Demystifying Freight for Retail Startups


As a new retail business owner, you have many concerns regarding your footprint and how you will not only get in front of customers but find a way to transport your products to them, as well as to your suppliers, distribution centers, manufacturers, partners and warehouses. That’s a lot of shipments to think about!

Not only do you have to coordinate those shipments with different people across different companies and different locations around the world, but now you have to navigate the freight and transportation industry. And industry that has been around since the 1950s in the United States. And, you have to find your niche so you’re not overpaying or losing money on damage claims.

As a startup, you won’t have the initial volume of shipments that a traditional freight carrier or common carrier requires in order to give you the best rate on shipping freight. Luckily for you, the industry has resolved that by creating brokers or third-party logistics providers (3PLs) that consolidate shipments with smaller-volume shippers so that they together get the buying power of a giant shipper. Sounds good, right?

In some cases, a 3PL has trucks or is considered “asset based”. That can be a benefit to some shippers who have identical shipments moving back and forth along the same highways on a frequent basis. But, not every logistics need is the same and it’s beneficial to work with a 3PL that can find you capacity (aka room on a truck) and that isn’t confined to working with their own trucks.

A 3PL can save you time and money by finding competitive freight rates and services instantly. Once they find a rate, they also handle everything else with the carrier from the date of pickup to delivery. By far the easiest way to save money, is working with a well-known 3PL that has the most carrier contracts. Chances are, they have the best negotiated rate.

Now that you know what type of partner you need to handle your logistics needs, here are the materials you need and four steps to packaging your shipments.

Materials You Will Need:

  • 70-gauge Shrink Wrap (stretchable plastic film)
  • Corrugated Cardboard Boxes
  • Strapping Tape
  • Wooden or Plastic Pallet
  • Wooden or Plastic Crate (included and delivered with our You Crate shipping partners)
  • Foam Padding or Bubble Wrap
  • Rope or Pallet Straps

Freight Packaging Steps

Step #1: Determine whether your freight is considered fragile or non-fragile.


  • Glass
  • Computer Equipment
  • Electronics (all types)
  • Small Furniture
  • Household Goods (liquids, etc)
  • Personal Effects
  • Artwork/Fine Art/Sculptures

Non Fragile

  • Clothing and Footwear
  • Paper Items
  • Plastic Items
  • Canned Goods
  • Carpeting and Flooring
  • Tools and Hardware
  • Machinery

Step #2: Determine if your freight should be palletized.

Items That Need To Be Shipped On A Pallet:

  • Machinery
  • Heavy Equipment
  • Engines
  • Compressors
  • Lawn Mower
  • Motorcycle
  • Ovens/Stoves
  • Dishwashers
  • Washing Machines/ Dryer
  • Fridge
  • Sofa
  • Tables/Desks and Chairs
  • Large Furniture & Televisions

Step #3: Safely package the contents of your freight.

  • Safeguard against spills and stains by placing vulnerable items in individual plastic bags before packing inside a box or crate

Step #4: Secure and label the outside of your packaged freight.

  • Do not use household scotch tape or masking tape. Aim for commercial-grade, durable strapping tape at least two inches in width
  • Each box should require at least three pieces of tape along the open seams

After reading this, you should feel empowered to make smart decisions about shipping and logistics. And also know that there are many like you who are thinking about growth and scalability. After all, you won’t be able to call three carriers and wait on the line for freight quotes for every shipment forever.


Source by Terese E Kerrigan

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