Q. What is My Missionary Shipping’s Role?
A. Through the grouped purchasing power of our customers, MMS has been able to negotiate deeply discounted rates which we can then pass along to our customers. I process the shipments and send the shipping documents to you via email. You'll then print out the documents along with an instruction sheet that will explain how to schedule your pickup. That's the best part, it will be picked up at your doorstep! Then I just need your credit card info for the payment.
Q. Who picks up and handles my shipments?
A. Our chosen shipping carrier is DHL™. They will be the ones picking up and handling your packages from door to door.
Q. Why don't I just setup an account directly with DHL™?
A. You could, but because of our grouped purchasing power we are able to negotiate heavily discounted rates and pass on the savings to our customers. As a single shipper, it would be difficult for you to achieve these rates yourself. Take for example DELL™ and IBM™ who are shipping partners with DHL™. They spend millions of dollars a year shipping packages and therefore get heavily discounted rates with DHL™. Most businesses and individuals can't ship the volume that companies like DELL™ or IBM™ do, but by partnering My Missionary Shipping and with an authorized re-seller of DHL™, you become part of our base that allows us to get those heavily discounted rates with the carriers that large companies like DELL™ and IBM™ do and we pass along the savings to you.
Q. How quickly can I start shipping through My Missionary Shipping?
A. You could start shipping through MMS as soon as today.
Q. How do I pay for shipping my package?
A. We require payment in the form of a major credit card such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.
Q. What about Customs, Duties and Taxes? Who is responsible to pay those fees?
A. When requesting a shipment to be processed, you will be asked what the value of the items being sent is. We suggest you be as conservative on this figure as possible. Most very low value items being shipped to missionaries ($20.00 to $50.00) may pass through customs without having to pay any duties and taxes. However, if you declare a higher dollar figure (over $100.00) on the total value of your package or ship a higher dollar single item then duties and taxes could very well be required. If this is the case, these duties and taxes will have to be paid by the recipient, unless you have chosen the option to pre-pay the Customs Fees. This is just a necessary evil of international shipping. Please try not to send or ship high value items as the higher the value the more Duties and Taxes will be incurred. (A tip I like to pass along is to declare the values of the items as if you would have purchased them at a garage sale or flea market. This tends to keep the declared values low but still believable to the Customs Agents clearing your packages.)
Q. What can and cannot be shipped?
A. For a list of these items, you can check the list at www.dhl-usa.com or call DHL directly to ask a customer service representative at (800) CALL-DHL it's also very important to be sure none of the items you want to ship also do NOT need any additional documentation or certifications upon arrival in country.
Q. What is a Commercial Invoice?
A. It is a necessary part of shipping internationally. The "shipper" is you, and the "Consignee" is the missionary. This document is used to help customs know what is being sent and brought into the country of destination. This is why they need a brief description of the items and the approximate value of those items. (Legally we can't tell you how to fill your forms out but we highly recommend for you to be as vague as possible with your descriptions (i.e. Missionary supplies) and as conservative with your value estimates as possible. It has been our experience that values under say $20.00 USD rarely get a closer look at by customs officials.)
Q. Why do I need to enter the Length, Width, and Height of my package when getting a rate? Isn't the weight good enough?
A. With shipping packages internationally, space on the airplanes is very valuable. Most shipping companies charge a shipment based on the higher of the actual weight or the dimensional weight of a package. They go by the actual weight unless the package is large in relation to how heavy it is. To determine the dimensional weight of an International package simply multiply length x width x height of the package and then divide the number by 139. For example: 12" x 12" x 12" (box or package) = 1728/139=12.4 or rounding up to 13 (lbs). So, if your item weighed more than 13 lbs, you will be charged for the actual weight shipped, however if it weighed less, then you will be charged for the 13 lbs dimensional weight. Hint: You can save money if you ship a fairly light item in as small of a package as possible.
Q. When will DHL™ know when to pick up my package?
A. When you are finished inputting all information, you will need to print 2 copies of the Way Bill and 3 copies of the Commercial Invoice. Original signatures need to be on all three copies of the Commercial Invoice. You will be able to also schedule a window for a DHL™ driver to come by your house and pick up your package to ship. All of the copies of each document will be needed to be given to the DHL™ driver where he/she will scan the bar code and the process of delivering your package will begin. Your Way Bill number is the number you will use to go onto DHL's website at www.dhl-usa.com and input it to track where it is at any given time.
Q. Why would I not want to just go to the post office like I always have and stick my parcel contents into the “if it fits, it ships” box they provide and save money doing that?
A. If you don't mind your parcel getting to its destination in a month or two, or to be "held up in customs", or to be held up somewhere, and perhaps never reach its destination, then we suggest you use the U.S. Postal Service. They do a fairly good job within the U.S. However, because they have to contract with the lowest bidding shipping contractor, there are never any guarantees that it will be there when you expect or to be able to track or trace where it is. If you have never lost a package you have spent a lot of time and effort putting together using the US Postal service abroad, consider yourself lucky.
In choosing DHL™, the #1 Express shipping company in the world, we are able to track and trace each package, and know that it will get to its destination well under a week and most of the time within 2 to 3 days. The price you pay for this service is far less than UPS™ or FedEx™ and most of the time less than the U.S. Postal service's Express Mail package service.
Also, DHL™ is not considered a U.S. company. Its headquarters are in Bonn Germany. Because of this, they are welcome in over 225 countries all over the world with open arms. They have over 170 countries with in-house Customs Brokers (more than any other carrier) that enable packages to be cleared through Customs while in the air, thus allowing them to deliver packages in such a quick time frame.
Q. Our Missionaries MTC / Mission President's package stated not to use any other carrier but the USPS so we don't incur additional duties and taxes. Why is this, and is DHL any different?
A. Over the past couple of years we've heard this several times. We've even gone so far as to talk to a few Mission Presidents and ask them why they are passing on this info. Almost to a man they told us it was in an old memo that was distributed many years ago but has just continued to be passed out. Each of them told us that they just didn't have the time or really a reason to question it so it keeps getting passed out. Most people in the Church don't know that the Church is actually one of DHL's largest customers in the US. and is THE largest customer in the state of Utah. So, if the Church puts that much trust in DHL than why on earth wouldn't you? It's the combination of the way that we recommend the shipping documents be filled out and the lower declared value and the way that everything syncs up together after many different trial and error methods, we've been able to perfect it (as much as is possible for international shipping,) so that the vast majority of our package are not charged additional duties and taxes.
Q. Why do you recommend to just put "Missionary Supplies Not For Resale" on the Commercial Invoice?
A. The process of clearing customs in the destination country is a tricky one. The customs official's sole job is to keep an eye out for everything coming into their country for security reasons and to catch all items that someone could make money on by selling it again once it comes into the country, Of course the customs officials want their piece of the pie so they assess duties and taxes on anything and everything they think would fit that bill. My experience over 18 years of shipping internationally has lead me to these recommendations. First the way we've set up the company in the first place. I've named it My "MISSIONARY" Shipping This is on each and every commercial invoice I generate when the destination countries customs official looks at this document he/she will first look at who is sending this package, and they will see our name. Then the customs official will look to see what is being shipped. They will see "MISSIONARY" Supplies Not for Resale. Then the customs official will look to see who it's being sent to in their country. They most likely will see something like Timbuktu "MISSION" Home. So, can you see the correlation of everything now? This is what the customs will see too and everything syncs with each other. Then they'll look at the declared value amount. If it's around $20 or so the vast majority of our packages go right through clearance without any additional duties or taxes being assessed. However, because the customs clearance process is completely out of ours and DHL's control I can not guarantee this will be the case with every package you send with us.
Q. I see the website is geared toward missionaries but I have a loved one in a different country living and/or working I want to send something to. Can I still use your service?
A. Absolutely, while we are geared towards missionaries we can also ship your care packages to anyone you know living or working in a different country, this also includes service men and women working abroad. We would love to help you out too.
Q. Is My Missionary Shipping a "Full Service" shipping system?
A. While we try to do as much as we can for our customers there are some things that we just can't do. In a concerted effort to keep our rates as low as we possibly could to allow as many Missionary families to be able to afford our service. We do have a trade off for this. Our profits per shipment are so low that we simply don't have the time to walk each and every customer step by step through the complete shipping process. Not to mention we also simply don't know the knowledge level of each customer and shipping to the country they need to ship to. So, we ask that each customer take the time to be sure that what they want to send is OK to send before the package is sent, then we ask our customers to track their packages to make sure it travels as it should. This is actually quite fun to see where it goes and how fast! If by chance it does get hung up for longer than a day or two in any one location we ask our customers to call DHL to find out the reasons and to see if anything can be done on this end to help it out. If in the course of your correspondence with DHL you don't understand what is being asked of you, or you need some additional guidance of how to proceed at any given point, we are always more than happy to answer any questions you may have at any point in the process.
Q. Is My Missionary Shipping Guaranteed?
A. No, our overall success rate for shipping to the countries we ship to is extremely high and we are very proud of it. However, there are many factors with international shipping that are simply out of our control. The Customs clearance process is easily the biggest obstacle we face and failure to clear Customs is usually the reason why packages are not able to ultimately be delivered. This is why it's so important to be absolutely sure all the items you want to ship or not only okay to ship to your destination country but also do not need any additional documentation or certifications upon arrival in country.