I have spent my ebay years buying and selling trumpets all over the world and have seen some over-the-top packaging and some inadequate packaging. I have sent trumpets that have been damaged and received damaged items. If you have to send a trumpet by parcel this guide may well save you time, effort and money. If anyone has more tips or feels that I have missed something then please get in touch with me.
Choice of Courier
I always choose to take my parcels to the post office. You have a written receipt, can choose insurance and it is convenient for both parties. There is nothing more annoying than some obscure courier leaving a card through your letterbox telling you to pick it up from their depot which is usually miles away.
The post office also act as an agent for Parcelforce - the best courier for overseas parcels.
Postage Option and Cost
I would only recommend that you send a trumpet by a postage method that has tracking and/or a signature. For the sake of a couple of pounds its not worth risking someone saying that they never received it. Trumpets in a case generally weigh 3-5kg when packed. Royal mail special delivery is £22.50, parcelforce 48 is £13 (approx)
Global priority is the only international service I would recommend. Delivery charges change from country to country but is around £48 to EU countries, £50 for other european destinations and around £72 for US or Canada postage. International standard delivery is pretty fast but does not give you a tracking number.
In my experience hard and semi-hard cases protect the trumpet against normal handling. When someone decides to stand on a trumpet case it really does not matter how well boxed it is, it will get damaged. Therefore, as the trumpet is already protected in a case your packaging materials are merely protecting the case from damage. I find that a wrapping of bubble wrap and then enclosing the whole parcel in a black bin bag is neat, tidy and effective.
Gig bags offer very little protection against bumps so I'd recommend placing these into a sturdy cardboard box. Similarly a trumpet sold without a case needs to be well wrapped in bubble wrap and ideally double boxed to give them the best possible protection.
Ebay say it is reasonable to charge a handling fee. I would guess that it takes 10 minute to pack the trumpet and at least 20 minutes to go to the PO and queue. I may be wrong but it just doesn't seem right to add half an hours labour charge onto the cost of postage! I normally just charge actual cost of postage; buyers appreciate this and are more likely to be a return customer and reflect their appreciation in feedback.