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  • June 07, 2017 12:36 PM | Marty (Administrator)

    The month of May is my busy season, and it's just winding down now.

    My shipping and storage business is in a college town and, as graduation approaches, the students—the majority of whom hail from lands far away—all move out in a mass exodus peaking on Memorial Day weekend when my local university, Cornell, holds its graduation.

    In 2012, my first May season at this location, I decided almost on a whim that I'd open my store on graduation Sunday and the day after, Memorial Day—days on which a shipping business would traditionally be closed. I expected some business. After all, thousands of guests were convening on our little city for Cornell's commencement and we'd been very busy with student move-outs and storage for a week or two prior. But I didn't expect anything near what we experienced that weekend.

    Memorial Day 2012 set a daily sales record that held for five years, and a daily customer count record that remains unbroken. All day long, graduating students and their proud, often overbearing parents came in to buy boxes and ship their belongings to faraway places. Most students were so overwhelmed with planning for graduation that they totally forgot to plan for moving out! Many had flights leaving that day or early the next day and we were one of the only places in town open on the holiday weekend. By the end of that day, we had outgoing shipments stacked floor-to-ceiling, from the front of the store to the back, with an ever-growing-narrower aisle for people to get from the front door to the front counter. It was epic.

    In years since, other shipping outlets in the area have caught on to the Memorial Day opportunity, though that weekend still remains far and above my busiest weekend of the year, much bigger than the week before Christmas when a traditional shipping store would see its peak.

    In May of 2015, starting just days before graduation, we were quite surprised when demolition crews arrived, blocked our road, and started leveling the vacant buildings and houses that were across the street from us. My store is on a dense city block, not in a strip mall, so there is no parking lot or back door access; we depend completely on our curbside front door and the loading zone that always was just outside of it. But now our entire block was cut off. Business, which should have been booming that week, tanked. Instead of going insane with shipping, we were standing outside our front door watching buildings crumble and pedestrians staying as far away as possible from the construction zone we found ourselves in the middle of. I had a very poor Memorial Day that year, down 30% from 2012.

    You see, our neighborhood had some zoning changes and, when they were approved, a number of very large development projects that were on hold suddenly had the green light to start. These projects will ultimately be a game changer for our neighborhood, ushering in significantly more foot traffic, businesses, and residents. It's going to be great! But the growing pains of getting there have really hurt.

    Construction has continued since that May, leaving my street effectively closed for over two years. It has been a serious challenge. But the loss of a road and a loading zone doesn't just affect a shipping business like mine, it also affects any business that gets things delivered or sent out, depends on drive-by traffic to see their storefronts and window advertisements, and depends on pedestrians who are wary to walk on a block under so much construction. In other words, it affects every single business. We've lost some business neighbors because of the conditions, and that makes my heart ache.

    A few years ago, I co-founded the Collegetown Small Business Alliance. Through it, I work with my neighbors, contacts in our city administration, and local project managers to find solutions to the challenges that all of this major development packed into in just a few small city blocks brings. This is new territory for everyone and only through increased communication and understanding will we find compromises that permit work to continue, completing as fast as possible, while still allowing the small businesses and residents in the affected areas to function. It's a balance we haven't quite struck yet, but we're working toward it. And things have certainly gotten better recently, though the road is still closed the vast majority of the time. But we now have better warnings when something will happen, open discussions, and better awareness of all parties’ perspectives and the scope of current, pending, and proposed projects. I've personally found that developers, site managers, and city staff can be incredibly reasonable—and sometimes downright delightful—if approached in a positive, solution-based manner; I've learned that making friends is far better than making enemies; I've learned that, if you ask nice enough, construction workers are more than happy to use their big forklifts to load and unload your pallets from the freight trucks that had to park on another block.

    We have a long way to go in our neighborhood. Some of the biggest projects haven't been started yet and many of the utilities that are underneath the roads still must be upgraded. There will be lots of digging, dust, and disruption for a few years to come. But, when it's completed, our neighborhood, which serves as the grand entrance corridor to Cornell, will be bustling and beautiful—a walkable part of the city with wider sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping, and a plethora of shiny new buildings.

    But, my rose-colored glasses aside, the reality is that it's been extremely tough to make it through the past couple of years. To allow my business to survive, I stopped my regular salary, which admittedly was still menial as a new, budding, growing small business, and began only paying myself the minimum amount possible as infrequently as possible. I had just started finally paying myself the year before this all happened, so I was used to living with little to no income, living instead off of rental income from a small property I have … and a few loans. It was a sacrifice I didn't want to make, but one I had to make, keeping the long-term goal and bright post-construction future centered in view.

    I also put off hiring a staff. In my original business plan, I hoped to have a couple of employees by this point, allowing me to focus a little more on new projects, new profit centers, and maybe new locations. But that had to be put on hold, and I've been running the business solo, as lean as possible, with invaluable assistance from the best family and friends anyone could ask for.

    I had to think about and plan for opportunities that will come about because of the new developments, putting whatever resources I saved into investing for the future. Directly across from me will soon be completed a giant new building that will house Cornell's Johnson School of Management's graduate MBA program. Yes, an academic building will be my new across-the-street neighbor, full of working professionals going back to school on nights and weekends, faculty, staff, and offices filling each floor of the glowing, glass-faced, open-24-hours monster that is now all I can see from my front window. It's going to be glorious! After all, those people will all want to rent a private mailbox at my store, use me as their go-to FedEx site, and discover that my printing prices and quality are far better than anywhere they've ever been. Soon, they'll all be my loyal clients. So, I've had to prepare for that and now I have a few new banks of sleek mailboxes ready to rent and other investments that I've scraped to make in order to accommodate what I know is coming soon. I also tried to lease the vacant storefront next door to me, imagining breaking down the partition wall and expanding with a new business center to serve the new buildings, however my landlord had other plans for the space.

    But there was more that I could do. If customers couldn't find me through the construction dust, then I was going to find them. So, I put everything I could into advertising, hitting social media hard, bumping up my weekly ad size in the university paper, doing some radio, regularly postering every local and campus bulletin board I can find, and creating a refer-a-friend campaign. My best advertising has always been word of mouth, so I do what I can to encourage those conversations.

    And when customers couldn't get to me through the torn-up, blocked, and crane-filled road, I decided I would go to them. I've always offered pickup and delivery service, but now it's a daily occurrence with a fourfold increase this season over last. Often, I close my shop at 6pm and head to customers' homes and businesses to pick up their boxes to ship or store and bring them back to my location to process in the morning. Or, I get to my store early so I can do pickups before my 9am opening time. The majority of my storage and shipping sales are now a result of pickups that I do, most involving carrying heavy boxes, bins, and suitcases up and down winding staircases in dorms, creaky old apartment buildings, and pretty new residential complexes. And during the busy few weeks in May when my saintly retired mother comes in every day to hold down the fort, I'm often doing pickups all day long. It's exhausting, but it's necessary.

    One personal expense that I haven't cut are my monthly massages. I consider them a necessary medical expense, as important to my personal health and mental health as the yoga classes I also refuse to give up. Regular massages have significantly helped my migraines, and fewer migraine days makes life so much better! But I digress: the point of this statement is that last Thursday, just a few days after my record breaking Memorial Day, I hobbled into the massage studio like an old man—aching and bruised from a killer week of box schlepping. My therapist took one look at me and simply said, "I'll fix you." I told him about the arm that I was convinced was falling off because the muscle I pulled in it earlier that day by lifting something entirely too heavy was throbbing. I told him about the wrist that still hurt after I fell on it a few days earlier when I tripped over a bin of books some student decided she'd put right in my path as I navigated narrow halls and garbage-filled stairs carrying oversized boxes out of the filthiest sorority house I've ever seen. I showed him the bruises on my thighs where I rest boxes while trying to open the series of doors that inevitably lead out of each apartment I pick up from. And he commented that the knots in my back were … well … extreme. Indeed, this season beat me up more than any other before it.

    Business had been down since construction started, and it hurt. But I wasn't going to stand for that, so I shifted my business plan, adjusted my business model, and seriously hustled. As a result, 2016, a year completely without a road, showed 16% growth over 2015, the year in which sales tanked halfway through when block demolition knocked us for a loop. And last Monday, Memorial Day 2017, I broke my 2012 Memorial Day record for most sales in a single day by 16%. For the month of May, this year I was up 32% over last year and 17% over my previous best May ever, which happened in 2013. And it's all because I made tough decisions, made sure every single customer left my store grateful that they did business here, and worked my tail off.

    I hustled. I really, really hustled. And it was worth it.

    #YouCanDoIt #StayPositive #FindYourMemorialDay #Hustle #TheFutureIsBright


    Marty Johnson, AMBC Director of Marketing |

  • May 26, 2017 8:48 AM | Fahim (Administrator)

    Here is a great piece of advice when posting online:

    If you are planning on promoting your business through social media, please keep your personal profile clean. Specifically, don't post anything political on your personal profiles. This week, I received a heartfelt private message on Facebook from one of our veteran members, and I had to share it with you, because it resonates with how a lot of people feel when scrolling on the Facebook news feeds:

    "Hey buddy. I was just going through my FB newsfeed, and once again I was insulted by a "friends" comments about my political views/affiliations. I try to keep politics out of my social media, so maybe many don't know where I stand. Frankly, it's none of their business. It's bad enough when it's friends that I'm not affiliated with through business. But, I'm seeing lots of business acquaintances now making opinionated and insulting political posts. I just thought that maybe someone as highly respected as you could write something about proper social media etiquette for those who use Social Media for business. Many of us co-mingle, and some of these people are pissing off not just business acquaintances, but customers as well."

    So, if you want to talk politics, please talk offline, not on social media, especially if you're using social media to promote your business to your clients. I know many small businesses that have lost many customers because of political posts. Furthermore, many of you know Under Armour; it has lost a significant share of business this year, due to 3 main reasons, one of which is because of its CEO voicing his political opinions in public online. Here's the link to that article:

    3 Big Reasons Under Armour Cooled Off

    Years of positive posts (not to mention close friends) can get lost because of one emotion-filled personal post. So, think before you click that button.

    Fahim Mojawalla, AMBC Director of Social Media
    Island Ship Center

    AMBC Certified Store

    10 Minutes from Niagara Falls, USA

    #SpaOfShipping #FahimFix #ExudeExcellence

    1879 Whitehaven Road
    Grand Island, NY 14072
    Phone: 716-773-6300


  • May 16, 2017 10:39 AM | Marty (Administrator)

    I was listening to a TED Talk yesterday. Well, it was really a TED discussion. Chris Anderson was interviewing Elon Musk—you know, the genius behind Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, Hyperloop, etc.—and the discussion was fascinating!

    I always enjoy hearing Elon speak about the projects he's working on. He doesn't seem constrained by the limits most people put on what could be possible. If there's a problem, no matter how unsolvable it may seem, he comes up with a grand solution and presents it in a matter-of-fact "yeah, we can totally do this" fashion.

    He spent a good part of the discussion answering questions about The Boring Company, one of his latest brainchildren, and how he's looking to solve Los Angeles congestion by digging down instead of building up—totally rethinking the way we dig tunnels to create a massive underground network potentially allowing a vehicle to get from Westwood to LAX in six minutes. It's nuts. I love it!

    But what really caught my attention was when the conversation turned to SpaceX and Elon's ideas for a Mars colony. He and Chris were talking about a future where we, as humans, are a space-faring multi-planet species. And I think most of us, myself certainly included, just assumed this is what the future holds. But Elon made it very clear that this destiny is not by any means imminent.

    Elon explained, "Then there's becoming a multi-planet species and space-faring civilization. This is not inevitable. It's very important to appreciate this is not inevitable."

    He then mentioned the space program, "If you look at the progress in space, in 1969 you were able to send somebody to the moon. 1969. Then we had the Space Shuttle. The Space Shuttle could only take people to low Earth orbit. Then the Space Shuttle retired, and the United States could take no one to orbit. So that's the trend. The trend is like down to nothing."

    I never thought about that. I guess I, probably like most people, just thought that we're naturally getting better and better; that progress just happens as a fixed course. But Elon rebutted that mindset and said, "People are mistaken when they think that technology just automatically improves. It does not automatically improve. It only improves if a lot of people work very hard to make it better, and actually it will, I think, by itself degrade, actually."

    He then mentioned how the Ancient Egyptians developed the technology to build the great pyramids, but then forgot how to do it. And the Romans built the magnificent aqueducts, and then forgot how to do it.  

    How many times in our own experience have we tried to do something we once were great at and mess it up royally? We get out of practice … and we forget. And if we don't put effort into improving, growing, tweaking, and sometimes completely reinventing, we'll get stale and eventually go backward.

    Our businesses need constant attention. We can't get too comfortable. We can't just go forward for years in the status quo. Because the market is constantly changing, our customers' needs are constantly changing, and the way in which we process, deliver, source, and serve should always be adaptable to meet those needs.

    And sometimes we have to look at our situations completely objectively. We must let go of all the constraints that we put our minds in and think, "What if!?" What if we dig tunnels instead of going up? What if we retire our old low-orbiting space shuttle and build a new kind of rocket that will take us much, much further? What if we break out of the path that we're stuck in and think about going to new worlds instead?

    You can do anything. Your business isn't limited by where it is right now or the way it's always done stuff. Go ahead and break the mold.

    What if?

    Please listen to the TED Talk here:


    Marty Johnson, AMBC Director of Marketing |

  • May 02, 2017 1:50 PM | Marty (Administrator)

    Dear Uncle Marty,

    I know you’re involved in some community groups. How do you suggest I get involved, and what are the best groups to join?

    Hoping to meet new people,

    Friendly Florence “Flo” Fenstermacher

    Dear Flo,

    Indeed, I highly recommend joining some community networking groups.

    Right now, I’m very involved with a group that I co-founded: the Collegetown Small Business Alliance. “Collegetown” is the name of my neighborhood of Ithaca, New York, aptly named because it borders the university here. It’s a very unique couple of blocks, and so we’ve banded together to share ideas, co-market, and solve neighborhood quandaries.

    I’m also on a bunch of committees with my local university and with my city. I’m constantly at City Hall for one meeting or another, and on campus for design charrettes for building makeovers and committee meetings to plan community walks and information fairs in my neighborhood. I’ve found that being part of a committee is an amazing place to network, as you’re there as a volunteer and not as a salesperson.

    Years ago, when I was working with the AMPC Flagship Store in Rockford, Illinois, I was part of RASA, the Rockford Area Services Association. This group was amazing, meeting once a month at a different host restaurant to network and share ideas. We were each given a couple of minutes for a brief introduction of ourselves and our businesses at the start of each meeting, and then we spent the rest of the time talking about how we could work together. It was invaluable!

    Many stores join their local Chambers of Commerce. I highly recommend this. And don’t just join, run for office! Take a page from Fahim’s playbook and become the Chamber Vice President. You’ll work your tail off, but the connections you make will be well worth it.

    Other people like the BNI (Business Networking International) networking group, and this might be a good place to start if your town has a local chapter. Personally, I find their 7AM breakfast meetings uncalled for, but that’s just because I am the antithesis of a morning person and it’s everything I can muster to get to my store to open on time at 9AM.

    I’m not sure what’s available in your neck of the woods, but certainly there are some organizations just waiting for you to join. And if nothing tickles your fancy, take a page from my playbook and start your own! Your neighborhood certainly needs a small business alliance to facilitate its own business-to-business networking.

    When you’re at these meetings, events, and posting on these groups’ listservs, keep in mind to not use the platform as blatant advertising. Don’t list your services like some bot, but offer your support and friendship as a fellow community member. Share news, sponsor good causes, donate your time and goods, and offer your services only if they add value and provide solutions. Otherwise, let your outreach draw others to you. Be a magnet, not a bulldozer.

    Not all groups meet at 7am (#JustSayin),



    Marty Johnson, AMBC Director of Marketing |


    The original version of this Ask Uncle Marty letter was published in MBC Today Volume 19, Issue 2 (March/April 2017).

  • April 18, 2017 11:17 AM | Marty (Administrator)

    I love talking on the radio.

    I don't do radio ads often, but when I do I always get a thrill going to the studio, sitting in the soundproof booth, and letting it rip. And every so often I get the opportunity to be interviewed on the radio. Today was one of those opportunities.

    The delightfully entertaining and amiable Lee Rayburn from Ithaca's own WHCU had me as a guest today on Morning Newswatch. He was curious about Collegetown, the neighborhood of Ithaca where my store, Uncle Marty's Shipping Office, is. You see, Collegetown has been under major redevelopment for two years now and it has dramatically affected vehicle traffic, pedestrian traffic, and consequently businesses … not the least of which my own.

    Now I'm an optimist (generally, with certain moody exceptions). And I fully acknowledge that the rose-colored glasses that I wear can sometimes get on people's nerves. But truly I see hope and a very bright future with all of the construction surrounding my business. Of course it hurts now and has been an absolute bear to deal with—full of frustration, hair-tearing-out moments, and complete bewilderment at some of the things that we've seen occur—but through it all, the end result will indeed be fabulous!

    So Lee and I talked about it. And I hope that our discussion will encourage more of the general public to visit our fine neighborhood and support our fine businesses during the redevelopment process that we're stuck in the middle of.

    I'm very grateful for the opportunity to speak freely and openly, no matter what the topic. Because nothing gets done if nothing gets said. And there's always a way to address a situation in a proactive, positive, professional, and solution-based manner, which has been my approach with this construction process and an attitude I hope to continue with. As a result, and by being involved and outreaching, I've been able to make some amazing connections with major developers, landlords, media, and local city and university officials. It's been quite the silver lining!

    We all have something to say. For some, it's sharing hope. For others, it's raising awareness. We have stories to tell, accusations to make, positions to defend, causes to rally for, jokes to jest, encouragement to give, love to extend, and new connections to foster.

    A good friend of mine gave me very good advice recently. He's a designer and was critiquing some new logo ideas I was toying around with. He said, "In design, it's not what you can add, but what you can take away." And I think the same editing mindset is appropriate with our spoken/written platforms. But when it's appropriate, timely, and might—just might—bring positive change, then why not speak up?

    Talk about it. It'll do you good.

    #WHCU #Ithaca #Collegetown #UncleMartysOffice #AskUncleMarty

    Check out the full interview here:


    Marty Johnson, AMBC Director of Marketing |

  • April 04, 2017 2:11 PM | Marty (Administrator)

    Dear Uncle Marty,

    Am I allowed to send anonymous packages when people don’t want their name to show on the return address?

    Under an assumed name, 

    Incongnito Ignacio

    Dear Ignacio,

    I’ve asked a few store owners and my fellow AMBC board members about this since receiving your question. The general consensus is that it’s OK to block out someone’s name or ship under a pseudonym for someone as long as you keep record of the actual shipper’s real name and contact information.

    Some stores make it a policy that they will ship anonymously, but if the recipient calls them asking who sent the package they will tell the recipient who the sender was.

    My policy at my store has been that the transaction must be under someone’s real name for security, safety, and accurate records. Then the shipment may be generated under a pseudonym as long as records connect it to an invoice reflecting the real shipper’s genuine information.

    But now that I’ve thought about this more, thanks to your question, I’m going to change my policy. From now on, my official policy is that I don’t ship anonymously. But here’s the catch: I’ll unofficially make an exception for known, trusted customers who I know are only removing their name because they’re nervous about the eBay buyer, want to surprise someone with a secret Santa gift, or are playing a harmless practical joke on their sister.

    Remember, you as the account holder are ultimately responsible for every package sent from your store. So don’t ship anonymously willy-nilly. And always, always, always make sure your records can trace every shipment back to a real person.

    This is my real name, 



    Marty Johnson, AMBC Director of Marketing |


    The original version of this Ask Uncle Marty letter was published in MBC Today Volume 19, Issue 2 (March/April 2017).

  • March 31, 2017 7:41 AM | Fahim (Administrator)
    In addition to late deliveries and other automated refund types, there are other parts of your UPS and FedEx invoices that deserve your attention.  Many people rarely go over an invoice; they usually have an automatic payment on file with the carrier and are just trying to get new customers in the door. This is what you should be doing after all, increasing clients and profits. 

    Going over your carrier invoices should be a part of your weekly duties. Has anyone ever shipped an unauthorized package on your account?  How many packages have not been delivered after 20 days in transit?  With Refund Retriever you can easily see this in your own personalized client interface. 

    This report can be used to view any package that has been picked up by a carrier over 20 days prior and has no delivery event.  The package is still in the FedEx or UPS system and further investigation is needed.

    For mail, parcel & business centers, all packages should originate from your store front. It’s always a good idea to make sure you are only charged for your shipments. Our third party package report shows shipments where the origin and destination are not from your address. These packages were not in his/her position at any time.

    If it’s in your third party package report, the package at no time went across your counter. This report can be filtered on the Refund Retriever interface by account number and time span.

    Why is it so important for mail, parcel & business centers to have a shipping audit system in place? We are no strangers to the mail and parcel industry! Refund Retriever was started in 2006 by Brian Gibbs in the back of his first business which was a mail and parcel store.  Brian used his own FedEx and UPS accounts to develop proprietary parcel invoice auditing software specializing in saving money on FedEx & UPS invoices. Since then we have been auditing FedEx and UPS invoices for mail and parcel centers and other businesses of all sizes. We are constantly updating our refund technology to provide our customers with the highest quality of service.

    No set up, monthly, or cancellation fees...The only time we ever charge you is when we successfully have a refund credit applied to your shipping account. Our fee is a percentage of successfully disputed and credited refunds. No refund, no charge!

    Wondering if there’s an AMBC special? Well... there is! Mention that you read our #FahimFix guest blog and get your first month of auditing on us and a 60/40 rate!

    Refund Retriever is an approved AMBC vendor and was recently awarded #18 Fastest Growing Aggie Owned Business

  • March 24, 2017 8:07 AM | Jeff (Administrator)

    For years, we received requests to ship cars: “How much to ship this car to Texas? How much for my truck? Can I fill it with my stuff and then ship? “ We learned that there are way too many ways for a customer to search for pricing online for it to be worth the time and expense for us to quote these. Usually, the quoted prices is met with, “Wow! You’re expensive! I got if for half that much online yesterday.”


    If you take the quoted prices and add on a decent mark up (25% isn't decent but I will use it), your retail rate is SO MUCH higher than what is available on the open market. Chances of winning this quote is near zero unless your customer has a money-is-no-object mentality and only wants to use you because they are familiar with you and trust you. If you make less, (and you shouldn’t), then you run the risk of making even less when the person wants to use a credit card to pay for it. Plus, you have the liability of someone's car until the car carrier picks it up.


    What we do now,  is refer the customer to the car carrier. We have a local company that handles national moves, if they don't have a truck, they do use a network of other trucks to find a load going that way. The carrier talks to the customer, they answer all the questions, they take all the heat for late deliveries, or any problems in route. The car carrier pays the credit card fees. The car carrier gets a new customer, our customer gets a referral to someone we trust. What do we get? We get referrals from the car carrier.


    Each time someone shows up to ship a car and they have personal items, (which are not allowed by most car carriers), they are told that they can't ship them. “Call Parcel Room. They can take care of it for you”. They have referred and we have shipped everything from small UPS/FedEx packages up to freight shipments. We even had a huge steel and concrete safe that was in a truck that couldn't stay in the vehicle so we shipped it separately.


    Some carriers will pay referral fees of $50.00 or $100.00 for a successful car shipment. My way of doing it gets me two to five customers a month from the car carrier. People we didn't send over there but they have items that can't be left in the car. The car carrier sends them to us. We have found that it is a far better return to get ongoing referrals rather than a onetime referral fee.


    We do the same thing for large household moves. If a shipment exceeds what I KNOW will be cost efficient for us, I look to a mover. We found a good (very good) local mover that we work with. What I do is I email the salesman: “We have a customer with xyz and they will need a quote. Please contact the customer to complete.”


    Two things happen at this point in time. We get a very happy customer, and we have a very happy moving company. The movers, in return, can pay $50.00 on a successful move, but we just ask them to send us customers that are too small for them. During the busy moving season we get 3-4 referrals a week. These customers ALWAYS tell me: “Xyz told me to call you for an estimate.” Now I know this is payback, I also know that they probably have been just quoted the minimum amount for summer season which is usually $2,000.00.


    This gives me a very good advantage to start. We know they are serious customers, we know that their budget it under $2,000.00, and we know they want to ship. They are not just kicking tires (usually).

    The two referral companies that we use give us a steady stream of sales and customers. We don't sell customers these services, we let them sell themselves. We did our research into each company we refer and we keep up on their reviews. We ask our customers: ”How did they do?” We are taking care of our customer “At Parcel Room, we make it go away”, and they love us for it.


    Thank you

    Jeff Ballantyne

    AMBC Freight

    Parcel Room

    PackFreight Network

    1465 Woodbury Ave

    Portsmouth NH 03801



  • March 23, 2017 9:12 AM | Jeff (Administrator)

    NMFC Changes are taking place April 15th, 2017

    NMFC = National Motor Freight Classification,  is the system that sets the description and class of everything shipped freight.   The description used to describe an item shipped sets the NMFC number, that number sets your freight class. The freight class sets the rate per pound you are charged.

    Paintings /pictures is just one of a few items that are changing; I have added the new to the list on the freight site look for a note in the description to see if it expires this year. Do not use an expired NMFC, the carrier will not care they will not adjust. If you are in doubt call the carrier and inquire (get the person's name), email me the item full description. There is no grace period, there is no "I didn't know" they don't care.

    At carriers discretion they can start using the new NMFC Number as of the 15th. In most cases stores have used Class 110 for their painting shipment. The new NFMC is density based, so accurate weights and measurement will be even more important.

    NMFC  056165-

    Paintings or pictures, posters NOI framed or unframed with or without glass in boxes, cartons or crates released to a value not to exceed $25.00 per pound. (Will expand on this at the end)

    Density of Less than 4 pound per cu foot - Class 300: 056165-01

    Density of 4 but less than 8 pounds per cu foot - Class 175: 056165-02

    Density of 8 pounds per cu foot or greater - Class 92.5: 056165-03

    The weight and dimensions need to include all packaging, all pallets, banding, strapping. You KNOW that they will be auditing packages and I have never seen it come out in the store's favor yet on an audit. So please double check your data prior to shipping.

    The AMBC Freight site does help you calculate the density you only need to fill in the weight and dimensions and it calculates and displays your cubic feet plus the density of the shipment. Be SURE you match and use the correct Class and density.

    In the NMFC description they use NOI which means Not Otherwise Indicated (no other listing for that specific product) and the release value is that you are agreeing to limit the carrier's liability to a MAXIMUM of $25.00 pound. The does not mean they will pay $25.00 per pound that is the MAXIMUM they will pay. In most cases carriers have not ever paid a claim on paintings, they always "determine" that the art falls within their scope of not covered. This is why I always recommend that you obtain 3rd party coverage and plan that the carrier's coverage will be minimal at best.

    Painting, art, pictures posters

    Rugs, carpets, floor coverings

    Mailing Machines

    Tables or stations for food preparation (commercial)


    Toilet Paper

    Household Kitchen utensils (when NOT shipping as personal effects)

    Baseball bats, softball, cricket other than hollow

    Thank you

    Jeff Ballantyne

    AMBC Freight

    Parcel Room

    PackFreight Network

    1465 Woodbury Ave

    Portsmouth NH 03801


    Think like a customer work like a professional.

  • March 21, 2017 12:03 PM | Marty (Administrator)

    I just made a kids' mailbox.

    It's a concept I've heard of before, but completely forgot about until Henry reminded us of it at the PostalMate regional training weekend a few weeks ago in New York.

    It's really quite a brilliant idea: put the key to one of your large mailboxes on a special key chain and fill that mailbox with toys and prizes for kids. Then, when someone brings their young pal into your store, give that kid the key and tell them that if they can figure out which mailbox it opens, they can have a prize from inside.

    Because I personally can't handle stuff falling all over the floor in chaos, I put a small box inside my kids' mailbox that the kids can pull out to discover prizes inside: sunglasses, temporary tattoos, rings, pencils, slap bracelets, American flags, puzzles, etc. You can fill yours with whatever you'd like, though stickers are always a winner.

    Kids' mailboxes keeps kids entertained and allows their grownups to focus on business at hand. The kids love it, the grownups love it, and it's a win-win across the board!

    Think about making one today. It takes like five minutes and makes a huge impression.

    #KidsMailbox #AMBC4ME #AskUncleMarty 


    Marty Johnson, AMBC Director of Marketing |

Association of Mail & Business Centers TM, 1465 Woodbury Ave. #811, Portsmouth, NH 03801  ~  (815) 316-8255

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