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How To Ship Products And Create Shipping Policies For Your Business.

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

Shipping 101 For Small Businesses

Now that you’ve got your business up and running the orders are rolling in and it’s time to start shipping. Hopefully you’ve already handled the basics like created shipping policies, purchased supplies, ordered or printed branded labels, picked a shipping carrier, etc. If you haven’t… review the basics first. If you have… skip ahead to what to do after you receive an order to be shipped.

Shipping Basics
Set Shipping Policies
  1. What are your processing times?

  2. Do you offer expedited shipping?

  3. What’s your shipping rates?

  4. What suppliers do you ship with?

  5. Who is responsible for shipping costs for returned damaged packages?

  6. How are damaged packages handled?

  7. Who is responsible for shipping costs for returns not damage related?

Order Shipping Supplies

If you are not using the drop shipping method then you need to figure out what you’re going to ship your products in. The most common shipping supplies are:

  • A box or mailer

  • Tape (If using a box)

  • Shipping label

  • Void Fill

The exact needs depend on the size of your product and the materials it’s made out of. For instance, If your item is a glass figurine you’d need a small box along with bubble wrap or packing peanuts. But if it's something like a pair of earrings you can secure them in a Bubble Mailer to ship.

You do not have to pick one shipping package. If some products need a box but others fit best (and ship cheaper) in a mailer then use both. Unless it's one order with multiple items because...common sense has to kick in here lol.

Don't be afraid to reuse materials. Ordered from Amazon and still have your box? Pack that baby up. Seriously save the earth and recycle people. This box is realistically thrown around and not cared about until it makes it to its destination. Put your wow factor inside and don't stress the outside of the box too much.

Regardless if you use a new box or old box- make sure it's secured properly. Add void filling to the inside. Tape all of the seams (don't cover the barcode/shipping label). Use a size appropriate package. Check out the recommended shipping supplies on our site.

Net 30s to purchase shipping and packaging supplies.

Net 30 accounts allows you to purchase supplies today and pay in 30 days. Which can help new business orders and those with tight cash flow. Enjoy payment cushions along with bulk product options/pricing and build credit for your business. PAY YOUR BILL THO. These vendors can help your business build credit. Do not order more than you can afford and do not order things you do not need. The only thing you should be ordering in your business name is.......BUSINESS ITEMS.

Pick A Shipping Carrier

Who you ship with again depends on your business. Review different carries and compare costs, drop off times, shipping regions, time frames etc. Use these questions to get you started comparing:

  • What suppliers are available in your area?

  • Do they offer shipping services that fit your product size/needs?

  • Does the carrier offer pickup services?

I received an order, how do I ship it?

How do I get a Shipping Label?

Once you've packed your order it's time to slap a shipping order on it and get it to the customer. If you have a printer and internet at home you can easily purchase shipping labels online and print yourself. If you don't have a printer no worries because USPS, UPS or whoever you ship with can print the labels in store for you.

If you're like me and want to avoid long lines and wait time- print at home. That way you can easily drop off off at the counter or drop off location and walk right back out. No conversation or standing in line needed. Check out these shipping labels and other supplies.

How you print your shipping labels like everything else depends on your business. Some platforms offer shipping labels printed directly from the platform like Etsy and Ebay. Alternatively you can use a different platform like Pirate Ship. I ship from multiple sites/marketplaces so I use Pirate Ship to keep all of my tracking info in one place. Pirate ships integrates with several website hosts and have pre-negotiated rates with both USPS and UPS.

How To Create & Print A Shipping Label With Pirate Ship

1. Log into your pirate ship account if you don't have one you can create one here.

2. Choose how you want to create your label.


How To Create A Single Shipping Label From Pirate Ship

- Add the Customer's Info

  • Required Info: Name, Full Address

  • Optional Info: Email, Phone Number

- Select your return address

- Select your packaging type.

  • If you're using your own custom box or envelope select one of the first two options.

  • If you're using USPS or UPS- Pirate ship already has their packaging up there to select.

-Add package dimensions

You need to know the Length, Width, Height

-Add package weight

You need to know the weight in Pounds and Ounces.

-Select any extra services you need

  • Signature Confirmation

  • Return Labels

  • Insurance

  • Qualifies for Media Mail

  • Irregular Package

- Hazardous materials

Check this box if your package contains any hazardous material items like: Nail Polish, Perfume, Dry Ice, Lithium Batteries, Firearms, Lighters, Fuels, etc.

-Customs Forms

Required for International, Military APO / FPO, and U.S. Territories

- Save Package

If this is an order type you will ship often save it so you don't have to input the same info each time.


How To Print A Single Shipping Label From Pirate Ship

After you have selected all of the package details click "Get Rates."

At the top of the screen Pirate ship will show you the shipping details. Make sure you review them for any errors. Name, Address, Return Address etc.

If you don't want to use the shipping rate/speed they provide select the little arrow and they will display more shipping options and rates to choose from.

Pirate ship has renegotiated rates with USPS and UPS. So the only rates they show are between USPS and UPS.

Select the shipping rate you want and then select "Buy Label"

After you purchase your label you'll advance to this screen that has your confirmed shipping details.

The carrier tracking number can be found at the top. Don't forget to copy this and send to your customer so they know their order is on the way. I normally wait until the day I'm dropping off to send it just in case something happens.....

Don't hold on to packages. Prioritize getting orders processed and shipped as soon as possible to improve your customer's experience.

Now it's time to print the label. At the top right select "Print Label."

The screen that will pop up shows the different sizes you can print your shipping labels. Select whichever ones you have and print.

Pirate ship will then give you a PDF like this that you can print from your home printer or save to your device.

Now put it on your package and go drop it off.

Upload A Spreadsheet

Best to use when shipping multiple orders. Just upload the CSV or other file by selecting "Upload A Spreadsheet"

Import From Etsy

If you sell on Etsy you can integrate your Pirate Ship account with your Etsy. No copy and pasting needed just select "Import From Etsy" and if you don't see your order select "Refresh Data"

Hopefully this post has helped give you a better understanding on shipping. Don't forget to check out our must have Shipping Supplies here.