Ways to cut down on shipping costs

When I worked as a business consultant, I was often asked to help small businesses reduce shipping costs. With the continued increases in shipping costs, and continued economic crisis, companies can benefit by every opportunity to cut expenses. As you read about the ways that I have helped companies cut their shipping costs, think about how these examples might help your small business.
 
Never Pay for Packaging Again
 
When addressed by companies that want to reduce their shipping costs, the first thing that I suggest is to eliminate packaging expenses. Build a relationship with your local grocery store as grocers usually unpack and destroy hundreds of boxes a week. See if you can take boxes when you need them, or if you can take enough to get you through a few weeks at a time. It would not be unlikely to reduce your yearly shipping costs by hundreds or thousands by simply getting free boxes.
 
I tell employees to bring in their old newspapers and magazines whenever they have a chance. These can be used as package filler instead of bubble wrap and packaging foam. I have seen customers save hundreds of dollars a month by eliminating the need for packaging filler.
 
Delivery Area
 
One of my favorite tricks for reducing shipping costs is to show small business owners how to figure out their self-shipping area. By having your employees make deliveries and pick-ups for you, you should be able to see a significant decrease in your overall shipping costs. All you need is a map and some little markers.
 
Tag the locations on your map where your employees live. Connect these locations like connect-the-dots to show the area in which you can have your workers make deliveries or pick up product on the way to work or on the way home. Plot out any customers or suppliers in this area. Chances are good that you will be surprised at how much money you are wasting on shipping costs. How you get your employees to do this extra work is up to you. Paying for lunch, gas, or an extra hour's pay might be much less than the local shipping cost.
 
Is There an App for That?
 
App creators have come up with inventory and shipment tracking applications for tablet pcs and smartphones. Take a look at these apps and be mindful about all of the steps in your shipping process. Maybe one of the inventory apps can help streamline your overall process. There are chances that you might find an app that will help keep track of shipments that could be lost and hurt your bottom line. Maybe an app can be modified so that your customers can use the app to place their orders through their tablets and phones. This could help you to reduce your order-taking expenses which would ultimately reduce your shipping expenses.
 

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