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National Courier Service | Same Day Delivery Management Specialist

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Delivery truck with cardboard box, concept trade restrictions

Starting a business means being in “the know.” As a business owner, you must know all about policies, laws, regulations, and standards of operation. It takes time, effort, and a great deal of research to start a business because of this.

If your company ships product, then you will also need to know about shipping restrictions. Shipping items can be an easy endeavor, but you have to know what is and isn’t okay to ship before sealing the box.

National and private couriers both follow federal regulations when shipping packages. They flag packages that seem suspicious and/or not within shipping parameters.

Postal workers measure proper weight, postage, and proper packaging, but this isn’t their only job. They also smell, feel, and inspect packages before they make it to the next round of shipping.

It’s common to hear when sending off a package, “Are there are liquids, flammables, or hazardous materials?” But, do you know what those categories mean? Do you know what items you aren’t allowed to ship?

Read on to learn what items your company should never ship. Ever.

Exhaustive List of Shipping Restrictions

No one wants their businesses to get fined or to end up getting in trouble because of shipping restriction violations. Here’s an exhaustive list of shipping restrictions that help you to avoid any confusion, fines, or trouble with the law.

1. Obnoxious Odors

Any material or items being shipping must not have a foul or strong odor. Strong odors indicate that the items are not suitable for mailing. Odors signify that the package may contain hazardous, flammable, or generally toxic materials.

If you think that an item you ship may have an odor, but it’s not toxic or hazardous, ask the mailing office if you are able to ship it.

Also, be aware that boxes with leaking items will also not ship, and will most likely get discarded by the shipping service. If you ship non-toxic liquids make sure to properly package the item so it does not leak or break.

2. Hazardous Liquids and Powders

Safety for postal workers is a concern for national and private couriers. Shipping restrictions help to keep postal workers safe as well as the general public.

For this reason, you aren’t allowed to ship hazardous items. The U.S. Department of Transportation identifies items considered hazardous and pose a significant health risk.

3. Alcohol Without a License

To ship alcohol, such as whiskey, you must have a license to do so. In addition to needing a license in most states, many shipping companies require that an adult over 21 signs for the package.

The package containing the alcohol also must be sufficient. The shipping materials need to be able to contain liquid if it breaks. Make sure to package it well enough to not break in the first place.

Also, if you don’t have a license to ship large quantities of alcohol then expect stick to only a couple of bottles per package.

It’s also worth knowing, whether a postal company has a license to ship alcohol in the first place. Some courier companies opt of getting licenses and instead prohibit the item.

4. Firearms and Ammunition

Unless you have a license to ship a firearm, then it is strictly prohibited to ship one. Ammunition is also prohibited without a license.

5. Live Animals

You aren’t allowed to ship most live animals. Some companies do allow people to ship certain live animals such as lizards, geckos, fish, and bees. However, regulations usually prohibit the shipping of any other type of animal species such as mammals.

Ask your courier company in advance what live animals you are and aren’t allowed to ship. Also, make sure to follow their policies for shipping these live animals thoroughly.

6. Currency

Most companies prohibit shipping of bank bills, notes, and currency. This includes coin and paper money as well. Endorsed stocks, bonds, and cash letters also fall under this restriction category.

7. Remains

You cannot ship human or animal remains of any kind. Some companies do allow you to ship cremains as long as you follow special regulations. If shipping cremated remains to another country, the other country must also allow it.

Shipping corpses, organs, or disinterred remains is strictly prohibited.

8. Marijuana and Controlled Substances

You cannot ship marijuana or controlled substances, even for medicinal purposes. Shipping controlled substances require proper licensing from the Drug Enforcement Agency and other organizations.

If your company is not a pharmaceutical company, then it’s safe to say that you are not allowed to ship these items.

9. Expensive Items

For example, watches costing more than $500 and expensive art pieces. Irreplaceable antiques also fall under this category.

Speak with the courier company to see what their policies are for shipping expensive items. Some companies offer insurance and signature confirmation at an extra charge. The concern for most companies when shipping these items is the potential liability and value loss that could result.

Ship these items at your own risk and speak with your courier in advance.

10. Fireworks

Fireworks are strictly prohibited because of their flammability. For companies interested in selling fireworks, know that ground shipping is your sole method of shipment. You must also have a license to ship fireworks and follow all shipping procedures.

11. Uninstalled Lithium Batteries

Lithium batteries are susceptible to combustion if improperly packaged. As such, you cannot ship lithium batteries not already installed in a device and with higher watt-hours available.

Consult with the shipping service to learn what their specific restrictions are regarding wattage hours and lithium batteries.

12. Cigarettes and Tobacco

You cannot domestically or internationally ship cigarettes and tobacco. You can, however, ship cigars. Speak with the courier company to see if they have the proper licensing to ship these items.

Want to Know More About Shipping Restrictions?

When researching shipping restrictions, start with information available within your industry. Know, too, that small businesses won’t qualify to ship items such as fireworks without proper licensing, permits, and procedures.

Always consult with courier companies before shipping any questionable goods. They will be able to better help you understand how, if, and when you can ship items through their company.

Visit our website to learn more about our shipping services.


courier service

A great courier service can do wonders for your business. However, an unreliable one can raise your stress levels and can give your business a lot of unnecessary problems and headaches.

Luckily, there are a few things you can look for before you choose a courier to know you’re making the right decision. Below is our list of the top 7 signs of a professional courier service that you need to be looking for.

1. They’re Readily Available

A great courier service will be very available at all times and will be easy to communicate with and get in contact with. Your business likely has its own unique needs and you may require delivery assistance for a high volume of packages.

If so, you need to find out what their availability is and what services they will offer and when. You need to discuss your monthly needs with a courier beforehand to make sure they can meet your requirements.

Before choosing a courier to work with, make sure that they can handle your needs and will be available when and how much you need them.

2. They Offer Fair Prices

You also need to look for a courier that offers fair prices and can work within your budget. Make sure to shop around a bit and make sure you’re not paying more than you have to.

While you shouldn’t pay exorbitant prices you also probably shouldn’t go for the cheapest option either. Not every courier has all of the best services that your business may need for a successful delivery.

A great courier service will offer fair prices but will also have all of the services you need. While they may charge more than some budget couriers, they will also have the right features and services.

3. They Have a Track Record of Reliability

It’s important to find out about a courier’s reputation and to see what their track record is. Usually, great couriers will have proven themselves time and time again as being reliable and they will work hard to meet the needs of a business.

You may be able to find out some things about their track record by checking online reviews on sites such as Google, Facebook, and Yelp.

Additionally, you may also want to check out the testimonials and ask if you can speak to references and other customers about the courier.

4. They Prioritize Great Customer Service

A great courier will understand that the success of your business, along with the other businesses they serve, are essential for their own success. Because of this, they’ll prioritize great service and they’ll offer you a great customer experience as a result.

It can be difficult knowing how a courier will be to work with before you hire them. However, by checking out their track record you should be able to learn a great deal about what to expect.

Also, take note of how they speak with you and present themselves when you first get in contact with them. It may give you a great idea of how they’ll be once you have an ongoing working relationship as well.

5. They Guarantee Their Work

It’s important not to choose a courier service who doesn’t offer a guarantee for their work. They should provide you protection should things go wrong with a delivery. It’s important that your company is fully protected from liability, so make sure that they have insurance before getting started.

They should have insurance available for all packages you send and if they fail to deliver or if a package gets damaged in transit you need to be covered.

Check beforehand what insurance and guarantees they offer for their work. If they don’t offer any kind of security for your packages and problems that may happen, you may want to keep looking for a different courier instead.

6. They Offer Special Services

Every business has different needs, so it’s important to think about yours carefully before you choose a courier service to work with. Not every courier can do everything. A great courier, however, will have many services that meet your specific needs.

Depending on your business and what you will need to have delivered, it might be important to look for a courier that has temperature control options. Warehousing options may also be useful.

It’s also important to look for freight options if needed. Take the time to find out if they have any priority or express delivery options that you can use in a pinch.

Finally, you also need to know their location of operation. Depending on your needs, you may want to check if they operate only locally, nationally, or globally.

7. They Use the Latest Technology

In addition to special services, a great courier will also be up to date with the latest technology and they’ll use it for their business operations.

Tracking options are essential and can allow you to always know where your package stands and how any given delivery is going. At the very least you should expect to get an email notification once a package has been delivered successfully.

A great courier will make use of other types of technology as well to improve their processes and ensure a successful delivery. If you get the sense that their technology is still stuck in the dark ages, you may want to keep looking to find a more modern courier who has caught up with the times.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a professional courier service, it’s important to look for the above signs first. If you do, you’ll have much better chance at choosing a courier that meets your every need.

Ready to hire a courier service in New York and surrounding areas? Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.