Buying Packaging for Less, Much Less

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You may get in a position where you need to buy packaging materials, boxes, envelopes, and cushioning.  You may have many similarly-sized items to ship or all sources of cushioning materials have dried up.  For whatever the reason, you can buy smart.  Here are some ideas, based on my experience:

I need one large box to ship a specific item.

One source we have used is the local U-Haul® operation.  They have very affordable cardboard boxes in many sizes.  I usually can find one in a size large enough to accommodate the item and the necessary packing material that works well.  Yes, it says U-Haul on it but it is new and gets the job done.  I have found them to be the least expensive source in my area for a single box.

I need 25, 50, or 100 of the same size box or shipping envelope.

Folks, meet Uline® [www.uline.com].  This company has distribution centers in key locations throughout the US and will ship virtually any kind of packaging materials to your door at very reasonable prices. Examples from their website:

  •  6” x 6” x 6” corrugated boxes  — 27 cents each                              [sold in bundles of 25]
  • 12’ x 12’ x 12’ corrugated boxes — 67 cents each                            [sold in bundles of 25]
  • 4” x 4” x 4” corrugated boxes — 18 cents each                                 [sold in bundles of 25]
  • 6” x 10” bubble mailer (padded envelope)  15.6 cents each              [bundle of 250]
  • 8.5’ x 12” bubble mailer – 23 cents each                                           [bundle of 100]

Yes, you’ll pay UPS shipping to your business, but even with that expense, their prices are outstanding.  If you happen to be close to one of the distribution centers, it could pay to pick up your order.

How about bubble wrap, tape, packing popcorn??   

 I again call your attention to www.uline.com.  For instance, we purchased a 12″ x 250’ roll and for the number of packages we ship it has lasted well.   We purchased the perforated type that allows you to tear off 12” at a time, handy for smaller items.  The roll also has the advantage of being reasonably compact, making storage easier.  In addition, they also offer tape , plastic bags, and “popcorn” pellets at very reasonable prices.

I’m sure there are other similar outlets, but the key is to anticipate the need and buy in bulk to save money and shipping costs.

Does anyone else out there have other sources we should know about?

Next up – Get an accurate shipping scale!

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