Well, this is awkward. That giant stuffed capybara plushie, quirky cheetah-print patio umbrella or cool new pedal drum may be everything your customer ever wanted. But getting it to them isn’t always easy — and not at all fast or affordable if you’re turning to traditional carriers to handle the job. 

The challenges of delivering XL goods force sellers to dampen customers’ enthusiasm with some less-than-welcome news: Their item will take a while to arrive and will cost a lot extra due to the packing requirements, special handling fees and oversized shipping rates — or a dreaded weeks-long ETA due to less than truckload (LTL) shipping. For many sellers, it becomes a choice between offering a burdensome buying experience for oversized goods — or declining to offer delivery of these items at all.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Today there are alternatives that take a lot of the pain of XL delivery away and enable you to provide ultrafast, same-day delivery. Here’s what you need to know about the challenges of oversized item delivery … and how to avoid them. 

Traditional carriers’ XL shipping challenges

Dimensional weight charges

The transition to dimensional weight as the basis for parcel delivery fees a few years back was all about better accounting for both weight and size. For large items, that often meant sharp cost increases, particularly painful if you’re shipping something big but lightweight, like a stuffed animal. The outsize dimensions of most oversize goods mean the costs mount up very quickly under dimensional-weight shipping policies. Click here to learn more about how carriers define an oversized item. 

Oversized fees

Dimensional weight isn’t the only concern. Parcel shippers rely on standardization to make goods flow smoothly down conveyors and onto dollies or truck bays. XL goods don’t fit within these parameters, so they get the dreaded classification: oversized item. This means these goods get more manual handling, often automatically requiring two-person teams even if the actual item doesn’t really need it. Because of these requirements, ultrafast oversized shipping often isn’t even available. 

Early cut-offs

Getting classified as oversized starts a chain reaction of new policies and charges in the parcel system. One of these is earlier cut-off times, so the carrier has more time to send the team required to manually handle your item. In the 2022 holiday season, for example, carriers imposed longer surcharge periods for oversized goods and additional handling charges than they had before. This limits the ability to offer fast delivery with same-day shipping, and it puts your sale at risk. 


Parcel carriers almost always move goods in boxes, something you’ll want as much as they do to protect your goods through all the handoffs and conveyors. So as much as your feather-festooned light fixture resists easy packaging, you’re going to have to find a way to get it into one to use a parcel carrier. Your choices include custom-designing a box, using multiple boxes to fit, or dismantling or redesigning an item just to accommodate those requirements. That can be far from ideal; that foldable snow shovel handle will never be as strong as one that uses one solid piece, for example. Extra padding and packaging materials also add up to higher costs. 

Long and uncertain delivery times

Now that your item is being processed outside the standard package flow, it moves according to the availability of two-person teams or special handling equipment. Not surprisingly, this is rarely at the pace of standard parcel shipping, and most carriers won’t guarantee a delivery time window for oversized goods.

Lost deliveries

Another follow-on effect from sidestepping standard delivery processes is how much more easily a parcel carrier can lose track of an item. Each handoff comes with the potential for the package to slip through the cracks and require a manual search to track down. It’s more likely a recipient that doesn’t know when to expect a package won’t be home, and that package becomes more vulnerable to theft as a result. 

Safety concerns

Every XL-sized item is different, and each comes with its own requirements for safe handling. A long and skinny giraffe statue probably needs an extra-tall dolly and lots of straps to safely take it from point to point. A short, dense item may call for wider equipment and ramps for safe transport. It can be hard for a parcel carrier to ensure these materials are readily available at every step of the journey. That puts your goods at risk.

Difficult returns

All of the challenges of getting an oversized good to your customer via parcel service are multiplied should the item need to come back to you. Now all those packaging and special-handling steps have to start at the customer’s doorstep, out of your control. Scheduling home or office pickup can be very difficult with a carrier, and the item’s XL properties make it hard for your customer to get it to a drop-off point. Additionally, if it’s not properly prepared, the carrier may still refuse your return. The cost just adds to the trouble. 

Skipping the hassle with XL delivery

Now that you know how much of a hassle oversized parcel delivery can be, we have good news: You can forget all that. You can avoid all those challenges by using crowdsourced delivery through RoadieXL™. 

By tapping into the Roadie 200,000-strong network of independent drivers, you can not only offer affordable oversized delivery, but ultrafast as well.

Here’s how RoadieXL™ gets past carrier oversize challenges:

  • Instead of dimensional weight and special fees, you get a flat rate per delivery based on the general size of the item with no hidden fees.
  • Early cut-offs are not necessary. You can keep accepting same-day orders as late as your fulfillment processes allow.
  • Packaging is not required when sending with Roadie.
  • Long and uncertain delivery times are simply not a thing. Your Roadie driver picks up and delivers your item in a time window you select, so you and your customer know when it’s coming. 
  • Live tracking, customer notifications and proof of delivery ensure you know where your order is every step of the way. There are no handoffs between multiple drivers and locations, which are the source of most package losses. 
  • Your items are safe and sound using RoadieXL™, which connects you with the right type of vehicle and extra equipment needed to handle your item. Plus, every delivery automatically comes with $100 of protection, and you have the option to purchase up to $10,000 in additional protection through UPS Capital
  • Difficult returns are a thing of the past. Roadie’s platform can connect a driver right to your customer’s door to retrieve the item, no repackaging required. 

Leaving your big, awkward and oddly shaped items to RoadieXL™ means you not only avoid all the parcel carrier inconvenience, but you also can offer the ultrafast, same-day delivery customers increasingly expect. That’s an XL win for everyone. Check out this link to learn more.