wrapping the plants, packing the plants in new boxes with appropriate clean packing and insulation, finishing the paperwork and sending the box to one of the carriers. To reach this step, as many as five or more people may take part in the various stages of the process.
- Paperwork includes your initial order, a pick sheet, an invoice and any required state or federal stamps and/ or permits (except for a phytosanitary certificate) as well as indicated care sheets.
- Preparing a plant to ship includes inspecting and cleaning, securing the soil in the pot with paper and tape or wrapping the root ball in plastic or bare-rooting the plants as may be required. The plant is then wrapped in paper, with shredded paper added for padding if needed to avoid blemishes.
- Packing is done in new boxes for all plant shipments, with shredded paper or “Styrofoam peanuts” added to fill voids and insulate the box. In winter we may add additional layers of paper, Styrofoam sheets or even include chemical heaters to maintain safe temperatures in transit. Note that the Styrofoam peanuts are recyclable as potting media!
Cold Weather shipments will be held until night time temperatures are above 40° F for 3-5 consecutive days depending on the shipping destination. Please be aware of temperatures in your area when ordering plants!
Shipping includes freight destination charges, residential surcharges and fuel surcharges as billed by the freight company. No one needs to tell you that these costs are steadily going up. Tropiflora uses boxes sized to fit the plants being shipped as closely as possible, with many different sizes in stock. Shipping charges are determined by destination zone and type of service you choose. Most carriers base charges on DIM or dimensional weight, which is explained below.
Orders are shipped in the same sequence as we receive them. Weather permitting; your order will be shipped within a few days to a week. Depending somewhat on the shipping method you choose, we tend to ship orders by ground means early in the week (Monday-Wednesday), and air shipments to arrive by Friday. When the normal delivery would require an over the weekend delay, we often hold the shipment until the following Monday or Tuesday. Please note that we may delay shipment of your order if there is a transient severe weather event that may pass soon, giving safer passage. You will be notified if any delays are necessary on our end.
- Dimensional weight is used by all commercial carriers and the Post Office and is calculated on the volume of an object (the box) and may exceed actual weight. (For plants it almost always does.) For example, one of our common box sizes is 23x7x7 inches. The actual weight of the box is .8 pounds or eight tenths of a pound. However, its dimensional weight is 6 pounds. Even if we sent the box empty, we would be charged for 6 pounds of weight. To calculate DIM weight; divide the volume of an object in cubic inches by 194 and round it up to the next whole pound. Our example box has a volume of 1,127 inches, which divided by 194 equals 5.81, or rounded up, 6 pounds. Don’t worry, we do this for you; we only want you to understand the process.
Guaranteed safe arrival is included free in our service, provided that you choose a reasonably suited shipping service. Tropiflora will guarantee that your shipment will arrive in good condition, any time of year, provided that you choose a sufficiently rapid form of delivery. We are in Florida, delivery by ground in state is reasonable year round, however if you are in a far away zone such as a northern or western state or are ordering during very hot or cold weather, and insist on ground service or Priority Mail, your safe arrival guarantee will be voided. We will replace any damaged plants, free, regardless if the damage was caused by a third party such as the shipper, as long as the shipping method was a responsible choice. (You may be asked to file a claim with the carrier, but we will back it up regardless.)
Please note: All guarantees as mentioned above apply to retail orders only. Please see our guarantee section under the ‘Info’ tag for more details.