How to Ship for Small Business

By Amylee Silva
June 29, 2023
How to Ship for Small Business Woman on phone with shipping boxes around her

Shipping is crucial for small businesses as it ensures the clients get their goods on time, thus maintaining steady sales. If you efficiently deliver goods to your buyers, you will increase your brand reputation and attract loyal customers.

In this article, we will closely examine how to ship for your small business. We will give you tips and guidelines on streamlining your operations and growing your business.

Understand the Shipping Basics

To succeed in your small business, you must have a basic understanding of the shipping industry. A lack of appropriate knowledge could place you in a compromising situation.

Know the Shipping Terminologies

You need to familiarize yourself with terms such as freight, delivery confirmation, and tracking. That allows you to ensure you can communicate efficiently with the shippers and your clients.

Familiarise Yourself With the Factors Affecting Shipping Costs

You should understand the weight of the items you sell, as they directly impact the shipping costs. Familiarise yourself with the best and appropriate shipping materials to ensure your goods stay intact during transit.

Choose the Right Shipping Carriers

Research the available shipping options and providers to make informed decisions on what solution best suits your needs and those of the customers. Use recognized shipping carriers that guarantee the best services with no hiccups.

Make Use of Discounts

Look for providers who offer shipping discounts or provide favourable shipping costs. If you strategically balance the shipping cost and the price you charge your customers, you can attract many clients and maintain a profitable business.

Use a Shipping Carrier that Meets Your Specific Needs

When choosing a suitable carrier, consider reliability, cost-effectiveness, and the areas they can deliver to. The United States Postal Service is one of the popular choices for many small business owners. That’s because it has an extensive network and offers competitive rates as a shipping solution.

A suitable carrier can help you provide free shipping to your clients without affecting your profits in each sale.

Offer Free Shipping and Shipping Discounts

A free or discounted shipping strategy is a powerful marketing tool that will attract many clients to your business. Using it correctly can help build your small business to higher levels and profit margins.

Many small business owners use this shipping strategy as it makes more customers likely to purchase, knowing they won’t incur additional shipping costs.

If you intend to offer free shipping to your clients, look for cost-effective shipping carriers, so your business does not suffer losses. Free and discounted shipping is excellent for the customers but can be detrimental to your small business if you are not careful.

International Shipping Considerations

Expanding your small business to serve international clients opens up new market opportunities. It means more customers and more significant profit margins. However, you should remember that international shipping involves additional costs and complications.

Use Comprehensive Shipping Carriers

Only use international shipping carriers that offer comprehensive services that streamline the process, ensuring smooth custom clearance. Research all the available options to find out which will be the perfect fit for your small business.

Minimise Shipping Costs Through Supply Chain Optimisation

Optimising supplies can reduce shipping costs for small businesses. Here are tips to consider:

Partner With Suppliers

You should partner with suppliers with competitive rates, bulk discounts, and favourable fees. They can help you save money and increase the profit margins of your business. It will help you minimize the shipping costs and maximise your profits.

Consolidate Your Shipments

If you consolidate your shipments or utilize fulfilment centres strategically, it can reduce shipping costs. You should analyse your supply chain and explore options to uncover potential cost-saving opportunities.

Use Precise Shipping Labels

Labels are crucial in any shipping strategy you use for your businesses.

Below are the key things you need to know about labels:

Information on the Labels

They serve as a vital communication tool between the sender, the carrier, and the recipient. You risk delays or package loss if they do not have the correct information.

Shipping labels contain essential information such as the sender’s and recipient’s addresses, package weight, tracking numbers, and barcode information.

Purpose of Labels

The labels ensure packages are correctly identified, routed, and promptly delivered to the intended recipients. Any wrong information will lead to an extension of delivery times.

Crucial Aspects of Shipping Labels

For them to be viable and optimal, there are some key aspects you must consider when you print shipping labels. These include:

  • Label placement
  • Accuracy
  • Barcodes and tracking numbers
  • Return labels
  • Compliance with shipping carrier guidelines

Label Placement

You should place the label on the package’s flat, clean surface. Use the largest side or the top to ensure it is visible and readable. Avoid covering with tape so as not to interfere with the barcode scanning.


It is vital to ensure that the information on the label is accurate and easily readable. Always double-check the data to avoid any delays or delivery issues. Use clear and high-quality printing to ensure all the details are legible.

Barcodes and Tracking Numbers

Barcodes and tracking numbers on the shipping materials help to track the packages throughout the shipping process. They enable real-time tracking and provide visibility of the package’s location and delivery status.

Return Labels

When small businesses are shipping packages to their clients, they should always include a return label. In case of a turn, the customers can easily attach a pre-print return label making it convenient for the client and the owner.

Compliance with Shipping Carrier Guidelines

You should comply with carriers’ guidelines when doing small business shipping. Different carriers may have specific guidelines and requirements for shipping labels.

Familiarize yourself with these guidelines to ensure compliance and avoid any issues or additional charges. For example, some carriers may require specific label sizes or the inclusion of additional information, such as package dimensions or hazardous materials indicators.

Use Flat Rate Shipping

Flat-rate shipping is a strategy that can help small businesses save on costs. It is a simple option that can help you predict the shipping cost of all your packages.

How Flat Rate Shipping Works

Flat rate shipping allows you to ship items of a certain weight or size within a predetermined rate despite the destination. Shipping carriers do not charge your business based on the package’s dimensional weight.

Advantages of Flat Rate Shipping

The option can help small businesses reduce shipping costs and offer better services to their customers. If you use it properly, you can deliver to more customers without additional charges.

Small businesses can offer shipping services to their long-distance customers, such as free shipping, without jeopardizing their profits.

Can a Small Business Save Money on Shipping?

You can reduce shipping costs for your small business in many ways to make it more functional and efficient. Ensure you have sufficient knowledge of the industry to communicate with the carriers and customers efficiently.

You can offer free shipping and maintain high profits if you employ efficient methods.

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