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The right tools for the job the home based e-commerce business essentials

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Just starting out and trying to figure out what tools you need for your home based business? Keep in mind you don’t have to break the bank on a new PC or a thermal printer but there are a few must have essentials for any home based business.

Dedicated work space- You might take this for granted but it’s quite easy for your business to take over your home. Just got in a pallet of swimwear and now have bathing suits hanging, laying and draped on every doorknob, counter and piece of furniture in your home? Save your sanity and set aside a space in your basement, garage or spare bedroom that will comfortably hold your goods as well as give you some elbow room for your photography and packing. Staying organized is key even if you are just repacking for FBA fulfillment make sure you have enough space to store you goods, packing materials and all other necessities.

Camera and lighting- Doing a bit of photo work? Again no need to break the bank on equipment the key to a good photo is lighting and background. Keep it simple a plain white background say a large piece of white cardboard or a light colored sheet tacked to a wall but be sure to eliminate any wrinkles. Next is lighting a pair of spotlights is best but you can easily use some clamp on lamps available at any hardware store place the lights at equal distance from the item being photographed. Now the camera what to use or look for in a camera key features are Autofocus, Macro(for tight focus) white balance and in camera cropping most point and shoot cameras will cover all of these. Believe it or not you can take a pretty nice picture with your smartphone or tablet the camera’s in these are well suited for this type of photography with the added bonus that you can post directly after shooting with the same device.

Packing and shipping materials- Let’s start with your basic equipment a good digital scale is an essential keep in mind what type of merchandise you are selling if your specializing in clothing and accessories a 10-15 Pound capacity scale should be just fine. Home goods, electronics or bedding? These can be quite heavy so maybe step up to 100 pound capacity scale a good quality unit can be had for around $100. Want to go high tech? USB scanner is cheap and can be invaluable for processing inventory. What about a label printer is this a necessity? Thermal printers are great for shipping labels but do a cost analysis before you drop a few hundred for a label printer. For lower volume use your standard printer and invest in some printer labels. As ridiculous as it may sound beside your scale, the most essential tool is a good tape gun an investment of $15-25 will get you years of good use. What sort of packing materials do you need? Again it depends on your merchandise for clothing bubble mailers are great and cost effective but be sure to find a dimension that best suits your merchandise. Its best when starting out to go with a larger envelope then down the road getting a few different sizes that best suits your goods, remember that you’re paying more for the larger envelope and for the extra weight when shipping. Doing bedding or home goods? Cardboard boxes are the only way to go fragile items. Bubble wrap, peanuts and space fillers are essential. The next logical question is where can I find these items? For starters try sites like Uline, Amazon or eBay it’s amazing the price differences you will see for identical items like bubble mailers so check the per unit price and do shop around.

In case you missed it we did a blog back in April discussing tax season and great deductions you can qualify for with a home based business. Remember all of the items discussed here can be deducted so keep your receipts you will thank us next tax season!  


 

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