How to Ship Your Flute
Regular annual maintenance of your flute or piccolo by an experienced technician will keep your instrument in top playing condition. In many cases, this will require shipping your instrument to a technician specializing in handmade flutes and piccolos. Here are some steps you can take to make this process simple for you and safe for your instrument.
Scheduling Your Repair
Most repair technicians schedule appointments in advance. This allows the technician to complete your repair and return it to you in a timely manner. Please contact your technician to schedule an appointment prior to shipping your flute.
After scheduling your repair, plan to ship your instrument to arrive the day before repair is planned. It is preferable to avoid weekend in-transit dates. Having your package sit in a warehouse over a weekend usually is not good for the instrument, especially if the weather is cold and you are shipping a wooden flute or piccolo. In the case of a wooden instrument, you may want to schedule your repair during mild months as opposed to the winter.
Identify Your Property
When preparing to ship your instrument, include a note of identification inside your flute case including your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address if applicable. Having identification inside the case will help to identify your property should the exterior of the package be defaced or the package misrouted. This information also provides identification of your property for your technician and a means with which your technician can contact you. If you prefer to have your instrument returned to a separate address (such as a work address), make a note of this as well.
It is helpful to include a note for your technician outlining any problems your instrument is having and what your expectations are. Your technician will contact you upon receipt of your instrument regarding repairs needed, estimates and return delivery time.
Packing Your Instrument
Safety for your instrument is a priority when packing for shipment. Options available for safe packing include:
Custom shipping box
Custom shipping boxes are made specifically for shipment of flutes and piccolos. The box is rectangular in shape designed with several inches of foam rubber on all sides of the instrument for maximum protection. This relatively compact carton is less expensive to ship than larger boxes. Miyazawa Flutes, Ltd. offers fine custom boxes to our repair customers.
Your own packaging
If a custom flute box is not an option, you may package the instrument yourself. In this case, use a sturdy box large enough to accommodate 6 to 8 inches of crumpled newspaper or packing material on all sides. You may add layers of bubble wrap around your instrument case to provide further protection. When taping the box, use tape specifically designed and marketed as "packaging tape."
Shipping store or professional packaging
There are shipping companies that specialize in both packing and shipping. This is a convenient service as they will securely pack and ship your instrument, but you may pay a premium for such service. These costs may be added to shipping fees and to shipping insurance.
Not all shipping companies are the same. Depending on your situation and location, prices may vary between companies. It may be worth your time to shop around and find the best price as you would do for any other product or service. Some available choices include:
- Federal Express (FedEx) – We use this service for the majority of our shipping needs. Extremely reliable with many shipping options. Offering Saturday delivery service for residential addresses with no additional charge.
- United Parcel Service (UPS) – Many shipping options with good prices for insurance. Offering Saturday delivery service with an additional charge.
- U.S. Postal Service (USPS) – Usually has convenient locations for drop off. They also offer Saturday delivery with the Express Mail Option.
- Airborne Express
Insurance - Protecting Your Property
Be sure to protect your valuable instrument. Most homeowner's policies do not cover instruments during shipping. Check with your agent to learn the terms of your policy.
If you are a member of the National Flute Association, you are eligible to purchase insurance through the Clarion insurance company. This insurance provides coverage during travel and/or shipment of your instrument.
Most shipping service companies offer insurance. Please contact your service of choice for details on purchasing insurance for shipments.