How to Find Prep Centers For Amazon FBA ?

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When you start your FBA business on Amazon, you usually have limited capital and wish to grow your business. As you grow your business on FBA, rising demand could be excellent, but it means you need to prepare more orders faster. Outsourcing FBA prep to prep centers can be a cost-effective way to grow your business. This article can help you to choose the best prep center that s fit for you.

When you start your Amazon FBA business, you usually have limited capital and wish to grow your business.  As you grow your business on FBA, rising demand could be amazing. But little by little, there is no more room in the garage/basement/rooftop deck. You and your family will receive your wares, unbox them, inspect for damages, prep, pack, bundle, and ship it all. You can’t meet demands at some points anymore and must trade your money for your time. It’s not an easy decision because we initially sold our time in exchange for the money saved.

Sometimes your business has grown enough so you can hire a team to handle packaging.

But most often, hiring a team is not efficient at this point, and you need to contract with prep centres.

Prep centres can help you. They are FBA prep third party and can shoulder this burden for you. For a very small fee – often per item- they do whatever you and your family did for your wares. Using a prep centre frees up your time, space in your home, and energy for you to use on profitable tasks in your business.

Find prep center for online arbitrage infography

Broken goods, delayed orders, or damaged packaging can quickly result in damage to your reputation because customers leave negative comments. You are offloading the work to someone else. So, your reputation and business depend on your chosen prep center.

In this post, I will explain how you go about finding a prep center to help you decide.

1. Location

Prep Centers Location of  Amazon FBA Service

The location is, in many cases, the most critical factor. Because it significantly impacts how much you can save by using one.

Before choosing a prep center, you should answer a few questions about its location:

Where is the prep center located? West coast? Mid- America? Is it in a sales-tax-free state?

Be careful about choosing a prep center based on closeness to an Amazon Fulfillment Center, though, as the Amazon warehouse you ship to can be different each time.

When you are working with online arbitrage, you may have to pay sales tax. But if you choose a prep center located in sales tax-free states, you could save money.

Four states have no sales tax (Montana, Delaware, Oregon, and New Hampshire). Remember that sales tax in the US varies from 0 to 7%. So if you choose a prep center in a state with a sales tax that is a few percent lower can make a difference to your costs.

2. Pricing

One of the essential concerns for sellers when choosing an FBA prep service is the price. It doesn’t mean that the cheapest solution always is the best. If a prep center processes a thousand items per week for you and only charges a fraction of the competition is a bad sign.

The first question you must ask is whether the company will charge monthly or per item and what other charges may be involved. 

Center A will charge for the label, polybag, and packing; if your product needs bubble wrap, they charge extra. But Center B has a monthly charge regardless of what your items need. A monthly charge suits sellers with large orders, whereas the per-item charge is better for low-volume sellers.

Each prep center has a different price, which is not included in the ROI. If you are using  Amazon Online Arbitrage sourcing lists, notice that you should consider your prep center price and set ROI again.

3. Communication

Working with a company that respects you and is available whenever you need them is enjoyable.

A quick response via email or answering your calls is a good sign. If you need information and have requested it and it took several weeks for an initial response, it means you’re not important to this prep center. If any problem happens in shipping your items to the Amazon fulfillment center, an unresponsive prep center is the last thing you want to handle!

4. Storage facilities

Prep Centers Storage Facilities of  Amazon FBA Service

While an FBA prep center’s first job is to get your wares ready to be sent to FBA, more and more sellers are using prep centers to store their wares. Some but not all prep centers can store your goods for a while. If you supply your goods for a while, choose the prep centers that offer this ability.

There are two main reasons why sellers want to store their goods in prep centers. First of all, it can be cheaper than storing the goods at a Fulfillment Center. Secondly, if the seller gets suspected by Amazon, the inventory will be stuck in the Fulfillment Center.

If you want to store your goods in a prep center, ask them about the security of their warehousing and their insurance against fire or theft of your stocks while they are holding them. Also read all about the amazon storage limits to find out what you are facing.

5. The type of products you sell

Some prep centers are more equipped for special products. For example, if you Sell Books on Amazon, you can find prep centers equipped enough to handle special prep requirements.

6. Product tracking process

Choose a prep center that offers you product tracking software. It helps you to have different levels of communication about your shipped products. You can find out exactly where your goods are; you can see which ones have been shipped out, what has been received, or any communication.

So try to choose a prep center that meets your demands about the product tracking process.

7. Independence and trust

When you work with a prep center, you share your business information with a 3rd party, so it’s important to trust your prep center.

Also, your prep center should be independent. Imagine that your prep center also is an online arbitrage seller. They can see what you are sourcing and maybe start sourcing the same items.

Current and former Amazon sellers run some prep centers. So, they have a great experience with the process of shipping to FBA, and it values a lot.

Check the reviews about the prep centers and read the customers’ different comments to evaluate if you can trust them. The way they answer the customers can help you in making a decision.

8. Size of your business

If you were a new seller, you wouldn’t have many goods to ship. Some prep centers have a minimum shipment size that is not good enough for shipping only 10 items.

As a small seller, you need to look for a prep center with no cost restrictive minimum.

On the other hand, a large seller ships many items at a time. Also, maybe you are shipping products by truckload. So you need to ensure your prep center can handle this type of volume. If they are not ready to receive this much of goods, they can damage your business.

There is a wide range of prep centers, and you shouldn’t have a problem finding one that is fit for the size of your business.


Know More About Amazon FBA Product Sourcing


9. Speed and processing time

A key factor in deciding on an FBA prep service is how long it needs to process your goods. Your customers are expecting delivery of their goods within a certain time frame. Processing time can vary from 24 hours to one month. Usually, prep centers are upfront with their processing time. Sometimes they offer guaranteed turnaround time. 

FBA prep service checking and processing time

If this information is not available, ask for it and make sure you know the consequences if the guarantees are not met. 

The normal processing time for medium-sized shipments is about three days. Smaller orders can take less and larger order takes longer. If the prep center needs a significant amount of time regardless of the size, it is a prep center overloaded. It’s important to balance speed and cost.

10. Inspection

For anybody serious about online arbitrage, choosing an inspection company and reliable prep is important to ensure that your customers receive good quality and service. Some prep centers offer an inspection service. It doesn’t replace product inspection at the manufacturer’s factory but can supplement it.

Manufacturers don’t check shipments too closely because if the goods are rejected, it costs them more. So your prep center must pick up the problems the manufacturers missed.

11. Climate

If you are ordering some kinds of items like food, you should know about the prep center warehousing climate. Temperature and humidity are crucial factors for some types of items.

If you sell these kinds of products, ensure your prep center is suitable.

A general list of prep centers in the US

Whatever you decide, there is no denying that prep centers are cost-effective solutions for FBA sellers. But which one should you choose? The answer depends on your location and the circumstances of your business. These are some of the best FBA prep centers in the United States:

ZonPrep: just near Atlanta, Georgia, there is the largest FBA Prep-focused 3PL in the Country. This center is 300000 square feet and has a 24-hour service for Amazon FBA sellers.

Shapiro: this center is based in Maryland and is known for its excellent customer service. Their website is quite informative, and beginners can find the answer to all of their questions.

McKenzie Services: McKenzie started as an online retailer in Oregon in 2004. Since almost a decade ago, the business has been helping Amazon FBA sellers with their warehouse logistics.

Fulfillment Service: this family-owned company is one of the oldest in prep services. The friendly workers, quality of services, and in-house IT team have made this company one of the best choices for sellers in Michigan.

Here is a complete list of Third-Party prep centers in the United States,

Final Thoughts

After evaluating your needs and deciding what you want, you can choose the best prep center.

There are hundreds of these centers, and you only need to type “prep centers for Amazon FBA online arbitrage” on Google to find a list of them! You can also join FBA sellers’ Facebook groups, like OABeans Facebook group, and ask experienced sellers about their favorite prep centers and get more information.

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  1. Selling through Amazon’s platform gives online arbitrage sellers access to a vast customer base and increased visibility for their products.

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