How to Place an Order the Smart Way (Happy July!)
For the month of June, ten (10) chinchillas were surrendered and zero (0) chinchillas were adopted. We have a whole lot of folks interested in matchmaking, but the majority of our current chins are either already pair bonded or are too hormonal to house with another chin. What we desperately need are people who want to adopt and spoil. Please spread the word.
On a totally different note I wanted to share with y'all the appreciation we have for those of you who support our rescue through your store purchases. To help you out, here are some helpful tips we've gleaned regarding how to place a mail order to your best advantage.
How to place an order the smart way.
As a single mother of four, it became very important to learn ways to manage and save money. As an educator, I like to share that knowledge. Shipping costs are determined by the size, weight and distance the box has to travel. When we receive mail orders, sometimes a slight modification can save a lot on the cost of shipping. For example, the package deals we offer make the best use of flat rate boxes that contain heavy, dense items that are usually cheap to buy, but expensive to ship. In those boxes we've combined the most popular items packed in a way that would maximize the use of the space therein.
Items over 12 inches automatically require an oversized box. This means an oversized shipping cost, which may or may not be terrible. If size is coupled with heavy weight or distance, then the shipping cost naturally rises. If the number of items ordered fills a box that is larger than 12"x12"x12", that is also considered "oversized."
Heavy items such as pellets, dust, supplies by the pound, etc. can add a surprising charge to the shipping cost. Again, this is especially true if coupled with size or distance. Sometimes adding on a single bag of pellets to get an order to the minimum cost makes the shipping more expensive than the actual item! We have in the past let our customers know when certain items throw an order off when it comes to making the shipping affordable. Even though our recommendation to omit an item from an order results in a net loss to us, the peace of mind sharing the knowledge is priceless.
Orders coming in within 300 miles of our facility are generally fairly inexpensive to send. Certain major cities are also a less expensive delivery option because the shipping route for the post office is short and direct.
Small orders placed often is actually more expensive to our customers in the long run. Monthly $30 minimum orders still carry the postal service base rate, plus the adjustments for size, weight, distance and handling. Sounds confusing, eh? Here's an example: one customer orders a bag of pellets, rosehips, hay cubes and cookies one month, then the next month an assortment of chew toys. Instead of paying shipping twice on two very different orders, by combining the basics with the chew toys the cost of shipping could have been the same as just shipping out the first box! The cost of the chew toys added on to the heavy items wouldn't make a substantial difference, but the cost of sending chew toys alone can nearly double the shipping price. Make more sense now?
Incoming emails are sorted according to priority or difficulty. Our favorite emails are adoption inquiries, but store orders rank a very close second. When an order is cleverly disguised as a request for basic chinchilla care questions, it's like throwing sand in Whimsy's gears. Likewise, the assurance of sending in an order "soon" after posing a difficult question really comes across as an empty promise. Once again, our website is chock full of information. It may take a little bit of digging, but so many gems of information are found along the way. ;)
Whimsy is not a mind reader. Vague emails requesting "those red, round things" or "some" ledges are frustrating. Our website has pictures and item names, use them. We can get your package on its way much, much faster if we don't have to play email ping-pong asking for clarification. Also, please include the zip code or shipping address. The only address we know by heart is for Grandma and Grandpa.
I hope this information is helpful. With the above tips in mind, happy shopping! And no, we really don't ship live animals in boxes. :P