An update on Flatbike worldwide shipping
June 7th 2019
What a difference a couple of years makes. Two years ago, when all we shipped to was the US and Canada, we started expanding in the strangest way imaginable, writing this in an early blog entry….
First, a couple of folks asked about shipping to Austria. Then shipment inquiry mails also came in from Australia, Brazil, Britain, Costa Rica, and Denmark–almost as if someone were systematically going through an alphabetized international listing of places we don’t ship.
Clearly, we needed to “solve” international shipping ASAP!
Now, having shipped to five continents, we believe we have a good grip on international shipping. In most cases, we can now send an accessory, like a folding stem or pop-off pedal set, anywhere in the world for about $25, and a bike anywhere in the world for $200.
Sometimes there are strange factors, like Abu Dhabi having no postal codes and the US Post Office bouncing an Abu Dhabi-bound box around the US for a month trying to figure out what to do with it, but even there we’ve learned to adapt. Accessories usually ship best by USPS First Class International (except for Abu Dhabi), and bikes outside the US and Canada usually ship best by FedEx Worldwide.
An important note about shipping
There are actually two costs of shipping.
- One is the physical cost of moving the box from us to you, which we reduce as much as possible while still maintaining reliable, damage-free service.
- The other is your government’s current tax on incoming commercial goods. These may have different names such as duty tax, VAT, tariffs, customs, etc., and change not only by country but over time as well. Some are small, while others (such as in South America) are massive. We’ve even had two customers independently ship to Texas, ride on vacation, and then take their bikes back as personal items on their return flights to South America.
Our shipping cost includes the first item, plus insurance, but not the second. We simply can’t track that much variation and change all around the world.
That split cost isn’t optimal, but it’s working so far, and we’re getting ever closer to our international customers all the time. We even had a Belgian customer order a bike that was still in experimental stages to help us evaluate a new model. Now that’s working worldwide!
Where in the world will you ride now?
Bob Forgrave is president of Flatbike, an
ecommerce company offering full-size folding bikes
and kits to make any bike take up half the space.