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September 2011
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Does Your Home Business Ship to Customers?

If your sewing / craft business has an online presence, as all of ours do, I’m assuming that you must also be shipping your products to customers.  The question I have for you is HOW do you ship those products? Do you use the U.S. Postal Service, Federal Express, UPS or whatever other methods are out there?  Have you done any comparisons of shipping prices, benefits of using that particular service, etc?

In the past we have used all three of the major shipping services, then we decided to do some comparisons — now OUR comparisons may not work with what you ship, but perhaps just get you thinking and checking — as you know, every dollar saved in this department is an extra dollar in YOUR pocket!

Many many moons ago we shipped larger packages with UPS —- UNTIL one day a product got broken during the shipping process and they had to pay the claim.  They said we hadn’t properly packaged the item (even though we’d shipped hundreds of the same item – knew HOW to pack it for shipping) and the very next package I took to them to ship they opened it in front of the crowded lobby to check it for proper packaging.  I was told that I was now in their system so that every package I shipped would have to be opened for inspection.  Needless to say, after being publicly embarrassed that day I have NOT stepped foot into a UPS office.

We have used Fed Ex and a year or so ago we tried to get better rates for shipping because of the quantity of packages we ship.  Because of the Sewing Machine Repair book sales and Coupon clutch sales we can easily have several dozen packages every couple of days.  They agreed to give us a 3 month “trial” period with a 5% discount on their shipping rates so they could monitor how many packages we were shipping on a daily basis.  Well, that WOULD have been a pretty good deal until we noticed that if a package was being shipped within a 100 mile radius, they hit us with “next day” shipping rates, and even with the more distant ones we got hit with “home delivery”, “gas surcharge” and some other surcharge that their representative couldn’t explain what it was for but it added an additional 50-75 cents per package.   PLUS, we had to provide our own packaging materials – boxes, envelopes, etc. 

And the winner for us………. the U.S. Postal Service!!!  We have a variety of sizes of FLAT RATE boxes — no matter where we ship in the U.S., Hawaii or APO addresses, the cost is the same.  We also have their flat rate envelopes for small items and the larger priority tyvek envelopes for other items.  No longer do we have the added expense of buying boxes and envelopes – they are provided by the Postal Service.   The flat rate fees and even priority envelope fees are less than what Fed Ex charges were.

If you do a lot of shipping, it might just be worth your time to weigh the costs/benefits of the various shipping services and see what difference it might make for you.

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About The Author

Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author

Comments

One Response to “Does Your Home Business Ship to Customers?”

  1. CLARENE says:

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU SARAH. I AM .SO GLAD I READ THIS POST IT IS GOING TO HELP ME SO MUCH IN MY SEWING BUSINESS INTERMS OF SHIPPING AS I HAVE OFTEN THOUGHT WHAT METHOD/SERVICE WOULD I USE FOR SHIPPING. THANK YOU AGAIN. SINCERELY, CLARENE

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