Care packages are traditional gifts that contain both practical and comfort items. They are often given to overseas soldiers, college students, those who are ill, or anyone who might be far from home, family, or caregivers. To those who don't have the time or the ability to create one, a professional care package business may offer a convenient ready-made option.
Items you will need
- Business license from your state and city
- Access to a convenient shipping location
- Inventory of care package items
- Inventory of shipping and packaging materials
Plan Your Business
Determine what products you will offer. You may start with several options and expand your product line as your business grows. Or, you may choose to focus on a particular type of care package recipient, such as students, or care package customer, such as grandparents. If your care packages will include food items, determine whether you will make these yourself or purchase them from a supplier.
Create a business plan and budget. You should specify the costs of all of your inventory items, the costs of packaging and shipping your items, and the overhead costs of doing business such as taxes, legal fees, website setup and maintenance, and your own salary. Estimate how much money you will earn from each care package and how many care packages you will sell.
Establish relationships with your suppliers and shipping company. For example, if you intend to include cookies from a local bakery in your care packages, ensure that the bakery can fill orders when you need them. Determine the most cost-effective place to get packaging materials, such as Costco or FedEx. Ask your shipping company if it is more cost effective for you to purchase your own shipping scale and packaging and to schedule pickups, or to bring your packages to their location. You may sell your items through your website or eBay, and will need a good web designer or to establish a seller's account.
Market your business. You may do this through talking to your friends and contacts, through setting up a website and a Google Ads advertising campaign, or through advertising on a local radio station. Spend your time and money spreading your message to people who are likely customers, such as military spouses or grandparents, or parents with recently empty nests.
Create your inventory. This includes ordering all of the products you will sell, wrapping and packaging supplies, and any other work tools such as cookie decorating equipment. Your goal should be to keep your inventory to a minimum, such that you have just enough to fulfill your orders quickly, but do not have any left on hand.
Check with the Small Business Administration for start-up resources. One of the best is SCORE, which provides free business consulting services by retired entrepreneurs.
The old adage holds true even for small, home businesses: "You have to spend money to make money." Do plan on spending money on marketing, even if only to print and distribute brochures at nursing homes or military family support meetings.