How to Start a Packing and Shipping Business

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woman packing/unpacking boxes during a relocation. image by T.Tulic from Fotolia.com

Individuals, businesses and organizations all need to ship things, which means taking time out of their busy schedules to package and ship the item out. An entrepreneur with exceptional customer service skills and a love for serving the public may consider starting a packing and shipping business. Allow your customers to simply drop off an item to be shipped and you take care of the packing and shipping for a quick and hassle-free experience. Focus on saving your customers time and provide thorough customer support and service.

Do Your Homework

Research the packing and shipping business market carefully. Determine what challenges you will face and what competition exists within the market. Develop a strategy to compete within the market. Look at the local marketplace and select a location to operate. The location should be central to businesses and convenient to areas where people shop and run other errands in their day-to-day activities. Research the requirements for working with the major shipping carriers.

Write a Business Plan

Write a detailed business plan based on your market research and planning. Draft a mission statement for your business that clearly defines the goals for your business. Describe your business in detail and include your day-to-day activities. Provide as much detail about your business as possible so that you can rely on this while forming your business. Include such details as location, packing and shipping station layout and work flow, shipping processes, policies and hours of operation.

Write a detailed analysis of your market and competition. Provide financial projections for your business. The business plan should detail your first year in business. Revisit the plan after a year to reflect your current situation. Attach any documents at the end of the business plan that will be necessary to establish your business.

Register the Business

Fill out and file business and tax registration forms as well as any other documents necessary to establish your business as a legal entity on the local, state and federal levels. For a packing and shipping business other forms may include permit applications or licenses. Contact your local and state officials to determine the requirements for your area. Consult an accountant or an attorney for specific accounting or legal concerns.

Get Insurance Coverage

Meet with a local insurance agent to discuss options for insuring your business. You will need liability and property insurance. Claims of damage and loss will be of particular concern with a packing and shipping business. An insurance agent will be able to advise you of your options.

Find a Shipping Carrier

Establish relationships with major shipping carriers. Fill out any forms necessary to establish business relationships with these carriers. They will play a large role in the success of your business. Be sure that you understand all of their packaging policies and requirements. Many of these carriers provide free boxes and envelopes to their business affiliates. Stock your storefront with these packaging supplies. Set up a station for each carrier to establish an efficient workspace in the production area of your store.

Set Up a Storefront

Locate and lease or purchase a storefront based on your research and financial projections. Set up your storefront with a service area. Organize a work space to package the items for shipment. Create a storage space for packing supplies such as boxes and envelopes, tape and padding materials. Make a stocked workstation for each separate carrier.

Find a Packing Supply Distributor

Purchase packaging and shipping supplies such as boxes, envelopes, document mailers and other specialty mailing containers. Tape, padding materials and labels should also be in supply at all times. Over time you will learn approximately how much supplies to have on hand at a given time of year.

Market the Business

Advertise your business in your local papers and classifieds listings. Join your area chamber of commerce to take advantage of their collective resources. Chambers of commerce typically advertise in a wide variety of local publications.

Tips

  • Provide special offers for first-time customers. Offer incentives for repeat customers by offering a punch card that will allow a shipping upgrade after a certain number of shipments. This will encourage repeat business.

Warnings

  • Be sure that you have insurance prior to operating your business to protect yourself and your customers from the potential costs of damaged or lost goods.