Shipping is a part of business for most entrepreneurs.Mistakes can create big losses for your firm.A top shipping expert,
Mark Taylor, offers tips for shipping.
Tags:how to ship a package,sbtv,shipping,shipping a package,shipping tips,small business,small business advice,small business stories
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Ivy: Well, you may not have a whole lot of time to figure out your mailing and shipping center and all the logistics of how to ship it and when to ship it and how much is going to cost so we brought an expert to you, Mark Taylor is redroller.com’s Chief Logistics Officer. He’s got over 30 years of experience in the industry and he’s also author of the only two books on this subject. So, he’s going to be here to share on some of his expertise on actually the appropriate way to actually package your box.
Mark: How to ship a box?
Ivy: That’s simple! How to ship a box? Alright, so we’re going to ship this scale, alright.
Mark: Yup. So, the first thing you’re going to do is decide where we’re going ship this in. So, you look for a box and that box should be too big for it because you pay by the dimensions as well as the weight so you want to choose a box that has about three inches all around that space.
Ivy: Okay, so what about like a flat rate box?
Mark: That box would probably be good for size but this box is $8.95. This isn’t heavy. I know that we could do a cheaper if we use a regular brown box.
Ivy: Okay, because this one in the flat rate, you can actually put more weight in there so that’s going to cost you a little bit more.
Mark: You can put as much as you want in there and ship it for a flat 895 which is a great deal if you have something like it’s 10 pounds or heavier.
Ivy: Okay, so we actually are going to use a box more like this box.
Mark: That box is perfect!
Ivy: That we already have in our shipping sooner because somebody ship this scale on it.
Mark: Yeah, exactly.
Ivy: Or whatever! Okay, so I can’t just throw that thing in there.
Mark: No, we need to protect it so that it doesn’t get broken so I needed to use a little bubble wrap here. Ivy: Now, to be cash conscious, are you going to kind of monitor what your—or yourself are using as far as packing materials. I mean you want to make sure it’s safe but you don’t want to put a whole bunch of stuff in there?
Mark: No, because the heavier it is, the more it’s going to cost and we saw it earlier how one ounce can cause you 60% more so we want to do it just right.
Ivy: Okay and so bubble wrap is like more.
Mark: So, bubble wrap is good. Again, you want about three inches of padding around it.
Mark: I think I have one of those little bags that I saw at some place. Now, I didn’t buy this but I got them but somebody ship it to me so that’s like perfect there, stick that in there and then put another bag on top. And the thing that you want to do is just make sure that it’s filled up so that if you shake it nothing moves because if you watch how they take them off—and what they do, you definitely want to make sure that it’s wrapped well.
Ivy: When is the three-inch rule come into play all the way around just so you can get the sufficient amount of padding?
Mark: Yeah! Three inches is the sufficient around the padding and three inches is also the size of the tape that you’re going to want to use on your tape dispenser. But you’re going to want to tape it three times but before I tape it what I want to do is I want to weigh it. Remember, how we talked about the one ounce?
Ivy: Yes and an ounce can make a big difference so it could cost nearly double based on—
Mark: So, look at that. Now, that was just an accident right?
Ivy: So, that’s 0.7.
Mark: Yeah, it’s just the hair over. That’s going to be a 60 % difference so let’s reevaluate our packing here. Maybe we don’t really need that one. Oh, it’s over.
Ivy: At times it did tons of a difference so our goal here is we want to get it down to about—a pound I guess and that way it will make—
Mark: And we’ll use that in that because this is later. And again, we don’t want to sacrifice and so it’s not safe but I mean if we’re going to save 60% and I'm cheap.
Ivy: Well 60 %, for as tenth of an ounce or whatever, you could definitely save so we’ve taken out some more material and some of the things that we can’t necessarily make the scale any lighter but we can definitely make that package lighter and save ourselves, you know, like you said 60% or so.
Mark: Right, right.
Mark: So, the next thing that we’re going to want to do is we’re going to need to process this package and figure how much we’re going to send it for and what we’re going to do. And for that, I recommend that you use a computer because you can go into a program and put here like curiously we can put a small box and we’ll put one pound there and we can compare rates and services. And when you compare rates and services, it’s where you’re going to save most of your money. Nine out of 10 boxes at a small business sense, you’re paying too much money for it.
Mark: Because they don’t compare rates and services. In this case, you can see you have nine delivery options ranging in price from $2.31 to $41.00.
Ivy: Big difference.
Mark: A huge difference. This particular box, I’m going to send this for $7.47. I'm not going to send it for $2.31 because that’s the special rate the post office has which is called the medium mail. If I was sending my book, I could send it in medium mail and send it for half of the price so I could priority mail.
Ivy: Good, I’m glad you mention that.
Mark: So, the next thing I’m going to do is I'm going to produce a label for the box. In this, I'm doing this; I'm actually processing the shipment. You have several different payment options when you’re shipping a package. You could pay by your own credit card which is generally the most expensive way to go unless you have an American Express where you can get a five percent discount with some of the carriers. Only if you set up an account or you can pay for yourself or I can send it to your COD and make you pay for it if you’re the recipient or I can build a recipient or I could bill a third party. So, if this was a company business like here I am today, I'm going to shoot this stuff back and use the company’s third party account number. That way, I get the company discount and I don’t have to pay for my own package.
Ivy: So, you use a company and you don’t want to use a credit card, your personal credit card, it’s going to cost you more than that.
Mark: If you don’t want to use, that’s about 30% more.
Ivy: So, set up an account
Mark: Set up an account and you’re going to save 30%.
Ivy: That’s a terrific idea. So, we process this and then it prints a label or if I don’t have a label printer in my shipping center, I can also just print it to any 8 ½ x 11 piece of paper.
Mark: Any 8 ½ x 11 piece of paper. You can use a piece of paper like that all but in half and use that to ship—
Ivy: What’s the technique then when it comes to sealing our box?
Mark: Well, the thing that I always like to do is produce two labels so I stick one label inside of the box. In case for some reason this gets lost or the label comes off so I got that is a protection because they will lock in the box. And then when you seal it, what you want to do is you want to go over the top of it.
Ivy: And once you’re done, get three-inch tape.
Mark: Three-inch tape and then you want to do it in three times like in each so go over this seal here and you go over here. Now, this box is secure, it doesn’t move in the box, it’s going to cost us you know just a few dollars to ship this. We’re going to ship this, it’s going to cost us $7.47 to ship this to Las Vegas.
Ivy: Perfect! And the with my 8 ½ x 11 label, I can either have the option of taping it on there or we can use—
Mark: One of these handy-nandy plastic or other things that you can stick in here.
Ivy: Okay, Mark when I’ve got a package, what’s the best way to get it to the carrier? Am I going to take it by myself?
Mark: Well, you could take it there yourself. That’s going to be your cheapest way, to take it to a facility that has stuff there or they’re like a Walgreen’s or an office depot whoever that carrier that’s closest too. You can look in their website and they’ll tell you where the closest places to drop it off or you could call and have them come and pick it up. If you call and have them come and pick it up and you’re not a frequent shipper, you’re going to pay $4.00 or $5.00 for that box. If you have a daily account with them or the driver comes by every single day, then you’re not going to pay extra but you’ll pay for that weekly service.
Ivy: And that makes sense, great tips! So you definitely—I like the three so you want to choose the right five box first of all so you don’t have it and you want to make sure that you choose the right service. And so like we did, we chose not a flat rate but we’re going to do a different service provider. So then, we made sure we left three inches around everything, we made sure that we will save ourselves little money by taking some of the way to the material out and we print it on our own labels, we shop the rates online.
Mark: That’s right!
Ivy: And then we put a label inside and then tape it all out.
Mark: Yeah! The average small business weighs 50% of their money on shipping and we just saved that.
Ivy: So, in addition to packaging, you want to make sure you create that account also so that you can save some money versus using that small business personal credit card when it comes to your shipping cost, Mark great information. Thanks for being here with us and keep in mind, Mark is the only author of two books on the subject. You can get more information and all the things we talked about and more through his book but also through his blogs and articles right here on sbtv.com.