[Noozhawk’s note: Prepping your parcels this season doesn’t mean that holiday herds need to devour your patience. This year, Noozhawk features a local shipping sovereign, Santa Barbara Pack & Post. Read on to develop your own Scrooge-proof strategies.]

Despite the economy, Santa Barbara Pack & Post’s business is up more than 100 percent from last year, and it’s clear its loyal following and assortment of services are flourishing for good reason.

Its success stems from offering not only standard carriers such as FedEx and UPS, but also LTL freight, ocean carriers, armored transport and DHL services. Besides carrier comparison, a detailed database complete with clientele shipment history provides patrons with information via e-mail or text message about package arrival and address recollection.

“I try to give our customers no reason to go anywhere else. We have all the services, we are less expensive and they won’t have to wait in line,” Santa Barbara Pack & Post owner Jeremy Bodenhamer said. “If you come and ship here, you have your choice of services, of speeds, we meet different deadlines, different pricing. … Our volume allows us to pass on discounts to the customers that aren’t extended at the retail outlets.”

For clients who open business or personal accounts with Pack & Post, benefits triple.

“You literally can drop it off with nothing but an address, the value of the shipment and how fast you want it to get there, and we do everything,” Bodenhamer said. “You can skip the line. You get billed once per month.”

At Pack & Post, 3463 State St., ordering by e-mail and skipping lines are just the beginning. Every account customer has access to an online Google Doc that’s assigned to his or her account with a complete shipment history of tracking numbers, item codes, invoice numbers and addresses. Account holders can always know what was shipped, where it went and when it got there by simply checking their own online record. For small-business clientele, Pack & Post will even stock on-site for you.

“We can stock the items. …You can just e-mail your order and we will pull it, pack it and ship it,” said Bodenhamer, a Westmont College graduate who earned his shipping education at Montecito Executive Services before opening Pack & Post.

Bodenhamer and his faxing, typing, shredding, packing and crating couriers and secretarial superstars are available to help from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Pack & Post’s Ship Tips

» Make sure the box can handle the weight. Look on the underside of corrugated cardboard boxes. Every cardboard box is certified with a circular stamp by the “Box Manufacturer’s Certificate” (BMC) clearly printed on one of the bottom flaps. The BMC will indicate the strength of the board used to construct the box as well as its size and weight limit.

» “Fragile/This Side Up” will be ignored. Every box shipped this season will be flung and slid chute and ladder style, no matter how large the “Fragile” sticker. Automated conveyor belts can’t read, and pot holes just don’t care.

» Use plenty of padding. The ultimate goal is 2 to 3 inches between and around items. There should be no movement in the box.

» Value ranks supreme. Any packages of significant value should be shipped through UPS or FedEx given the automatic tracking and $100 of insurance. If your item(s) should be insured for more than $500, let the pros do the packing. If you item(s) are worth more than $2,000, P&P can custom build a wooden crate and will send it by freight.

» Alcohol is not anonymous. In California, you must have a permit to ship wine or beer directly to a consumer. Have the winery/brewery ship the booze. Most places offer online ordering, so don’t worry about driving up to Napa to get granny her grapey goodness.

Shipping Supplies

» Use little bubbles for delicate or small things.

» Use big bubbles for pretty much everything else.

» Packing peanuts should be used only as filler.

Worrisome Winter Weather

At FedEx, the Global Operations Control Centre manages air and ground fleets worldwide, with the ability to make routing and operational changes within minutes. Both FedEx and UPS employ meteorologists to predict weather changes and analyze weather patterns to determine when flight and delivery plans may be affected. Web-based software is used at FedEx to monitor weather conditions and road closings, facilitating the ground team to make haste decisions about changing routes when necessary. In addition, FedEx Express routinely adjusts its flight schedules to accommodate fluctuations in package volumes.

Rates, Holiday Schedules, Etc.

» UPS: www.ups.com

» Fedex: www.fedex.com

» U.S. Postal Service: pe.usps.com

Noozhawk intern Rachel Urbach can be reached at rurbach@noozhawk.com.