Decorating a new restaurant is a big job. Finding just the right pieces requires more than just going down to the local discount store and buying off the shelf. As such, old neon lights, like a unique ‘Open’ sign, and related memorabilia pieces have a premium attached to them for resale. Unfortunately, you can’t just toss a neon light in a box and ship it—especially if you are exporting from one country to another. While each neon shipment will be a little different, based on the size and shape of the light, here is one example of how such a shipment may work.

First, check into the legalities of shipping the neon light to your particular destination. Certain lights may have mercury in the tubes and certain countries may have import laws that regulate whether or not the lights can come in at all. If they can—you’ll want to make sure there are no packing rules you need to follow.

Next, once you know it is okay to ship it the light must be packaged properly to avoid breakage. A soft, resilient packaging that absorbs vibration is key for this particular item. Double boxing the neon is important too, as the extra layer of cushioning you can provide between the boxes will prevent shifting and damage.

Neon signs, particularly older signs are heavier than they may look like they would be, so it is important to plan for a heavy, potentially expensive shipment. In addition, due to the cost and fragility of the neon light, adding insurance is very important. Inquire about the different insurance options before adding it blindly however—in some cases, insurance may be included in your shipping or transport options.

Make sure you fill out all your customs forms properly. Declare the contents of the package properly and make sure you mention that yes, the contents of the package are breakable (and potentially hazardous, if this is the case.) By doing this you protect yourself and the recipient from any legal issues.

As you can see, exporting and shipping a neon light is not the easiest job, but it can be quite rewarding for you and the recipient. Just do your research and use caution and you’ll be sure to succeed.