Oct 052014

The problem with looking for a company that can print custom shipping boxes is that  almost none of them have their prices posted online. They all want you to call or email for a quote. What is this, 1960?

For our article ve’ve taken the time to dig through the hundreds of custom box suppliers out there and make a list of the top 5 that we thought were best based on price and ease of use.

These are the companies that really want your business and have taken the time to make themselves easily accessible with convenient websites and up front pricing.

While you’re evaluating which box supplier is best, keep in mind not only their price, but also their location. The cost of shipping goes up pretty quickly for large bundles. If it’s too far you may end up paying a freight fee you weren’t expecting. Also don’t forget to consider what their minimum order is.

Minimum orders are required per box size, not per dollar amount.  You might need 500 boxes but if they need to be 20 different sizes then you’ll have 20 different minimum orders. If you have trouble meeting the minimum order amounts, we’ve got some additional tips for you at the end of the article.

The Best Custom Box Suppliers

Brand in Color
  • box designer from brandincolor.comLocated in: Wilmington, MA
  • Minimum order: 25
  • Price: 12in x 12in boxes are $2.85 each (for qty of 100).

This company really gets it. The have an in browser box designer so you can make a mock-up of exactly what your box will look like and it shows exactly what it will cost to make it.

With their design tool you start with selecting your box size. Then you upload your custom logo or graphic. A standard jpg file is fine, they don’t require anything fancy. Then you place the image on the various sides of the package that you want it on and stretch it to fit. It’s all completely intuitive and you won’t have any trouble even if you have no artistic talent at all.

They’re capable of doing simple one color logos all the way up to full color photographs. Your end price will depend on how many sides you want decorated, and the amount of coverage each side has.

atlanticpaper.com website
Atlantic Paper
  • Located in: Pawtucket, RI
  • Minimum order: One bundle of boxes (varies by size, could be 10 to 100)
  • Price: 12in x 12in boxes are $1.51 each for an order of 100. Discounts are given for first time customers!

This supplier has a professional site and a likewise professional approach to business. Their service guarantee states that if they mess up your order, they will fix it and give you a $50 credit on you next order!

Atlantic Paper is also the only company we’ve reviewed that has its own fleet of delivery trucks which they say will result in faster delivery to their customers. If you’ve got large orders that you need fast, this might be an obvious choice for your business.

Clearance item section…

tagandlabel.com websiteTag and Label
  • Located in: Boca Raton FL.
  • Minimum order: 100
  • Price: 12in x 12in boxes are $2.10 each ( for qty of 100)

Nothing fancy, just the basics and that’s OK with us. Tag and Label offers simple boxes in a standard set of sizes with single color prints.

However, they also offer logo design as part of their package. You can type in up to 3 lines of copy and they will come up with something and send you an image proof. That’s a nice feature if you don’t have a finished company logo that you can upload.

If you don’t see what you’re looking for on their website they also accept special requests and will quote you a price on anything that is more complex than the basics.

thepaperworker.com website
The Paper Worker
  • Located in: Buffalo New York
  • Minimum order: None
  • Price: 13.5in x 8in x 2.875in boxes are $5.22 each (for qty of 250)

Here you’ll find fancier single flap flip top style full color boxes rather than traditional 2 flap standard brown. They are one of the few companies that do not require a minimum order, but in return you’ll have to shell out quite a bit for a small order.

For example if you order 25 boxes the price will be $23.12 each. If you order 100 the price comes down to $8.93 each. At 1000 the price drops to $4.51 each.

As you can see this might not be the best option for someone who’s just starting out. But if you’re in the market for a top of the line custom box that looks good enough to be on retail display, then this might be the place for you.

alibabba .com websiteAlibaba
  • Located in: Everywhere, but mostly China
  • Minimum order: Varies
  • Price: Varies

Most people wouldn’t think of Alibaba when searching for custom shipping boxes. But when you need the absolute cheapest deal you can find it’s worth it to look through their listings and finding a cheap Chinese supplier. Often they are pennies on the dollar compared to US companies.

You might be worried about the international shipping price, don’t be. If you haven’t already heard (and likely gotten upset about it) the United States gives preferential rates to companies shipping from asia. I’ve even seen a few sellers offering free shipping once you reach a certain order limit. There are also quite a few that offer samples of their work that you can request before placing your order.

The drawbacks to ordering boxes from Alibaba are long shipping times and large minimum quantity requirements. If you can live with those then you could save a lot of money compared to ordering from a US company.

Cheaper Ways to Customize Your Boxes

From the above you can see that the most economical way to get your boxes printed is to order huge quantities. But what if you only need a few? There are two other methods you might want to think about.

First, you could just buy some custom labels and put them on the boxes yourself as you need them. Just about any office supply store can make them. Or if you have time you can order them more cheaply from Uline.

Second, you can get a rubber stamp made of your company logo and print your boxes yourself. A 4in x 8in stamp sells for about $90. Of course you’ll have to buy ink occasionally to refill the pad, but bottles of ink are about $8. Just be sure to let the ink dry before you pick up your newly printed package while wearing a white shirt.

  One Response to “5 Places to Get Custom Printed Cardboard Shipping Boxes”

  1. A word of caution about BrandInColor: They sell custom-printed mailer boxes. In the tiny fine print on the “cart” page, they disclose that “We use the most environmentally-friendly inks known as “aqueous”, or water-based, and the print on the box can smudge if it gets in contact with water.” If your mailer box moves through the post on a rainy day, it will come in contact with water. I ordered from this service without reading the fine print, and even a single drop of water causes the box to bleed ink everywhere. Find a box supplier that uses water resistant ink for mailer boxes.

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