No matter where you are on your eCommerce journey, Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) will allow you to free up warehouse space, meet the fulfilment requirements to be on Amazon Prime, and improve your customer service and account health by taking advantage of Amazon’s services.
However, using FBA means preparing packages for FBA yourself, paying Amazon’s fees to do it for you, or paying a third-party FBA prep service. Each option has different advantages depending on your business size, existing warehouse capabilities, and total costs.
Outsourcing FBA prep can be an extremely cost-effective way to move inventory, to import new stock directly into FBA, and decrease the cost of staging inventory.
If you’re running a lean or a relatively small eCommerce store, you might not be able to meet FBA’s strict quality standards for prep. Not getting it right can result in your products being refused at the FBA warehouse or a higher rate of product returns, which may end in account suppression.
Inspection, packaging, and labeling products must meet FBA’s quality standards, sp it’s crucial that you have access to the manpower, equipment, and resources to do so efficiently and affordably.
Staging or FBA prep warehouses allow you to outsource this step to a third-party, so you can quickly and easily scale your eCommerce business without the headaches.
The best FBA prep warehouse will depend on your location, demand, and sales volume, but we’ve put together a list of 9 to help get you started.
9 best options for FBA prep warehouses
The following FBA prep warehouses are some of the best options we’ve found based on online reviews, services, and costs.
Flexport is primarily an import company specializing in moving goods from China to the United States, but they also offer basic FBA services. These services include FSKU labeling and quality inspections through Underwriters Laboratories, according to Flexport clients.
Flexport also has a very good reputation with users, making it a good choice for eCommerce sellers importing goods that are ready for FBA out of the factory, but need a quality import service that will move goods directly to FBA.
Freightos is an international import company primarily importing eCommerce products for everyone from suppliers to small-volume eCommerce sellers. However, Freightos also offers a dedicated FBA service, with import and shipping directly to FBA warehouses and a dedicated FBA support team.
Freightos stands out with extremely transparent pricing, allowing you to pay upfront per kilogram based on shipping destination (USA or UK) and shipping origination (India, China, UK).
As one of the most well-known FBA prep importers with many happy customers, Freightos stands out as one of your best options if you need import and FBA prep.
FBAforward is one of the largest import and staging solutions available, offering direct import from most major ports including China, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, S. Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, India, and Russia. The service also includes a full range of FBA prep services, such as inspection before and after shipment, direct prep for FBA including repackaging and labeling, and even product photography.
FBAforward does generally have positive reviews, but be sure to discuss fees beforehand to avoid surprises.
Our recommendation? If you need high volume imports from a variety of ports, it’s difficult to match FBAforward’s versatile services. However, if you run a smaller operation where extra fees could be crucial, you may want to look elsewhere.
McKenzie Services offers U.S.-based FBA prep and packaging, with flat rate fees to receive, unbox, inspect, inventory, FNSKU label, and ship to Amazon.
With a $40 minimum rate, and pricing starting from $1.10 per unit + $19 per month, McKenzie is an affordable option for smaller eCommerce sellers looking to move into Amazon without investing in a warehouse for prep.
With an Oregon-based warehouse, McKenzie is also able to offer sales-tax-free solutions in addition to speedy shipping to West Coast fulfilment centers. Kitting, bundling, and product photography services are also available.
While small, McKenzie Services maintains overwhelmingly positive reviews, making the company an excellent fit for small to medium eCommerce operations looking for third-party FBA prep.
EZ Prep is a California-based FBA prep service offering flat rate fees from $1.14 per item to receive, inspect, label, repackage, and ship FBA products to Amazon
With a range of custom solutions as well as versatile receiving options including direct-from international suppliers, a high-volume capacity, and a warehouse located nearby the Port of Los Angeles, EZ Prep has a lot to offer for sellers who want to save on import costs by going through LA.
FBA Transport offers an FBA prep service with direct-from-China import and inspection, plus a range of additional services.
Unlike many competitors, FBA Transport offers an unbundled service, allowing you to pay only for services you need rather than a flat rate for each. Transparent pricing, starting at 20 cents per unit for inspection and 12 cents per unit for FNSKU labeling also make it easy to calculate and predict costs.
However, with services each priced separately, including product testing, poly bagging, package inserts, and shipping pricing based on product weight and volume, full-service packaging may cost more than the standard of $1.14 you will find elsewhere (or it may cost less depending on which services you choose).
Shapiro is one of the oldest and largest FBA prep providers, offering one of the best reviewed FBA prep and shipping services available on Amazon.
The company is more than 100 years old, and caters to small to enterprise-level organizations with a minimum shipment rate of just $40.
Their additional services include customs negotiation, supplier-pick-up, freight forwarding, and a strong software platform offering full control of shipments and access to data.
FBA Flex Prep offers 24-hour to same-day inventory processing and FBA prep from Texas. With a flat-rate service starting at $1 per for up to 49 units and $0.60 for 50+ units, FBA Flex Prep offers a fast and affordable solution for wholesale and private label sellers.
FBA Flex Prep also offers inventory processing and FBA prep including receiving, inspecting, preparing, labeling, and shipping goods to Amazon.
The service does not require a contract or commitment and doesn’t include a monthly fee, but does not process fragile or hazardous (HAZMAT) goods.
First founded in 2008 as GreenCupboards.com, etailz is one of the largest Amazon sellers today. They have a sophisticated setup, and are opening it up to other brands who want to sell direct to Amazon. While the company offers numerous services, ranging from retail strategy to channel management, it also offers a complete FBA prep service.
etailz distribution is primarily geared towards eCommerce sellers who prefer to source inventory buying, prep, and fulfilment through one company. Etailz sources and imports inventory, preps it, and can ship directly to FBA from one of its two USA warehouses.
What to Consider When Choosing an FBA Prep Service
While many FBA prep centers will claim to offer the best or the lowest price, you often have to consider factors unique to your business.
- Location – Some sellers prefer to choose sales-tax free or low-cost ports for locations when shipping directly to Amazon from overseas. However, if you’re moving your own merchandise, you may want to choose a warehouse as close to possible to your own to reduce shipping costs.
- Pricing – Pricing is a crucial part of any eCommerce service, but it’s important to pay attention to costs based on volume and needs. For example, McKenzie Services charges a flat rate of $1.10 per unit plus $19 per month, which can pay off at a higher volume. FBA Transport offers bespoke pricing based on services you need, which can save you a great deal if your supplier is already handling most FBA prep.
- Storage Facilities – Some FBA prep services can store additional inventory for you to reduce total FBA costs. Others also offer traditional 3PL services. It’s important to pay attention to what you need based on your sales velocity, minimum order quantity from your supplier, and total costs of maintaining inventory yourself, storing it at FBA, or paying for storage at a prep center.
- Speed and Processing Time – FBA prep centers can take anywhere from less than 24 hours to more than a month to process your goods. This will depend on the organization, the services required, and location. If you’re importing from overseas, it’s important to balance costs against speed and how it affects your pipeline and inventory.
An FBA prep service can save you a great deal over investing in importing, inspecting, processing, labeling, and shipping inventory to Amazon yourself. However, it’s crucial to review costs and the suitability of each option to ensure that your FBA prep solution offers quality customer service and a return on value for your store.
With rates starting at around $1.00 per item at most companies (without international shipping), FBA prep can be a cheap and accessible option to help you increase sales on Amazon, reduce the cost of FBA, or reduce the total size of your organization.