Entrepreneurs are also excellent jugglers. They are constantly handling manufacturing, marketing, finances, and other aspects of the business in addition to acquiring new consumers. Shipping is another sector where many small business entrepreneurs are concentrating. “What are the best shipping solutions for small businesses?” they’ll question specifically. “Which shipper will get their products to my consumers swiftly and affordably?” and “Which shipper will get their products to my customers quickly and affordably?” After all, research shows that shipping costs (and the availability of free shipping) influence more than half of all U.S. consumers’ purchasing decisions.
In this blog, we’ll look at which carriers offer the best shipping solutions for small business owners, how to choose the right packaging and materials, and how the location of their customers can impact these choices.
10 Small Business Shipping Considerations to Know as an entrepreneur
Do you want to know how to receive the most affordable shipping solutions for your small business? Or are you looking for a third-party logistics (3PL) partner and want to know which shipping solutions for small business are best? We’re here to assist you! The shipping plan you choose will ultimately be determined by your company’s demands. When it comes to picking a shipping option for your small business, there are a few things to consider.
1. Order Volume
You aren’t yet moving things as quickly as Amazon or other large retailers. In the meanwhile, think about how many orders you ship per month. Traveling the DIY method – buying packages, printing labels, and going to the post office – is the best option if you’re just getting your feet wet and shipping a small number of products.
2. Delivery Time
Most customers are impatient; when they place an order online, they expect it to come quickly—unless it’s a custom item or one that’s being shipped from another country. As a result, the speed with which a carrier can deliver your product to the end consumer is crucial.
Of course, there are situations when you may desire to deviate from the speed limit. If you wish to offer free shipping, for example, you may need to choose a slower, less expensive shipping method to avoid going over budget.
3. Packaging Material
For some things, flat-rate boxes from the USPS, UPS, or FedEx are an obvious choice. However, you must consider the fragility of your goods. If the item is delicate (such as glassware or some ceramics), it will require more packaging than, say, a T-shirt.
4. Package Dimensions
What is the bulkiness of your products? When determining prices, dimensional weight, or DIM, considers the size of your package. Naturally, the larger the item, the larger the box, and hence the greater the DIM. When you factor in the weight of air-filled cushions, bubble wrap, and styrofoam peanuts, the price goes up much more.
5. Package Weight
The higher the cost (unless you use flat-rate delivery), the heavier the box. If you’re still a DIYer, investing in a postage scale for your “shipping center,” whether it’s a bedroom or a garage, will help you better forecast costs.
6. Shipping Destination
Is your shipment going across the country or the ocean? Distance is, of course, a major factor that influences delivery costs. It also affects how quickly you can deliver your product to a customer’s front door. While startups may have little choice but to accept the price, other small firms can benefit from more centrally placed fulfillment centers. I’ll get to that in a minute!
7. Package Tracking
You’d like to know where your package is at all times along its travel. Choose a carrier that provides free online package tracking; some may even send you automatic text or email updates. You can also give the customer tracking information so that they can follow the product’s progress; this will keep them from wondering where it is, especially if the delivery period is long.
8. Fragile Items
What if you’re sending something fragile? You’ll need a strong box that can support your item’s weight (your best bet is probably a rigid box or a corrugated box with large flutes. You’ll also need cushioning material to keep things from moving around. Always store fragile items separately, carefully seal the box, and label it “fragile.”
9. Perishable Items
Perishable commodities were once only available for local and regional drop shipping, but now they can be shipped internationally with expedited delivery. Perishable goods going within the United States must be able to tolerate a transportation time of at least 24 hours longer than the delivery deadline.
10. Third-Party Insurance
While insuring your shipments is a good idea, using the carrier’s insurance might be costly. Instead, think about getting third-party insurance. A third-party insurance firm is often half the price of a carrier, which charges roughly $1 for every $100 of insurance. On this forum, you may read more from small business owners looking for third-party insurance, just like you.
Four Excellent Carriers for Small Businesses
There are four main carriers to choose from if you’re doing your shipping. Each carrier offers shipping solutions for small business in some form. Here are the several possibilities; it’s up to you
FedEx Small Business, as its name suggests, proffers shipping solutions for small businesses. The program includes a rewards program as well as the Packaging Help Hub, a resource that may assist you in calculating package DIM. Are you transporting perishable goods? Temperature-controlled shipment is also available from FedEx.
Small businesses can get a free Priority Mail Starter Kit from the USPS, which allows them to set up a PO Box. There are also several programs, such as Click-N-Ship, that make it easier to fulfill orders in-house for low-volume shippers. This tool allows you to buy postage and print shipping labels from the comfort of your own home. For those who can’t make frequent excursions to the post office, there’s also a home pickup option.
Another USPS shipping benefit is last-mile delivery, which enables an item to be delivered to its final destination quickly and cost-effectively. For most shipping services, the USPS also issues a certificate of mailing.
UPS has a Program that provides several resources when it comes to shipping solutions for small businesses. UPS allows you to participate in virtual brainstorming sessions with their small company solutions team in addition to scheduling pickups and managing client returns. They can assist you with mapping out and fine-tuning your supply chain, identifying potential for increased agility, productivity, and growth, and discussing various technologies and services that can help your company flourish.
Is it possible to ship to another country? DHL is the best choice for worldwide express delivery and international freight forwarding by air, sea, road, and rail. The organization also offers shipping solutions for small businesses and will assist you in selecting the appropriate service as well as handle all customs issues. They also enable real-time information into the status of your shipments.
Cost effective shipping solutions for small business
Choosing a provider is one thing; lowering delivery expenses is quite another! If you run any home-based business even as a boutique that requires shipping solutions and this has prompted you to search for “best cost-effective shipping solutions for small home boutique business”, you are lucky to be here.
Here are five ways that small businesses can save money on shipping without cutting corners:
1. Pick-up vs. Drop Off
To save you the trouble of visiting their shop, major carriers will schedule pickups from your home. UPS and FedEx both charge a nominal price for this service, however, USPS delivers it for free. The small business owner must assess whether the fee compensates for the time spent traveling to and from a shipping location.
2. Negotiating Rates
Wondering how to get cheap shipping for small businesses? Well, the more you shop, the more you save! Generally, if you’re moving more than 100 orders per month, a carrier will be willing to negotiate better pricing to keep your business (this may require an exclusivity agreement, however, which would eliminate your ability to choose a multi-carrier approach).
3. Choosing Affordable Packing Materials
Boxes, bubble wrap, air-fill cushions, and styrofoam peanuts can quickly add up to a significant portion of your shipping costs. You might think about reusing boxes, but keep in mind that they lose around 60% of their strength after each use, and even little damage can jeopardize their integrity.
4. Know Your Shipping Zones
A cargo will pass through one or more shipping zones on its way from one location to another. The more zones a package passes through, the more money you’ll have to pay for shipping. When it comes to negotiating shipping rates with carriers, knowing your delivery zones is critical.
5. Outsourcing vs. In-House Fulfillment
A third-party logistics provider, or 3PL, is an option for small firms that are expanding. These facilities will keep your goods, correctly pack your orders, and ready them for carrier pickup. Many 3PLs, such as The Fulfillment Lab, will also handle returns handling and have special shipping arrangements with carriers that they can pass along to you.
Shipping warehouse solutions for Small Business USA
For eCommerce shipping firms, shipping solutions for small business USA companies handle the order fulfillment process, which includes product storage, choosing and packaging orders, and shipping them to clients. Some fulfillment centers cater to small businesses and startups, and the majority of them provide specialized services such as batch fulfillment, secure storage, oversize shipment, and foreign sales.
The following are the best and most cost-effective shipping options for small businesses:
- ShipBob: The best in terms of total order fulfillment.
- ShipMonk: For customer service and warehouse automation, this is the best option.
- Red Stag Fulfillment: For particular handling demands, this is the best option.
- FedEx: The most comprehensive freight and fulfillment service available.
- Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon): The best option for Amazon merchants.
- Whitebox: The best all-in-one marketplace management solution
For growing eCommerce firms that execute more than 10 orders per day, outsourcing fulfillment to a warehouse or firm that offer shipping solutions for small business is usually the best option. In other words, outsourcing fulfillment saves time and money while also providing a lot of flexibility when you can no longer fulfill orders in-house without adding more staff or space. The optimal shipping method for your small business is determined by the volume of orders you receive, the sales channels you use, and whether or not your products require special handling.
We looked at over a dozen shipping firms to see how much shipping costs, how quickly your items can be transported, and how easy it is to do business with them to determine the top and best shipping solutions for small businesses. Each small business shipping company was also examined for its reputation. The finest shipping solutions for small business labels provide competitive pricing and fast shipment times, as well as tools and services tailored to small enterprises.