An easy source for getting boxes for your Fulfillment by Amazon boxes, entirely for free
If you buy boxes for your FBA shipments, you might be clinically insane.
Yes, in rare cases I will pay for boxes. But generally, as an FBA seller, it’s unnecessary. I get all my Amazon boxes for free. Here’s how…
Where to find boxes for FBA shipments (free)
This box source is so obvious it doesn’t really need to be said, but the answer is: cardboard dumpsters.
Virtually every business in the country has a designated cardboard dumpster behind it.
Cardboard is something we are literally surrounded by everywhere we go, with every dumpster behind every strip mall in the country brimming with them in plain view.
Yet some people will drive right past 1,000 free cardboard boxes to purchase them.
Here’s the score: Every dumpster everywhere has cardboard boxes in them. It takes less time to go retrieve them for your Fulfillment By Amazon shipments than it does to buy them somewhere.
I’m pretty militant with time efficiency, I still don’t see the benefit of Amazon sellers paying for cardboard boxes.
Three reasons dumpster diving is not a big deal
- No one cares if you’re taking cardboard. Its destined for a recycling center, and is literally trash. No one cares.
- Cardboard dumpsters are super clean. You’re not fighting through coffee grounds and fish heads here. I get my FBA shipment boxes from dumpsters that are designated
- Almost every alley in the world has designated cardboard dumpsters. There’s no crazy search mission required here. Go behind any business literally anywhere and a designated cardboard dumpster is almost obligatory.
So choose your nearest strip mall, go to one of the dumpsters, and get your Amazon boxes there. Its more environmental, and is one small way to break out of the American hyper-consumerism trance.
When I will pay for FBA boxes
It’s rare, but I will pay for Amazon boxes for my FBA shipments in these instances:
- I can’t find boxes. This almost never happens, but if the recycling company just emptied every dumpster in my proximity, I’ll pay for my Amazon boxes.
- I have a huge shipment. Also rare, but when I’m doing an Amazon shipment that is so large that I’m unable to find enough small-size boxes to ship them all to Amazon.
- I’m traveling. I still dumpster dive my Amazon boxes when I’m on the road, but sometimes logistics are challenging when traveling, and I just don’t have the bandwidth for going down alleys in foreign tuft.
Where to get Amazon boxes
When I do pay for them, I prefer the “Small Size” (12x12x16) from Home Depot or Lowes (more on boxes here). These run about 99 cents (give or take). They’re a good size for heavy items (like books).
Getting Amazon boxes for free is a seemingly small expense that really adds up to serious money at the end of the year – with no added time cost and virtually no downside.
You can’t always find sturdy boxes, and ANY used box has lost some of its strength. Depends what you ship too – if something is fragile, easily crushed, or valuable, paying for a good box seems like smart insurance to me.
I agree with Diana. Boxes from the dumpster are my LAST choice. They’re filthy, already used at least once, and people pay enough for my items that they deserve a CLEAN, well-constructed shipping package. I do reuse boxes that I receive shipments in, if they’re still in good shape and don’t look obviously “re-used”.