Finding our what you need to handle shipments is an ongoing process that doesn’t need to be fully tackled right away. Some items are absolutely required and some just offer comfort / speed increases.
1. Weight Scale – The size of the products you’re selling will determine the scale you’re going to use. For our Etsy stores, ubermugs and Drink Everyday we use the Ozeri Pro II. Our home business consists of selling customized wine glasses and coffee mugs that tend to not weigh over 14 ounces ( with box and packing ). The small footprint and ability to measure minute changes makes this perfect for our use. Being able to accurately measure the weight of your items also lets you give your customers their exact shipping cost with no added surprises.
2. Printer – Depending on the size of your store, and frequency of shipments, investing into a laser printer might be a good option. The printer we started using is a Ricoh C250 laser printer. The price point of the printer tends to be on the lower end of the spectrum and it gives us the versatility to print in color (if need be) and print our shipping labels.
A great alternative to buying a standard printer would be a thermal printer. Thermal printers work by applying heat onto specialty label paper which then exposes the content you printed. The printers themselves are also a tad bit expensive if you compare them to standard home printers. The thermal printer we use is the Dymo LabelWriter 4XL, which lets us print on 4 x 6 paper ( perfect for shipping labels). The downside to using these printers however is the paper itself. Original (OEM) paper can be quite expensive in the long run so we went with an aftermarket source (linked below). The speed at which we can produce and apply shipping labels to our orders makes this a no brainier. It’s literally print, peel, stick, ship.
- DYMO LabelWriter 4XL Thermal Label Printer
- Aftermarket Paper: DYMO 4×6 Direct Thermal Shipping Labels 4XL
3. Bubble Wrap and Void Fill – A pivotal part of shipping process is making sure that it makes it in the same condition you sent it in. Leaving empty spaces in a box makes the boxes less dense and more susceptible to caving in. Make sure you bubble wrap your items whenever applicable and use void fill to help fill up the rest.
TIP: You can use newspaper and easily shred it into strips to use it as void fill.
- Bubble Cushioning Wrap 175′ – This comes perforated every 12 inches. If you’re sending small to medium items make sure you get something similar.
4. Tape (and TapeGun) – From securely closing your boxes to sealing your shipping label ( if done on a standard printer) this is an item you must have. While the tape gun is an option and not a requirement its ease of use and increased speed make this essential for your small business. If you’re shipping items under 5 lbs then the quality of the tape inst really an issue. If your store / shop / business tends to send items a little heavier than that then consider investing into better quality tape.
5. Boxes – By boxes I don’t mean just any ole box either. A dangerous thing to avoid when shipping merchandise is both the over-sized and undersized box. Finding the right box for the items you are shipping is imperative to the success of your business. The first thing to get hit before your item is always the box!
We ship our wine glasses and ceramic coffee mugs in single corrugated boxes that measure 6(L) X 6(W) X 6(H). Single Corrugated means one inner wafer like cardboard sandwiched bettween 2 flat sides. Depending on the value of your items this may or may not be enough!
TIP: If you’re sending items via USPS priority sign up for a USPS account. There is a supplies section where you can order boxes in different sizes free of charge. However they must be used solely for shipping items using PRIORITY and with USPS.
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