Standing in line at the post office is a great way to kill time, for those who have time to kill. The rest of us need a different option. The best-kept secret of online shops and ecommerce entrepreneurs is now available to everyone: mailing a package from home or wherever you take care of business.
Shipping a parcel from home is a bit more involved than sticking a stamp on an envelope, but it’s easier than you might think. All the major carriers and PitneyShip try to make it as simple, economical and foolproof as possible.
Step 1: Gather your supplies and info
The two most important things you need for mailing packages from home are already an integral part of your home office: your computer (or mobile device) and an internet connection. There are a few other things you need to get the job done and a few you need to make it easier:
- Printer: You need access to a printer to create your shipping labels. There are thermal label printers designed for this job. But a decent ink jet or laser printer is all you need. No printer? You can schedule a pickup with USPS® and the driver will bring shipping documents for you to fill out.
- Paper or labels: Ordinary printer paper works great and is readily available. Half-sheet adhesive labels save time and look professional. Take your pick.
- Scale: No ship-from-home setup is complete without one. Digital shipping services like PitneyShip include a free postal scale as part of your membership. No scale? Flat Rate shipping boxes and padded envelops are available from USPS.
- Shipping info: This includes the obvious, like the sender’s and the recipient's address and telephone number. But you’ll also want to think about how you want to package your shipment and how quickly you need it to reach its destination.
Step 2: Pick a box, almost any box
You can repurpose an old box and pad it with crumpled newspaper or create a packaged experience worthy of an unboxing video. Whatever you use to ship from home, just follow the Goldilocks’ rule: not too big and not too small. Just right is anything your item/s fit in with room for padding if needed. If reusing a box, be sure it’s in good shape and that you strike out any old shipping labels or codes.
Free boxes and padded envelopes are available from most of the major carriers in-store and online. PitneyShip uses its partnership with these carriers to provide this same packaging as part of our service. Unless you’re shipping from home via Flat Rate*, jot down the package’s dimensions and/or weight for Step 3.
*It’s important to note that official Flat Rate shipping labels require that you use an official Flat Rate box or envelop.
Step 3: Purchase and print your shipping label
Before you can mail a package from home, you must choose a carrier. You can do this by going to your preferred carrier’s website or by subscribing to an online shipping service like PitneyShip.
- Major carrier
Each carrier has distinct advantages; we’re fortunate to have so many choices. USPS, UPS®, FedEx®, take your pick. Some carriers offer discounted rates online and allow you to purchase and print shipping labels on their website.
PitneyShip often provides deeper discounted rates and more services than carriers offer online. We partner with all the major carriers, which means you can enter your package and shipping information to see all available pricing and delivery options. The PitneyShip platform will walk you through each step, from purchase to print.
Step 4: Place your label on the package
Okay, this step is an obvious one, but there are a few tips to consider:
- Position your label in a place that is easy to read and scan.
- Don’t allow your label to wrap around the sides of the box and avoid placing it over any of the package’s seams.
- If your label is printed on a sheet of paper, cut it to size and secure all four sides with clear tape (avoid taping over any bar codes).
Step 5: Schedule a pickup
The final step in shipping packages from home is scheduling a pickup. You can do this through the carrier’s online store or through PitneyShip.
Need an excuse to leave the house? Most major carriers offer package drop-off kiosks and lockers that are available 24/7.