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10 Things to Know Before Buying Shipping Crates

So you’re in the market for some new wooden shipping crates but you want to make sure to pick the best supplier. But come on... there just boxes, right?

Well, you need to consider these boxes have the super-important job of protecting your products on their final journey to your customer.

In this article we address common claims of companies that provide packaging manufacturing and what they really mean. So its probably a good idea to read this article before buying your next batch of wooden shipping crates.

shipping crate

#1 Custom

When the company that provides packaging manufacturing boasts that their wooden shipping crates are "custom built" know that of course they're custom!

Think about it! Your company manufactures unique or sophisticated or highly technical parts. A wood box that will accommodate your part isn't just sitting on a shelf somewhere.

The wooden shipping crates you buy must perform especially for your product. Any wood box company should be asking about the weight of your product, center of gravity and attachment points. The wooden shipping crates you buy should be:

  • Built to the proper dimensions to fit your part
  • Built with enough structure to support the weight of your part
  • Built with enough internal components to secure your part to the deck.

So when that box company is telling you all about how their boxes are made-to-order... know that every box company should be doing that.

#2 On-Site Packaging

Most crating companies provide on-site packaging services. All you need to know is

1) "What's your hourly rate?"

2) "Do you charge for travel?"


#3 High Quality

Most wood crate companies brag about their "high quality"... but are they really gonna say that they make sub-par boxes? We think not.

Ask them to put their money where their mouth is and request a first article and a copy of their Quality Assurance Manual.

Another way to be prepared for claims of "high quality" is to educate yourself about the structural components built into boxes.

Valley Box created a wooden crate design cheat sheet to help you out!


#4 Customer Service

Phrases like "excellent customer service" are easier said than done. Let their actions speak louder than words:

  • Does the company reply to your online request form same day?
  • Does someone answer when you pick up the phone and call?
  • Does your rep call/email back in a timely manner?
  • Does your rep keep you in the loop during design, manufacturing and delivery?

Valley Box feels that customer service is an attitude, not a department. Trained packaging experts build a relationship with customers and take the time necessary to fully understand each client’s packaging needs.

#5 Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

Do you design your product using CAD or 3D modeling software? You should be able to send your files to the packaging manufacturer (after an NDA of course) in order to have the company design the perfect wooden shipping crate around your product.

Download all the files we accept at Valley Box Company


#6 Creative Solutions

Know that most outer boxes are similarly built. But just like your Mom used to say "Its what's on inside that counts."


The company providing your packaging manufacturing should be able to offer creative solutions to tie down, hold in place, or otherwise secure your product inside the box.

After all, they should be the packaging experts, right?

#7 Guarantee

Does the company providing packaging manufacturing have a Guarantee?

Asking for the company's Guarantee Policy will help you to determine if the packaging company is willing to stand behind their design and construction.

Download Valley Box's Guarantee

Valley Box Limited Guarantee.png

#8 Adding Steel for Superior Strength

Sometimes when you need to crate an extremely heavy load... wood just won't do the trick.

Having a packaging manufacturer that can integrate steel into the design to increase the structural integrity of the wooden crate is hard to find.


Guess what...Valley Box can do that.

#9 Lead time

Let's face it, your a busy person probably juggling a lot of responsibility and maybe, just maybe, you've left the packaging to the last minute.

Having the company providing your packaging manufacturing give you accurate lead times is critical. Knowing the packaging provider’s lead time can help you to calculate the last possible moment you can submit a purchase order and get your packaging on-time.

Sure companies will say they have "on-time delivery". But at this point in the [new] relationship it’s just promises and the company may say they "can meet your deadline" but then fall short.

However, asking for a commitment up front for timely deliveries will communicate to the vendor that you'll be evaluating their delivery performance. If they don’t meet your deadlines, it’s up to you if you want to give them another shot or try another vendor.

Valley Box utilizes Just In Time (JIT) deliveries, which is a practice that is used in many industries to assure that production is not interrupted by shortages.

#10 On-site Quoting

Measurements are critical when it comes to wooden crate design. That's why Valley Box offers free on-site quotes.

Here's how it works:

  • A Packaging Expert will visit your location & take measurements of your part
  • They will gain an understanding of the production line, learn about the capabilities of end users and obtain a clear understanding of all special requests.
  • Then they head back to Valley Box headquarters in San Diego, CA and work with packaging engineers to develop the perfect crate for your product.
  • The Packaging Expert will send you the quote and walk you through the intricacies of the design.

I want to start designing my custom wooden crate!
Wood Crate

Topics: Wood

Alicia Guillette

Written by Alicia Guillette

Alicia Guillette, is now the third generation of family involved at Valley Box Company. Starting in 2006, she has taken Valley Box into the digital age by developing a new web presence, implementing enterprise resource management tools and expanding the product line to include material handling equipment.