The fulfillment industry is growing at a rapid pace and the service hubs are expanding worldwide. Choosing the best fulfillment services for startups and small businesses requires you to thoroughly consider your alternatives and prospects and to study your business plans, needs, budgets, and financial forecasts.
In a lot of cases, fulfillment services may not be amenable to work with minimum volume orders and prefer working with larger companies that have a high volume of orders. Therefore, taking into consideration the different factors that will be mentioned later on will put you on the spot when it comes to choosing your service provider.
With that said, in this review, we have researched and reviewed the Top 6 Best Fulfillment Services for Startups and Small Businesses.
Each comes with different advantages and pricing models. Therefore, a good understanding of the fulfillment services and how they operate will influence your final choice.
These are the Top 6 Best Fulfillment Services for Startups and Small Businesses
ShipBob is the best fulfillment service provided for Startups and small businesses. Launched in 2012, the business started from the ground with only $5,000 to reach up to $10 Million in sales in 2018.
ShipBob is an ideal choice for small businesses that want to grow, expand, and profit. Most of its customers own businesses that deal with small eCommerce purchases including, cosmetics, supplements, and more. For this reason, ShipBob made sure that the whole process is easy and straightforward.
The company incorporates an easy integration process of its customers’ eCommerce business with its software. With only a few ticks, you can import your commodities, request, and send your orders automatically to their destination. Plus, it takes just a few minutes to do so.
Thanks to its reasonable pricing and rapid shipping, you can guarantee your customers’ satisfaction. Moreover, not only this company offers qualified services, but it also offers discounts and affordable rates. By using ShipBob software, you can ensure that you will boost your conversion and increase your revenues.
Furthermore, ShipBob has 4 fulfillment center locations which are Chicago IL, Los Angeles CA, Dallas/Fort Worth TX, and Bethlehem PA. This allows you to obtain a wider geographic footprint where you can divide your inventory across these destinations across the United States. Consequently, you can lessen transition lifts as well as shipping expenses.
One thing to note is that ShipBob doesn’t take into account any products that demand cooling (freezing) or any special authorization like medicines.
How much do ShipBob services cost?
When it comes to pricing, ShipBob has a transparent pricing structure that reflects the overall cost of the fulfillment services. Therefore, you will know exactly the amount of money you will have to pay.
Standard prices usually include the costs of inventory receiving, storing, and shipping of your orders. It also includes a 1-month support implementation fee.
ShipBob has 5 main fulfillment services with different pricing models:
- The Receiving services have a flat-rate pricing model and cost about $25 for the first 2hours. After that, it becomes $35/man hour.
- The warehousing services have a monthly-based pricing model and cost about $40/pallet, $10/shelf, and $5/bin.
- The Pick and pack services are included in the cost and are free for the first 5 picks in one order. For 6 picks and more, the services cost $0.20 per pick.
- The Standard packing service is included in the cost and includes free plain cases, mailers, strips, and padding or protective elements for your inventory.
- The ship Shipping services have specific to the order pricing model and the pricing varies depending on different factors including, destination, load, dimensions, shipping support, and more.
You can request a demo for more detailed final costs. However, you should note that the overall pricing will depend on your business and inventory. The company offers customers customized quotes that fit their business needs. It also features premium technology and advanced stats to help you grow and extend your business with no costs included.
- Transparent and laid out pricings.
- 4 fulfillment centers for easy inventory distribution.
- Open access to a wider workforce.
- Easy to use comprehensive and all-in interface.
- It doesn’t take-in items that require refrigeration.
FreightPros is well-known for providing the best fulfillment services to small businesses and startups. They are outshining in their performance level. They help startups and business managers, with limited knowledge about the system, to handle everything smoothly and smartly.
Freightpros has powerful custom services. The team behind the company works closely with customers and supports them to find the most effective ways to enhance the onboarding process and diminish ship fees. For this reason, the team which includes sales, account, and management experts are committed to knowing all the details, ins, and outs related to your business to come up with the best solutions and decisions for you to accomplish your ends.
When it comes to onboarding, the software offers an easy to use dashboard that places more importance to information and details rather than the dashboard aesthetic appearance. With a simple click, you can dive into loads of data about any particular product.
The system also guides the users with all displayed automated features on the dashboard page. This includes booking rate, scheduling, tracking, and more. The advantage of using their services is that you can increase your profit thanks to their flat rate shipping orders.
Furthermore, the way the company operates and manages its services is quite effective. The company ensures that all its shipment orders are well tracked and followed up by a team of experts. From its early order delivery day to its final destination dispatch, FreightPro cautiously traces the whole shipment procedure. This makes it easy for them to detect and fix any issues that can take place during this process, allowing them to prevent any damage, loss, or time-waste.
It also ensures that all their customers receive detailed and customized messages about the shipment of their orders. With that said, the company takes the responsibility of managing the whole process themselves, making things much easier for their customers.
How much do FreightPro services cost?
FrieghtPro has a different way of doing things when it comes to pricing. The pricing of services differs depending on your needs. For this reason, the company provides accurate freight quotes with no hidden fees. Therefore, right after understanding your requirements and expectations, you will receive your shipping costs faster than you can think. All you have to do is to provide the zip code of your shipments source, destination, and weight. The company, later on, will determine your quote based on their algorithm.
Here are the types of services the company offers:
Less than Truckload or LTL: This one of the most requested types of shipment where your load will be partaking space with other merchants’ goods.
Truckload: Usually when 10 pallets of goods are being dispatched and there will be no stations in between, saving you time and cost.
Temperature-Controlled Freight: This is a good option when your products need refrigeration. The company features vast choices for temperature-controlled shipping services.
Intermodal Rail –This is a cost-effective alternative for long-distance shipment services.
- Discounted rates.
- Fast and efficient fulfillment services.
- Easy to use software interface.
- It doesn’t offer international shipments.
eFulfillment service EFS was launched in 2001, and ever since it became one of the most reliable and trusted services in the fulfillment industry. Thanks to its continuous support, updated technology, customers’ gratification, and its dedication to its value and mission, eFulfillment is surely another great provider to add to this list.
eFulfillment Service possesses 2 storage houses that are located in Traverse City, Michigan. It runs and allot inventory in one warehouse and employs the other for storing loads of long term contract-based clients.
The company works closely with small to medium-sized businesses as well as startups that sell and distribute small packages shipments. With that in mind, it can manage a vast array of different commodities at competitive prices.
The company offers inclusive support for the different stages of the fulfillment process for dealers of all varieties. There are neither minimum-order quantity conditions nor additional charges for smaller order requests volumes. All the procedures are managed and directed internally.
Unlike other services that offer e-commerce fulfillment, eFulfillment offers its services for customers that need cross-docking. This means that the customer’s products that are unloaded to the warehouse are instantly loaded again to the outbound transport. The ordered products cannot be stored in the warehouse. In brief, there is no storage in between.
When it comes to pick and pack services, eFulfillment ensures that all orders, especially the expedited ones, take time within one business day. The inbound receiving can be done in 3 different manners. It can be received by manual try on the EFS fulfillment control panel. You only have to enter the data of your orders one by one or copy it directly from your website.
It also can be received by uploading a CSV file that has all your order’s data. And the final option is via an Automatic XML Submission. You simply have to integrate your eCommerce business to their software to receive the orders.
Order shipping wise, there are both domestic and international services. The international sphere includes Canada, Europe, the Far East, and Developing Markets. There are different ways of shipping and the company offers discounted choices. It also allows you to keep on track and update on your shipment process.
The company uses a Fulfillment Control Panel (FCP) software to carry out its operations. The software is straightforward and easy to use. It integrates with your shopping cart or your eCommerce business site. You can easily check on your inventory forecasting, invoices, order shipments, and keep notice of your order status and more.
It also offers you real-time and detailed reports on everything you need to know about your fulfillment operation. The company keeps flexibility, transparency, simplicity, reliability, and affordability in mind for its customers and operations. It wants to ensure that all its customers are satisfied and maximally supported.
How much do eFulfillment services cost?
There is an initial fee that you have to pay for the onboarding process. This process includes the creation and the upload of the inventory as well as the integration of software with your eCommerce business or your online shopping cart. Besides, it includes any support you will be receiving starting from that point. The pricing of this first stage costs around $23.50 per week.
However, unlike other services providers mentioned in this list, eFulfillment bases its warehousing and storing fees on Cubic ft rather than the number of pallets. There are also 2 other pricing models; one based on the amount of the order that has to be shipped monthly, and the other for those who want their pricing to be time-based since they have a large number of shipping orders.
For exact pricing, you can request a free quote. However, you should know that their pricings do not include hidden fees or setup charges, or minimum order or any crafty conditions.
- No hidden fees.
- No minimum order conditions.
- Straightforward and easy to use software panel.
- Suitable only for small businesses.
- Pricing is not available on their website.
- Inventories are not insured in their warehouse.
4. FedEx Full
Operating for more than 35 years, FedEx is surely one of the leading companies when it comes to shipping and fulfillment services in general.
The company provides solutions for small businesses seeking to grow rapidly and expand in a larger market. It also makes a great choice for startups thanks to its order minimums services. Everything including reversed logistics, packaging, storehouse, and order realization, FedEx got you covered.
The company offers businesses great customer support and assistance by providing them with creative and comprehensive solutions at competitive prices. With its over 220 distribution facilities network, the company surely works hard on ensuring global expansion.
Moreover, FedEx fulfillment ensures that all customers are guided and supported during the whole process. The company hires a team of professionals to give you all the essential details on how everything is managed and carried out. This allows you to finish the entire fulfillment process effectively and successfully.
When it comes to integration, FedEx Fulfillment enables its clients to integrate and connect with preeminent and leading e-commerce channels such as Shopify and more. Besides, the company provides customized packaging to meet each business’s expectations and needs and to ensure the satisfaction of recipient parties.
To ensure that everything is going smoothly and as expected, FedEx offers an easy to use software where users can create accounts to classify and cluster their orders and products all in one place.
Moreover, it allows you to keep on track and be updated with their shipping, order status, inventory data, and more. It also allows them to inspect and enhance their channels.
If you are unsure of how to manage and keep up with their platform, a customer success specialist (CSS) will assist you in all steps of the process. The steps include creating and uploading details of your inventory into your account, joining and integrating with other sales channels.
Moreover, you can enter a larger marketplace where you can promote and sell your products, ship your goods to the storehouse, and begin your fulfilling process.
How much do FedEx fulfillment services cost?
The company does not display any pricing on their webpage. For you to know the pricing of their services, you will need to request pricing information. All you have to do is to fill in a short form that includes your name, email, company names, request type( either small eCommerce business or startup) and the country where your business is located.
Nevertheless, here is what we know:
- Receiving is free
- Inbound shipping includes discounted fees
- Monthly storage per week: almost 20 cents per cubic foot
- Pick and pack costs $1.80 per order + 40 cents per piece
- Outbound shipping is discounted
- Order minimus/weekly: 100 order
- Specialty services: packaging, kitting and gifts
- A large network where business and startups can grow and expand rapidly.
- It offers great and comprehensive logistic solutions.
- Minimums are not considered during the 1st 4 months onboarding process.
5. Red Stag
Red Stag Fulfillment provides its customers with customized solutions that help their business to grow and expand successfully. Just like FreightPro, Red stag presents cloud-based software for more effective and efficient operations.
The company ensures transparency, the accuracy of order and inventory, and on-time delivery. At this moment, Red Stag has two facilities; one warehouse in Salt Lake City, UT, and the other is in Knoxville, TN.
When it comes to security and backup, the company has a well qualified and reliable storage house environment with a 24/7 Tech-based tracking system.
The system allows you to observe and register all the little details that take place in the facilities, both inside and outside. This is mainly to ensure that everything is backed with recorded videos that help check and justify any potential issues.
For package consolidation, the company works closely with its customers to enhance the protection, concentration, and stabilization of the different commodities inside each package. This helps in reducing the number of packages the customers have to ship and consequently reduces shipping costs.
The company also supports its customers when it comes to managing their inventory and dealing with their logistical procedures. It ensures the effectiveness of planning and production for reduced costs and enhanced profits.
Packaging design and development-wise, the company utilizes high-quality boxes and strips for packing, keeping in mind the safety and protection of the customer’s products.
Furthermore, it offers users a comprehensive and easy to use software interface. The main dashboard includes all the details that are related to your products including designations, quantities, facilities, dates, shipment, order status, and more.
This cloud-based dashboard allows you to monitor and record all different phases of your shipment procedure. Plus, the software is mobile-responsive, making it easy and convenient to check on updates from any kind of device you are using.
The best of all is that Red Stag Fulfillment software integrates with large online commerce platforms where you can market and sell your goods and broaden your buyer’s base at the same time.
In the case of package returns, the Red Stag works instantly on processing the returns, making sure the buyers receive his/her refund quickly. Once done, an evaluation process takes place to check on the returned products and see if they are safe and sound to put them back in the inventory.
The company takes full responsibility if there is mispackaging, inaccurate shipping, delayed shipping, damaged, or lost products while they are in the facilities and more. It pays around $50 for each of the above-mentioned issues. They respond clearly and in-time to all your questions and inquiries about your products and shipment process.
How much do Red Stag services cost?
When it comes to pricing, Red stag doesn’t display the prices of their services on their website. However, the company offers monthly-based prices.
You start your journey with a 30 days risk-free trial. All you have to do is to fill in a form and they will reach out to you with more details. You can also contact them via their social media or directly on their phone number 1-855-239-8158.
Here are some research-based pricings
- Receiving: $13.25 per pallet
- Storage: $2 bin/month, $15 pallet/month
- Order pick-and-pack: $2.64 for the 1st item, $0.30 for each added item.
- Shipping boxes and packing materials: No added cost
- Shipping charges: Offer discounts for packages with over 5 lbs.
- Account: at least 100 orders per month
Nevertheless, you will need to contact an inhouse responsible for more detailed quotes.
- Long term contracts are not required.
- User-friendly interface.
- Automation features included in the dashboard.
- Pricing packages are not available on their website.
6. Phase V
Phase V is another top-rated company that offers fulfillment services for startups and small businesses. It provides a large depot system, clear-cut pricing, seamless online market integrations, and reliable 24/7 support. PhaseV is the ideal partner to guarantee an efficient fulfillment operation for your customers.
When it comes to pick and pack services, the company provides effective and efficient fulfilling service procedures. Acknowledging the fact that this step is crucial, the company works closely with its customers to customize and personalize their pick and pack shipping procedure and ensuring their receivers will be expecting the orders without any potential issues.
Phase V is known for its protected, adequate temperature and humidity regulated facilities. They ensure that all your products are stored in their warehouses and ready to be delivered once they receive the customers’ orders.
They will be updated with reports and detailed data regarding their inventory. All the packages are labeled with the designated business. Moreover, Phase V offers precise and no hidden fees for both international and domestic shipping pricing.
When troubles occur, the company ensures that its customer services agents are ready to manage the returns processing and to contact your buyers to check and solve any problems.
Besides, it deploys logistic technologies to offer customized fulfilling services that are made uniquely for your business. It supports your business by offering your opportunities to investigate new traffic channels that help you expand your business and increase your revenue.
If you are running an online business, then Phase V allows you to integrate and connect with different leading industries suppliers, streamline your order, and manage your inventory.
Whether it’s warehouse management or eCommerce integration, Phase V provides software technology-based solutions that will increase your selling chances and will enable you to blend with a large range of purchasing carts.
When it comes to their software, Phase V features a user-friendly interface that showcases all the essential details and data about your inventory.
You can access your account any time from any device. You can also allow your business team members to use the account to check the inventory projections, order status, shipping, tracking, and more.
In brief, the company works hard on managing and controlling every single step in this process, from the moment the orders are placed to their destined delivery
How much do Phase V services cost?
The company, like many others, doesn’t display its services pricing on the webpage. In order for you to know more about the costs, you have to contact them directly by phone or fill in an online form with some personal details. This allows you to have a free quote on the services you need for your business.
- A tractable and easy onboarding process.
- 24/7 customer support.
- Reverse logistics.
- Execution of both large and small businesses.
- Only operate 1 warehousing which is located in Florida.
- No pricing plans available.
Frequently Asked Questions
ShipBob is the best fulfillment service for small businesses and startups. It provides excellent fulfillment services at competitive prices. Their pricing plans also include promotional plans and crowdfunding prizes.
Moreover, the company operates nationwide and will get your orders delivered in 1 to 3 days. When it comes to pricing, ShipBob blends order arrangement and transportation charges into one service pricing. However, your overall requested quote will highly depend on the types of goods you are trying to sell, dimensions, weight, and the volume of orders.
Comes followed, Red Stag is also on top of the list when it comes to the best fulfillment services for small business and startups. The only difference is that Red Stag can handle bulkier orders that require customized packaging. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t demand minimum orders. The company is delighted to further discuss with you your needs even for 40 orders monthly.
3rd party fulfillment is a commodity management solution that is contracted with an outside supplier when carrying out operations. That means the third party supplier will store your products, put your orders into customized and secured packages, and manage the whole shipping logistics procedure for you.
If you are a small business or startup, fulfillment hubs ensure that products are well stored in their facilities. They offer you adequate and temperature-controlled space to store all your commodities. They also work on managing your inventory and the shipping process on your behalf.
The location of your fulfillment services is important. If your inventory, for example, is imported from abroad, then it is important to ensure that your warehouse choice is placed nearby your business center.
However, if your inventory is locally-produced, it is important to look for a warehouse that is positioned in that state that has the highest volumes of orders. This makes it easier to ship your orders, and more importantly, it is cost-effective.
It surely is if your order is generated from different areas across the country. In this case, dividing your inventory and storing them in 2 facilities will make it much better in terms of price and delivery time.
A lot of fulfillment companies, like ShipBob, offer this option for their customers. However, it is important to note that your products need to be generating a sufficiently high amount of orders for this to be considered.
You should start considering integrating with fulfillment companies once you ensure that you have a running website for your business or startups, and your business is well-documented and has a regulated structure (notably, if you are going to deal with international shipping).
It is also important to ensure that you have all the needed information about your commodities including, type, date of receiving and shipping, your outbound destination, order minimums, and more.
If the above mentioned is checked, you are ready to connect with your fulfillment provider. If one of these conditions is not checked off, you better start focusing on settling your business strategy and develop your current financial status and your funds’ estimation.
Most likely fulfillment companies will not get back to you with an answer regarding your request if you don’t meet the requirement, and if they do, you are probably dealing with much higher rates than expected. Therefore, make sure to get your business on spot before proceeding with anything.
A lot of small businesses and startups use fulfillment services to store, pack, and deliver their orders. For them, this is the most effective and efficient method for successful shipping operations.
However, to ensure that you get the best out of these services, certain factors need to be considered when choosing your fulfillment suppliers.
Some of these factors include:
One of the primary factors to consider is the location of the warehouse. This is crucial in terms of cost and delivery time. Therefore, the first thing you need to check is if the service provider has more than one facility for storing and shipping. This ensures effective shipping and delivery that satisfies your customer’s expectations.
In fact, in such a competitive industry, it is important to highlight the notion of rapid and accurate services. The more your customer is satisfied with your fast service delivery, the more your orders will increase.
Your warehouse should be located in areas with higher volumes of orders, so you can store your inventory there for efficient and no time order shipping. With that said, it is important to study and analyze your data to make the right choice of your warehouse location.
Your fulfillment services software interface should not only be straightforward and easy to use but also supposed to provide you with accurate data and detailed reports on your inventory and shipping process.
Besides, the software should offer a good number of integrations to large and leading sales channels and platforms. This helps you in marketing and selling your product in a wider marketplace.
A fulfillment service should offer an affordable, with no hidden fees, or surcharges surprise for their fulfillment operation. Their pricing should be accurate for the services offered. As a small business and startups, it is better to look for service providers that offer discounted rates and doesn’t’ require minimum volume orders.
d. Damages and Insurances
Another factor to consider is the way your fulfillment service manages issues like order damages, incorrect shipment and order returns in general.
While some companies include insurance in their services, others do not offer this option. They will expect you to purchase additional insurance, especially if your products are delicate or of high tickets.
In case, your company includes this service in their monthly charges, then they should be responsible to handle and supervise the whole process; from the day you receive the orders till they are delivered to the recipients.
When choosing your warehouse, you have to make sure that it’s safe and incorporate the standard security management system for inventory storing and packaging. This doesn’t include only the inside and outside camera videos monitoring, but also full inventory support and track from unloading to packing to shipping.
Whether you have just started looking for fulfillment services companies or you are one step away from your final choice, you must examine your potential service providers carefully.
Hopefully, this article helped you to narrow down your choices to a company that fits with your needs and budgets.