Understanding Oversized Shipping: What Is Considered Oversized?

What happens if your package is too big?

Every parcel delivery company or courier has a standard of what they consider to be an oversized package. If your package is larger (or heavier) than what they allow, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to send your package.

However, you may have to take advantage of their oversized shipping service. 

The purpose of this is not to be a pain or squeeze more money out of their customers. Rather, it is to protect their workers and provide better customer service.

About 36% of injuries that cause missed work days are caused by overexertion when lifting a heavy object. Thus, in order to make sure everybody goes home happy and healthy at the end of the day, package size is limited.

Keep reading to learn what you need to know about oversized shipping. 

What Is Oversized Shipping?

So what if you need to send a large package? If you’re loading a large package with small objects, it’s easy to break down your shipment into various boxes that will fit within the limits.

However, if the object itself is large or heavy, you don’t have much choice. You have to put it in one box. And, depending on the object, even a small box can exceed the weight limit for standard shipping. 

Boxes that exceed the size and weight limits for standard shipping are called oversized boxes. These boxes are sent using a particular service called oversized shipping. Workers in this department are provided with special equipment to help them handle large, heavy, or awkwardly-shaped packages safely. 

However, keep in mind that this isn’t an invitation for you to stick as much in the package as humanly possible. Pack your items with care and use packing materials to help prevent damage in transit.

When possible, use more than one box to send your items. This will prevent overage charges and help ensure that your items arrive safe and sound.

How to Measure a Package

How do you know that you’ll need to take advantage of oversized shipping to send your large package? Companies measure the length plus the girth of the package to determine this. A common limit is 130 inches. Any packages that exceed this amount should be sent using an oversized shipping service. 

Let’s talk about how to calculate the girth of the package. Consider a package measuring 70 inches long, 25 inches wide, and 25 inches tall. The girth is equal to two times the length plus two times the height.

Thus, in our example, the girth of the package equals 100 inches. Add that to the length and you get 170 inches — which exceeds the typical limit of 130 inches. This package would have to be sent using the oversized shipping service. 

What about when you’re buying a package from an Internet store, like Amazon? Many sites will list the dimensions, but others may only list the weight of the package.

When buying large items, always be prepared to accept some extra shipping charges if necessary.

How Big Is Too Big?

Of course, even oversize packages have their limits. Shipping companies typically cap the weight for oversize packages at 150 pounds. The length and girth combined is often capped at 165 inches, with a longest acceptable length limit of 108 inches.

Packages larger than this are not eligible to be sent through regular shipping channels. They must be sent through a freight service that handles moving heavy and large pieces of freight.

How to Prepare an Oversized Package

Now it’s time to prepare your package. Choose a sturdy box that is big enough to hold your items. A strong box will help protect your items from damage during shipment.

If your box is oversized, but the contents are a bunch of small items, consider dividing the items into two boxes. Of course, if the item itself is too large to comply with standard shipping sizes, you have no choice but to pay the extra fees associated with oversized shipping.

Pack your box carefully and tightly. Be sure to securely wrap fragile items in packing material to cushion and protect them in transit.

Shipping companies work hard to protect your packages and keep them from being dropped or otherwise abused during shipment. However, accidents happen and the more times your package has to be loaded/offloaded the more opportunities there are for potential damage.

Securely packing your items and providing plenty of cushioning for fragile items is the best way to ensure that your items reach their destination in the same condition.

Once everything is packed up tight, securely close up all openings with packing tape. If you are reusing a box, make sure that all previous labels, codes, or addresses are removed or marked out. You don’t want your package to end up going to the wrong location.  

Last-Mile Delivery for Oversized Packages 

Last-mile delivery is a convenient service that can speed up deliveries coming from out of town. The package makes most of its journey by airplane and a local courier service picks it up from the airport and makes the delivery directly to your home or business. 

This service is also available for oversized packages as needed.

Shipping Your Oversized Package

When you need to get packages from one place to another, you want them to arrive on time and in one piece. That’s why you need to choose your shipping company carefully. 

This is particularly important when choosing an oversized shipping provider. Oversized packages are often heavy or awkward to handle. This means that the people handling them need to know what they’re doing to keep your stuff safe.