Managing Shipping Options
Lately, it seems like each issue of the Enlightener gives you a new job title. This issue is no different. Some of
our past issues have assigned you as an accountant, a perfumer, a production manager and now, to ensure your candle
business survives, it is important that you become the new shipping manager. It is important to understand the importance
of all the inbound and outbound shipping options for your customers.
Each of the major package companies, United Parcel Service (UPS), Federal Express (FEDEX), and the US Postal Service (USPS)
are good at what they do, but each one offers different opportunities to succeed and fail at getting your package delivered.
It really is important to oversee how your product gets to its final destination.
1 Pound to 10 Pound Packages
All 3 companies can handle packages of this size. In most instances, the Post Office will be the least expensive.
However, the tracking system for shipping and receiving with USPS can be somewhat limited. Unless you request a proof
of delivery, confirmation is not part of the standard option. As a company it is important to know that your customers have received
their packages. Sometimes when a package is delivered to a large company and it's not marked properly, finding out where it is can be very
difficult. Having a proof of delivery can help your customer track down who signed for it, and therefore where it can be found. Both UPS and Fedex will get
signatures when dropping off the package, so you can minimize disputes about package delivery and keep the customer happy.
When sending out samples it is always nice to be able to follow up and know exactly what day the sample arrived.
In addition, UPS and Fedex do a much better job of alerting the shipper when damage has occurred in transit. With this alert, you can reship the
item in a much more timely manner than it takes for the post office to return the item.
UPS has recently launched a new service called "Sure Post" and Fedex has launched a program called "Smart Post." With these services, the carrier, UPS or
Fedex, handles transit of the package all the way to the point where the local post office delivers it to the residential customer. This is
a new product and they are not currently offering this to all customers. You may want to check with your appropriate UPS or Fedex representative
to see if this is a program worth considering. It is only really effective for packages under 9 pounds that are going to residential locations; anything
over 10 pounds is assessed surcharges.
When shipping with any of the services, always be sure to have an accurate shipping address. Not having this can delay the delivery of items. If UPS and Fedex are able, they will deliver to the address they believe to be correct, but there are fees associated with this level of service.
11 Pound to 199 Pound Packages
Packages that fall within these weights are usually best shipped by Fedex or UPS. The rates for both of these services can be found online.
When checking rates there are some important criteria that will have an effect on the actual charges you have to pay. Residential addresses have
additional fees, and many zip codes in the US have a premium when deemed "Rural" or "extended Rural." These fees can add up to $2.50 per package or more.
Many customers may reside in these areas and not even know they are considered to be in
It is important that when you are determining in-bound shipping rates you use the site to calculate your charges and not the UPS rate chart, because the rates will be different
if you ship to a "extended" delivery area as opposed to shipping to a "non-extended" delivery area. It would be more expensive
to receive a package with identical weight than it would be if you were shipping this to the same zip code.
200 Pound Packages
When shipping 200 pound packages, UPS offers what is referred to as "100 pound service." Shipping this way can save anywhere from 8%-22%, depending on residential,
commercial or other destination rates. For example, if you currently use 200 pounds of wax a month and have a case shipped weekly, you are always going to be better off
having all 4 cases shipped at the same time. Doing this will save you shipping charges and, in most instances, lower costs for the product when ordering that quantity.
300 + Pound Packages
As you get to this weight and above, shipping by a common carrier is usually the most cost effective way to receive goods. Products arrive completely
on 1 skid, are easier to unload, and generally have not been tossed around as much.
The downside to going with a common carrier is that the trucking company is only responsible for getting the product to the back of the truck, and it is your responsibility to get
it off the back of the truck and where you need it to be. But the savings when shipping through a common carrier can be significantly more than when individual boxes shipped. Another
disadvantage of shipping by a trucking company is that there can be fees other than the residential fees. For example, there is an extra charge for a lift gate or extra charge for notifying the customer before delivery
and they may even charge you more if the delivery takes extra time.
Even with these charges, the savings can be significantly more than individual box shipping.
The key when shipping is to always know what your options are and to ensure that ALL of the extra fees are accounted for when billing a customer.
As more and more shopping occurs over the internet, shipping companies are developing ways to make it more convenient for homeowners to receive their goods.
Fedex launched a service several years back where they can deliver on Saturdays. UPS has a program called "My Choice" which can offer perks such as:
- The ability to manage home deliveries around busy schedules and not the other way around, which helps to eliminate missed deliveries.
- Delivery Alerts, so you can get the most up-to-date information about the delivery.
- Online authorization for UPS to deliver packages without your signature when you will not be home to sign in-person.
There can be a great deal involved in the shipment of your products, so be sure to know all of your options. Your UPS and/or Fedex representatives want you to be successful,
so be sure to use them as a resource to help grow your business.
What are some holiday projects for groups that are suitable for all ages?
As we approach the holidays, groups and organizations are actively engaged in crafting activities, and so I am asked this question quite often.
In general, there are several creative group projects ideal for any age group. I have listed them along with the links for previously featured projects.
It is always best to engage in projects that do not require the wax to be heated and ones in which the participants can take the project home when completed.
Some of my favorites include the following...
Making Dipped Tapers
Beeswax Candle Sheets -- Fun, Easy, and Profitable
Candle Making Made Fun...Wax Art Crystals
Note: For our avid readers, and we know there are many, we are sorry to have a reprint of this project, but the luminary can be such an
important part of raising the awareness of candles.
Ever drive around your town on Christmas Eve and see all of the driveways or shops glowing with magnificence?
These spectacular sites generally start with candles. Even if you are not a candlemaker, you can get your entire neighborhood involved.
Select a votive to use. For this project you can use one that you have made or a standard 15-hour votive.
Fill the bag with enough sand to prevent the bag from blowing away in the evening. Place the votive in the bag and light.
Naturally, these should only be used in outdoor displays.
Line them along a driveway or sidewalk.
Note: Even though it is outside, extreme caution should be used.
Cut designs into the bag or add decorations to the outside of the bag. Snowflakes, stars and candy canes always add a special
holiday touch. As identified in the feature article, you may even want to think about donating these to your local business if
you can place your label on the outside of the bag.
If you are expecting guests, try scenting them so that your guests will be surprised with the pleasant smell of Bayberry, Christmas
Cheer or some other wonderful holiday fragrance as they approach your home or business.
Since the votive is not seen, the color is not important. You can use up all of your scrap wax to make these candles.
If you are making these for your own use, you may want to use soup cans, pet food (if metal) or other metal containers.
If you have snow on the ground, make a large snowball and hollow out the middle, then put a candle in it. Make sure to keep
these candles away from shrubs, trees and other flammable objects.
Candles are still going strong. Need some confirmation?
- According to the National Candle Association 7 out of 10 Households use Candles.
- Candle Sales are close to 2 Billion.
- When you type "candles" into the Google search engine, there are over 145 million listings.