First, if you want the free printable worksheet to help you follow along with your tasks today, subscribe below to get it immediately delivered to your inbox. Otherwise, scroll on down to begin.
Scroll through all of Task 1 below and order your packing materials, then click the button at the bottom to head on to Task #2–buying your domain name.
Your first job of the day is to find packaging and order it. Getting packaging delivered to you is going to be the biggest delay in launching your shipping, so you need to do this first thing!
Before you go running off to buy your packaging, there are two things to consider. These are:
First, you need to consider the average weight of each of your boxes. This will impact box selection! We’ll go into product design details later, but here are the two things you should know upfront:
We recommend either a 14X14X14 box or a 16X16X16 box size. 14X14X14 fits anywhere from about 15 lbs to 25 lbs of product. 16X16X16 will fit between 25-38 lbs. It’s best not to go over 38 lbs maximum because UPS charges a surcharge for weights above 50 lbs, and you still need to account for ice and box weight.
To choose which weight you’d like your average package to be, consider your customer. Do they like buying big packs in bulk? If so, go with the bigger box. Do they prefer to buy less weight because they have smaller freezer space? Go with the smaller box.
Do be aware that a bigger box is going to be cheaper, because you can ship more product in one box.
So: pick your box size based on the average weight you’d like in each box. If a little smaller, go with a 14X14X14. If a little bigger, 16X16X16. Don’t worry, you can always change this later! When you run out of packaging, you can upgrade to a bigger or smaller size! You’re not stuck with the box size you choose.
It might seem fine to just buy a bigger box and still ship smaller orders in this box even though there’s going to be extra space. But the problem is that UPS and FedEx both charge a dimensional weight. This means that if your box is a certain size (say, for example, 16X16X16) they estimate that the box contains a minimum of x amount of pounds, and you’ll be charged for that weight even if the actual weight is less. So it’s okay to go over dimensional weight, then you’ll just pay by weight. But if you’re under dimensional weight, you’ll pay the dimensional weight. To calculate dimensional weight of specific box sizes, visit this page.
For our 2 recommended sizes, dimensional weights are:
If this sounds complicated, no need to worry about it too much. Just make sure:
Once you’ve picked a size that will best accommodate your average package size with a little extra space for ice but not too much, you are ready to order packaging!
A quick disclaimer: We recommend you buy from Uline as you’re just starting out. But be aware, this is neither the cheapest nor the best option. But Uline can sell small quantities of materials while other suppliers require bulk purchases, and Uline can deliver them to your door in 3-4 days. So for those reasons, this is a good option to start with. But as you begin to expand, look elsewhere for less expensive packaging!
A square shape retains cold the best. You can buy whichever of the 2 sizes you’ve chosen on Uline below, but make sure they have your inserts/thermal liners in stock as well before you check out.
This is for weighing your total box weight so you have a number to enter on your UPS label. I’ve linked to the scale we use below (from Amazon), but if you need it more quickly just run to your local household goods store.
We like to wrap expensive cuts like steaks in simple brown paper to protect against dry ice abrasion or damage during shipping. This isn’t required, especially since you’ll be shipping with ice packs instead of dry ice (we’ll explain more later, but in short this is because you’ll only be shipping to areas within 1-2 days of you, whereas we ship nationwide). But if you do want to protect those nice cuts, some paper wrap is a good idea. If you do get the paper wrap, you’ll also need the dispenser below. For wrap, we get the 18″ wide unbleached butcher paper (unbleached for easier recycling, but white is fine too). However, the 12″ bleached would work fine too! If you get a roll of this, you’ll also need a dispenser. We get the simple horizontal one without the serrated blade (also linked to below).
We’re assuming you have these things, but if not, you’ll need them. You don’t need the fancy stick-on labels or anything yet. We taped a folded piece of paper on as a label for years. Just completely cover with tape to protect against moisture. We haven’t linked to these below because we’re assuming you can buy at your local computer store.
We prefer strong, clear plastic duck tape. You can order it on amazon (which is where we usually get it, just search HP260), but because of the slowdown in prime shipping, it won’t get to you very fast. For now, you can order it on uline as well. Get the 2″ size. One good option might be to buy 3 of the “combo packs” (at bottom), because you’ll get a tape-gun and 2 rolls of tape in each pack. Then you may also want to buy 1 case of tape (product #S-14564, the 55 yd 2.6 mil)…you can either get 18 rolls (1/2 a case) or 36 rolls (1 full case).
This first option for thermal inserts is fully curbside recyclable, and about the same price as the other liners. But it doesn’t fit quite as much in a box as the other option. It’s also only available in the 14X14X14 size. As you can see, ordering more will save you more, so perhaps go with the 5 case option for a total of 50 liners.
This second option can fit a little more product in each box, but it’s not recyclable. It will also take up less space in your warehouse, so it’s easier to store. It has the same amount of cold duration (48 hours) as the recyclable liner, and unlike option 1, comes in both sizes. Again, perhaps choose the 5 case option to save money, though this will get you 100 liners. If you do use this option, you may want just a little more ice in the box because it’s thinner than the other.
Because you’ll only be shipping to locations within 1-2 days of you, you won’t need dry ice (we ship nationwide, so we do). If you have a local dry ice supplier, great! Otherwise, cold packs work fine for 1-2 day shipping. If you’re getting 14X14X14 boxes, get the 8 oz size. If 16X16X16, get the 12 oz (larger packs will retain cold better, but the 12 oz won’t fit two laying flat across the width of the smaller box option). In each box, you’re going to want about 3 packs on the bottom and 3-4 on top (4 if using 8 oz size). Also, if there’s less than 15 lbs of meat in the box, you’ll probably want 1 or 2 more ice packs.
Note on ice: With the whole corona thing, UPS is saying that it might have delays. If you’re thinking of shipping 2 day, you might want to use dry ice instead of ice packs. We sourced dry ice for a while from our local grocery store before switching to a wholesale supplier. About 6 lbs will probably be enough for 2 day shipping that might be delayed to 3 days. The other thing with dry ice is that you should not close it up in an airtight container or bag–it will blow up! So if you do put it in an airtight bag, punch some air holes.
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