Deciding to become self-employed and running your own thing is a huge step to take in your career. It’s also a hugely rewarding one. With more people becoming their own boss than ever before, it’s safe to say that taking the plunge into work-based autonomy is the new normal.

Whether you’re setting up a service or selling a product, owning your own business can be fulfilling and stressful in equal measure. Perhaps the least glamorous elements of all of this (apart from working from home in your pyjamas) is the admin. From bookkeeping to forecasts, the list of bureaucracy can feel endless. 

If your new business dream involves selling a product, you’ll have to consider the realm of shipping. While acquiring your product might be easy, getting it out to your customers can sometimes prove difficult. To avoid this, it’s important to have a sound shipping plan in place, so here are 5 IDEAL things you should know about shipping when setting up your business.

SHIPPING SOFTWARE 

Before you even begin to organise sending out products, it’s imperative that you have the right software in place, to make life more simple and streamlined from the get go. Shipping software not only enables you to print labels from the comfort of your home or new office, but it also means you can track packages, too. 

Because of this, you will have an accurate log of shipment dates as well as delivery completion dates. This is great for your records, tax returns, and profit and loss analysis, as it means a package should never get lost in the shipment process and there will be automated evidence of every step of the journey.

RESPONSIBLE PACKAGING

If you’re sending things overseas, it’s even more important to make sure your packages are as lightweight as possible. The lighter the packages, the less they’ll cost to ship. Similarly, the more tightly you pack something, the less likely it is to break or be damaged in transit. 

When packing delicate items, in particular, use things like bubble wrap and air pillows to cushion the product. It’s also important to consider the environmental impact of your package, so try to avoid using an excess of plastic or cardboard where you can. 

UNDERSTAND THE HIDDEN COSTS

You’ve got your first few orders – congratulations! Now is the time to shine, to put everything you’ve worked for into practice. But with one package heading to Australia and another to America, have you thought about how much extra that will cost? 

Every country has its own regulations on shipping costs including things like tax and duties. A helpful term to know when forecasting for these things is ‘landing cost’. This refers to the entire cost of the order to your business. For example, a customer might unknowingly have to cover the cost of some of their delivery if you haven’t first considered all the extra charges in your billing. This is hardly good for business and with the ease of internet reviewing, customer service has never been so crucial to a business model. Don’t leave a nasty surprise for the customer and a subsequent bad taste in their mouth. They’ll likely spit it out online, to the detriment of your company’s reputation. Instead, factor in these hidden costs to your forecasting and prices.

COUNTRY SPECIFIC REGULATION

Speaking of those country-specific hidden costs, do you know if you can send your product to every country in the world? You might be surprised. Indeed, it’s one thing to advertise international shipping for your business, but it’s no good if a customer in Japan orders something and it turns out you can’t get your product through customs.  

Often, you can find all this kind of information on government or other official websites, so thoroughly research these particulars before promising something to your consumers that ultimately, you may not be able to deliver. 

PARTNER WITH A COURIER SERVICE

As the owner of a business, you’re likely to be a visionary (or see yourself as one). You like to imagine the bigger picture and plans for the future rather than the nitty-gritty details. Perhaps you’re leaning back in your ergonomic chair, feet on the desk, sweeping your hand across your kingdom. As such, we doubt you’re hopping on youpushbikeke and delivering every item by hand. Nope, this is beneath you. And if you’re shipping internationally, it’s time to consider partnering with courier services

Collaborating with a courier service takes away the stress from a lot of the shipping process. If you’re working with a reputable company, you know that your parcels should safely end up in their end destination. This leaves you with the bigger decisions of the day, like when to eat lunch and whether you can claim back tax on your new coffee machine.