Friday, October 21, 2011

Lowering the Cost of Shipping to Hawaii

Living on Maui is expensive enough without the added hassles of getting things shipped here. Some companies offer free shipping deals, but when you read the fine print, the offer only applies to the 48 contiguous states. Shoots! (Local lingo for "that sucks.") That cuts out Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico... Some companies don't even offer shipping to Hawaii except with UPS or FedEx. That also sucks - because then the shipping by UPS or FedEx is only by air... not by boat... and the cost is pretty exorbitant. The easiest way is just to avoid companies which only ship by FedEx or UPS. But sometimes that's not possible. 

So, here are two solutions to check out next time you have to order something on the mainland and the company wants to send it by UPS or FedEx.  Both services are similar in that they have a ground address located somewhere in the mainland US, on the West Coast. You have your item sent to that West Coast address, and then the shipping company will send it to your Hawaii address.

1.  This outfit is based on Oahu. You need to become a member first, for a fee of $20 or more depending on your needs, and then your item will be mailed to your Maui address. UNLESS you are arranging for something by ocean freight, in which case you will need to get it arranged to come to Maui.  This service offers transport of large items, not just itty bitty packages.

2. Go to the Postal Shop in Haiku or Makawao. Owner Greg Aguera has a new shipping service that will send your item directly to your Maui address. You do NOT have to live in Haiku or Makawao. You can live anywhere on Maui. You have to sign up first, before sending anything to the forwarding center on the mainland. Make sure to call 808-572-3088 to sign up first. You will be billed for the postage from the West Coast to your address plus a service fee of roughly $5-9. This service is great if you can get free shipping to the West Coast. There is no membership fee. I asked Greg for a website, but um... I couldn't find it on the flyer, so I am scanning and including the flyer below. Oh, just talked with Greg: there is a website but not on the flyer:

This service is NOT for huge ocean freight containers... since the items are mailed by US Postal Service from the West Coast.

 We just ordered a part for something that broke... Things like appliances can break down quicker here than in other places.  I call it the physics of "Maui entropy." The company only shipped by UPS... They said they had a really good rate with UPS and said the cost would be about $30... NO, it was more like $50.  The shipping with the Postal Shop mail forwarding service would probably not have saved us any money in that we would have still had to pay postage + their service charge on top of UPS ground shipping to Oregon. But if there's free shipping to the West Coast, then this is a great option for next time.


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