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Business Topic: Getting Started with Shipping

BUSINESS SHIPPING

The next topic in our business series is on how to ship products. We are going to be going over this process in depth so we have set it up as a five part blog series. Each of the blog posts are outlined below.

1. Getting Started with Shipping
2.Where to Buy Shipping Supplies
3. How to Calculate Postage for Shipping
4. How to Package and Ship Orders
5. Tips and Tricks for Shipping Products

Click here to view our other blog posts about shipping.
Click here to view our other blog posts about business related topics.

Getting Started

When it comes to shipping your products, it is important to make sure you are prepared and informed to make sure you and your customers have a great experience. Here are the steps we suggest to get started.

1. Decide on a Shipping Carrier

The first step to shipping is to figure out what shipping carrier you will be using. In most cases, you will use one carrier but depending on what you sell, you may use multiple carriers. We ship 99% of the time with USPS. We are shipping items that are normally under a pound so USPS is the most cost effective method. If you are shipping heavy or large items, shipping with UPS or FedEx may be the best option. We will be discussing calculating postage in a future blog post which will also talk about how to compare pricing for the different carriers.

2. Learn about the Carrier's Guidelines and Policies

Once you have an idea of which carrier you will be using, you will want to familiarize yourself with their guidelines, pricing, and policies. Below we have included some helpful links for USPS, FedEx, and UPS. Each carrier has different policies when it comes to dropping off and picking up orders, package shapes, sizes, and weights, shipping timeframes. They also have different shipping methods that can vary in price and transit time. You will want to be aware of all of this information so that you can make the best decision about which option to select and what information you need to relay to your customer. You also want to make sure you are following the carrier's guidelines so that you or your customer isn't charged additional fees. 

USPS

USPS Business Guide
USPS Shipping Details

FedEx

Small Business Center

UPS

Small Business Solutions

3. Gather your Supplies

In order to be able to ship your products you will need a few different supplies. Our next blog post will go into more detail about the different supplies you will need and where to find them. Here is a list to start with:

Shipping Scale
Packaging Supplies (Boxes, Envelopes, Poly Mailers, etc.)
Extra Packaging (Cellophane Bag, Tissue Paper, Box)
Shipping Labels
Marketing Materials

4. Get Setup with a Shipping Program

In our future blog post about calculating postage, we will discuss a variety of options for using a shipping program to be able to calculate your postage correctly and even print out shipping labels. There are a lot of different shipping programs to chose from. Most website platforms have a shipping program built in including Paypal, Etsy, Ebay, Amazon, and Shopify. There are also 3rd party programs that can sync with your different selling channels. These options include Shipping Easy, Pirate Ship, and Shipstation. In addition to these different programs, each of the carriers have the option to purchase shipping directly in their stores and online. We will be discussing these different options and the pros and cons of each.

5. Plan for Shipping your Packages

Once you have an order packaged and ready to go, the next step is to figure out how to get it to the carrier so that it's processed and sent to your customer. There are a variety of ways to do this and can range from scheduling a pickup, to leaving the items at a pickup box, or dropping them off at the nearest physical location.

The option that will work best for you will depend on the carrier you use, how close you are located to them, and the time frame one when you plan to have your packages ready for the day. We will talk more about this part of the process in a future blog post. We recommend starting to look into the different carrier's options for pickup, drop off locations, and additional costs and cutoff times for these options. This will give you a better idea of what carrier will work for you and how to plan your day to include getting orders shipped out.

Be sure to check back next week for our 2nd blog post where we will be talking about where to get shipping supplies.


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