If you can print documents, you can print shipping labels. It’s that simple. Online merchants have embraced online shipping as a cost-effective way to take control of their shipping process. All the major carriers let you sign up for and access their services online, often at discounted rates. Even better, a digital sending service makes it possible to compare those discounts and services and choose the carrier that best suits you and your customer.
All it takes to get started and print shipping labels online is a sheet of paper and access to a printer. Okay, there are few other office supplies and steps involved, but read on to see how easy it really is.
How to print a shipping label
1. Choose an online shipping service
Most of major carriers offer a way to print shipping labels online. Or you can sign up for a shipping service for access to more carriers, services and discounts. PitneyShip subscriptions start at $4.99 a month to print discounted USPS® Priority Mail® shipping labels.
2. Choose the best way to print shipping labels for your business
You have several options when it comes to choosing the best label for your budget and desired results.
- Option 1: Print a shipping label using a thermal label printer and adhesive 4×6 labels. This is the most expensive option. It’s also the most convenient, doesn’t involve ink or toner, and looks extra professional.
- Option 2: Print a shipping label using a regular printer and standard 8.5 x 11 inch paper. This is the least expensive option and the method of choice for many budget-minded sellers.
- Option 3: Print a shipping label using a regular printer and half-sheet adhesive labels. Don’t want to invest in a thermal label printer but not that into cutting and taping paper? This is your best option.
If you’re curious about which type of printer your company needs, read What kind of printer do I need to print mailing labels?. We provide a thorough comparison of the advantages (and disadvantages) of using inkjet, laser, and thermal printers to print shipping labels for a small business.
3. Weigh and measure twice, print once
Avoid the refund process by printing your shipping label right the first time with all the right specs in hand.
- Verify your recipient and return addresses
- Measure your package’s dimensions
- Weigh your package
Another advantage of signing up for PitneyShip: the software automatically verifies all shipping addresses are correct, includes a free scale, and can capture accurate package dimensions through its free companion mobile app.
4. Print your shipping label
The following steps are specific to PitneyShip* but are close to what you can expect when you print shipping labels online.
- Follow prompts to create your shipping label:
- Enter recipient’s information or select Choose from Address Book
- Select Package type and enter package information
- Select a service date and service type (USPS Priority Mail, FedEx Ground®, etc.)
- Choose any optional services you want to include
- Select Print at the bottom of the screen. The Label Options screen opens.
- In the Select a print size field, select either Roll - 4 x 6 or Plain Paper - 8.5 x 11.
- Add a brief note to customize your label (this step is optional but adds a nice touch).
- Select Print Sample to verify to print a test shipping label and verify the label aligns correctly when printed. When the sample label appears in a new tab, print it and check the alignment and information.
- Select Print. Your label opens as a PDF and can be printed on any printer you can access through your computer or mobile device.
Can I print shipping labels from my phone?
Yes, printing labels from your phone is easy. Having the ability to create labels on-the-go can be a big advantage for a small business, and the process gets even more convenient with shipping software designed to make every step effortless. PitneyShip, for example, has a free companion app that includes label printing.
For a closer look at printing labels from a mobile device, read Can I print shipping labels from my phone? We cover the types of labels you can create on your phone, tips for setting up the printing process on your iPhone or Android, and more.
Where to print shipping labels if you don’t have a printer
You can print your shipping label at your local library, an office supply store or anywhere that offers printing services. You’ll need your digital PDF shipping label on hand. PitneyShip includes a free mobile app that allows you to access your shipping history and print your shipping labels wherever you are.
5. Stick and send (or cut, tape and send)
Whether you’re using standard paper or adhesive labels to print your shipping label the same tips apply.
- Place your label somewhere that’s easy for your carrier to see and scan.
- Make sure label is adhered securely (if using paper avoid taping over any barcodes).
- Don’t allow the label to extend over the sides of your package.
Even if you’re in a hurry to send your parcel on its way, don’t rush this step. A label that’s hard to find or poorly secured could cause delays in transit, or even worse, a lost package.
Where can I print shipping labels?
You can print shipping labels at home or in your office the same way you print anything else. If you run a small business, shipping software solutions can operationalize the process. PitneyShip® allows you to weigh items, compare shipping rates, print labels, and track shipments from your phone or computer. You can also gain access to benefits like free or discounted pick-ups, waived fees, and same day delivery options.
If you don’t have a printer and are wondering where to print a shipping label, there are alternatives. Your local post office and carrier locations will print shipping labels for you. Other options include having labels created at a print shop, visiting your local library, or even asking for a favor from a friend who owns a printer.