Hey guys! I get asked a lot of questions! One common question I get is, “Lori, I don’t understand shipping at all. Where do I get boxes from? How do I ship this wreath?” Or my favorite, “Lori, I made $80 on this wreath, but it cost me $50 to ship it! Help!”
It doesn’t matter what you are shipping: wreaths, glass jars, decorative pieces, whatever; the rules are pretty much the same. So, we are going to go through the basics of
- What supplies do I need?
- Where do I purchase shipping supplies?
- How do I properly protect my work?
- How do I price my shipping costs?
- Who do I ship my boxes through?
What Supplies Do I Need?
When I was in college, I worked in shipping for a while, so I have some knowledge from the “inside.” But also, my years in business and my mistakes have made me a smarter businesswoman!
A few must-have items will be the boxes, of course, packing tape and packing wrap like bubble wrap or packing paper. You may also want to invest in a good tape gun if you do a lot of packing and labels as well.
Where Do I Purchase Shipping Supplies?
First, let’s talk about where to buy your shipping supplies.
You have so many options on where to buy supplies. If you just need a few boxes here and there, I would recommend a big box store like a Home Depot or Lowes, even your local hardware store. They will also have all your items such as packing tape, a tape gun, bubble wrap, packing paper, and more.
However, if you need boxes regularly and in bulk, I would suggest you find an online retailer like Uline or someone local to buy in bulk from. Your prices per box will probably go down if you buy in bulk.
Of course, do your research here on pricing. And make sure to keep track of these expenses so you can add the price back to your customer, either via shipping costs or the costs added into the price of the item.
How Do I Properly Protect My Work?
Next, let’s talk about how to properly pack your work so it’s not damaged during transit.
The first takeaway here is to get the right-sized box. You don’t want your box too big or too small. It’s like the Three Bears, it’s gotta be just right. Too big and you will risk your item shifting in the box and breaking and/or spending a lot on packing supplies. Too small and you risk your item not having enough protection or the box itself smashing the item.
Let’s look at a quick example. Say you are shipping a wreath, and the original wreath form is 15” in diameter. Once the wreath is completely decorated it then becomes 24” in diameter because it’s so fluffy, full, and beautiful. So if you get a box that is 24” long x 24” wide and 8” high you are going to probably not have much space for any kind of packing material.
Imagine your box being tossed from a truck to a conveyor belt or a larger box being tossed on top of your box. Is your item going to be safe? Probably not. I’m going to be real with you. Package handlers are NOT nice with your boxes…and if you put FRAGILE on it…. Well, that’s just a kick-me sign in the freight world. If it were me, I would size up the box a bit to maybe even a 28” box and wrap the wreath really well or add packing materials to all sides. The goal is “the less movement the better.” We don’t want your items moving inside that box. Get it?
How Do I Price Shipping Costs?
Ok, so now back to reality. When it comes to shipping costs, there is a formula for your shipping expenses. The larger the item and the more it weighs, the more you are going to spend on shipping. If you are unsure how to price your shipping online or add it to the cost of your item, there are online shipping calculators that you can find. All the big boys have them, UPS, FedEx, USPS, etc.
I would also keep in mind that no one wants to pay to ship. So a good marketing tactic is to include shipping in your product cost and then advertise free shipping. It makes you buyers feel like they are getting a good deal!
Who Do I Ship my Boxes Through?
So, now you have your item, packed properly and protected. Now what? Consider what is best in your area. Do you already have an Etsy or Paypal account? You may be able to print shipping labels directly from your site and tape them to the box. Keep in mind that the “labels” can be printed on regular paper and just taped on…they don’t have to be an actual sticky label.
If you aren’t using an account similar to Etsy or Paypal to sell, then look up companies like UPS, FedEx, even USPS. I always recommend researching and ship with the quickest and least expensive. The less time they have to handle the package the better. Another little tip is to set up your pick up online, it will usually save you money and time to do it that way versus hopping in the car and taking it to the store.
Here are a few ideas of what I use. These are affiliate links. If you use these links, I will get a few pennies for the purchase! Thank you!
Helpful Sizing Tool:
You can get the cardboard box sizer here: (Affiliate Link)
I use 24x24x12 boxes. You can order them here: (Affiliate Link)