Freight Forwarding. A few people have asked me about this and my experiences with it so this post is to go over the in’s and out’s of how I buy stuff and ship it over from the USA.
I use a company called Shipito and it’s so damned easy to use. You sign up for an account there – I haven’t got a Virtual Mailbox yet (I think I will soon though) and just use the Individual Package option. (The difference between them is you pay $8.50 per individual package, or you can pay $10/month or $50/year as a subscription, and only get charged $2.50 per package)
Once you pay them, you get a US postage address. Time to run off and find some things to buy. My example is below.
I bought a few goodies from a US online store called Surf The Earth Snowboards. They had free shipping within the US which is good to look out for. I entered in my US postage address and paid with my credit card for the goods (with this specific shop I had to do verify my CC because my Billing address was in Australia, and Shipping address was USA – Not hard a quick phonecall to my CC company and that was sorted). Once the item arrives at Shipito‘s warehouse you get an email to notify you.
Now the best bit here, is that they TAKE PHOTOS of your package! I didn’t realise this but thought it was pretty cool.
At this stage, you fill in some Customs information (Value, Gift, etc) and pick a shipping method. They have heaps – DHL, TNT, FedEX, USPS – All with the prices there for you and insurance options. Since they have already measured out and weighed the package – the proper costs are all there.
So for my goods, it cost $54.92USD to ship down. (Saving of about $20 bucks over other shipping methods direct to Australia..and that is just shipping! Be sure to read below for total costs saved)
Once the appropriate information has been entered – Your item is ready to be shipped and goes into a queue to be mailed out!
If you have multiple packages (With the virtual mailbox option) you can combine postage as well to save more cash.
Overall, awesome little service that I believe is worth using if you like buying goods from the US. If they have free shipping within the US, even better – as the delivery rates provided are typically cheaper (due to volume discounts) than most stores.
So how much did I save exactly by using this?
Camera gear – Retail for $978AUD. They are $798 USD ($759 AUD)
Accessories I bought retail here for a combined total of $140AUD. They were $94USD ($89 AUD)
Shipping cost me (inc. fees) $63.42USD ($60 AUD)
So if I bought in Australia = $1118 AUD
What it cost me from the US, Shipped = $908 AUD
So $200 bucks saved including the fact I had to pay for shipping+fees. Can’t complain!