Shipping the Pallet of Merch to the Fulfillment House
Have you ever shipped a pallet? Thousands of pallets are packaged and shipped every day. How did I get through 40+ years having never done this until today?
I chipped away at prepping the shipment:
- Choose Fulfillment House — through a referral, I decided on ShipZOOM in Boise, ID. They charge a flat fee for up to 4 pallets plus a per package shipping and handling fee when product is sold.
- Hire a Shipping Broker — through a referral from ShipZOOM, I enlisted Activate Freight to hire a freight truck to pick up our pallet. They are able to schedule pickups any day of the week with trucking companies who move freight up and down the I-5 corridor, making multiple stops to dropoff and pickup.
- Prepare the Boxes — I pulled all of our merch out of storage into our garage and counted every DVD, T-Shirt, Hat and CD. I numbered and labeled each box with the contents.
- Inventory List — create a separate spreadsheet for the fulfillment house listing the contents and number of items in each numbered box.
- Purchase Shrink Wrap — for securing the boxes on the pallet.
- Source a Pallet — many businesses lease pallets from their suppliers so are not able to provide free pallets. But a kind employee at the hardware store told me he’d seen three clean, sturdy pallets behind a building at the other end of town. I tracked them down and loaded one in my car.
- Determine the Pickup Location — It was about $200 more for the truck to pick up at my residence instead of a business, so I begged our local feed store to let me use their parking lot. I stopped short of asking to use their dock or forklift since that would have led to additional liability concerns for them. Since we didn’t have access to a dock, our shipping broker had to schedule a truck with a liftgate instead of a standard semi.
- Schedule the Pickup — Once I had the pickup address and had readied the boxes, Activate Freight scheduled our truck to pickup within a 4-hour window this afternoon.
- Print the Bill of Lading — provided by the freight broker to give to the driver.
- Shuttle Boxes to the Pickup Location — it took me two trips.
- Assemble Pallet & Shrink Wrap — load all the boxes into neat rows and wrap tightly. Tip — do not stage the pallet too close to a wall or large object. This makes it nearly impossible to walk around when shrink wrapping. Oops.
- Wait for Pickup
All was going well, and the pickup would have gone off without a hitch except that the truck dispatcher mixed-up the times (twice), so I mised the truck (twice). Thankfully, the sweet folks at the grange moved my pallet into their shed to avoid the rain. The pickup is rescheduled for Monday.
That’s all there was to it. Easy. Except for the pickup fiasco.
Sourcing the pallet and finding a pickup location was a treasure hunt, and I had to do some sleuthing to figure out how to ship, but the hardest and most tedious step was counting the inventory.
I am so relieved to have all of those merch boxes out of our storage and garage.
Now I can focus on marketing & selling product instead of packing & shipping.
Originally published at http://www.jomafilms.com on March 6, 2020.