Canada Post unfortunately does not make shipping in or from Canada easy or cost effective for small business.
I started my artisan business by selling handmade items but most items didn't fit in Canada Post's slot of doom, and parcel delivery was way too expensive. So I switched to designing and selling digital items.
I have had to learn how to work with Canada Post because they are my only option. (If you live in other centres across Canada you have Chit Chats as an option, but they only have a few locations in Canada.)
I started by taking my parcels to the Post Office and having them ship it for me. This is not recommended. I have found that if I go to different Canada Post locations I am being charged a variety of amounts. I finally found one location that I liked working with and they knew me and it was great, and then the location closed. So I was forced to find an alternative.
Begin by packaging your item. Don't over package, because you literally pay for it. When I first started shipping I was using bubble padded envelopes. I was paying extra for the extra packaging.
I switched to a durable bag with a good seal and it saved me at least $2.00 per item shipped because the package isn't as bulky. A Canadian company that produces sustainable packaging is https://www.friendlymailer.com/
If you have any other recommendation please let me know!!!
By creating an online account with Canada Post you automatically receive a shipping discount. And as your business grows and you do more shipping, the discount continues to grow. (Sounds good to me!)
Once you have your account and you are ready to ship your item you start by entering the name and address of the person you are shipping to. HINT: you have the option to save this information, if you have a fan of your items just save their info and it makes shipping to your favourite customer easier and quicker!
Next you will be asked the weight and measurements of your package. This digital scale works for packages and letter mail which I appreciated and it was $35 from Amazon. For measuring the height, width and length of the item I just use my fabric measuring tape which you can find under $5.
Once you have all your details entered in on the Canada Post website it will give you the option of how you want to send it and how quick you want it to get there. With the Canada Post account you always have $100 of insurance, but more is available if you need it.
Once your shipping preference is selected you are forwarded to the payment section where you pay with a credit card.
After payment is successful - you are given a pdf to open which has your shipping label. When I first started shipping I thought you had to purchase one of those fancy label printers, but my new venture could not afford a $300 label printer and I didn't want to figure out new software.
So I printed the label on regular printer paper and then I used packing tape to stick it to the top of the package.
It doesn't have to cost a lot to get started, and it is so easy to prepare your packages in the comfort of your home. If I have a few packages I will just drop them off at a postal counter and all they have to do is scan them. If I have a lot being shipped out I can arrange a pick up from Canada Post at my front door.
Also remember from a marketing stand point that you need to think about your presentation as well. I always included a thank you note with my orders. I just made something up on CANVA and then printed it on card stock and I write a short note to each customer.
**The best orders to receive are repeat orders.
I hope this relieves some of the pressure of shipping with Canada Post and this information is a benefit to your business, by saving some time in the shipping process you will have more time to invest in other areas of your business.
Carolyn Carleton has been involved in the business industry in different capacities for over 20 years. With an education in Marketing & Communications she can help you in various aspects of your business.