Learning how to start a pack and ship business involves knowing how to properly pack items, choosing the right shipping method and filling out the necessary paperwork as required by the shipping company. It is a rapidly growing industry and can be profitable for both independent businesses and franchises. You can take advantage of franchise search engines to browse hundreds of options that fit your desired lifestyle, goals, or needs.
Below are several things to consider when opening a packing and shipping store startup.
- Market Research
Perform market research in your area and prepare a market research report. The report will include lists of competitors, area demographics and other information used to determine the viability of a pack and ship operation in your chosen neighborhood. Remember that competitors in this industry can also include businesses that provide their own packing and shipping options.
Choose Your Strategy
There are three main options when starting a packaging and shipping store. You can either open an independent store, buy a franchise or purchase an already existing pack and ship store. Opening an independent store compared to buying a franchise saves your initial capital costs.
Write a Business Plan
Writing a business plan helps turn vague ideas into concrete plans. You can use the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) website to help you make your business plan. Make sure to include your market research, business strategy and company structure in your report. Your business plan should also include financial estimates such as pricing structure and estimated revenue.
Licenses and Permits
These can include but may not be limited to a business license and retail sales license. Check with your city government for a full list of the proper licenses and permits. If you hire employees, obtain taxpayer and employer identification numbers (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Find a Location
While location is important for all business, it is especially key for a pack and ship store. Generally, you will want to be close to other businesses, not near other pack and ship stores and near a main roadway.
Purchase Your Equipment
At minimum, you will need shipping and packing material, a bar code printer and scanner, labels and a label printer, computers and a credit card reader. As your store grows in size, you can buy additional equipment for services such as laminating, photocopying or notarization. You can purchase these supplies and equipment through shipping supply distributors such as International Plastics and The Packaging Wholesalers or office supply stores such as Office Depot.
Fast and efficient shipping will be the most important things to your customers. Therefore, it is important that you have vendor accounts with all the major shipping companies as well as any local trucking companies. The more options you have, the better the chance you will be able to ship your customer’s packages in the best way possible.
Everyone who ships an item is a potential customer. Commercial customers may ship items daily, while a regular consumer may only ship occasionally. Therefore, it is important that you properly advertise your business to each one.