The following is a guest post from Ken Crouse of PacMe.com, a convenient and ultra-logical shipping solution for expats around the world.
Unless you are a die-hard expat who feels you ‘really are just a local now’, you probably miss shopping online in the US. Online shopping offers you:
- Variety—you get exactly what you want
- Affordability—you can bargain shop til you find the lowest prices on earth
- Convenience—you don’t have to schlep all the way to the store to pick it up
As an expat, the problem is that the US is over here and you are over there. Or maybe it’s the other way around. In any case, if you want to shop online in the US, you need a way to get your packages.
If you just want a few things, then you can have your Aunt Sally or a friend accept your boxes and send them over to you. You’ll pay a small fortune in international shipping since they will likely pay retail rates, and chances are, you’ll want more than just a couple of things! This is where we come in.
I personally don’t like to shop much, but I have a big family with eccentric hobbies and extra wide feet (have you tried to find fashionable shoes in extra wide sizes overseas?). Shipping overseas was getting ridiculously expensive-I received over 300 packages last year from Amazon alone. I had to come up with another solution. I couldn’t stop online shopping, but clearly couldn’t afford it. So I commandeered my wife’s uncle, Randy, to receive my purchases, repackage/consolidate the contents into one box and ship it once a month to my address overseas.
Even after shipping and duties, I figure I save tens of thousands of dollars using this consolidation system. I used to buy only what I needed, but now I buy what I want. And I don’t even have to go to the store. It’s become so easy. Why wouldn’t I want other expats to experience such shopping bliss? So I called Uncle Randy and proposed a new venture which would allow expats around the world save money each and every time they shopped—together we created PacMe.com.
Randy and I raised capital, developed simple, secure and accurate website software and secured a warehouse in tax-free Oregon.
How PacMe.com Saves You Money
We have about 50 competitors, not counting everyone’s Aunt Sally. Most of them have something like “US Address” or “Ship Internationally” in their names. Those are the two easiest things to do. We called ourselves “PacMe,” because consolidation–the unboxing and repacking of the items, not simply putting the original boxes into another box–is what provides the most value.
And here’s why.
The scourge of international shipping is “dimensional weight.” Once a box gets too big relative to its weight, you have to pay for the volume, not the actual weight. That’s one reason why you should deflate a basketball before shipping it. The formula is easy. To get the dim weight in pounds, you multiply the length, width, and height and then divide by 139. You then pay the higher of the two weights: actual vs dimensional.
It’s not uncommon for the dim weight to be double the actual weight, largely because shippers have only a few set box sizes, the shipper wasn’t a very good packer, or the shopper wasn’t thinking when buying that fluffy pink unicorn.
Who’s going to help you figure that out from 10,000 miles away? Your Aunt Sally? That’s why we started the business. We have some tips and tricks integrated into our website software, every size box you could imagine and a friendly, professional team who love to pack boxes.
How Exactly Does it Work?
- Shop online at US websites
- Ship to Oregon tax-free
- Store your packages in our secure warehouse
- We consolidate and repack your items
- We ship your packages in one, cost-efficient box
- Save on shipping with our deep discounts
Greenback Customer Discount
When you sign up for an account on PacMe (http://pacme.com/services), enter the coupon code “greenback-2014” on the payment page for $60 off the first year of service!
We love what we do
Every entrepreneur starts a business with the hope of it being financially successful, but for me, it’s also very fulfilling to ship a little bit of the US out there to all the expats. Everyone loves receiving a care package and I’m truly happy to be a part of bringing that to other US expats!
PacMe Corporation, http://pacme.com, is a small package consolidator and international shipper based in Portland, Oregon and run by Ken Crouse, a longtime Greenback customer who has lived abroad for the past 10 years.