The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Advice on Shipping

mizmaven's picture
mizmaven

Advice on Shipping

Hello all,

I have been lurking on here for months and so appreciate all of the fabulous information you talented folks are so willing to share.

I am new to the world of Artisan breads but I think I am becoming pretty good at it.

I have recently started selling at 2 local Farmers Markets and have done the obligatory Facebook business page and website.

Folks I know from Facebook connections are asking if I will ship. I have definitely considered it , but, I haven't a clue as to how it should be packaged and which shipper is the best(US post office,Fedex etc.?)

Or can it be shipped successfully? Should I charge more for the additional effort(I am assuming I would include  shipping costs) Shoulb I use styrofoam peanuts,bubble wrap???

 

I would appreciate any feedback.

My Company name is Breads N' Bits and my website is http://www.BreadsnBits.weebly.com if you would like to check it out!

Joan

PeterS's picture
PeterS

charge a premium for shipping & handling. And don't forget something for your time.

Personally, I think shipping is a complication that a new business doesn't need--unless of course, it is the long distance market that you are targeting. A few opportunistic out-of-local sales are going to be more trouble than they're worth.  If people contact you about buying bread from afar, thank them for their interest, take their names and get back to them when you have properly developed your local markets and are ready to expand your business.

I admire your enthusiasm and perseverance; good luck with your new endeavor.

Peter

mizmaven's picture
mizmaven

Thanks for your response Peter...I tend to agree with you (having sold on Ebay for a very short time)

If I do do a few for friends or relatives. Would you know the best way to package? Or, the most reliable shipping venue?

Have a great week!

Joan

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Some breads stale much faster than others.

Sourdough loaves, for example, tend to be edible some days (2+) after they're made, but few others last that long.

I guess it all depends on if your breads will be edible by the time they arrive.

You could ship overnight, but overnight shipping costs are exorbitant, easily 5x the cost of a loaf.

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I ship breads to friends and family using USPS Priority Mail, which is the cheapest shipping per 'time-to-arrive' I can find.

I deep freeze(*) the loaves as soon as they cool, wrap them in parchment and then plastic wrap, and time everything so the loaves arrive at the post office less than an hour before the USPS departure time. I use my local post office, but I think the USPS has commercial centers for business shipping that might be a better choice for volume, time-sensitive shipments.

You have to ask your postmaster about the departure window. If you miss the departure window, that adds 1 or more days, by which time the bread won't be edible on arrival.

(* not really sure freezing the loaves helps much, if at all.)

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That said, I'm with PeterS. It might be worth it for friends and family, but it's more of a headache than anything else. Don't expect to make a profit. You'll probably lose money or break even, but sometimes that's worth it (It costs money to acquire a customer base).

There might be ways to offset the costs (profit-loss, etc.) that an accountant might help you with, but that's yet another layer of complexity.

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I have friends that ship smoked salmon to distant customers. Their prices are exceptionally high (10x cost of product), but that's the only way they can make a profit.

Your price for shipping should include your time (fulfillment is very tedious (!) and time consuming), shipping costs, insurance if you can find it (many will complain about quality/spoilage and request refund), fuel cost (to drive to shipper), cost of packaging materials, your markup, etc.

The price for 1 loaf from France (Poilâne) to the USA is $48 (and only because the euro has tanked of late). It used to $65.

And now that I've scared you away, good luck!

Thomas

mizmaven's picture
mizmaven

Thanks Thomas...

I never would have thought to freeze it and I think it would make a difference!

That is definitely an option for shipping gifts.

Anything other than that it seems it would be cost prohibitive.

I am going to check into a wrap that may help stuff stay frozen though.

Thanks for all the shipping stratagies ...that would make a difference too!

Joan

Alvaremj's picture
Alvaremj

Not sure what to do about packaging. I would make sure you are willing to sacrifice (some) quality do to bread quality declining due to shipping. I think if you do end up shipping you should require a 1 month or so commitment i.e. 1 order per week for a designated time. I would also mark it up the cost at least 10-20%.

You might consider delivering to loaves (at a premium) only to say 15 mi form your home. This way you won't have to sacrifice quality.

my 2c

good luck!

J

mizmaven's picture
mizmaven

Hello J,

Actually I have a brochure available at the two Markets I do that allows for ordering and pick up either at my home or at the next Market...that should be sufficient for that aspect!

Am on a roll today....(no pun intented) I have a market tomorow and so far have 4 focaccias and 4 Ciabattas working and Cinnamon bun dough in fridge. Another batch of Ciabatta and Cinnamon buns to do and two Biscottis to cook...whew I'm exhausted just talking about it! :)

Joan