If you’re in the USA you’ll want to vet a multitude of companies in the EU, possibly some in Canada, and possibly some in Australia. You really don’t need any in China (unless your project goes totally huge), and you won’t need any in South America or Africa either.
Here’s what you need to find out from each company and why…
- Do they have any project set up fees?
- …if so divide this cost across the number of estimated shipments, and add to the shipping rates you charge.
- Do they import your spreadsheet data (addresses) for free, or for a fee?
- …if so, treat as above.
- Do they have monthly maintenance fees?
- …if so, plan for two months to cover late, lost, or replacement pledges, then have a plan to get the left over stock out before the end of month #2.
- Do they charge “Pick and Pack” (ie: extra charge per item included in shipment) or a flat rate per shipment?
- …if Pick and Pack, they might be better for 1 item campaigns, not for ones with add ons.
- …if Flat Rate, they might be better for multiple item campaigns (like various dice set options*ahem*).
- What are the rates for every possible service?
- within their country – (is their country a high density region like Germany for board games, or low like Spain)
- outside their country but within their region – (ie: Germany to rest of EU; UK to rest of EU)
- worldwide – (from their region to …Canada? …to Australia? …yes, even to USA? – You’d be surprised. It’s often similar pricing to ship to Canada and Australia from the EU, than from within Canada or Australia!)
- -Tracking? (usually included, but not always, any caveats like: Not on parcels under 4oz to NZ?)
- -Insurance? (usually costs more, usually not worth having, or only on select shipments)
- -storage? (you’ll want overstock for replacement requests, and ultimately a shipment to Amazon or the like)
- What are the rates by size and by weight? (the big main question)
- this spreadsheet will usually be provided in the above category, but make sure you get the exact breakdown of at what ounce (with packaging) the price jumps to the next weight category
- at what size does a package jump to the next size category? (if applicable)
- can you request a specific box size so product fits in a lower category? (if applicable)
- does your item legally fall into a special item category like “documents” that ship cheaper?
Factoring all these things together you’ll be able to decide on which Fulfillment Company you want to go with in each area.
Here’s a list I’ve chatted with you can contact too…
- HappyShops – EU – Shipped Game Night Bags, did a great job, persistent customer service, friendly, small German language barrier. Would use again. Would recommend.
- Nift – Formally called: Ideaspatcher/Morning Players – EU – Used twice, 2nd time they delayed our shipment 2+ months costing us $2,500, and then wouldn’t release our remaining inventory to us for 5 months. Avoid.
- Spiral Galaxy – EU – Quoted us, but didn’t use as HappyShops worked out better for us pricing-wise.
- ShipNaked – EU/World – They ignored requests for quotes from us repeatedly, so we didn’t/can’t use. Owned by Game Salute. I did GET items from them, packed very well.
- GamesQuest – EU – Recently quoted us for a future project, no chance to use yet.
- SFC, “Ship from China” – China – Had a terrible experience with setup, the massive Chinese language barrier, withholding of deposit refund, and thus customer service. Small savings vs. large hassle = not recommended.
- ShipWire – USA/World – Quoted us at length, too expensive.
- Level99Games – USA – Quoted us twice for USA shipping, better than ShipWire, but decided to self-fulfill both times. Contact Brad here.
- Starlit Citadel – CAN – Had a very hard time getting quotes or even responses from them, still not sure why, but perhaps this post explains it. Pretty expensive. Didn’t use.
- Aetherworks – AUS – Quoted, roughly same pricing as shipping from EU. Didn’t use.
- GoodGames – AUS – Quoted, roughly same pricing as shipping from EU. Didn’t use.
- More here, thanks to Jamey Stegmaier.
Once you choose your Fulfillment company, you can base your shipping costs on their quote, and then decide how much to charge each backer, and thus put all that in your Kickstarter Budget.
Ok, then call your friends, because you’re about to Self-Fulfill.
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