Shipping can be a Major Roadblock
Forgetting to get shipping supplies for your e-commerce business is an all-to-common time waster.
After all, we’re busy looking for inventory, listing, answering customer questions, making new side hustles, and living our life. On top of all of this, how are we supposed to get enough shipping supplies for the hundreds or thousands of things that we sell and ship each year?
Over the last year I’ve shipped over 1000 things on eBay and gotten over 500 positive feedback:
Thankfully, it’s been easier than I ever expected to be able to find enough packing and shipping supplies for my whole business.
The biggest game-changer was learning to how to treat my packing and shipping process like an assembly line.
(See my post about the best printer to use for quick shipping on eBay).
I used to be perpetually short of shipping supplies. It wasn’t uncommon for me to selling something, but not have a box to ship it out with. This meant I used to spend hours taping together boxes to ship weirdly shaped things like golf clubs, or big toys.
One of the main things that helped me drastically cut down my time spent on packing and shipping was selling small and light things. I mainly sell clothing and so these poly-mailers are the perfect size for the majority of the things that I sell:
They measure 18″x12″
But let’s say that you sell things of all shapes and sizes. How the hell are you supposed to get enough packing material and boxes to be able to ship dozens of things a week?! I’m glad you asked.
3 ways to get Free packing and shipping materials
The post office offers the easiest way to get free boxes to use for eBay and other e-commerce sites.
You can order free shipping supplies directly from their website that then. All you need to do is make an account on the USPS website and pick the boxes you want (the options are limited, but remember it’s free). After, you’ll get the boxes and other things shipped to you without costing you a penny.
- Your job
My mom works as a nurse. When I was living at home (and running my business out of my parents basement) she would bring me boxes and packing supplies like bubblewrap on a weekly basis- Her co-workers consistently gave my mom these things because they knew that I sold online.
I work part time at a health food store, and am always getting boxes of all sizes and packing supplies like heavy brown paper, and air bags whenver I work. It’s gotten to the point that I have to recycle a lot of these materials because I can’t fit any more in the trunk of my car!
I’m a big fan of dumpster diving. If you live in a first world country then businesses are constantly throwing away old inventory or equipment. I’ve found that a lot of the things that get thrown away can still be sold for good money.
I dumpster dive at a well-known office supply store because they don’t have a compactor and their dumpster is always unlocked.
I’ve gotten a couple thousand dollars worth of inventory from this one dumpster with things like printer ink and toner, office chairs, broken cellphones, new electronics like printers, and various office supplies.
Dumpsters are also full of things that can be used for packing supplies. Newspaper, packing paper, bubblewrap and sturdy carboard boxes are common sights in most dumpsters, and as long as these things are clean they can be used to ship things on eBay and Amazon.
Running an online business requires enough of your attention and time. Finding most of your shipping supplies is one area that can be done for free in only a couple hours per month.
If you’re tired of paying for packing paper, boxes or bubble-wrap, then use a bullet from this list- you’ll end up with an abundance of free shipping supplies.