Amazon FBA Prep Companies in the US & UK
One of the most common questions I'm asked is to recommend FBA prep companies in the US or UK.
Why would you need a prep company?
For International Sellers
This is a vital service if you are not physically in the country where you are selling on Amazon. A prep company helps you receive inventory in the US or UK, prep it and send into FBA for you. This is necessary for online arbitrage sourcing as Walmart or any other online retailer is not going to let you email your Amazon seller shipping label, download the PDFs, print them out and paste them on to each box to send directly to FBA for you. Don't even think about asking them to send to multiple fulfillment centers assigned by Amazon and packing each shipment with the exact
For Business Expansion
Even if you are a US or UK resident and selling in those countries respectively, a prep service can be a key to grow your business. It is a way to simply outsource printing and pasting labels, prepping items, shrink wrapping, poly bagging, bubble wrapping, packing and shipping boxes. Freeing yourself from these menial time consuming tasks can enable you to focus on sourcing, finding new wholesalers, creating your private labels or expanding to new markets and sales channels.
Sure there's added costs to use a prep company but the cost of not using one could be much higher if it is taking up too much of your time, effort or causing you a sore back and hindering you from scaling your business. I have shipped tens of thousands of products to Amazon for sale via FBA and never seen or touched 99% of the inventory - everything is done from my laptop, which is why I chose the header image at the top of this page. I have also processed many shipments on my phone while waiting in airports in Bangalore, Tokyo, Singapore, Minneapolis; and other locations all over the world. Can you do the same? Or would your shipments grind to a halt if you took a vacation?
Every time you want to send inventory into Amazon for FBA, you will have to make sure every item is prepped (price tags removed, bubble wrapped, poly bagged, etc.) and labeled according Amazon's requirements. You will need to create a shipping plan in Seller Central where you list the various items and the quantity of each that are in the shipment. Once that is done within the shipping creation process, you can print the product labels (saved as a PDF), Amazon will then assign shipments for the items to 1 or more fulfillment centers aka warehouses (I usually get assigned to 3-4). You can then download the packing list to be shipped to each warehouse. You then send the product labels and packing list to the prep company who will label and pack accordingly. After packing, the prep company will send you the total number of boxes to each warehouse and the weight and dimensions of each box. You then input the data for each shipment so that Amazon can calculate the inbound shipping cost. Once you agree to the cost, you will be able to download the shipping labels which you then send to the prep company to paste on the boxes and ship to Amazon via Amazon's UPS partnered service. Seems complex? It's really quite simple once you've done it a couple of times! Really :) And fyi, a few prep companies do offer to handle the back end shipment creation process for you (you can assign them user permission for just shipping from the settings in Seller Central).
Each prep service has their own fee structure, work flow, communication style, etc. Since I have not tried all of them, I cannot say which is the best. In fact I don't think it's possible to point out the best or even the cheapest because there are so many variables. Some might have no minimum fee or quantity but might cost more per unit if you have mid-sized volumes (typically 100 units or more per shipment). Others might be cheaper for single units with no additional bubble wrap or bundling services while other are the inverse. Personally I am using use 5 prep services because they each have pros and cons depending on various factors.
This affects 2 things (in the US). Sales tax on online arbitrage purchases and cost of inbound shipping to Amazon.
Interested to find out more about some prep services? I've compiled a list of FBA prep companies with comments on those that I personally use. To get my list of US and UK prep companies, just subscribe with your name and email on the right. It's FREE.