A business that will hand out my materials for me?
June 11, 2015 1:03 PM   Subscribe

I have to give a large number of people a starter kit. They are located in several cities around the US and Canada. I could ship it to them, but I'd rather be able to have them go to a near by location and pick it up (saving up to a week in shipping time). This is in only major cities.

Wrinkle #1 They have to sign a form.
Wrinkle #2 The starter kit is quite large and heavy.

Is there a service for this?
posted by Monday to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know whether your wrinkles can be handled, but the search term you want is fulfillment services.
posted by the_blizz at 1:27 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

I will add, though, that as a New Yorker, I would a zillion times rather get a shipment than try to make my way, carless, to some pickup center that is probably in Deepest Queens, and then wrestle some heavy thing home on the subway.
posted by the_blizz at 1:34 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]

I used to work for a fulfillment company - there may be different flavors I'm not aware of, but most fulfillment services are in the business of warehousing and putting stuff in the mail and on delivery trucks...

I think shipping is going to be a lot more practical (the_blizz speaks for a lot of us) -- if your project is truly major/national/large in scope the only TYPE of business I can think of that might conceivably be able and willing to do this for you might be Fedex/Kinkos or the UPS store chains. But your costs to get the kits staged into these centers would be about equal to home delivery, plus there'd be some cost for making the clerks hand over and get proof of delivery to your customer or contractor. I can't really conceive of how you're going to save time, unless your business model is - I'm in Chicago and we agree TODAY for me to buy/sell/carry/distribute your product, and lucky for me the starter kits are in stock at the nearest $_place and you can send them an order for me to go get one and sign for it TODAY.

It would almost certainly be cheaper for you to look at expedited shipping and settle for having them get it TOMORROW.

A fulfillment house might help and might conceivably be worth it if you're on one coast and you have a lot of prospects on the other - rather than a) pay overnight on a heavy package or b) take 5-7 days for non-expedited, a fulfillment house which is within 1-2 day distance of your customers can ship via ground rates plus their fee.

But I really think the "go get your package from some retail-style place" idea is DOA.
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:47 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yes, ship the stuff. Nobody wants to take time out of their day to go and collect something.
posted by koahiatamadl at 3:13 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Regarding having people pick the stuff up — is this for your convenience or theirs? For example, do you know the participants' travel situations? As someone without a car, I would MUCH rather wait four to seven days for a delivery than have to schlep across town (or across the bay) and back, with a heavy box, by public transit.

If you ship, it's a one-time thing: pack the stuff up, ship the boxes out, done. If you make people pick it up, it could take days, weeks, or longer, and some of them may flake out and never pick it up.
posted by Lexica at 7:31 PM on June 11, 2015

Hypothetically you can ship it to the nearest Fedex Office or UPS Store and have the clients pick them up there, but that's SLOWER than shipping it to their door.
posted by kschang at 12:50 AM on June 12, 2015

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