The hidden “suck” of any small business is going to be shipping, whether it’s spending the money on shipping supplies or spending the time on packaging and mailing. Thankfully, the internet has made opening and running small business easier than ever, which means that we have so many more small businesses than we did even ten years ago, which means that we are learning steps and strategies for maximizing our resources and making things work!
- Ever heard of a thermal printer? This is the first thing that I would suggest you get for your small business. How many of you realize that printer ink, toner, and ribbon all belong to your list of shipping supplies? Seeing as they are what print out your shipping labels it should be obvious, and yet it’s not. You probably spend a ton of money on these items, but if you buy a thermal printer, which essentially burns the surface of the paper, you avoid the need to constantly buy them. They don’t cost more than any other kind of printer, but even if they did I would say that the savings are surely worth the expense.
- While a thermal printer will save you money, printing your shipping labels in batches will save your time. Your shipping software should allow this function. (Check out ShipStation if you don’t already have one.)
- I would also suggest including a return label along with your shipment, which might sound like the opposite of saving on shipping supplies, but the point is to promote customer satisfaction, which should result in less returns, which should reduce the amount of time and resources you spend on dealing with returns.
- You can save yourself a bunch of time (and gas money) if you set your small business up with pickup services from the USPS, UPS and FedEx. They all offer different options, so the fees will vary, with some of them even being free.
- I’ve already pointed out that technology is on the side of the small business owner in this day and age. Shipping software makes product shipping just about as easy as possible, and there is nothing so tedious in the shipping process as determining how each product should be shipped. This depends on the weight and location, to name only a couple. Thankfully, shipping software can automatically do the work of figuring all that out, resulting in less errors and saving you the time.
BONUS: All of this is good to know, but it’s also equally as important to make sure that your shipping station is set up for maximum efficiency. Having your shipping supplies constantly stocked and organized will make the whole process go that much smoother.