1. Make Sure You Have a Defined Working Area
You may think that your carpet or rug is the perfect place to start packing your orders but you'd be wrong. Not only is your floor generally uneven, which will be a nuisance when coming to pack everything together but you'll also find that unless you're an impeccably clean person, there will be all manner of goodies just waiting to get trapped inside your customer's package. These goodies mentioned are things such as food bits, fluff, dust and bodily hair!
Absolutely anything and everything will get its way into your order and it's best avoided from the offset. The last thing your customer wants is to find some belly button fluff stuck to their brand new gadget.
Give your back a break and find an elevated, clean, flat and sturdy surface that will make packing your items a breeze. If you only pack up around 10 parcels per day then the dining room table should suffice but any more than this and you should consider investing in a sole-purpose desk.
2. Padded Envelopes
When it comes down to your customers, you'll need to make sure that their items get to them in the way that they are meant to. This does mean that you should pack every item using all the wrapping that you have as, apart from huge overkill, this can become very expensive, very fast.
Some items you post are more than happy to be slipped inside a padded mailer. These handy envelopes are essentially simple 'Kraft' envelopes with an internal layer of bubble wrap. In most cases if the item is flat then it will be amply protected and will be cheaper than putting it in a bulky box with bubble wrap. This saves on time, packaging costs and also means that the recipient does not need to stay in for their item as it can easily fit in their letterbox.
3. Pop, pop, pop!
We all love that popping sound when we've unwrapped something fragile. There's a reason that expensive item is wrapped in bubble wrap. Quite simply, bubble wrap works. It's cheap, doesn't add that much to the packaging bulk and it's available from most good packaging retailers and the post office.
If it's valuable or fragile then it's worth investing in bubble wrap.
4. Postage Pricing
For goodness sake, it's confusing enough trying to calculate your costs of shipping an item with all the expenditure of packaging supplies so take 5 minutes out of your working day and get familiar with a pricing chart. It has clear and concise measurements and weights so you won't have any nasty surprises when you come to pay for your postage.
5. Written Address vs. Typed Address
Who doesn't love to see a beautiful hand written envelope sitting on their front door mate just waiting to be opened? As romantic as it may seem, the same cannot be said about hand-written parcel. If you have a few of these to write then it'll soon get boring and you'll eventually make mistakes.
Do yourself a favor earlier rather than later and invest in a thermal printer. Although a little on the expensive side initially you won't have to pay for any expensive ink as the address is heat printed on.
6. Is It Waterproof?
It's possibly the last thing that many sellers think of, is your parcel water proof, or at least water / splash resistant?
Due to the nature of the postal system your parcel will eventually find its way outside where it's open to the elements. You need to be confident that your parcel can survive small splashes, an unexpected downpour and even a drop on the floor (into a puddle).
Not only will the excess water potentially damage your items inside but it may also increase your parcel weight making it fall onto the next price bracket. This is unfortunate for you and completely unprofessional in the eyes of your customer.
Simple precautions can reduce the risk of this happening. Try putting your packaging in plastic wrapping or even purchasing some waterproof spray. Both of these act as a good water barrier.
7. Prying Eyes
People are not always as honest as you may think. Although it is a touchy subject for many people you need to be aware that your parcel always has the potential to go missing. It's often the parcels that are shaped very obviously or parcels that are not very well disguised.
If you have any extra padding and are still within the price scale for posting it may be worth taking advantage of this and bulking out your parcels. This way no-one will know what's in the package apart from you and it's recipient.
8. Customer Service All The Way
The customer is always right. Although this isn't always the case it's best to impress them from the word 'go'. If it's cost-effective and looks good you could try writing a hand written message of thanks.
You may think this is a waste of time but it is proven that things like this will stick in your customer's mind long after they have received their item, possible converting them into a repeat customer.
9. Get Some Scales
Almost everyone has a set of scales in their kitchen. Although not suitable to accurately measure the weight of parcels you should always take advantage of this essential tool every time you're calculating postage prices.
Better still, buy some weighing scales specifically designed for traders as they often come with a more useful set of tools such as a tube holder (if you're posting rolled up drawings and posters), and different sized trays, depending on what you ' re selling.
10. Bulk It Out
Although paying for postage stamps that you don't need on the day sounds foolish this could save you some serious money in the long run. Postage prices often increase with very little warning and so having a large book of first class stamps ensures that you still have the same service from the stamp. What you paid 63 pence for could be worth 75+ pence in the near future. This does seem like a lot of money but if you're only posting out small envelopes then this can save you a lot of money over the course of the week.