Best Fulfillment Center for Startups in 2023
Running a startup is tough work, and in the ecommerce business, it often means fulfilling products from your own office, home, or even a garage. But at some point, you’ll want to find a fulfillment provider to offer faster shipping, and to focus on other parts of your business. We found the best fulfillment center for startups after rigorous research. Below, you’ll learn about our top choice, along with the other top contenders.
We’ll explore the locations from each order fulfillment service, along with advantages and fees to expect. From ShipBob to ShipMonk, there are several services to consider; and with our research, you’ll know exactly which one is perfect for storing products, packing them up, and sending them off to customers.
Keep reading to see the best fulfillment center for startups!
The Best Fulfillment Centers for Startups
Picking a fulfillment service is a tough decision for all startups. You want to keep costs low, improve efficiency, and move all that inventory to a location that’s close to your customers. We’ve taken all of that into consideration during our research, and broken down our top choices based on their primary advantages.
The notable options are ShipBob—for its intuitive online interface and cost-effective pricing—and Shopify Fulfillment—due to its simple fulfillment process and deep integration with Shopify online stores. There are some others to consider as well, including Flowspace, Shipmonk, and ShipHero. They all have their unique benefits, so read on to see which one is right for you.
1. ShipBob: The Best Fulfillment Center for Startups
ShipBob is the absolute best fulfillment center for startups due to its vast network of warehouse locations, affordable pricing, and track record for high accuracy rates and on-time deliveries. Several startups and growing companies rely on ShipBob for storage and getting products to customers, including Spikeball, Hero, Dossier, Touchland, and Muddy Bites.
When you sign up to partner with ShipBob, you pay a simple monthly fee for beautiful inventory and warehouse management software, along with services for storing, packaging, and shipping products whenever orders come in through your ecommerce business.
You can ship affordably, to almost anywhere in the world, in 2 days. There are numerous other shipment methods as well, considering you can pick local carriers or stick to the global ones like UPS, FedEx, and DHL.
Overall, you get top-of-the-line logistics software, discounts from major shipping partners, and free standard shipping materials, making ShipBob a rather appealing 3PL to consider. Not to mention, ShipBob is known for its incredible customer support and ability to fulfill a wide range of specialty products.
- A robust supply chain management and fulfillment platform with built-in reports, a full view of your logistical operation, and real-time analytics for forecasting
- Tracking codes that get sent out to the admin and customers, helping everyone understand the movement of inventory
- 2-day delivery for much of the world, along with several other fast shipping options
- A massive warehouse network scattered around the globe
- Integrations with marketplace and sales channel selling options like Amazon, Target, and eBay
- Connections with major ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Squarespace
- Partnering with local carriers, and discounted shipping rates for the major carriers
Whether your startup is located in the US, Australia, or Poland, ShipBob has you covered. The company offers one of the largest shipping networks you can find, particularly in the US and Canada.
ShipBob’s warehouse network spans much of the US, along with other countries like Australia, Canada, Poland, and the UK. It’s one of the largest shipment networks you can find for ecommerce.
Here’s just a taste of ShipBob’s fulfillment center locations:
- New Jersey
ShipBob also has fulfillment centers in the following countries:
- United Kingdom
Although every business’s fulfillment costs will vary, ShipBob does a wonderful job of showing potential costs. There are no hidden fees or reasons to worry about variable costs that come along. ShipBob is rather transparent when it comes to showing what you’ll have to spend, and in the long run, you’re more likely going to find it less expensive than self-fulfillment.
Here’s the base ShipBob pricing broken down into an itemized list:
- Receiving: $25 for the first 2 hours. After that, it costs $40 per man-hour.
- Picking and packaging: Free for all orders under 4 items. Every item above the limit of 4 costs $0.20.
- Storage fees: It depends on what you use: each shelf costs $10 per month; bins are $5 per month; and pallets run for $40 per month.
- Shipping: Varies. Each order’s shipping cost depends on the carrier, shipping method chosen, weight, size, and distance.
- Packaging materials: Free for the standard tape and boxes. If you want custom boxes and inserts, there will be an extra fee.
What’s nice is that ShipBob outlines some fulfillment cost examples based on commonly sized products.
Here are those cost examples:
- To fulfill a product that’s similar in size and weight to supplements: $5.38 to $5.91 total
- To fulfill apparel: $6.13 to $7.23 total
- To fulfill subscription boxes: $9.59 to $12.49 total
2. Shopify Fulfillment Network
The Shopify ecommerce platform has its own fulfillment service. Is it the best fulfillment center for startups? If you’re using Shopify, absolutely. Yet, working with a different ecommerce platform renders you ineligible for the Shopify Fulfillment Program.
For those with Shopify as their ecommerce platform, we can’t stress how simple it is to get setup with your own logistics and shipping operation. The online application only takes a few minutes, and everything is centralized in the Shopify dashboard. This way, you manage everything from orders to inventory, and marketing to fulfillment, all from the convenience of one online hub.
Shopify Fulfillment offers smart inventory distribution, which automatically decides the best locations to store inventory. And you have many locations to choose from, particularly in Canada and the US.
- Has one of the simplest application processes for obtaining third-party fulfillment
- The fulfillment software remains within the Shopify dashboard; everything from invoices to fulfillment gets handled on the same dashboard
- Inventory gets shipped to the right warehouses based on AI (artificial intelligence) technology and smart distribution mechanisms
- Every element of the Shopify Fulfillment software is free; you receive warehouse and inventory management software
- Customers can send their returns back to Shopify, instead of you collecting them
- Shipments go out fast, with 2-day shipping, to much of the US and Canada
Shopify actually doesn’t share its exact fulfillment center locations, but we’ve dug up some information about where many of them are situated. But, keep in mind, the Shopify network is rapidly growing and changing, so there may be even more after the publication of this article.
Shopify has some of its fulfillment centers in:
- New Jersey
Although Shopify explains some of its pricing online, you really must apply for the fulfillment program in order to understand the fees that may come along with your company using their services.
Here’s what we do know about Shopify Fulfillment pricing:
- Domestic prices remain steady; longer distances don’t raise the prices
- The return costs are simple and transparent
- Most of the fulfillment pricing is dictated by product weight
- There’s no fee for inbound receiving
- You can save money when customers purchase multiple items in an order
- Shopify’s users receive preferred shipping rates from the major carriers
- All storage is free; this is true as long as you sell the inventory within 6 months—after that it’s $2.25 per cubic foot of storage space
- International shipping costs are listed upfront
- There are no up-front costs
- Postage and packing supplies are free
- Product handling is free
And to make things clearer, Shopify provides several example fulfillment costs based on specific products:
- To fulfill a bicycle helmet with Shopify: $7.76
- To fulfill a duvet: $15.92
- To fulfill a purse: $11.52
Remember, those prices decrease when you ship them with a second item. For instance, the bicycle helmet fulfillment example drops to $5.65 with a second item in the box.
With fast shipping and a high fulfillment accuracy rate, you might find ShipHero to be the best fulfillment center for startups. The ShipHero network consists of 8 in-house warehouses, 2 of which are in Canada. That means both Canadian and US startups and entrepreneurs can take advantage of the seamless software from ShipHero, along with the fast shipping speeds.
In terms of fulfillment and shipping, ShipHero has overnight and expedited shipping methods for your customers. There’s a 2-day expedited shipping option, and a regular 3-7 day shipping method for most packages. Regardless, you’re able to add these to your store by default to give customers more flexibility. You can even shoot for same day shipping with some carriers.
Another reason we like ShipHero is because of its flat-rate fulfillment fees. They’re transparent, and often significantly less expensive for startups to fulfill ecommerce products. Along with a robust warehouse management system, and one-click integrations to the most popular ecommerce platforms, you can’t go wrong with ShipHero.
- No zone shipping and shortened last mile shipping
- Strategic inventory distribution and intelligent warehouse management
- Stock replenishment and various inventory automations
- 2-day shipping to much of the US and Canada
- 8 locations, including 2 in Canada and 6 scattered across the US
- An integration with PostHero for more accurate delivery times, reports, and fulfillment gap reduction
- Efficient reports and tracking codes
- Duty relief, for speeding up and simplifying shipments across the US/Canadian border
- Fulfillment of high-volume sales through marketplaces like Amazon and eBay
- Direct shipping integrations (and discounts) for carriers like DHL, USPS, and UPS
- Integrations with website builders and ecommerce platforms like Bigcommerce, WooCommerce, and Shopify
- B2B fulfillment with wholesale support
- Support at some warehouses for unique fulfillment needs
- Access to the ShipHero API to connect all business tools and customize the fulfillment module
As mentioned, ShipHero manages 8 fulfillment centers. The US locations are in:
- Allentown, PA
- Jacksonville, FL (2 of them are here)
- Salt Lake City, UT
- North Las Vegas, NV
- Ft. Worth, TX
The Canadian warehouse locations are in:
- Toronto, Canada
- Vancouver, Canada
It’s important to contact ShipHero for an accurate quote to sign up for ecommerce fulfillment services. They list standard pricing for their WMS (warehouse management software) and 3PL management software, but every fulfillment services partnership needs a special quote.
Having said that, ShipHero is still transparent with its fees, so we know some information:
- There’s no zone shipping, making for more competitive and transparent pricing
- Onboarding, and software is free
- No setup fees
- There’s no fee for ShipHero to receive your products
- The fulfillment fees are flat rates
- ShipHero doesn’t have any hidden fees
- The flat-rate fee includes things like packing, picking, postage, and boxing
- The PostHero support is packaged in with your flat-rate fee
- Each flat-rate plan also includes zone skipping and load balancing
Here’s the pricing for ShipHero’s WMS and 3PL software:
- Standard WMS for Brands: $1,850 per month; this gets you tools for warehouse routing, rate shopping, return management, automation rules, and more
- WMS for 3PLs: $1,995 per month for all features from the previous plan, plus a marketplace listing, contract options, 3PL billing, contracts, and a sandbox account
ShipNetwork is the new owner of an older service that’s already been established for 20 years: Rakuten Super Logistics. However, since the Summer of 2022, the new company has taken the challenge of further improving its network and technological solutions.
ShipNetwork provides a complete end-to-end fulfillment solution. Orders are automatically wired to their warehouses through various eCommerce integrations. In addition, the team offers a 100% accuracy guarantee for packing and fulfilling your orders – all within one business day!
ShipNetwork’s Xparcel guarantees US shipping as quickly as one to two business days. You can also expect US-based support.
On top of ordinary fulfillment, ShipNetwork is happy to accommodate custom fulfillment needs, including temperature control, lot tracking, kits and bundles, subscription fulfillment, and more. The platform can even help you procure items from overseas.
However, at the time of writing, the website lacks pricing transparency. So instead, you’ll have to contact ShipNetwork’s sales team to get a quote for your required services.
- ShipNetwork can reach 98% of the US within 1-2 days thanks to warehouses located all across the US and one business day order fulfillment turnarounds.
- ShipNetwork offers kitting, bundling, and subscription fulfillment.
- There’s a 100% accuracy guarantee.
- Additional services for freight shipping, product procurement, temperature control, lot tracking, etc., are available.
- XParcel automatically proposes the cheapest and fastest carriers based on proximity and discounts.
- You’ll get discounts if you partner with carriers like DHL and USP.
- Marketplace integrations like eBay, Walmart, and Amazon are available.
- ShipNetwork integrates with a range of eCommerce solutions, including Shopify, WooCommerce, Bigcommerce, Volution, and Magento.
ShipNetwork has warehouse locations in every corner of the US, including:
- Las Vegas
- Salt lake City
Like other fulfillment solutions, you’ll need to contact ShipNetwork for a quote and more information about its general pricing structure. Unfortunately, we know little about its costs, though they market themselves towards small and mid-sized businesses.
But what we do know is that you can expand upon its services based on what solutions you need. So, for example, you might pay extra if you want to access expedited or premium shipping through XParcel.
That said, all customers can expect to access the following:
- A 100% accuracy guarantee
- Fulfillment within one day
- All ShipNetwork’s software for checking and managing inventory
If you have unique product fulfillment needs, run an omnichannel operation, or require a short-term fulfillment partner, Flowspace might be right for you. It’s the best fulfillment center for startups when you require flexibility in billing, or if you’re interested in shipping something unique, like perishable foods or items that need kitting.
Flowspace doesn’t necessarily own its warehouses, but that’s what makes it so flexible. The company has a rapidly growing network of over 130 locations. Every US state is home to at least one Flowspace fulfillment center, since Flowspace partners with warehouses instead of owning them.
Not to mention, you’re able to integrate with top marketplaces like Etsy, eBay, and Amazon for one of the smoothest multichannel situations possible. All of your sales get fulfilled by Flowspace, regardless of where they come from.
Finally, the Flowspace software comes packed with 3PL features for managing your ecommerce inventory, choosing warehouse locations, and sending tracking codes to customers.
- One of the largest collections of fulfillment centers to choose from, particularly in the United States
- Specific fulfillment capabilities (each center has its own options) like container unloading, item labeling, FDA certified shipping, wholesale carton picking, and GFSI certified shipping
- Integrations with ecommerce platforms like CS.Cart, 3dcart, Shopify, and Bigcommerce
- Powerful software with tools for order management, inventory allocation, late order management, and network optimization
- 2 hour response time from the customer support team
- Discounts and instant shipping estimates from DHL, FedEx, USPS, and UPS
- Integrations with business tools like ShipStation, Loop, and Ecwid
- Marketplace selling integrations such as Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and Cratejoy
- 2-day shipping, along with a wide variety of other shipping methods for customers to choose
- No commitments; this means you can opt out of the partnership at anytime—there are no longterm commitments, making it the best fulfillment center for startups
- Month-to-month payment plans
Flowspace has an incredibly long list of fulfillment center locations. They run at least one center in each of the US states.
Here are the locations of Flowspace’s outsourced fulfillment centers:
- New York
- North Dakota
As of right now, Flowspace doesn’t have any locations outside of the United States. However, US-based companies can still ship internationally.
As with just about every fulfillment company, you must contact Flowspace to receive an accurate quote. Flowspace actually provides a demo of its software during the process, giving you a firsthand look into the tools you’d use.
Having said that, here’s what we know about Flowspace pricing:
- It’s an affordable fulfillment solution, particularly since you have access to so many locations
- You may have different pricing based on location and products being shipped
- “Specialty” fulfillment methods (like FDA certified shipping or cold storage fulfillment) almost always have additional charges
- You can opt for a month-to-month plan, allowing you to back out whenever you want
- All Flowspace software—and the integrations with marketplaces and ecommerce platforms—is free
- There are no contracts or long-term commitments to use Flowspace
- Most fulfillment pricing from Flowspace is dictated by pallets used
ShipMonk doesn’t have the largest fulfillment warehouse network on this list, but the three locations are strategically placed, definitely making it the best fulfillment center for startups in those particular areas (and much of the US).
They offer 2-day shipping to almost the entire US, whether it’s to the Midwest, West Coast, or East Coast. The software from ShipMonk is the main event, seeing as how you receive a sleek, intuitive dashboard for managing inventory, picking warehouses, and viewing tracking codes.
- Fulfill products that you sell directly from your website, or through marketplaces like Amazon and eBay
- Automatically generated tracking codes, and tracking code management within the software
- Free onboarding and configuration of the software
- 3 strategically located warehouses in the United States
- Return processing, and products sent right back to ShipMonk
- Custom packaging for an extra fee, or standard packaging for free
- A rate-finder for picking the lowest fees from carriers
- A business management module in the software, which helps with checking orders, making revenue predictions, and running reports
- Connections and syncing to the best ecommerce platforms, like 3dcart, WooCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce
ShipMonk covers all regions of the US with its 3 locations. There’s a reason they chose these places, since it makes for fewer warehouses, but they still have 2-day shipping to the vast majority of the country.
Here’s where ShipMonk runs its fulfillment centers:
- Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Pittson, PA
- San Bernardino, CA
International shipping is available through ShipMonk as well, as long as you pick a shipping carrier that has fast and affordable international shipping (UPS, FedEx, and DHL all offer this).
When it comes to pricing, ShipMonk is the most transparent of all the ecommerce fulfillment service providers. This makes it easy to understand how much your small business can expect to pay long before you get on the phone with a sales rep or commit to a 3PL software and shipping service.
But, even though ShipMonk displays many of its standard prices online, you still want to contact them to understand the intricacies of your particular pricing situation.
Here’s the general ShipMonk pricing:
- There’s a starter plan for up to 500 orders per month, which you can upgrade at anytime
- Picking costs $3 for each pick, plus an additional $0.75 for every extra item in the order
- Promotional inserts cost $0.20 per package
- Storage prices vary based on the items used: pallets cost $20 per month; small bins are $1 per month; medium bins are $2 per month; large bins are $3 per month; and extra large bins are $4 per month
- Return processing costs $2 for each return sent to ShipMonk; each extra item in the return costs another $0.50
- You can expect special pricing for things like Amazon FBA, subscription boxes, crowdfunding, retail fulfillment, container unloading, and customer packaging materials
Choosing the Best Fulfillment Services for Startups
There’s no exactly right choice when it comes to finding the best fulfillment center for startups. ShipBob tends to be our first recommendation due to its large network, affordable pricing, and solid software. Yet, the Shopify Fulfillment Network makes so much sense for those using the Shopify ecommerce platform. Flowspace is ideal for short-term fulfillment, while ShipHero and ShipMonk offer appealing pricing depending on your fulfillment needs.
We recommend that you narrow down your search using this article, but then contact the remaining 3PLs on your list. Make comparisons based on your business’s specific fulfillment needs, and try to get a full demo of each software. Only then will you clearly see which is the best fulfillment center for startups—specifically your startup.
We hope this guide has helped your search. If you’re still wondering which service to choose, take a look at our summary recommendations:
Overall, we hope this list has improved your outlook on the best fulfillment centers in Florida.
- ShipBob: This is the best fulfillment center for startups for a reason. It’s an all-around reliable service with software that’s unmatched by any of the competition. Not to mention, they actually own fulfillment centers in countries apart from the US and Canada.
- Shopify Fulfillment Network: Use the Shopify Fulfillment Network if you intend to run a store on Shopify (or if you already do). It’s inexpensive, reliable, and they have smart technology to ensure your products are stored in the most efficient locations.
- ShipMonk: We like ShipMonk if your startup wants a smaller fulfillment partner. There’s a higher chance of getting in contact with a rep, and you don’t have as complicated of a network to mess with when there are only 3 warehouse locations to choose from.
- ShipHero: Every startup should contact ShipHero to see if the “no shipping zone” cost structure leads to lower fees for your business. Some startups discover that it’s the only way to go.
- Flowspace: We like this one for startups with special requirements. For instance, Flowspace is nice if you would rather not commit to a long term contract. It also works well for unique inventory storage or shipping needs, like Amazon fulfillment or food-grade shipping.
That’s all we have! We hope this article guides you on your way to finding the best fulfillment center for startups. If you require any further assistance along the way, please let us know in the comments.