These days, you can ship just about anything in a box.
There’s a box for nearly any size or shape item.
Need a box for some perishable meat? No problem. A bulky mattress? That can easily be delivered – in a box. A fragile 18th-century chandelier? Too easy.
Rest assured, if you need to ship it, there’s a box for you.
Let’s dive right into how to measure a box, so you’ll know how to pick the right box size and style for your specific needs.
First off, you need to get the box size right.
You’ve probably heard that old saying, “measure twice and cut once”.
Well, it’s relevant to box measurements as well. Before you place a large order for custom boxes, you need to make sure you’re ordering the right size. And simply eye-balling your measurements isn’t going to cut it.
The important thing to remember when measuring a box is that there are two measurements – the interior and exterior.
Often times these measurements can be close, but you need to know which is which to avoid costly mistakes. You’d hate to be just a ½ inch off, and not be able to fit any of your products in the box.
When you see the measurements listed in a catalog or a website they’re typically referring to the interior dimensions.
These are listed in the order of length, width, and height. If you’re measuring for a custom box, you should measure to the closest 1/10th of an inch. That’s pretty precise, so double-check your numbers.
Now let’s talk about the exterior measurement of the box, which will determine your shipping costs.
After you’ve packed up your box and taped it shut measure the exterior, so you’ll know much volume the box will take up on the truck. If you’re shipping in bulk, the exterior measurements will also give you an idea of how many boxes you can fit on a pallet.
So now, you should have a good grasp on what size boxes you need but now comes the tricky part.
There are virtually hundreds of box styles to choose from. I know, who would have thought there could be such a variety.
Let’s run through some popular box styles you can choose from:
Phew. Bet you didn’t know there were so many choices for a lowly box. And the list could go on and on. We haven’t even touched on box design. But this gives you an idea of some of your options.
When deciding on which box is best for your products, the price of custom boxes is important, but also keep in mind how long it takes to assemble boxes.
You may pay more upfront for already assembled boxes, but it might be worth it if you don’t have time to devote to folding boxes together.
Of course, the number one deciding factor on which box you need comes down to what products you’re selling.
First off you need a box that physically fits your items. Know the dimensions of your products. Yes, this involves more measuring (length, width, and height).
You’ll also have to decide the most efficient way to fit your product in a box.
If you’re shipping something like a rug, you may decide to roll it up and put it in a long, narrow box. But there’s not a one box fits all – even for similar products.
Case in point, I ordered a rug that was thin enough to be folded and put in a poly mailer. It arrived in perfect condition – all the way from Turkey. So play around and find the best box for your unique products.
You know that you won’t be able to squeeze a football into a flat box. But, also make sure your box isn’t too big. Packing a single mug in an extra large box makes zero sense. Who wants to pay to ship air? The right size box should provide a snug fit, so your product isn’t rattling around in there.
When possible, it’s a good idea to combine products for shipping.
If you’re shipping multiple products at one time, you can fit them together. Be sure to wrap them individually, or use corrugated inserts to protect them from crashing into each other during transit.
Also, keep in mind that retail boxes usually aren’t strong enough to be shipped by themselves, so you’ll have to use a close-fitting outer box for shipping.
If the product is breakable, you’ll have to take some extra steps to secure it. You can use void fill like air pillows, crinkle-cut paper, or biodegradable peanuts to cushion it.
Try several drop tests to make sure your products are safe. It’s also a good idea to do a trial run with your packaging to see if it survives any shipping abuse and arrives safely at its destination.
Many shippers recommend at least two inches of padding around fragile items. Be sure to adhere to any requirements your shipper has. You’d hate for your insurance claim to be denied because your item was improperly packed.
Rarely is an item just flung in a box and shipped off. What goes inside your box is also important.
Here are a few popular options for void fill:
It’s always a good idea to keep it eco-friendly if you can.
Using boxes and other packaging made of post-consumer waste may cost you a little more upfront, but can enhance your reputation by showing that you care about the environment.
No matter what size, or odd-shaped item you need to ship to a customer, you can bet there’s a box that will get it there in one piece and in style.
So, measure away and find the right boxes for your unique products.
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