How to Choose the Right Shipping Box When You Print Shipping Labels Yourself

How to Choose the Right Shipping Box Printing your shipping labels online can save you both time and money, but it also means that you have to choose boxes for shipping yourself. It is very important to choose the right shipping box because it will help you to reduce shipping costs and ensure that your package arrives at its destination intact. Let us offer you a few tips on choosing the best box for your shipment.

Before choosing the box, you need to decide whether you prefer standard shipping where the cost of shipping depends on the package dimensions/weight and destination, or flat rate shipping where the shipping price is fixed and depends on the box you choose from the flat rate options that the carrier has to offer.

If you go with flat rate shipping, choosing a box is easy because all you need to do pick the box of the right size and shape from the range of flat rate boxes offered by the carrier. For example, the United States Postal Service offers five types of flat rate boxes (one small, two medium, one large, and APO/FPO box). UPS also has five types of flat rate boxes, but in different sizes: extra small, small, medium, large, extra large.

Don’t try to save money by choosing the smallest box into which you can fit the items you’re shipping. If the box is too small, there will be no space left for cushioning material, and the contents of your package may get damaged while in transit.

If you go with standard shipping, you can use your own packaging instead of having to use the branded packaging provided by the carrier. You can even reuse an old box as long as it is undamaged and has no old labels or markings. However, there are a couple of things you need to take into account when choosing a box for your shipment.

Make sure the box is lightweight but sturdy. You want your box to be lightweight because it may help to reduce your shipping costs. On the other hand, the box must be sturdy enough to protect the items inside. Corrugated cardboard boxes are generally considered a great choice because they are reliable and at the same time don’t weigh too much.

Make sure the box just the right size. Your box should be big enough for the items you’re shipping and a moderate layer of cushioning material. Over-packing is just as bad as under-packing, so you need to make sure that the box is neither too big nor too small for its contents. You also need to pay attention to the dimensions of the box; make sure they do not exceed the maximum dimensions specified by the carrier, otherwise you will have to pay extra for shipping an oversized package.

As we’ve already mentioned, it is generally possible to reuse an old box. This approach helps to reduce waste and save some money on packaging. However, you can’t just use any old box if you want your package to get to its destination safely. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when reusing old boxes for shipping:

  • Do not reuse flat rate boxes. Flat rate boxes must never be used for any other class of mail; misusing them may be a violation of federal law.
  • Do not reuse branded boxes that have the name and/or logo of another carrier on them.
  • Do not reuse boxes that used to contain alcohol and have any logos or labels suggesting there may be alcohol inside.
  • Make sure the box is sturdy and has no dents or tears. Pay special attention to the edges and corners.
  • Remove all traces of old labels and black out all markings with a permanent marker.

So basically choosing the best box for shipping boils down to picking the box that is sturdy, lightweight, not too big and not too small, and has no old labels, markings or logos. Choosing a flat rate shipping box is even easier because all you need to do is choose the right size; the cost of the box is included in the shipping price, so you won’t even have to pay extra for the packaging.