A week or so ago, I talked about free USPS Priority shipping supplies. But what if you're shipping internationally? Or what if it's a really heavy item and your buyer chose parcel post? You'll need to come up with boxes for those items. This picture isn't my house, but it's what my eBay room looks like sometimes, when I let the boxes take over.
There are quite a few resources available to us for plain boxes. I've not tried all of them, because my closet is already overly full, but hopefully this will give you some ideas.
- Friends and Family. Social networking isn't all just Farmville and Likes. It can be a very useful business tool. Just post a status update asking your friends and family to save boxes for you. This time of year is especially good for that, because people are ordering Christmas gifts online and are probably wondering what they're going to do with all those boxes, packing peanuts, and air pillows.
- Craigslist/Freecycle. This is the same as my above point, but you're asking strangers instead of friends and family. Strangers buy Christmas gifts online too :)
- Local Stores. You could always stop in to local stores and ask them what they do with their boxes. I've heard that Dollar General is an especially good place to ask for their boxes. Cell phone stores are good for air pillows. Ask around. It won't hurt to try.
- Buy them. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and pay for boxes. Most of my boxes are free to me, but I never come across free boxes that will fit a microwave turntable, and believe it or not, I have a hard time finding free plain boxes that will fit a pair of shoes nicely without being way too big. I buy my turntable boxes and shoe boxes on eBay. The prices seem very high, so you'd want to be sure you're buying them for high profit margin items. When you're paying $1-2 per box, you don't want to use that box on an item you're only making $10 profit on. I generally make $20 profit on my turntables, so I can justify paying $1 for a box. It certainly beats spending 45 minutes building one!
- Newspaper is the most obvious, but it can actually add a lot of weight to a package. It also flattens easily, so it's definitely NOT good for breakables. I do use it for filler in shoe boxes though.
- Shredded newspaper is another option. Of course you'd have to buy a shredder (long-cut, not cross-cut). Shredded newspaper is fluffier than regular, so you can use less of it to fill more space, which cuts down on the weight.
- Egg cartons can be used to fill up a little extra space with virtually no extra weight. Again, they're crushable, so they will only work on not-heavy items.
- Folded cardboard can fill extra space too. I've never done it, but I've received packages that had folded cardboard in them. It worked pretty well.