Small business postage & shipping tips

When running a small business, paying for different shipping options can quickly become a significant expense – especially if you’re trying to get an eCommerce business off the ground. Modern customers have come to expect quick and free shipping from any company, and if you can’t keep up with demand, they’ll likely shop elsewhere.

Luckily, we’ve got all the best shipping tips and tricks to help you keep your postage costs as low as possible, save time and create a more professional image for your business too. 

1. Use a Franking Machine

A franking machine is an invaluable device that every business should have. These machines allow you to weigh your own mail, select the correct postage and get it stamped for delivery. This means that you’ll be able to save up to 46% on postage costs as you’ll be able to more accurately weigh the item. Plus, with a franking machine, you’ll get a postage discount from Royal Mail, as franked mail is typically cheaper than standard post. Since you won’t need to take so many trips down to the post office or stand in a queue for so long, you’ll also be saving yourself and your employees more time.

Other benefits of a franking machine include faster delivery than standard post, as franked mail is classed as high-priority business post. So, not only will it be cheaper for you, but your customers will get their packages quickly. If you want to go the extra mile, franking machines allow you to print your logo or a company message on the mail too, for a more professional look and feel.

2. Reduce the Weight of Packages

The heavier the package, the more it will cost to send. While the price difference may only change by a few pence, if you’re sending hundreds of packages a week, that cost can quickly rack up. We recommend using lightweight packing materials such as packing paper, bubble wrap or foam inserts to ensure items are packed tight without needing to use heavier materials to weigh them down.

3. Pack Efficiently

Along with the weight, the size of the package can also affect the cost. Very often, small businesses use boxes that are larger than needed. It’s very easy to buy the wrong size box and then fill it with packaging materials to prevent the items from moving around. But, this will end up increasing your shipping costs. 

By using smaller packaging, or even padded envelopes if possible, and packing your items more efficiently so they fit tightly and securely, you’ll save money on the size and the weight. Measure the products you’re sending to help calculate the size of boxes or envelopes you need. You can also order custom-sized packaging for more awkwardly-shaped items.

4. Build Shipping Costs Into the Cost of the Product

The cost of shipping for customers shopping online can make or break a sale. Customers are much more likely to choose a company with free shipping over one without. However, this can become a problem, especially for small businesses, as it will impact costs. A popular solution is to build the shipping costs into the cost of a product. If a product is priced at £10, for example, but shipping will be £2.99, upping the price of the item to £12.99 and advertising free shipping can draw more customers in and result in more sales.

Of course, sometimes, if the shipping is too high to incorporate into the price, this isn’t always possible. So, an alternative is to offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount. This way, people may end up buying other products to enjoy the free shipping, so you’ll make your money back.

5. Claim Back on Your VAT

If you’re a small business owner, registered for VAT and selling taxable products or services, then you may recover any VAT spent on postage within your VAT return. However, not every company will be eligible for this. Your company’s finance department, accountant or tax advisor should have more information and will be able to advise you on the best solution. You can also check the Royal Mail website for products liable to VAT.

For more business mailroom advice and information, check out our franking machines and mailroom solutions to help considerably cut your small business costs!

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