When you operate a small business, every little bit of help is appreciated. Trying to identify the best stores or services to provide the pens, ink, copies and other products that you need to run your company can be difficult. It’s even harder to know how to get these things quickly and at the best price. Some companies choose to turn to stores like Costco Business Center, which offers some of the same products that a regular Costco warehouse store offers. However, when you shop with Costco Business Centers, you can order online and receive your items via delivery directly to your office. Additional services that might come in handy for companies, like printing, are also available.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Costco Business Centers offer many of the same products as a traditional Costco warehouse but are particularly geared toward businesses. Costco Business also offers next-day delivery and a variety of services for companies of all sizes.
Costco Business Center Locations
There are currently 18 different Costco Business Center warehouses, located mostly in the Pacific Northwest. There are, however, warehouses in Florida, Georgia, New Jersey and other states as well. Specifically, these business center warehouses are located in Phoenix, Arizona; Burbank, California; Commerce, California; Hawthorne, California; Hayward, California; San Diego, California; South San Francisco, California; Westminster, California; Denver, Colorado; Orlando, Florida; Morrow, Georgia; Bedford Park, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Hackensack, New Jersey; Las Vegas, Nevada; Salt Lake City, Utah; Fife, Washington and Lynnwood, Washington. The retailer says that most of its business merchandise is available in all of its warehouses. For questions about specific items, you can call customer service before traveling to one of these locations.
If you are a member of the business center and choose to order online, your shipment will come from one of the aforementioned locations. It is also possible to walk in to any of these warehouses and purchase your items directly. According to the retailer, if you visit any of the warehouses directly, you will receive the lowest possible price available on the item you are buying. Products bought online for delivery have a slight markup, since the retailer needs to cover the costs of delivery. However, there is no minimum order requirement when you buy online.
Costco Business Center Delivery
Costco Business Center states that most companies in the greater Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Chicago, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, northern New Jersey, Denver, Minneapolis and Orlando areas are eligible for next-business-day delivery. This is determined by your zip code, however. Be sure to check on the customer service website to see if your company is included in the delivery range before assuming that you can receive a next-day shipment.
Though there isn’t a minimum order amount, if you purchase items totaling less than $250 before taxes and fees, you will be charged a $25 delivery surcharge. In addition, be sure that someone is present at your office when the order is set to arrive. If there is no one there, Costco can charge you an additional $25 to come back out and attempt delivery again.
When you order via delivery, Costco Business Center only accepts Visa credit cards, Costco cash cards or checks as payment. If you were to walk into a store, however, they also accept debit cards, electronic benefit transfers and cash. Be sure to have your membership card with you when you go to a store, and have it handy when you order online.
Costco Business Center only delivers to businesses that are located in areas zoned as business or commercial, so be sure that your office complies before placing an online order. In addition, it is forbidden that any parking restrictions impede the retailer’s ability to deliver during normal business hours. Because delivery drivers may need to use hand trucks and pallet jacks, all doorways or delivery areas must be at least five feet wide. Elevators must be present if the driver would need to change floors to make a delivery, as they will not carry merchandise up or down the stairs. In addition, Costco Business Center drivers are only permitted to deliver to one central location; they cannot bring some of your order to one office and some to your home office, for instance. Also, the drivers will not stock shelves or rotate merchandise for you.
Delivery is only available Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. If you wish to receive your items the next day, you’ll need to place the order by 3:00 p.m. Costco Business Centers are closed and no delivery is available on all six major holidays. Note that your Costco Business Center membership must be in the name of your business, or you cannot get items sent to your office via business delivery. This is because your business needs to be registered as a member in order to receive the steep discounts that Costco offers its members. If just anyone or any traditional Costco member could get business center products without a membership, then it would remove the retailer’s incentive to offer lower prices.
Taxes, Returns and Reordering
Sales tax will be assessed on your business order in accordance with your jurisdiction. This is based upon the zip code you provide for delivery. Food items that you might order will not be charged sales tax. If you purchase items in person at a warehouse, you will be charged sales tax according to its location, as you would be when shopping at any other brick-and-mortar retail store.
If you need to return or exchange an item that was delivered to you, Costco will permit you to do so when the next delivery arrives at your home or office. At that time, you can give the item to the delivery driver. You will later be credited for your purchase. Otherwise, you can return the item at a Costco Business Center directly.
If you will be frequently reordering coffee, pens, printer paper or toner, it may be in your best interest to use Costco Business Center’s reorder feature. This is available via their website. You can select some or all of the products that you had purchased previously and add them to your next order.
Costco Business Membership
In order to take advantage of the services Costco Business Center offers, you need to be a member. This is similar to an individual who wishes to use regular Costco warehouses for their personal shopping. Though you will get a different card, the cost to be a business member is $60 annually, just as it is with a personal membership. The membership includes one card, is valid at all Costco locations worldwide and enables you to make purchases for resale. You must be 18 years of age or older and present a valid United States, Puerto Rico or Canada government-issued ID card when signing up. Privileges of membership with Costco Business Center are the same as those you would have if you were a member of the warehouse club as an individual.
Costco Business Credit Card
Costco does offer two credit cards to its members, but neither are specific to the business center. At this time, the card is called the Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi card. There are both business and personal choices for the card. They each offer 4 percent cash back on purchases of gasoline worldwide, including at Costco warehouse clubs. It also offers cardholders 3 percent cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases. You’ll get 2 percent cash back on items you purchase from Costco or the retailer’s website and 1 percent on everything else. There are spending limits in each category, so be sure to read the cardholder agreement before signing up. In addition, familiarize yourself with the fees and interest associated with the card before you move forward.
Other benefits of the card include the ability to use it as your Costco member ID, which could save you from having to carry the ID card on every trip to a business center. In addition, the credit card can be used for both business and personal purchases. There are also no foreign transaction fees no matter where you go when you use the card, which could be helpful if you plan to head out on business. You can apply for the credit card by phone or online.
Costco Business Center Services
The Costco Business Center offers a variety of services to its members that might be helpful for business owners. These include a business health insurance marketplace, payment processing, bottled water delivery, business phone services, checks, custom logo products and business vision insurance. Printing is also available via Costco, which can save you a significant amount of time.
Costco offers payment processing through a company called Elavon and boasts member pricing on that service. There are no annual fees, reporting costs, batch fees or statement fees associated with this service.
Costco business checks are available to its business members through Costco and a company called Harland Clarke. Members can expect to save 50 percent off what they would pay if they bought checks through a bank. If you’re an executive member, you could save 20 percent more on top of that.
If you want pens, shirts or other products bearing your company’s logo, you can order them through Costco Business Center, again courtesy of Harland Clarke. Costco reports that ordering can be done entirely from its online platform.
If your business wishes to provide a health insurance marketplace or vision insurance to its employees, you can arrange this through your Costco membership as well. Vision services can be carried out through the retailer’s onsite vision centers for the convenience of your employees. Note that many Costco Business Centers do not have onsite vision centers, however. Employees might need to visit a regular warehouse in order to take advantage of this service.
Costco Business Centers carry different products than those you can find in their regular warehouses. In fact, up to 70 percent of what you’ll find in the business warehouse locations is different than what is sold to average consumers. Typically, business centers don’t have gas stations, liquor stores, samples, photo developing, clothes, toys, books, pharmacies, optical or hearing centers, home items, electronics or jewelry. In some instances, these locations may have a food court, so it’s possible to get a snack if you choose to shop in person rather than online.
Since business centers target more than just traditional offices, you’ll find food, candy and appliances when you shop in person. This might come in handy for break rooms or even for small restaurants or cafes. However, if you operate an establishment that relies on a larger variety of ingredients, a traditional restaurant supplier might be your best bet instead. Of course, there’s nothing to say that things you buy for your business at Costco can’t be used at home if you’re the owner of your company. Take care if you mix business and personal purchases in order to keep your accounting records straight, though. It’s essential that you be able to track which items are for the office for tax, auditing and bookkeeping purposes.
Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She has been writing on business-related topics for nearly 10 years. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com) and she works with a number of small businesses to develop B2B content for their websites, social media accounts, and marketing materials. In addition to this content, she has written business-related articles for sites like Sweet Frivolity, Alliance Worldwide Investigative Group, Bloom Co and Spent.