First of all, I am not going to lie and say shipping has been all cupcakes and rainbows. Shipping is one of the biggest headaches for my shop. But, it is also one of the most important aspects of running a successful business because it provides a much larger customer base.
I have lost a lot of money on shipping, but I have learned a lot along the way! When I first started out, I was refinishing furniture and selling it locally. Wanting to expand, we bought our CNC machine and slowly transitioned to creating products that I could ship. Although I was relatively familiar with the basics, shipping for my own business was a whole new realm to navigate.
I am sharing a little bit of my shipping must haves with you here, hoping that will enable you to create a little success of your own. This will be part one of my three-part series of tips for a successful online business.
Supplies: Shipping Must Haves
It will save you a lot of time and money, not to mention headaches… if you have the right supplies. The cheapest place I have found to get the majority of my packaging is one I’m sure you are familiar with. Yep, you guessed it. Amazon. I also will receive an added discount on certain items if I add them to my monthly subscription. Affiliate links will be provided below.
My Dymo label printer makes printing labels so much faster just print, peel and stick. Plus, it is a thermal printer so I don’t have to be refilling ink all the time. I have the labels set up on my Amazon monthly subscription which saves me money and keeps me good and stocked.
Another one of my shipping must haves is my tape dispenser. It definitely expedites the box assembly process. I also buy all my tape from Amazon (shop here) and add it to my monthly subscription so every month I have it set up to send me 12 rolls. I can easily adjust this to send me more or less based on need.
If you are shipping you must have a scale that measures in OZ. This scale is a meat scale, but it does the job just fine. You can also buy them here.
I experimented with different packaging materials: bubble wrap, air bags, peanuts and paper. I found that paper was the cheapest and worked great for what I needed, though I also use bubble wrap for specific products. My paper is also on my monthly subscription and this paper dispenser really speeds up the process when packaging. As you know, time is money!
Bags and Boxes
One of the most important things when it comes to shipping is the weight of an item. If you are shipping really heavy things, the Post Office flat rate would be a good idea to check into. However, since I sell MDF word cutouts my words are really light so I save money not shipping flat rate.
If your item is under 1 lb you can ship it first class which is fairly inexpensive… $3 to $6. The catch with first class is you have to have your own shipping supplies-they are not provided at the Post Office. I tried to send my cutouts in a Priority envelope and they sent it back to me. So I use these poly mailers. They come in different colors and patterns and they are about .10 cents a piece.
I like to use two different types of boxes. The first are the boxes you see directly underneath the floral bags in the picture below. These come flat and then we fold them up to the sizes we need. They are cheaper than a regular box as they are usually under $2 a box. They are also lightweight, but they don’t add a whole lot of protection to your item. However, if I use this box I can usually keep my items under 2 lbs which creates another shipping price break through the post office.
The bottom boxes are standard boxes. These are a little heavier and a bit more expensive, but they provide better protection for items.
I hope you’ll find these shipping must haves beneficial as you endeavor in creating a successful online business!! You can also check out my e-course: how to launch an online shop here!
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