Ah, the sweet feeling of seeing that "new order" notification. But, let's be real for a moment: shipping can quickly become the silent profit-eater of any micro-business. We all want our products to land in our customers’ hands in perfect condition, but without sacrificing quality or burning a hole in our pockets. Shipping supplies is a major cost for micro business, so far in 2023 shipping supplies have cost us $1400.
So, how do you save money without skimping on quality?
1. Re-purpose and Reuse: Got a package in the mail? Don’t throw away those boxes or bubble wrap just yet! Store them for when you need to ship products out. It’s eco-friendly and pocket-friendly! Just ensure they're in good condition, no tears, or stains. Keep every box, we use old Chewy boxes, target boxes, any and all boxes shipped to us. We also keep all packaging materials, compostable packing peanuts and kraft wrap. This method can take up a lot of space, but if you flatten the boxes down and organize my size, it will save you so much money.
2. Free Supply Alert: Carriers like USPS provide free envelopes, boxes, and other shipping materials for their express or priority mail services. You can order any and all USPS boxes for free. USE THEM. I typically don't use them for the shipping, I use them to pack products in, then pack the USPS boxes into a larger box. UPS offers free thermal shipping labels. You only need to sign up for a free business account, and can order a box of 6,000, yes 6,000 labels!
3. Bulk Buying: Ah, the power of buying in bulk. Sites like Boxed offer discounts when you purchase in larger quantities. If you have the storage space, it’s definitely a move to consider. Sometimes Costco has shipping supplies, I always check, its a great way to save on packing tape.
4. Facebook Groups: Navigating the world of micro-business, I've stumbled upon a secret goldmine for shipping supplies - Facebook groups! From small business communities to local buy/sell/trade groups, these hubs have become a haven for business owners looking to offload excess materials or find second-hand deals. Not only is sourcing from these groups a budget-friendly choice, but it's also a green move, giving a second life to boxes, bubble wrap, and other packing essentials. Just remember to always inspect items for quality, and ensure they meet your standards. I bought my thermal printed and scale through candle making Facebook groups, you do have to be aware of scammers, but you can save a lot of money this way on shipping supplies.
5. Local Office Supply Stores: Don’t underestimate the power of your local office supply shop. Stores like Office Depot or Staples often have sales on mailing envelopes, boxes, and packing materials. They also have free rewards memberships that can really cut costs on items. I bought 6 rolls of tape from Staples, and usually the price is $45 but with the free membership it was $20, that's saving me so much money! Plus, it’s an opportunity to actually see and feel the products before purchasing, ensuring you get the size and quality you want.
Every penny counts when you're running a micro-business. But saving money doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the quality or appearance of your shipments. I have never had anyone complain that their order arrived in a reused box, you do not need custom packaging to have a successful business. It's cute, but ultimately it will be put in the trash by the customer, or if you're lucky they will recycle it. So don't stress over your packaging, reuse and save some money!
Please note that the information contained within this blog is intended for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to replace professional counsel. We encourage readers to consult with a qualified professional or legal advisor for specific advice tailored to their unique circumstances. Ghost Poppy assumes no responsibility for any actions taken based on the content of this blog.