For many people, home isn’t just a place to enjoy your afternoons. It has evolved to your office, your gym, and even your small business headquarters. With the need to leave your home diminishing, why not create your own post office by shipping your packages from home?
To be honest, it’s not as easy as mailing a letter or postcard. It takes a few extra steps, but most national carriers have worked to make shipping packages from your home a simple process. With these easy steps, you can send out packages from the comfort of your home like a pro.
Before you start, gather more information.
Before you pick the perfect box, you need to think about where your package is going and whether it can actually be shipped. It would be the worst-case scenario to get everything together, and it turns out you missed a step or you simply can’t mail your item.
Where’s the intended destination for your package?
So, you’ve gotten a sale, or you’ve found the perfect gift for a friend. Before you jump into packing, where is your package going? Is this person in the U.S. (domestic), or are they in another country (international)? This simple question can add additional steps to your shipping process.
If the receiver is within the U.S., you’re in luck! It’s time to move on to the next question. However, it’s not the end of the world if your package is intended to go overseas. FedEx, UPS, and USPS offer easy guides on how to ship your package internationally. Once you’ve read and understood the additional steps you’ll need to take, it’s time to move on to the next question.
Am I able to ship this item?
For most people, it will be a no-brainer when it comes to ensuring you can actually ship an item. However, for some, it might be a good question to ask. For example, you will need to take extra steps if your item is flammable or combustible like nail polish remover or car batteries. If your items do fall into those categories, it’s good to reach out to the carrier of your choice to ensure you can safely ship the package from your home.
Gather your supplies.
Gathering the supplies you need won’t be as hard as you think. From finding the right box to weighing the package yourself, you can create your own miniature post office at home. If you have a high-functioning home office, you might already have these items in stock!
Having a printer will be useful when it comes time to print off your shipping label. Depending on the carrier you choose, a printer might be required. For UPS, you have the ability to schedule your pickup without shipping labels, and the driver will bring you shipping documents. However, in most cases, you will need to print off your shipping label if you decide to ship your package from home.
Next, you’ll need to find the right box or padded mailer. If you look around your house, you might have a box you received on your latest order that would work just fine. Repurposing old boxes is a great way to reduce cost and also a great way to help the environment. It’s okay if you don’t have old boxes lying around. There are hundreds of box sizes available from FedEx, UPS, and USPS online, so you don’t have to leave your home. Or, you can purchase your boxes in-store at any of the carrier locations of your choice or your local retail store, like Wal-Mart or Target.
Last, you will need paper. Actually, you might need a couple of different types. First, you need paper to print your label onto. Half-sheet self-adhesive paper works the best for shipping labels and makes the package look professional. However, printer paper works great as well. You’ll just need to ensure it’s taped securely to the box.
If your package is delicate, you might need to consider infill. From home, there are a bunch of great ways to ensure your item has enough cushion during its shipping journey. Old newspaper, infill from previous packages, and bubble wrap are great infill options that might be laying around your home. But, if you don’t happen to have any of these options laying around, you can always buy infill online or in-store.
Lastly, you’ll need measuring tools. First, you will need a digital scale to properly weigh your package. Knowing the package weight can help you pick the right delivery method and ensure the package can be picked up when you schedule your pickup time. Next, it’s good to calculate your package’s DIM weight, or Dimensional weight. DIM weight can be calculated by using the below equation — or with our handing DIM weight calculator.
Now that that’s done, it’s time to pull out the ruler to get the correct measurements for the box. Each national carrier has its own DIM factor, so it’s important to research each.
Pick your carrier and print your shipping label.
There are factors you need to take into consideration when picking the right carrier for your package. If you’re an eCommerce business and will be shipping in volume, it’s important to look into volume discounts with each carrier. For a one-time shipment, it’s a little easier to pick the right carrier. Look for available pickup times and the cost for delivery when making your decision.
Once you’ve decided, it’s time to create your shipping label. Make sure you have all the appropriate information needed for your label. For carriers like UPS, you can easily make your shipping label online and print it out from your couch. By creating your label online, you have the ability to:
- Choose how fast you want your package to arrive.
- See much it’ll cost to ship your item.
- Pick how you will pay for your shipping label.
Placing your label.
It might sound crazy, but there is a science to placing your label correctly. For USPS, postage goes in the top-right corner of your package. You also need to avoid placing your shipping labels on corners to avoid difficulty when scanning at the carrier facility. Essentially, you need to make sure that the barcode is scannable and unobstructed.
It’s time to ship your package from home!
You’ve got your package packed correctly with a label properly attached, and you’ve picked your carrier. Now, it’s time to schedule your pickup. Each national carrier has an easy step-by-step process to schedule your package pickup online through their individual portals.
Once you’ve scheduled your pickup, it’s key to find the perfect place to keep your package while it waits to be picked up. Find a dry, covered place to sit the package. However, each carrier offers drop-off areas or kiosks if you can’t leave your package at your home.
If shipping from home becomes a constant occurrence — especially for an eCommerce business, it’s important to look into a 3PL. And, Red Stag Fulfillment can help! Fill out our questionnaire to see if Red Stag is the right fit for your business.
If you’ve enjoyed learning how to ship a package from home, try our other articles from our “How to Ship” series. Here are a few options to get started: