Running a small business from home can be a costly and time-consuming affair – particularly if you’re a parent – with an endless array of considerations to take into account from overseas customers to shipping fees. If these aren’t managed properly, you may find your business incurring unexpected and unnecessary costs which can hit your profit margins. This handy guide from Hemisphere Freight Services should ensure your business runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
Things to consider when shipping
There are many complexities involved in sending products out for delivery, and it’s important that your business gets its shipping options right – a good shipping service can make a big difference to the success of your company.
One major thing to consider is the destination you’re shipping to. According to a Pitney Bowes study in 2017, 70% of online shoppers now buy products from overseas, so it’s important to make the most of the potential worldwide customer base that is available to you. If you do decide to ship internationally, consider the impact this may have on your shipping costs – you’ll need to decide whether or not these costs should be passed onto the customer.
Another issue is the courier you use. Each courier has their own unique set of services, with next-day delivery or even same-day delivery available in certain situations – so it’s important to review all the options available to you. Major worldwide distributors may be able to offer cheaper rates, while local businesses can sometimes offer a bespoke service which caters to your company’s specific needs. Make sure to compare prices before settling on a courier company, as finding the right couriers for your business could save you money in the long run.
It’s also important to remember that the laws that apply in your country may not apply elsewhere; make sure you are aware of the customs rules in effect wherever you’re sending products, to ensure you don’t fall foul of any international regulations.
Five tips for simple and cost-effective shipping
Getting your packaging right is key to effective shipping: while you want to keep your costs as low as possible, inefficient packaging can lead to damaged goods which will affect customer satisfaction – and unsatisfied customers are less likely to return in future.
However, you should also be wary of going overboard – not only will excessive packaging cost more, it can also be frustrating for customers trying to work through multiple layers to get to their product.
Check for offers and discounts – and don’t be afraid to haggle!
Many major courier companies offer discounts for regular customers, which can significantly cut business costs. Smaller companies may not automatically offer such discounts but they can be more open to negotiation – it’s worth haggling, as smaller companies will be even more reliant on your repeat business.
If you’re shipping items in large quantities each week, your courier will be keen to retain your business and should offer a reduced rate to keep you on board – make sure to take advantage of any discounts which are available to you when shipping in bulk.
Each courier service provides its own unique service and prices, so it pays to shop around and see which offer is best suited to your business. Whether you’re on a tight budget and looking for simple shipping or require a courier which prioritises large parcels, you’re sure to find a company which caters to your requirements.
Consider the pros and cons of charging for shipping
While passing on the shipping charges is a good way of keeping your costs down, consider whether free shipping could be an attractive USP which brings in business. Bear in mind that, if shipping is free, customers are likely to accept a slightly longer delivery period.
With so many options now available for small businesses, international shipping is no longer the complicated and expensive procedure it once was. The opportunities created by opening yourself up to a worldwide market are vast, from expanding your business without increasing your product range to attracting overseas investment. So, if you’re a parent running a business from home, it may be time to take advantage of international shipping.