With customers expecting fast, affordable, and 2-day shipping, shipping costs continues to rise.
It’s important to offer affordable shipping, but in a way that doesn’t break the bank. One way is to take advantage of free shipping supplies from major carriers, such as USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL.
If you’re a small business, every dollar saved on shipping matters. For large enterprises, getting free supplies for large volumes of shipments will save you money in the long run.
Here’s more information on the carriers that offer free shipping supplies, plus more tips on how to keep shipping costs down.
4 carriers that offer free shipping supplies
USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL all offer free shipping supplies. You can order them online or pick them up. For most of these carriers, all you’ll need is an account with them to get started.
UPS is one of the major players in shipping in the US. With their large amount of resources and shipping capabilities, they make mass shipping easy for your business. They have plenty of locations throughout the US, so you can easily pick up shipping supplies or order online.
UPS offers the following supplies for free:
- Express envelopes
- HAZMAT supplies
- Shipping forms and labels
- Labels and stickers
Get free shipping supplies here: UPS Free Shipping Supplies
FedEx makes it easy to order free FedEx Express® and FedEx Ground® shipping supplies. You can pick them up at any FedEx location or order them online. When ordered online, shipping supplies is often delivered in 2-5 business days.
FedEx offers the following supplies for free:
- Triangular Boxes
- Shipping forms and labels
Get free shipping supplies here: FedEx Free Shipping Supplies
USPS also offers a good selection of free supplies for your business. You can either order online with free shipping or pick up supplies at your local USPS location.
When ordering free supplies, it’s worth noting that boxes typically come in packs of 10 or 25. So when you select a quantity, you’re choosing how many packs you want to order.
USPS offers the following supplies for free:
- Priority Mail Boxes
- Priority Mail Express Boxes
- Registered Mail Envelopes
- USPS Tracking Labels
- Global Express Guaranteed Envelopes
Get free shipping supplies here: USPS Free Shipping Supplies
DHL is considered the leader of international shipping. While their services may not be as expansive as FedEx or UPS in the US, their international network means you can get your products sent to just about anywhere in the world at a competitive rate.
DHL offers the following supplies for free:
- Shipping labels
- Waybill Sleeves
- Padded pouches
- Tube mailers
Get free shipping supplies here: DHL Free Shipping Supplies
What to know when using carrier packaging
To get your hands on free supplies from major carriers, there are a few ground rules to consider.
Use specific mailing services
Free shipping supplies offered by carriers oftentimes means you’re limited to a specific mailing service, such as USPS’s Priority Mail service. If you pick up a bunch of free Priority Mail boxes, you’ll be limited to only using Priority Mail to ship your products.
Use only specific carriers
A lot times, free boxes provided by a major carrier are designed for a specific mailing service. These boxes are often free to maximize each carrier’s internal process of reading and scanning labels. So if you pick up a free box from DHL, you may not be able to ship the box through UPS.
Don’t order more supplies than you need
Since you’re getting supplies for free, you only need to order the amount needed and refresh your supply every month. If you need supplies in a hurry, you can head over to the closest carrier retail location and get additional supplies.
Best options for small volume shipments
If you are unable to get your hands on free shipping supplies from the above carriers, there are more creative ways to get free supplies.
Reuse old packages
Most likely you have packages from Amazon, eBay, Nike, etc., sitting in your recycling bin. You can reuse boxes by removing the old shipping labels and use them to ship your own products.
Ask local stores for old boxes
Visit your local grocery store or retailer and you’ll notice they have a lot of boxes ready to be thrown out. These companies often recycle or donate their old boxes, so you can reach out to them and ask to pick up boxes for free.
Offer affordable shipping by partnering with ShipBob
One additional way to save on shipping supplies is to work with a 3PL, like ShipBob.
Taking the time to order free shipping supplies from major carriers can help reduce shipping costs and avoid passing off the cost to your customers.