As a small business owner, you’re bound to have a roll-up-your-sleeves and do-it-yourself attitude. When it comes to shipping products, however, it’s a good idea to outsource to a dedicated shipping company. Buyers today expect quick delivery of undamaged goods — this is the only way to ensure first-time customers become repeat customers.
With so many third-party shipping options, it can seem overwhelming to decide on the best way to ship for a small business. Think about your business’s geographic scope, the speed at which you need products to ship, and the nature of your products. Then compare the different shipping methods for small businesses.
How to Ship Products: What Is the Best Way to Ship Products for Small Businesses?
If you’re wondering how to ship products to customers, here are a few popular methods. Each has its pros and cons, so consider several options for your business. Different methods are best depending on the size of products, the frequency of delivery needs and the shipping distance. For most local businesses with limited shipping-distance needs, a local courier will be the best choice.
United States Postal Service (USPS)
The USPS is an obvious option for domestic product shipping. They have direct access to mailboxes and post office boxes and offer decent pricing. This is a good option for a small business with only occasional shipping needs and lightweight products.
However, the USPS is not the best option if your business ships products regularly, if you sell bulky or heavy products or if you want to offer expedited shipping. Priority Mail envelopes and boxes can take several days to arrive, and the USPS can take over a week to complete a delivery.
National Delivery Companies
A national carrier such as the United Parcel Service (UPS) or FedEx is likely less expensive than USPS for larger products. Keep in mind that UPS does not offer flat rate shipping, which would be a great benefit if your products vary in weight. However, UPS can also take a full week to deliver products, only transporting parcels on business days. FedEx offers flat rate shipping and slightly faster shipping speeds.
If your products tend to be small, flat rates can actually inflate your shipping costs, so consider the sizes of your average products.
Local Courier: Street Fleet
For local shipping, a local courier is the best choice. With a local shipping company like Street Fleet, you’ll have your own account for placing delivery orders, which will take much of the stress of shipping out of your hands. In addition to on-demand delivery, you can order a scheduled delivery service to occur weekly, monthly or even hourly.
You can also choose the right vehicle and shipping speed to fit your company’s needs. Only use a national delivery company if you need to ship overseas or across multiple state lines. Otherwise, a local courier is one of the best shipping options for small businesses.
Which Shipping Carrier Is Best for You?
When deciding how to ship for your small business, consider several factors. You should think about:
- The dimensions and weight of your products: Do you sell dainty handmade jewelry or full-sized vacuum cleaners? The size of your products should make a difference in the shipping method you choose. Using a third-party shipping company can decrease expenses compared to completing deliveries with your own vehicles and employees — expenses like employee wages and vehicle maintenance will be out of your hands. However, shipping companies charge based on parcel size and weight, so heavier, bulkier products will be more expensive to ship.
- The speed you want products delivered: In the era of same-day shipping, some shoppers have become less patient. Of course, the speed of your delivery will depend on the distance and method of transport, but you should think about how fast you want your products to ship when deciding on a carrier. The most economic, environmentally friendly and prompt delivery option for hyper-local shipping is a delivery service by bicycle.
- The nature of your products: Think about the products you need to deliver. Are they hazardous or perishable? If so, this may increase the price of delivery. Since food items require insulated and secure packaging, you may face premium charges. For drugs and other sensitive medical supplies, you’ll need a delivery company with a dedicated medical services division.
- The frequency of your shipping needs: If you have a storefront and only plan on shipping occasionally, you’ll probably prefer an on-demand delivery service. For an e-commerce business with regular shipping needs, it’s best to pair with a carrier that offers dedicated delivery services to act as a delivery branch for your business.
- The required distance for deliveries: Think about where your customers can order from and how far you’re willing to deliver. The farther the delivery, the more expensive and time-consuming it will be. If you plan to ship internationally, you may not be able to promise extremely fast shipping. If you choose to ship overseas, keep in mind that shipping by air is much faster than shipping by water. Provide an honest estimated arrival date and time at checkout so customers will know when to expect their products.
Best Shipping Service for Small Business: Street Fleet in Minnesota
For businesses in Minnesota and surrounding states, there is no option better than Street Fleet. If you’re wondering how to ship products from your home business or local storefront, Street Fleet offers a wide variety of options tailored to your specifications.
You can choose from several different shipping methods to ensure you get exactly what your business needs — the level of customization is much higher than what you’d find with a national chain. You can choose from delivery by bicycle, small car or truck. Whether you’re delivering an envelope or an entire pallet, Street Fleet has options for you.
For the delivery of time-sensitive products like food items, our bicycle messengers are a uniquely effective option. When it comes to quick, local delivery, no method is faster than a bicycle. Or, if you need pharmaceuticals sent to a patient’s home, choose our specialized medical delivery service, which features certified HAZMAT handlers.
No matter what you need to be delivered or where you need it to be, Street Fleet drivers are all professional, friendly and uniformed and excel at representing private labels. When you use a national delivery chain, you have no idea who your delivery driver will be or what kind of experience they will create for your customers.
As you probably know if you’ve ever purchased something online, an irresponsible or unfriendly delivery driver can ruin the purchase experience for a customer. Meanwhile, a knowledgeable, courteous driver will elevate your customer’s impression of your brand by treating products with care. This will build your credibility and memorability.
Additionally, when it comes to urgent deliveries, Street Fleet is the best choice. With over 300 drivers, we can accommodate urgency requests of under one hour, 90 minutes, two to three hours or same-day. Unlike most national delivery chains, our services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Use Street Fleet for Your Small Business Product Shipping
If you run a small, local business, delivery is likely a necessity at one point or another. Whether your business is primarily e-commerce or you’re just beginning to offer delivery, choose a service tailored to your specific needs. Only Street Fleet offers product shipping with so many customizable options, from vehicle type to urgency level to material expertise. Set up an account with Street Fleet today and start tracking your orders!