Fast, efficient, and cheap deliveries are key requirements in the e-commerce market. To compete with big online retailers, you must find smart and innovative ways of getting shipping supplies without passing on the cost to the customers.
There are large logistics companies that offer free shipping supplies to small businesses. Because they have large and global operations, they can offer these supplies for free without affecting their profits.
To save on costs and still attract more customers, it would help if you took advantage of the free supplies offered by these companies like soft shipping envelopes, bubble mailers and boxes. We’ve put together a practical guide to help you find free shipping supplies for small shops in Canada.
Small shops can benefit from free shipping supplies from big courier companies
How Much Does It Cost For Packaging To Ship Out A Package?
Here's an estimated breakdown of some typical packaging, excluding all the fancy add-ons such as tissue paper, stickers, stamps, etc.:
- Small box (4" x 4" x 4"): the box (CA$0.63) + tape (CA$0.25) + shipping label (CA$0.038) = C$0.918
- Medium box (12" x 6" x 4"): box (CA$0.76) + tape (CA$0.25) + shipping label (CA$0.025) = CA$1.035
TYPICAL PACKAGING COST TO SHIP OUT AN ORDER
|NUMBERS OF ORDERS/DAY||ESTIMATED EXPENSES FOR BASIC SUPPLIES PER DAY|
|1 Order/ Day||CA$ 27.54 in Basic Packaging Supplies|
|10 Orders/ Day||CA$ 275.54 in Basic Packaging Supplies|
50 Orders/ Day
CA$ 1,377.00 in Basic Packaging Supplies
- If you ship out 1 order/day, that's 30 orders x CA$0.918 = CA$27.54 in basic packing supplies.
- If you ship out ten orders/day, that would be 10 orders × 30 × 0.54 = CA$ 275.54/month in basic packing supplies.
- If you ship out 50 orders/day, that would be CA$1,377/month in basic packing supplies that could be saved using one of the methods below.
Buying shipping supplies can reduce your profit margins. This will in turn affect the amount of money you can reinvest into other business operations such as; automation, hiring extra staff, or introducing new products.
How can small businesses save on shipping supplies?
Carriers That Offer Free Shipping Supplies In Canada
FREE PACKAGING SUPPLIES FROM MAJOR COURIER COMPANIES
|Available Free Supplies||None||Envelopes
Shipping with Canada Post
- Envelopes—CA$5.98 (Pack of 6)
- Small Box – CA$3.99
- Medium Box—CA$4.99
- Large Box – CA$5.59
- Packing Tapes – CA$7.99 (Pack of 4)
The shipping supplies fees are discounted for small businesses, especially when you acquire them in packs. However, for the flat rate boxes, the fee is fixed.
These supplies are available in your local post office, or you can order them online. If you are not home during delivery, the agent will leave a delivery notice card and the supplies taken to your local post office for convenient pick-up.
Canada Post is the largest domestic courier with extensive operation in over 6,200 post offices. WooCommerce, Shopify, and Oracle are just some of the e-commerce platforms which integrate with Canada Post. These partnerships enhance operational efficiency besides offering discounted shipping rates to sellers. Check out the List of Canada Post E-commerce Partners for more information.
The Canadian Post has different size and weight restrictions for packages it can ship. You will incur a surcharge for all oversized items exceeding 39.4 inches (1 m). It’s also worth noting the flat rate on the boxes is constant, as no discount is given for them.
SIZE AND WEIGHT RESTRICTION FOR CANADA POST
|Documents||---||38 cm.||26.92 cm.||2 cm.||1.36 kg.|
|Parcels||---||199.9 cm.||199.90 cm.||199.9 cm.||29.93 kg.|
|Flat Rate Box||Small||35 cm.||25.90 cm.||5 cm||4.98 kg.|
|Flat Rate Box||Medium||39.37 cm.||25.90 cm.||11.93 cm.||4.98 kg.|
|Flat Rate Box||Large||38.87 cm.||29.97 cm.||19 cm.||4.98 kg.|
UPS Free Shipping Supplies
UPS provides shipping supplies for customers with UPS accounts free of charge. You can request packaging by selecting Order Supplies under the bottom-left side of the Shipping drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can call the 1-800-PICK-UPS. Eligible free shipping containers include:
UPS Express Box
These carton boxes are available in different sizes to cater to a wide range of merchandise.
- Small: 13 × 11 × 2 inches (33 cm x 28 cm x 5 cm)
- Medium: 15 × 11 × 3 inches (40 cm x 29 cm x 8 cm)
- Large: 18 × 13 × 3 inches (46 cm x 32 cm x 8 cm)
UPS Express Pak
These are polybags made from bubble wrap material and used to pack flat items that require additional protection during transit.
- Pak: 16 × 11.75 inches (41 cm x 30 cm)
- Pad Pak: 12 × 14.75 inches (37 cm x 30.5 cm)
- Hard Pak: 12 × 11 inches or (31 cm x 28 cm)
UPS Express Tube
This is used to send large documents that must be rolled rather than folded, such as maps or art drawings. The tube’s dimensions are 38 × 6 × 6 inches (97 cm x 15 cm x 15 cm).
UPS Express Envelopes
The envelopes are suitable for letters and documents. Available in Legal size: 15 × 9.5 inches (38 cm x 24 cm) and letter size: 12.5 × 9.5 inches or (32 cm x 24 cm).
Get shipping supplies that make your brand look professional | 📷 from UPS
Besides packaging materials, UPS offers free, quality, adhesive shipping labels that make your e-commerce business look professional and proficient. Some of the labels include; UPS Connect labels, UPS CampusShip, and UPS World Ease Labels.
Requirements for Shipping with UPS
When you sign up for UPS My Choice for Business, you qualify to receive UPS free shipping supplies. You can also manage all your shipments and orders on this dashboard. Under the locations tab, you can easily find a UPS Store or an authorized customer center near you for a faster and more convenient collection of your supplies. You can get your free shipping supplies with UPS here.
DHL Free Shipping Supplies
DHL is arguably the World's leading logistics company, with operations in over 220 countries. If you have bulk shipment internationally, DHL is perfect, but their domestic shipping services in Canada are not as expansive as Canada Post or FedEx. Some of the shipping supplies they offer for free include:
- Flat Mailers
- Padded pouches
- Waybill Sleeves
- Tube mailers
- Shipping labels
Requirements for Shipping with DHL
Similar to UPS, you will be first required to open a DHL account to order supplies and print shipping labels. Opening an account with DHL is simple and fast process thanks to its interactive startup guide that will help you familiarize yourself with all their services. In case of any difficulties, you can always call, chat via WhatsApp, or send an email to their customer service team.
FedEx Free Shipping Supplies
FedEx has a wide range of FedEx Express Supplies to suit the different product weights, dimensions, and fragility. We were particularly impressed with their full disclosure on weight limits and packages excluded from certain services. For example, FedEx Boxes and Tubes are not accepted when using the FedEx Economy® service. Additionally, FedEx prides itself on making reusable packaging for convenience and sustainability.
📷 by FedEx | Shipping boxes are usually categorized according to size
Shipping boxes are categorized into; FedEx Boxes for local shipping and International Flat Rate Boxes for overseas. FedEx boxes have a 20 lbs./ 9.1 kg maximum weight limit and come in 3 sizes;
- FedEx Small Box: 12.25” x 10.9” x 1.5” (31.1 cm x 27.7 cm x 3.8 cm)
- FedEx Medium Box: 13.25” x 11.5” x 2.38” (33.7 cm x 29.2 cm x 6.0 cm)
- FedEx Large Box: 17.88” x 12.38" x 3" (45.4 cm x 31.4 cm x 7.6 cm)
For international shipping, you have the option of the 10 kg. (22 lbs.) or the 25 kg. (56 lbs.) boxes. This weight limit should not be exceeded to qualify for flat-rate pricing.
You can use the FedEx tube to transport anything from fabrics rolls to posters, while the transparent overwraps are suited for clinical and environmental samples. Besides, the tear and water-resistant envelopes are ideal for documents, and the padded packs are useful for soft and fragile products.
A FedEx account helps you order free supplies online and track orders | 📷 by FedEx
Find Alternatives For Small Volume Shipping
Impack mailers offer a sampler pack of 10 mailers for small volume shipping
Check Your Local Stores
Local stores often have boxes leftover from their shipments. Call or visit the stores to check if they have any boxes they want to dispose of. Maybe it’s something can give you instead. Office supply stores, grocery stores, and boutiques are ideal places to find packing supplies. Check furniture stores too, if you need bubble wraps.
Reuse Old Boxes
You probably have lots of old boxes and paper lying around your home from previous purchases. You can repurpose these packages to ship your products. Make sure you remove their old shipping labels before posting.
How long does it take for the shipping supplies to arrive?
You can generally expect your shipping supplies to arrive within a few working days. Delays in receiving orders are normal, so it's important to chart your usage to know when to reorder. Ideally and if possible, don’t wait for your supplies to run out before replenishing them.
Always make sure to order your shipping supplies, even before they run out
How should you label your package
Proper labeling ensures fast and efficient delivery of your packages. Visibly provide the receiver’s contact name and postal code with the complete street address. Remember to include the telephone number when shipping to rural addresses or international destinations.
Making the Most out of Free Shipping Supplies
For a small business, reducing expenses is necessary to keep up with the stiff e-commerce competition. Online customers tend to prefer businesses that offer free, if not reasonably priced shipping more than discounted prices or coupons. Availing of free packaging supplies cut down shipping costs, consequently increasing your profit margin and encouraging return customers. Got any shipping or packaging tips to share? Leave a comment below!