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Thread: Aircraft Spruce shipping charges

  1. #1

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    Aircraft Spruce shipping charges

    I ordered $15 worth of nuts, washers and bolts from Aircraft Spruce Canada a couple of weeks ago. Weighed about nine ounces and the envelope was the size of my hand. They were shipped from Toronto to Kugluktuk. They wanted to charge me $63 for postage! The actual postage charge, confirmed by our local post mistress, was $17.

    Not the first time I have been ripped off by them, but I have little in the way of options and I guess they know that.
    Last edited by NunavutPA-12; 05-03-2021 at 03:37 PM.

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    It seems the shipping charges have nothing to do with shipping cost in my experience. We do about $10k/month with Spruce on average and while they do give us free ground with a minimum order, I am shocked with what the shipping amounts to. Next day shipping feels like a penalty call compared to our other vendors. I guess it is like on TV "plus shipping and handling charges". It is interesting though that several of our suppliers have flat rate second day and basic next day (within reasonable weight limits).
    Freight in general is adding up fast but everything else has gone up too.
    Heading up to AK in a few weeks and will be mostly fishing and goofing off, can't afford much in the way of building materials this spring. If I was just starting to build now, I wouldn't even start. Maybe in the fall it will be better.
    Ken
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  3. #3

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    I can understand a fee for "handling", but how long does it take to grab a handful of bolts, nuts and washers and put them in an envelope? Five minutes?

    I have a work-around, of sorts. That $63 postage charge goes to $17 if I ship to a friend in Yellowknife, 350 miles south (no roads). But then I have to get someone to hand-carry it on the sked flight to here. I save $45 doing it that way but it takes extra time to get here.

    I'd order more from Spruce if not for the outrageous shipping (postage) fees, which bear no resemblance to the actual postage charges.
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    Charlie Longley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Robbins View Post
    It seems the shipping charges have nothing to do with shipping cost in my experience. We do about $10k/month with Spruce on average and while they do give us free ground with a minimum order, I am shocked with what the shipping amounts to. Next day shipping feels like a penalty call compared to our other vendors. I guess it is like on TV "plus shipping and handling charges". It is interesting though that several of our suppliers have flat rate second day and basic next day (within reasonable weight limits).
    Freight in general is adding up fast but everything else has gone up too.
    Heading up to AK in a few weeks and will be mostly fishing and goofing off, can't afford much in the way of building materials this spring. If I was just starting to build now, I wouldn't even start. Maybe in the fall it will be better.
    Ken
    I’ve heard that lumber has almost doubled in some areas.

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    [QUOTE=NunavutPA-12;802922]I can understand a fee for "handling", but how long does it take to grab a handful of bolts, nuts and washers and put them in an envelope? Five minutes?

    Handling charge? Kinda like a DOC fee for autos.
    Maybe businesses should also have an employee fee, heating/cooling fee, business tax fee, counsultation fee, etc.
    Spruce is flat out gouging on freight and they know they can get away with it.
    "Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar"
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    Shipping... it’s just nuts �� these days.

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    So, momentary rant. Just had chimney work done, $600 charge for staging, advanced roof access. Guys show up and use a folding ladder.,.... When I pushed back, it started with “well, that’s just a standard charge”. When I said it sounded more like fraud or theft the charge was removed.
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    Funny - they ship to me for actual postage. You have to check the correct box.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    Funny - they ship to me for actual postage. You have to check the correct box.
    In my case the $63 shipping charge was for the CHEAPEST shipping method they offered (postal).

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    Aircraft Spruce shipping charges

    Quote Originally Posted by NunavutPA-12 View Post
    In my case the $63 shipping charge was for the CHEAPEST shipping method they offered (postal).
    When Canada opens their borders, price might go down... Just sayin. Not your fault or something you can control but lots of politics going on about cross border travel and commerce.

    Do you have a Canadian equivalent to buy AN hardware from? Might be better for you than ordering internationally.


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    I have always appreciated Spruce give me (in the USofA) the option to ship via US Mail, which is plenty fast enough and always the cheapest for smaller hardware items. My crane parts supplier on the other hand, HAS to ship via UPS, no matter if it's just a couple "special" O rings the size of a quarter, with the shipping charges being more than the parts cost. Been dealing with Spruce for about 40 years, and have no complaints other than a few minor glitches.
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    Shipping has gone nuts lately. I donít want to think what Iíve spent on my engine parts.


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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NunavutPA-12 View Post
    I ordered $15 worth of nuts, washers and bolts from Aircraft Spruce Canada a couple of weeks ago. Weighed about nine ounces and the envelope was the size of my hand. They were shipped from Toronto to Kugluktuk. They wanted to charge me $63 for postage! The actual postage charge, confirmed by our local post mistress, was $17.

    Not the first time I have been ripped off by them, but I have little in the way of options and I guess they know that.
    Have you called them. I have Jim Irwin's personal email address and if I don't get anywhere with his employees I contact him. He has helped all 3 times I have contacted him.

    Sold a Bungee Buddy tool to someone in Wasilla last week using my PayPal account. It shipped through PayPal via UPS to a PO Box. It gets up there and they say they can't deliver to that address. After using UPS chat feature and it timing out from their lack of response and a dropped phone call I finally got someone who could almost speak English. She suggested they leave it at their terminal in Anchorage. I said no. I had to pay them $25 rescheduling fee so they guy could get his tool when they excepted the address and then once it is in Alaska decide they cannot deliver it there. Sent them a very detailed email and got one back yesterday and they are refunding the $25. I know now no matter what the computer tells me not to ship UPS to a PO Box.
    Steve Pierce

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    Wonder what it cost if you had a friend in Chicago buy your stuff and drop mail it to you? Maybe same, maybe cheaper, not sure what crossing borders cost to mail?

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    40m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaisedByWolves View Post
    Shipping has gone nuts lately. I don’t want to think what I’ve spent on my engine parts.


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    Well try not to when you bill me for my condition inspection.

    From Genesis: "And God promised men that good and obedient wives would be
    found in all corners of the earth."

    Then he made the earth round... and He laughed and laughed and laughed!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    I know now no matter what the computer tells me not to ship UPS to a PO Box.
    I live in a small town, and my (rural) street address is a Private Road, so USPS cannot legally deliver to the house, only to a mailbox on a post at the nearest county-maintained road. That's about 3/4 of a mile from the house, and anything of value seems to mysteriously disappear from my locking mailbox before I can pick it up. (Local thief appears to have small hands and a skinny arm to reach into the box through the delivery slot.)

    I talked to our local postmaster about the problem of theft, compounded with companies that refuse to ship to a PO Box... He told me to use the post office's street address, with "apartment XXX" (with XXX being my PO Box number), and it would be acceptable to pretty much everyone. (Ironically, both UPS and FedEx will deliver to the PO Box address, but many of the folks using them will NOT allow that option.)

    Sure enough, anything I order with that address comes through just fine - USPS, UPS, or FedEx. (Haven't tried it with DHL, but they are not very commonly used out here anyway.)
    Jim Parker
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    Many corporate shipping managers don't know that they can get reduced rate structure through parcel carriers if they take the time to negotiate. If the shipper is a big enough player the carriers people will come to them seeking the deal, but smaller players can work the same thing. The carriers will cut each other's throats ( figuratively of course) too. I remember we had a 54% discount with UPS once - and DHL came in and undercut them. So we used DHL until somebody undercut them.

    So I'm guessing the Spruce people either don't know this - or more likely are such low volume low rate shippers that no one will play ball.

    Note - some freight is more desirable than others so it could also be that Spruce's isn't as desirable. For instance if Spruce's OSD rate is higher than standard - and the material shipped is typically higher dollar value - the carrier is increasing both exposure to risk and cost to resolve by merely accepting their freight. Lower rates are generally not going to happen when the carrier really doesn't want to take the risk.

    Of course that's all conjecture. One thing we do know is that if Spruce doesn't care or isn't aware the situation will never improve. Perhaps a query to them might be in order?
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  18. #18

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    We never use the parcel carriers here. They are way too expensive compared to Canada Post.

    I did contact them. I got the expected (stock) answer and when I rebutted their argument they did not respond again.

    In the days when a company had to actually put stamps on the package it was easy to see what they had paid for postage and compare that to what you were charged. But now, Canada Post just attaches a sticker that does not show the amount paid. But, when received, I can ask the postmistress to weigh the package and tell me what the company had actually paid. Invariably, in the case of Aircraft Spruce, the amount I'm charged is about four times their actual cost.

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    Marty57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimParker256 View Post
    I live in a small town, and my (rural) street address is a Private Road, so USPS cannot legally deliver to the house, only to a mailbox on a post at the nearest county-maintained road. That's about 3/4 of a mile from the house, and anything of value seems to mysteriously disappear from my locking mailbox before I can pick it up. (Local thief appears to have small hands and a skinny arm to reach into the box through the delivery slot.)

    I talked to our local postmaster about the problem of theft, compounded with companies that refuse to ship to a PO Box... He told me to use the post office's street address, with "apartment XXX" (with XXX being my PO Box number), and it would be acceptable to pretty much everyone. (Ironically, both UPS and FedEx will deliver to the PO Box address, but many of the folks using them will NOT allow that option.)

    Sure enough, anything I order with that address comes through just fine - USPS, UPS, or FedEx. (Haven't tried it with DHL, but they are not very commonly used out here anyway.)
    That's real interesting regarding USPS. I'm on a "flag lot" in an unincorporated area in CA. Our flag lot is 5 acres, subdivided into 4 homes, private road from the county maintained street to my house (about 300', paved and maintained by the homes on the private street). Our USPS box is also on a post at entrance to our private drive. When we get a larger package via USPS, they deliver it to our house and leave it by the front door. No issues with USPS or any of the commercial delivery services. Seems inconsistent but not surprised.

    Spruce has always been 1 day for UPS ground if I order before 3pm; we are about 250 miles from their CA facility. In the last year, that has changed. It's now 2 days, sometimes 3 for regular UPS ground and the price has gone up considerably. With so many people buying everything online these days; it's likely UPS, and other shippers, aren't giving the cost discounts they used to offer. USPS is less expensive but no telling how long those shipments will take these days.

    Marty57
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  20. #20
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NunavutPA-12 View Post
    We never use the parcel carriers here. They are way too expensive compared to Canada Post.

    I did contact them. I got the expected (stock) answer and when I rebutted their argument they did not respond again.

    In the days when a company had to actually put stamps on the package it was easy to see what they had paid for postage and compare that to what you were charged. But now, Canada Post just attaches a sticker that does not show the amount paid. But, when received, I can ask the postmistress to weigh the package and tell me what the company had actually paid. Invariably, in the case of Aircraft Spruce, the amount I'm charged is about four times their actual cost.
    Did the parts come from the US or Aircraft Spruce Canada? I know my shipping costs to Canada are crazy. I have been getting lots of split shipments from Spruce lately from their different locations. Makes my accounting a real pain because I end up with 2-3 and sometimes 4 invoices on one order.
    Steve Pierce

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  21. #21

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    Parts come from Canada, Brampton, Ontario I think, near Toronto.

    Edit: I often order things from eBay. Some of it comes from China. All the way from China - free shipping! Of course, it takes a couple of months to get here, but if it's some trivial thing I can wait.

    I wish we could get AN hardware from China but that's not happening.

  22. #22
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I have been getting stuff from Ft. Worth, Illinois and California but just one shipping charge but usually I get free shipping if over $250 on my dealer account.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  23. #23
    Farmboy's Avatar
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    Spruce is not a low volume shipper, they know and take full advantage of the shipping discount structure.
    For them and some other companies the shipping dept is a profit center and it pays the salaries of everyone in it, plus the cost of free dealer shipping.


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  24. #24
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Steve (et al)

    I have had some experience with UPS. They will not ship to a PO Box. But they will deliver to the post office. So instead of putting the post office box number, what are you do is ship it to the address of the post office. So the address would look like some thing like

    Steve Pierce
    1101 Doc Wolf Dr #296
    Poplar Grove, IL 61065

    dont put PO Box 296 or even “box 296 “ just #296 after the street address of the post office and it will work. It seems like a stupid game to play, but that’s what UPS said to do, that’s what the post office told me to do, and I did that for three years and it worked like a charm. Until somebody screws up the address. So you have to be very careful that the person sending the product writes the address down exactly the way you tell them. UPS will deliver a whole pallet of boxes every day to a post office using this system and I’ve seen it done. So you might consider that in the future and everyone else on this board it’s another option. It applies only to UPS. I have never tried this with FedEx or any other shipping company. I doubt it works.

    Hope this helps

    Bill
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  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Farmboy View Post
    Spruce is not a low volume shipper, they know and take full advantage of the shipping discount structure.
    For them and some other companies the shipping dept is a profit center and it pays the salaries of everyone in it, plus the cost of free dealer shipping.


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    ^^^ This. It appears to me that a lot of companies charge full shipping costs, but they are in fact receiving a discounted rate from the carrier and then the vendor pockets the difference. I would hazard a guess that for some companies, this delta forms their profit for the sale of the item.

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    On the other side of things, a recent order I had with Spruce was a case of 2380 turbine oil ($475), two cases of 20w-50, and two gallons of 5606. UPS brought four different boxes, no shipping charge. I'm glad you guys ordering 12 screws are covering my shipping charges....
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  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Rusk View Post
    Steve (et al)

    I have had some experience with UPS. They will not ship to a PO Box. But they will deliver to the post office. So instead of putting the post office box number, what are you do is ship it to the address of the post office. So the address would look like some thing like

    Steve Pierce
    1101 Doc Wolf Dr #296
    Poplar Grove, IL 61065

    dont put PO Box 296 or even “box 296 “ just #296 after the street address of the post office and it will work. It seems like a stupid game to play, but that’s what UPS said to do, that’s what the post office told me to do, and I did that for three years and it worked like a charm. Until somebody screws up the address. So you have to be very careful that the person sending the product writes the address down exactly the way you tell them. UPS will deliver a whole pallet of boxes every day to a post office using this system and I’ve seen it done. So you might consider that in the future and everyone else on this board it’s another option. It applies only to UPS. I have never tried this with FedEx or any other shipping company. I doubt it works.

    Hope this helps

    Bill
    It's a bit different where I live. FedEx and UPS don't deliver AT ALL to most communities in arctic Canada. They just turn the item over to Canada Post in Edmonton.

    So if we order from a supplier who uses UPS or FedEx, we give them our street address. Fortunately, the community is so small that the postmistress knows which PO Box to use on arrival.

    Spruce offers several shipping methods. Postal is always the cheapest. In the case of the order referred to in my first post, the cheapest was $63 by mail and the most expensive was $146 by UPS. (!!!)

    That was for 20 each, AN3 bolts, washers and nylocs. Order total $10.50.

  28. #28
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    I have found that when I call them I can get lower shipping rates. If its small and will go into the flat rate box I tell them that's all I am gonna pay for. So far they have treated me well and have refunded some stupid shipping charges (tiny objects being put into very large boxes etc). When in doubt, call them up and talk to a person, the website is more set up for a one size can't fit all type of thing.
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  29. #29
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    I think the people building kit planes (or scratch built also, even more so) and trying to get a handle on the TOTAL cost, are kidding themselves if they don't throw in a hefty number for "misc. shipping charges." Best to not think about it.... but for sure it's worth trying to not pay more for freight than the parts cost!

  30. #30
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NunavutPA-12 View Post
    Spruce offers several shipping methods. Postal is always the cheapest. In the case of the order referred to in my first post, the cheapest was $63 by mail and the most expensive was $146 by UPS. (!!!)

    That was for 20 each, AN3 bolts, washers and nylocs. Order total $10.50.
    Sounds like you ordered such a small order you couldn't justify the shipping cost. On the other hand they might have been able to get the shipping lower if they had really hunted around for best shipping price but why would they do that on a $10 order for bolts? The shipping person's time would have cost more than your total order. They also may have been shipping from the US warehouse which is likely since I don't think they have all that much in the way of a stocking warehouse in Canada.

    Considering where you live and the challenges of delivering there I would say their shipping charges are fairly reasonable. Maybe buying a stocking size order of hardware to minimize the number of times you have to order hardware would be in order. I always buy small hardware like AN3 washers or nuts in lots of 200 (bag size) so I know I have a good supply for the future. They're cheap enough and commonly used so why not.

  31. #31
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    I didn’t read all these post, so if I’m redundant please forgive. I recently went thru this with Spruce, I ordered a couple lengths of Sceet tube and the shipping came to $67.00. It came in a 12” box square. I called and they told me the computer figures it out if you order thru PayPal or on line. They refunded $47.00 to me which was very nice of them and now if there is any question I call. This is a pain and takes time but the savings adds up when you order a couple times a week sometimes.

  32. #32
    algonquin's Avatar
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    I guess the answer if Amazon getting into aircraft parts business and shipping with Prime,lol

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by algonquin View Post
    I guess the answer if Amazon getting into aircraft parts business and shipping with Prime,lol
    Amazon does provide logistics and warehouse services. I am told itís pretty reasonable about January-September but you PAY for it October-December.

    I worked on launching e-commerce for aircraft parts. Itís quite challenging due to the mix of part sizes as well as values. Many shipping plug-ins or even custom programming can handle most retail items, but they are similar enough in size and value. Some airplane parts have specialty boxes or crating charges, and the shipping software canít figure out that the specialty box can also fit all the hardware, so it adds up. Many online items fall into certain tiers of packaging and shipping cost, but if you look at things like small $$ parts and weird-shaped things like ribs, spars, etc., you can see where the automation falls apart.

    Bottom line, if you get a good price with the online shopping cart, hit Ďgoí and buy it. If it seems high, it may be worth a phone call.

    óAmy
    Proud owner of a collection of airplane pieces (sometimes in one big piece) known as the Oklahoma Kid.
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  34. #34
    SJ's Avatar
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    Not every post office offers address service like this. My new one here in AR does but my last one did not. You can ask them if it is available.

    sj



    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Rusk View Post
    Steve (et al)

    I have had some experience with UPS. They will not ship to a PO Box. But they will deliver to the post office. So instead of putting the post office box number, what are you do is ship it to the address of the post office. So the address would look like some thing like

    Steve Pierce
    1101 Doc Wolf Dr #296
    Poplar Grove, IL 61065

    dont put PO Box 296 or even “box 296 “ just #296 after the street address of the post office and it will work. It seems like a stupid game to play, but that’s what UPS said to do, that’s what the post office told me to do, and I did that for three years and it worked like a charm. Until somebody screws up the address. So you have to be very careful that the person sending the product writes the address down exactly the way you tell them. UPS will deliver a whole pallet of boxes every day to a post office using this system and I’ve seen it done. So you might consider that in the future and everyone else on this board it’s another option. It applies only to UPS. I have never tried this with FedEx or any other shipping company. I doubt it works.

    Hope this helps

    Bill
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------
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