One of the biggest challenges many small businesses face—and even some larger ones—is how to ship products to customers in the most cost-effective manner possible. In some industries, profit margins on the products themselves are so thin that shipping costs can eat up all your profits. To prevent that from happening, here are five shipping tips for your business.
Use the Lightest Packing Materials Possible
One innocent little mistake many businesses make is using heavy packing materials. They’ll use custom cardboard cutouts and dense, heavy-duty Styrofoam on products that don’t really require that much protection. Sometimes they do it more for the professional image than any practical reason.
If you can afford to do that, then go right ahead and spend that money on fancy packaging. But if your business needs to save money on shipping costs, then try using lighter materials such as bubble wrap and Styrofoam popcorn instead.
Stock Up on Shipping Supplies
It’s important to get in contact with a company like Chicago Mailing Tube Co. They might offer free boxes of all sizes, shipping envelopes, mailing tubes and other supplies. You still need to weigh all costs of using any given shipper to determine which is the best choice, but all else being equal, it’s better to use free boxes and packages than having to pay for them.
Your carrier might also provide free pickup from your place of business, and that can save you a lot of money compared to using your own vehicle and paying an employee or two to take the packages down to the shipping facility.
Create a Clear Shipping and Return Policy for Customers
Another big cost many companies encounter is that of returned products, especially when the customer requests a full refund. This can get expensive when you’re shipping a package back and forth across the country.
Some customers will become very aggressive if you expect them to pay for return shipping when they are expecting you to pay instead. So be very clear about your shipping and return policies so that customers know who has to pay.
Find a Cheaper Freight Consolidation Service
If your company sends out frequent, smaller shipments daily, you will probably save money by consolidating with freight services that combine your shipments with those of other companies. Shipping costs are constantly changing. So if your company has been using the same freight consolidation company for years, you might want to double check the competition. Sure, your current shipper might have been the cheapest solution eight years ago, but that doesn’t mean they’re giving you the best deal today.
Research International Shipping Rates
Small companies are always looking for ways to expand their customer base, and going from domestic to international customers can be a great way to grow your business. But you need to be very careful when it comes to international shipping rates and customs. One simple miscalculation or a lack of keeping up with policy changes around the globe can cause you to lose a lot of money shipping overseas. Just do your due diligence if shipping internationally.
In today’s uncertain economy, stiff competition in a global marketplace is forcing businesses to reduce costs wherever possible. If you’re looking for ways to make ends meet, try implementing these five shipping tips to save money for your company.