E-commerce is a growing industry, with more and more consumers preferring online shopping over a hectic day of running errands. This means many small-business owners spend a lot of time packing and shipping orders. As an entrepreneur, you could capitalize on this need by starting your own packaging business to take some of the stressful demand out of their days.
Types of Packaging
When beginning a packaging business, start with a few basic supplies to have on hand. Some popular types of packaging and some supplies to consider stocking for your business include:
- Corrugated cardboard boxes
- Flexible and rigid paperboard boxes
- Envelopes and bubble mailers
- Backing boards
- Plastic boxes
- Poly- and foil-sealed bags
- Bubble wrap
- Shipping peanuts and foam sheets
- Packing paper and grass
- Packing and duct tape
- Scissors and cutters
- Shrinkwrap supplies
- Wrapping paper and bows
- Gift bags
- Greeting cards
- Computer and printer
- Paper and shipping labels
- Shipping scale
As you grow, consider purchasing supplies in bulk to save money. With an expanding customer base, you might also benefit from equipment like specialized cutters, packing machines and strapping machines.
Business Basics and Marketing
The first order of business is getting your business license and figuring out where to set up shop. If you want to start a packing business from home and don't anticipate a huge rush of business right out of the gate, you might only need the business license. For bigger startups, consider space in strip malls or warehouses that are close to consumer demand.
When it comes to marketing your new business, keep the focus on how your services can make life easier and solve your customers' problems. Focusing on these five functions of your services might help:
- Protect and keep goods safe
- Ease of opening
- Advertisement for your client
- Reduced liability for damage during shipping
- Improved shipping speeds for higher customer satisfaction
eBay Packaging Business
Some eBay sellers only sell one or two items at a time, while others sell hundreds. The more items sellers list, the harder it can be to keep track of them all. Consider managing their inventory and offering shipping services so that all they need to do is list and sell their items. If you serve larger eBay sellers, you might eventually need a large warehouse space and detailed inventory system to keep track of it all.
Moving-Box Packer Business
Just like packages that get shipped from point A to point B, moving boxes pass through a lot of hands and might encounter a bumpy truck ride. Packing items to sustain the stress of a move can be time consuming. You and your employees could come and pack up an entire home in a day or two, with boxes clearly labeled and ready to go.
Branded Packaging Business
Many small-business owners want their shipments to include personal touches and company branding so that the customer has a memorable experience when receiving the goods. You might offer branded packaging services that include custom boxes, tissue paper, logo stickers and handwritten notes that make a positive customer impression. They get the personal touch for which they're looking without the added expense of putting someone on the payroll to do it.
Seasonal Packing Business
Sometimes, small-business ideas can feel like a big jump into a permanent commitment, but it doesn't have to be that way. During the holidays, shipping demands are way up for businesses and consumers. If you need more income during that time of year, you can capitalize on this need by offering holiday-themed wrapping, packing and shipping services. When the busy season is over, you get time to put your feet up or consider whether the venture is something you'd like to continue year round.
Anne Kinsey is an entrepreneur and business pioneer, who has ranked in the top 1% of the direct sales industry, growing a large team and earning the title of Senior Team Manager during her time with Jamberry. She is the nonprofit founder and executive director of Love Powered Life, as well as a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach, certified HRV biofeedback practitioner and freelance writer who has written for publications like Working Mother, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Houston Chronicle and Our Everyday Life. Anne works from her home office in rural North Carolina, where she resides with her husband and three children.