How to Label a Box for Shipping: 9 Steps & Procedures

When you want to ship an item, it has to be well protected by a sturdy box of the right size, filled with packing materials such as packing peanuts or bubble wrap. If you want to be sure your package will reach its recipient, one thing you absolutely must do is label it properly.

The label on a box is essential for shipping. Labeling and addressing a package might sound like an easy thing to do, but too many people are making mistakes that make it difficult for their wrapped boxes to reach their destination.

To help you with this tricky procedure, below are the nine steps on how to label a box for shipping:

Step #1: Make sure you have the right address on the label

Before you think about adding the address of the recipient on your package, make sure you have the right address, and that this address is complete. If the postal code or the apartment number is missing, your precious box might have some trouble reaching its intended destination.

When you label a box for shipping, don’t forget to add your own address as well, in case your package needs to be returned to you.

Step #2: Reusing a box is fine if you remove old shipping labels

There is nothing wrong with reusing a shipping box that looks like it could be of the right size to package your item, as long as this box is in good condition. However, just know that you have the option to purchase new shipping boxes if you are worried the old ones won’t be durable enough.

You should also be sure to remove old shipping labels before adding your own. If an address has been written on the box with a marker, you could simply put a new shipping label over it.

Step #3: Use a waterproof marker on the shipping label

If you’re sending a package to a friend or a member of your family, or if you run a small business that doesn’t make a lot of sales, you can simply write the address of the recipient on the box with a black marker.

However, be sure to use a permanent waterproof marker to be certain nothing will be able to erase the address. If you have a terrible handwriting that no one but you is able to read, or if you have many boxes to ship, you should print out a shipping label instead.

Step #4: Use the right type of ink and paper

If you use a printer to label a box for shipping, you should use a weatherproof laser printer instead of an inkjet printer. This way, no rain or snow will be able to damage your label.

It should ideally be printed on some durable sticker paper with a strong adhesive, so it will be easy to stick to the box, and stay there while it’s in transit.

Step #5: Put some tape over the label if you’re using an inkjet printer

If you only have access to an inkjet printer and regular printing paper, don’t despair. Print out your shipping label, and put some transparent tape over it to protect the ink and the paper.

An alternative would be to place your label inside a clear pouch, and to tape this pouch to your box.

Step #6: Use a label template provided by your carrier

If you will be shipping your box through a carrier that only accepts a certain type of shipping label, be sure to follow their rules. You should be able to go to their website, to download a template, and to customize it.

Using a template provided by your carrier will ensure your package will make it to its destination without any issue.

Step #7: Double check the address on the shipping label

When you label a box for shipping, make sure you have written the address on your shipping box, or printed out a proper shipping label. Then, double check the address of the recipient to make sure you made no mistake.

Any typo or missing information could delay the arrival of the item you have shipped, so you should provide a complete and accurate address from the start.

Step #8: Don’t just put your label anywhere on the box

Stick your shipping label to the box in a place where it will be visible. You should avoid placing it over the flaps of the box, because if ever the package needs to be opened for inspection, your label will be destroyed.

If you want to take an extra precaution, you could stick two labels to the box, or simply place an extra one inside it. If one label gets damaged, the other one should be just fine.

Step #9: Create a return address label if you think it might be useful

If the item you are shipping is a gift for a loved one, it probably won’t be returned to you. However, if your package contains an item ordered by a customer, you should include a return address label in case the customer wants to return it.

You can simply print out your return address label, and place it inside the box, or inside the clear pouch containing your shipping label.

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