Which is Better for Taping Parcels? Paper or Plastic Shipping Tape

October 30, 2010

By Guest blogger Jay F. Perdue

We are grateful that a real expert answers the question today about which is better for sealing packages, paper or plastic tape. Jay has 25 years of experience delivering packages for UPS and has seen more packages than just about anyone. Here is his guest post.

Will that be paper or plastic Sir?

When it comes to shipping packages you have two choices for sealing your box: Paper tape or plastic tape. Most small shippers don’t even know that there is more than one option and use plastic tape. The larger shippers sometimes use the reinforced 3″ water activated paper tape using a tape dispenser. You can set the dispenser to give you a specific length of tape. Then, pull the lever and it gives you a perfect piece of tape every time. Sounds great, and it is fast and accurate.


After delivering packages for UPS for 25 years I have seen what happens to the packages that are sealed with paper tape and it is not pretty. I end up resealing at least 50% of these packages with plastic tape to keep them closed because the paper tape is either broken or not sticking anymore.

  • Paper tape will not stick to plastic tape if you are recycling a box with old plastic tape still on it
  • Paper tape does not do well in the extreme heat of summer
  • Paper tape is not flexible like plastic tape and will break when during the handling process

My recommendation is to use plastic tape with a hand tape gun. Even the cheap tape at about $1.50 a roll is a lot better than paper tape and the tape guns are cheap also running about $15 or so. It is about as fast as a paper tape dispenser and just as cheap.

Every sale you make is important to you and equally important to your customer. If you take special care to use the right size box and pack your item properly make sure you use plastic tape to keep it sealed tight.

Note from Mark: Jay has moved to Minneapolis/St Paul. If anyone needs a real shipping expert in the logistics field, Jay is available. Here is his LinkedIn profile.


Consumer Parcel Shippers Pay More for Shipping

June 27, 2009

The intention of my next several posts is to provide distinctions of the different types of parcel shippers. I am doing this for several reasons:

  1. Parcel shippers and readers of this blog can identify themselves and their needs.
  2. Once identified, they can see what others in their category typically do and discover ideas for saving on shipping that are suitable for them.
  3. Technology companies that offer shipping software can also use this to segment the market and design appropriate solutions with the features and price points for that segment.

The first category is the Consumer— someone who occasional ships a package. In the parcel industry, the consumer shipper is sometimes referred to as the gift shipper because they are typically someone who only ships when they have a gift to send. These are some of the characteristics of consumer shippers:

  1. This is the single largest group of shippers.
  2. Most of them ship by going to the US Post Office and paying for postage over the counter.
  3. If they don’t go to the Post Office, they go to a UPS store and have their packages packed.
  4. Convenience is the most important benefit they seek in shipping.
  5. Consumer shippers pay the most for shipping a package; most pay retail or higher.
  6. Many consumer shippers pay for services they don’t need because of their ignorance about options available. For example, they pay for second day or next day service when a ground package could get there the same day or sooner for a fraction of the cost.

Taylor’s Tips for Consumer Shippers

  1. Ship online and save.
  2. Compare services.

10 Steps to Shipping a Package

April 4, 2008

When it comes to shipping packages, whether with you are shipping with UPS, FedEx, DHL, or the US Post Office, there are ten steps that every shipper must follow to ensure that their parcels are delivered in the right condition at the right price. This video will show small business shippers, eBayers, & online merchants how to ship a package.

Here’s How:

  1. Packing: The first step is to select the appropriate packaging for the item you are shipping. This could be a tube, soft package, cardboard envelope, or a box.
  2. Weighing: Shipping rates are determined by distance, size, and weight, among other factors. An accurate scale is necessary to prevent carrier charge-backs.
  3. Measuring: If you have a package over 3 cubic feet (1 cubic ft for USPS), you will need to know its dimensions in order to obtain an accurate rate.
  4. Rating: To calculate the cost of shipping, in addition to the weight (and possibly the dimensions), you need the shipper’s zip code, the receiver’s zip code (or city and country), and to know whether the recipient is located in a business or residential location. There are options such as insurance, requiring a signature upon delivery, and Saturday Delivery, which can add to the cost.
  5. Selecting a Carrier: You are now ready to select a carrier. Enter the above information in a carrier’s website or a shipping software application; you will be provided with the choices and costs associated with the level of service desired.
  6. Processing: Once you have selected a carrier and service, you will need to process the information. This can be simply entering the address details into a website or manually writing it on a carrier form called a waybill.
  7. Payment: Your options are to pay for it with your own account (which you will have set up with the carrier), have the shipping charges billed to the receiver, or have the charges billed to a third party, such as your business, if you have the account number and authority. If you are going to use the US Post Office or carrier’s retail store, you can pay cash or charge it on your credit card.
  8. Labeling: The processing system will generate a shipping label on a plain piece of paper or a thermal printer.
  9. Sealing: Put one label inside the box, seal it with clear plastic shipping tape, and place a duplicate label on the outside of the box on the largest surface.
  10. Hand-off: This means getting your shipment to the carrier. You could drop it off at a carrier facility or drop box, or arrange to have the carrier pick it up. On-demand pick-ups cost an extra $3-4 per destination address.


  1. Some carriers will provide free packaging for certain services. The US Post Office will give customers free boxes and envelopes for shipping items Priority or Express Mail. All the other carriers will provide various containers if you choose their express services.
  2. Shipping online at the carrier’s website is cheaper than going to their counter or store.
  3. You should make an extra label to put inside the box in case the label on the outside of the box comes off in the shipping process.
  4. You can look online at the carrier’s website and find the closest location to your work or home to drop off your shipment.