Forget UPS. Go to Google and type in:
atlanta packaging shipping crating
You'll get quite a list of experienced shops that'll do it right. Many will pick them up and handle the shipping as well. With those units, I would recommend you ship by common carrier and have them strapped to a pallet.
Nsgarch is correct. Forget about UPS. That's a guaranteed recipe for disaster (unfortunately, I have first-hand experience with their less than competent packing abilities.)
If you don't have the time or facilities to crate them yourself, definitely follow the good advice above and seek out one of the pros to do so.
Additionally, it would make sense to me to have them ride cones down to prevent any possibility of something working its way atop them while in transit.
I just had a pair of Verity Audio Parisifal Ovations shipped from Canada and they use BAX Global...They are not too big, but they do weigh in at 300lbs for the pair and come in those large flight boxes...
They did a good job....
UPS or (United Package Smashers) practically demolished a recently purchased B&W HTM1 here on Audiogon and they were the ones who pachaged it! For more proof just Google (United Package Smashers) and see for your self countless pics and testemonials from people who had unfortunate dealings with them. They aslo will try everything to keep from paying a claim. Unfortunately searching this topic here on the Gone reveals Fed ex to be just as bad. Beware!!!
I agree with Nsgarch as to crating and palleting. BAX Global is very good on big heavy items but you have to have a business to use them, or they will hit you with a heavy residential pick up charge. I will say that if you use UPS Store for crating and insuring, they cannot claim inadequate packing since they did the packing. the biggest problem, I would guess is arriving at a valuation for the speakers; this would really be an issue IF one were damaged as most carriers will not pay for the pair.
I googled and found this....
It may well be the ticket as they seem to do it all..Im sure for a price though..but better safe than sorry.
Thanks Neil and Swampwalker for your help thus far!
As a contrarian. I have used the UPS store three times in the past year to ship large heavy speakers. They came through every time, with no damage. With a Velodyne 1500 subwoofer, a pair of Thiel CS 2.2's, as well as a pair Thiel CS 3.6's. They also did well with a pair of Spica TC 50's. I wouldn't hesitate to use them again.
I got a price for boxes for my pd80s 14X18x64 @250lbs. each. These criminals wanted 300.00 for heavy cardboard boxes. You can buy plywood or osb and with some styrofoam panels and build very sturdy cases in about an hour for around 60$.
That's what I'd be doing!
I've never seen the UPS store properly package a heavy item. The items I've received from them that did arrive safely was by luck only and lightweight (eg preamps). I've purchased 2 speaker systems that were packaged by the UPS store, both were damaged and both could have survived if they had been properly packaged (ie with appropriate HD Box, double box, and strong packing. The use single ply cardboard, bubble wrap,and peanuts.
I would package them myself.
I had a pair of Kharma Ceramique 1.0 shipped to me from Maine with BAX. When the driver came to the house I said I would help get them off the truck. I thought it was odd that there were metal straps on one of the speakers, and that two of the three straps were broken. THe shipping case was not destroyed, but it was obviously damaged.
When we got the speakers into the listening room I took the one from the damaged case, and sure enough, the speakers black piano finish was marred in three places!
Bax sent some old drunk over to examine the speaker. He looked at it and took some pictures, and after wasting my time for a while, finally left. That was the end of the process of trying to fix the problem. I called them a number of times, and they blew me off. The estimate I got for repairing them was about $1000. Bax never did anything, and by the time I got a lawyer and sued a company many states away, I would have died of old age...
BUT if you want to use BAX, it's your choice!
DHL does a great job with shipping big, heavy, and fragile speakers. I recently had a pair of Apogee Duetta Signatures (two 150 lb boxes) shipped to me in Florida from Colorado, and they arrived in perfect condition. An added bounus wat the DHL was less expensive by about $100.00 on this shippment than either UPS or FedEx Ground.
Also from my experience, BAX provides service for "business to business" only and won't even entertain residential pickup or delivery.
I would not suggest using ABF. Reason: ABF uses spring ride trailers and almost all are pup( short )type making for a pretty rough ride. That also goes for Roadway,Yellow and those type companys. Shipments that are sensitive items should be shipped with air ride trailers. You can inquire if a company uses air ride trailers but be aware that they could have older trailers that are spring ride also. FAF ( Forward Air Freight )is another alternative for shipping and can be found around any major airport hub. If you use a crating company ask them if they use/have shock watches. It indicates whether you shipment has been dropped or handled rough. Uline has them but only in large quantities. $119/50 pcs.
Richard the truck driver