Whether you are revamping your current wholesale packaging system, moving from direct-to-customer shipping to wholesale or looking to start a new business; wholesale packaging takes a different approach than direct-to-customer shipping. Here is a guide to get you started.

  1. Budget
  2. Quantity per Package
  3. Presentation
  4. Ease of Packing/Unpacking
  5. Convenient storage
  6. Fragility of product


  1. Cost of product being shipped vs. packaging budget:

Cratek has been in business for 30+ years and we’ve received the same question often; “What is my cheapest option for packaging?” This is an understandable question, most of us live and die by the budget but it’s amazing how many companies ask this question knowing they are shipping expensive equipment and products, such as computers, aerospace parts, high-end art, blown glass, etc…. Their product/s took months, if not years to develop and right before it makes it to their end-user, they want to cut corners. Yikes!

On the other end of the spectrum, from the moment iPhones arrived in luxurious packaging people have been awe-struck by the presentation. Of course, companies want to make the same impression on their customers. The problem with most of these inquiries is the product being shipped cost less than $30 and the packaging they want might start at $20, especially for a startup company beginning with low inventory volume. Ultimately, we understand the importance of presentation. But not at the cost of your bottom line. More on presentation later.

It’s completely possible to find a reliable packaging solution that will deliver your product safely without bleeding your wallet dry.  In fact, that’s what Cratek does. We work with you to find the best solution to safely transport your product within your budget.

As a general guideline, you can expect to spend 15-20% of you item cost on packaging. Meaning, a hard drive that costs $200, would need a packaging budget of $30-$40. That might sound steep but you’re not just buying a corrugated box. You’ll need to purchase box/es (corrugated or wooden), cushioning, tape, and labels. You might also need, poly bags, impact indicators, desiccant, v-board, stretch wrap, pallets, banding, and banding tools.

The number isn’t hard and fast; smaller, lighter, more durable items might need less packaging while heavier, larger, more breakable items might need more. Items shipping on a pallet vs. a single master carton will have a different cost break down too.

Components that will increase packaging cost:

  • Fragility
  • Large size: Over 4’ per item
  • Heavy weight: 60+ lbs. per item
  • Unusually shaped: Items that won’t fit into a cubed or rectangular boxes
  • Value of product: $1000+ per item
  • Fancy presentation: Print, white board, details in crate, style of box, custom cushioning
  • Type of industry: Tech vs. Food
  • Low volume quantities

It’s a lot to consider but do not fret, Cratek is here to guide you.

  1. Quantity per Package:

The benefit of shipping wholesale is the savings on packaging cost and time. You can ship 10, 50, 100 items in one box, instead of 1-4.

How do you choose your case quantity?

First, find out if you will be shipping individual cases or palletized cases? Start with your shipper’s size guidelines and work backwards.

If you have a shipping software, USPS offers a Priority Mail Cubic that saves you money when you use your own carton, under their parameters. We will use their guidelines to help give you a starting point. Understand there are many size and weight parameters, so check in with your shipper for theirs.

For individual case shipments. Here are the guidelines for USPS Priority Mail Cubic:

  • Under 20 lbs.
  • Box size less than 18”x18”x18”

With these parameters work backwards to find the best case quantity. Keep in mind major couriers require 2” of cushioning on all sides to honor insurance claims on damaged goods.

Example: Item size: 1” diameter X 2” height

  • Box size: 18x18x6
  1. Subtract 2” of cushioning from all sides or 4” from each dimension of the box.
  2. Usable box size: 14x14x2
    1. You can fit 1 layer of product arranged 14×14 = 196 items/case
    2. If you need chipboard dividers, subtract 1” for the material. 13×13 = 169 items/case

If you are palletizing your cases The North American ISO standard pallet size is 48”x40” (LxW). The actual wooden pallet unloaded is 48 x 40 x 5 (LxWxH). Check with your carrier for height restrictions.

  1. Presentation:

When a customer wants presentation they often want marketing.

A great way to include marketing on your wholesale packaging is with custom print boxes, custom printed Water Activated Tape, clear tape, or poly bags.

Using a branded water activated 3” reinforcement tape (aka: “paper Amazon tape”) prevents theft and fraud. This is one of the reasons why Amazon uses it. Cartons with clear marketing shows you company’s pride and makes a great first impression.

Here are some examples.

  1. Ease of packing/unpacking:

Understanding the packing and unpacking processes can greatly decrease handling time and headaches for you warehouse personnel. During your sample process, lean on your warehouse personnel’s expertise to analyze the practicality of your packaging. It should be easy and protective. Assembling boxes and positioning cushioning should be a process that can be quickly replicated over and over. If it’s not, consider the item’s fragility and expense. Some products will take longer to pack but it’s a necessary step to ensure protection. If the item doesn’t need extra attention, it’s time to reconsider your packaging.

Minimizing the time for packing/unpacking saves your company money. At Cratek we have staff members who are trained to understand efficiency and can help streamline your packing processes.

  1. Convenient storage:

You may want the best price but can you store 10 pallets of custom printed boxes? No? What about a few bundles of stock boxes at a time and 2 cases of custom Water Activated Tape? The benefit of working with a small company is we offer smaller minimum order quantities. Additionally, we offer free warehousing options. Keep in mind your storage space when pricing out packaging.

  1. Fragility of product:

Cushioning your wholesale item might take trial and error. Before you begin understand the fragility of your product.

Will it become damaged if bumped or rubbed by other items?

Will vibrations damage the item?

Are you able to secure the item with tension or is the exterior sensitive to pressure?

All items will need some level of protection during transit. You’ll want to;

  1. Increase air space between the product and the box wall.
  2. Stabilize item to decrease movement.

This can be accomplished with a variety of cushioning or just a single material. See chart below for more. You can minimize movement by bracing, wrapping, or filling void space. If you’re palletizing your items stretch wrapping and or banding your cases to the pallet will help keep your shipment together and help prevent tipping during transit. You won’t need as much interior cushioning to protect individual items. Even so, we still recommend at least 2” of cushioning on all sides inside each box (per USPS, UPS, FedEx requirements to honor insurance claims).

Ultimately, paying attention to these six factors will help you narrow down your packaging options. If you need additional help or guidance, reach out to us on our ‘Contact Us’ page. We’re happy to answer any of your packaging questions.