How Do People Get Free Shipping Supplies?
The United States Post Office is still
"pushing" their Priority Mail services. You can order all the shipping
supplies you want through the USPS - order in minutes on line - and have them
delivered to your door. When you make your first order, the USPS will mail you
a postcard to sign and mail back to them. The "payment" for this deal is
simply agreeing to (and signing to prove it) use these supplies only for their
intended purpose. Anyone caught turning Priority Mail boxes inside out to use
a cheaper mail service will be in big trouble. We haven't done this so we
don't know if you get a large fine, jail time, or just lose the privilege to
ever receive any more supplies. So, this is not for you if you prefer to send
your packages by UPS or using the Book Rate.
Just what kind of supplies does the USPS offer? Small boxes, larger boxes,
flat boxes, larger flat boxes, small flat boxes, flat mailers, "Priority Mail"
tape, and labels. You can't have it all, you have to buy your own bubblewrap!
The only real catch is that you must order the minimum, which can be a case of
boxes. Since the boxes come flat, this is not as bad as it sounds.
For those that don't want to use Priority Mail or the USPS in general, there
are still places to get boxes for free.
Your local stores that sell breakable items usually have lots of bubblewrap and styrofoam peanuts
on hand that they don't need. After all, most of their customers put their goodies into the car and
drive home. Talk to them. They will probably be happy to let you pick up all of their extras once a
week or so. They get to recycle and have less clutter, and you get to save lots of money.
- Your local supermarket gets deliveries at least once a week. Just ask
one of their employees on what day and at what time their deliveries
arrive. They won't usually save boxes for you, but you can walk in and get
as many as you like before they cut them down for recycling.
- Office Depot has great boxes for larger items. They receive their reams
of paper in sturdy boxes with lids, and these are always clean. Our local
Office Depot receives paper deliveries twice a week. The store manager
even agreed to hold the boxes for a few hours. We just need to go in on
the correct day. Since these are such handy boxes, you may have to be the
first to get to the store to beat others with the same idea.
- Check the free ads in the Recycler. Companies go out of business all the
time, and they would usually prefer to give their supply of boxes away
than to pay someone to haul them away. We found a vitamin store that was
closing down and got hundreds of small and tiny boxes. These are not only
great for mailing small items, but they are perfect for double boxing a
set of smaller breakables.
- Liquor stores have the sturdiest boxes since bottles of liquor and wine
are so heavy. If you sell bottles, these may even come with cardboard
slots in them already to keep bottles from hitting each other when you
send out several to one buyer.
- Dumpsters behind stores sometimes have good empty boxes. Sometimes you
are lucky enough to find the boxes piled outside the dumpster. Either way,
you should check them to be sure that they are clean and dry (a box will
be weakened forever once it gets wet).
- The most obvious is for sellers to BUY on Ebay. Your package will come in
a box, and many will come full of styrofoam peanuts or bubblewrap also. Just be sure that the box is sturdy before using it again. And, don't use bubblewrap as padding for delicate items if the bubbles are popped.
- Get inventive, you may find even more good suppliers of boxes.
BUT, you may need boxes - in special sizes. You can get the discounts that the "big guys" do. Global Industrial offers
boxes in many, many sizes. Since you buy them by the case, you get the big savings. Using larger boxes than you need drastically raises the postage cost, so spending 25 cents on the right box is a good investment in keeping customers happy and coming back for more. And, don't forget, whatever you sepnd on boxes is deductible at tax time. You can also
get all your shipping supplies for less at Global Industrial. If you sell lots
of fragile items, take a look at their peanut dispenser. It holds 30 cubic feet of packing peanuts at one time, it hangs from the ceiling out of the way, and you drop in all you need with a push of a button. This is a real time and space saver.
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