Small Business Growth Tips: Time and Cost-Saving Tips for Packing & Shipping Services

Generate more of what you need—time and money—with a smarter approach to packing and shipping with Staples:

Save time by:

  • Using our full-service shipping services, which includes shipping and packing supplies, expert custom packing services, and comparisons of delivery and pricing options.
  • Avoiding unnecessary trips by handling mailing and shipping at your local Staples so you can also pick up office supplies and People Products in one stop.
  • Staying out of long lines and running errands on your schedule. Staples locations are open seven days a week so you can shop and ship when it’s convenient for you.

Save money by:

  • Dodging higher costs related to inefficient packing and returns.
  • Relying on Staples to help you select the right carrier based on price and delivery time.
  • Purchasing the shipping and packing supplies you need at the best price by taking advantage of Staples sales and deals.

There are many ways to grow your business, but growing your to-do list isn’t one of them. Minimize the time and cost associated with packing and shipping to generate more minutes and money you can invest back into your enterprise.

“Every business comes with its share of menial and repetitive tasks that are required to keep the company running,” explains Brandon Baker, owner and head chef of New York-based Loveletter Cakeshop. “There's the constant temptation to do it all myself in order to ensure quality or reduce payroll, but what this ends up costing is the most valuable commodity: Time.”

Use Outside Packing & Shipping Services

“No one starts a business because they love spreadsheets and paperwork,” laughs Kendra Neal, director of client happiness for Ruby Receptionists in Portland, OR. “Outsourcing tasks…allows small business owners the time to focus on what they do best—and there’s no better way to grow your business.”

Letting a free full-service provider professionally pack and send your items creates more time for you to take care of business, but it’s also a money-saving option. Improperly packed items can be damaged in transit, forcing you to deal with returns and other added costs. And changes in shipping fee structures put the emphasis on size, not just weight. Whether you’re shipping something fragile or simply looking to reduce spend, a professional skilled in full-service shipping knows how to pack items correctly and which carriers can ship them most cost-effectively.

Relying on outside experts to handle packing and shipping is especially useful for companies in growth mode, says Colin Darretta, founder and CEO of WellPath Solutions in New York. “The more we used very good service providers for specific tasks—think fulfillment, manufacturing, etc.—the more adept they were at scaling up when the time was right,” he explains. “This not only makes scaling easier but enables a business to focus on what it does well and what makes it unique and leaves the other stuff to people better suited for it.”

Use Packing & Shipping Tools

“We try to use as many small tools that can integrate with each other as possible,” says Rob Swift, owner of Chicago-based Swift Passport & Visa Services. “Having tools and systems synced up and integrated creates a central nervous system for our business, and it alleviates the pressure to hire someone specifically for one task.”

There are all kinds of apps to manage mundane but important tasks. To keep up with receipts and other documents, Swift relies on the Shoeboxed app. For shipping, tools like the free Staples® Box Finder and Polybag Finder make it faster and easier to choose the correct product based on use case and size. Use these tools to avoid extra trips and transactions or added shipping costs because you selected the wrong size or type of box or bag.

Shop Smart

Look for one-stop or on-demand options for getting what you need done in the shortest time possible. “Splitting time between a dozen tasks not only hurts your productivity, but it depletes your energy for spending time on the stuff you do enjoy,” Neal notes.

When looking for packing and shipping services, choose a store that sells other items like breakroom and office supplies so you can get more done in only one trip.

“If I’m driving somewhere to buy something, one-stop shopping is the name of the game,” asserts Kathy Santo, CEO and owner of Kathy Santo Dog Training in Ramsey, NJ. “If I can order the items online and have them delivered or pick them up in store—no shopping or waiting in line—even better!” 

The time saved is the key here, she explains. “The time to do more business, to do something other than work, to collaborate with your team. The price, to me, is secondary. I would gladly pay more to gain back the hours in the day, which to me is priceless.”

Retailers offering all-in-one shipping services also are important business partners.

“Align your shipping strategy with a local shipping supplies/package supplier,” suggests Jerry Lee, founder of Los Angeles-based Story Leather. “[They] know and will recommend the best-fitting boxes to minimize your shipping weight and mass. More importantly, working with a local supplier often gives you the flexibility of ordering the supplies on demand. You will save a lot of money by not over-inventorying and [reduce] space allocated for shipping supplies.”

Unless your business is based on shipping and mailing, you probably don’t think much about the bottom line impact of these activities. But this often overlooked operational area is full of opportunities to run a smarter business. Follow this advice, choose a great packing and shipping partner and you’ll have more time and money to reinvest in your enterprise.

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