need help setting up postage meter and package shipping for small biz
December 13, 2016 11:48 AM   Subscribe

seeking help setting up a home system for weighing, shipping, label printing etc for small parcels

My daughter has a fledgling apparel company that is taking off a bit, and our biggest headache and cost is the packaging and trips to the post office. I would love to do this at home and would be happy to invest in the materials if I could be more confident that I was getting the right setup. I have looked at Stamps.com but am leery of being locked into a monthly fee.

Is it possible to simply buy a postage scale/meter, label printer, and Mac-compatible software to weigh a parcel, print a mailing label and postage, without a ton of commitment or up-front investment?

Thank-you.
posted by docpops to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
There are a lot of services for circumstances exactly like this.

ShippingEasy would be an example.

If there are orders coming from places like Amazon.com, Etsy, a Squarespace store, or other common channels, something like ShipStation can help automate a lot of the work involved with tracking orders. (ShippingEasy may have these integrations, too, but I haven't used it. We use ShipStation for small brands at my place of work before we set up all the internal infrastructure.)

Services like these will often pass along bulk pricing to their customers as well.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:57 AM on December 13, 2016


If you have a scale, you can print USPS postage via PayPal without any special software or commitment at all. It's also easy to set up a UPS account.
posted by jon1270 at 11:58 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


The DYMO printers can be really good for this.
posted by Wild_Eep at 11:59 AM on December 13, 2016


(I'm also happy to answer questions about getting this set up via MeFi Mail if you want more particulars or advice for your exact situation.)
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:00 PM on December 13, 2016


I've had excellent (yet limited) experience using the USPS for package shipping and payments - including with PayPal. I've also worked with the software client-side of it's Click-N-Ship service and a lot of experience with its bulk mail. I'd highly recommend looking into their business shipping services. Some combination of Click-N-Ship and Flat Rate boxes will probably work great for you.

Is it possible to simply buy a postage scale/meter, label printer, and Mac-compatible software to weigh a parcel, print a mailing label and postage, without a ton of commitment or up-front investment?
Yes! Use the usps.com website to print your labels (or even just use tape and letter-size printer paper), and get a decent postage scale and order appropriate sized packages. Once you determine the easiest-to-source package that also gives you the best postage rate, you are good to go.
posted by jillithd at 12:34 PM on December 13, 2016


You must not listen to podcasts very often! Stamps.com is designed for exactly this use case.
posted by rockindata at 12:53 PM on December 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Reddit's /r/flipping discusses this sort of thing fairly often.
posted by kmennie at 1:13 PM on December 13, 2016


Stamps.com is pretty easy to use, and their customer service is pretty good! THAT SAID, DO NOT BUY A SCALE FROM THEM. They are terrible, expensive, crappy scales, and will die.
posted by bibliogrrl at 2:11 PM on December 13, 2016


Agree with NSAID -- if this is an ecommerce company, you definitely want to use ShipStation or ShippingEasy. They both connect to USPS (via Stamps.com), FedEx, UPS. (They're both actually owned by Stamps.com.)
posted by radioamy at 2:53 PM on December 13, 2016


Pretty much every podcast I listen to has at some point had an ad from stamps.com offering a free digital scale and a bunch of other stuff if you use offer code blahblahblah. Might be worth looking around to see who they're currently advertising with. The scales may indeed break, but you can't argue with the price.
posted by Acheman at 2:46 PM on December 14, 2016


Thank-you all for the excellent suggestions. I'm further into it and exploring options.
posted by docpops at 8:03 AM on December 16, 2016


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