Planning for Cost & Time Saving On Custom Packaging

💡Top Considerations for Cost and Time Saving on Custom Packaging

Saving on Packaging Costs
Structure & Materials
Manufacturing & Shipping Channels
Saving Time with your Shipping Methods

Your packaging plays a significant role in your business.

It’s the first encounter many people will have with your brand, and you want the packaging to be an experience for your customers.

It needs to be exciting for customers yet easy to create, ship and distribute.

It’s not always easy to figure out how much it costs to ship a package, but we can help!

In this guide, we’ll look at;

  • how to plan your packaging costs
  • what you need to think about when it comes to design and manufacturing
  • how to design packaging that sells your brand and saves you time
image as a metaphoric example for many components of packaging costs
Source: Kayla Adams

Before delving into the topic, let’s look at some of the key considerations that go into packaging design:

  • Prices of all the materials
  • How durable the packaging is
  • How easy it is to assemble and handle
  • Aesthetic

Throughout the process, these should be your key considerations guiding your packaging decisions.

Let’s take a look at how to design packaging that saves you money, so you don’t have to worry about how much it costs to ship a package.

Saving on packaging costs

When we think about packaging costs, the real consideration is the price of the materials, how it looks, and the volume of packaging manufactured.

These three factors will largely determine the base pricing for custom boxes.

example of saving on packaging costs
Source: Trouva

While it’s hard to give exact figures, understanding how different elements can change pricing will help determine a reasonable budget.

Packaging design is a nuanced practice because of these considerations, but we’ll take some of these key elements step by step to help you determine your costs.

Structure & Materials

You’ll see the term structural design come up a lot in this context. This is essentially referring to the design of the custom boxes.

Paired with packaging material (i.e., what the box is made of), packaging costs will vary based on your product.

There are ways to make cost-efficient custom packaging depending on the product specifications, but all of it depends on your product’s dimension and size.

example of structure and materials
Source: The Dieline

So before jumping into your packaging design “wants,” think about your packaging “needs.”

Your basic expectations of your packaging will more likely than not include;

  • Functionality
  • Durability
  • Aesthetic

The other elements are details that will complement your packaging needs.

This includes cutting down on raw material costs through structural engineering, for example, or your printing capabilities.

These elements will help you predict your packaging costs and lay a base for you to really focus on your packaging design, rather than worrying about your budget.


Durability plays a significant role in your packaging design.

Your custom packaging should be able to withstand wear and tear, different weather scenarios, and rough handling throughout the shipping and distribution processes.

You can test and predict the durability of your packaging early on by asking the vendor you choose about their quality assurance practices and protocols to get a better idea of how exactly they choose to handle your packaging design.

This might include;

  • testing its shock absorption
  • Compression
  • how the materials react against temperature conditions

Getting a good idea of these elements early on can help save a lot of headache (and customer complaints!) down the line.

So, make sure to put your packaging design to work and continually test it.

Once you’ve come up with a durable custom box design, the next step is to decide the number of units you need for your product launch plan.


The basic tenet of packaging design is that higher volumes will drive down costs. This might be offset by other factors, such as a sped-up timeline and setup costs based on the design and function.

The setup cost refers to preparing the machinery to create your custom packaging.

Note: Traditionally your set up costs will be higher for smaller unit size orders.Producing a larger volume in one go will save you individual setup costs.

So, always think about designing custom boxes and packaging for the long-term to help save on costs.

example of volumes of packaging
Source: Behance

The other option is to look at the short-term spend vs long-term cost.

If you’re not comfortable buying large volumes for your initial product launch, use the testing phase we mentioned earlier as a way to feel out the new packaging design.

Once you determine how it withstands different elements and whether your customers receive your packaging positively, that gives you the green light to purchase your packaging in higher volumes.

After deciding on the volume of your custom packaging, the actual manufacturing process becomes crucial at this step as you go into more practical elements of custom packaging.

Manufacturing & Shipping Channels

So, once you know how the custom boxes will look and the volume you need, the next step is to think about where the packaging will be manufactured and how much it will cost to ship a package.

Manufacturing networks are different in how they run, and so are transport options.

To manufacture the boxes, you’ll need to think about what kind of expertise and processes are in place for your chosen manufacturer and how efficiently they can create exactly what you need.

You can use their timelines as a baseline to start planning shipping pathways.

Note: Some manufacturers may not offer design and structural engineering services, which will mean the onus will fall on you to find those additional services.

However, custom packaging solutions providers will guide you through your custom packaging from ideation to the final product, which will help save on time and costs.

Shipping is extremely variable, and so much of it will depend on how the custom design packaging works for the product and the main shipping method you think would be best.

A lot of this depends on geographic location and your product launch plan!

Saving Time with your Shipping Methods

To ship products, think about where customers are located, the speeds of different shipping options, and the manufacturer’s speed in creating the custom packaging.

Depending on your timeline, you may find that some custom packaging options are more suitable than others.

Lightweight packaging tends to be easier logistically and will likely cut down on your shipping costs.

You may end up needing to switch transport channels even if your custom box is lightweight.

Air and sea transport will be slower but will end up being cheaper for heavier goods.

Ground shipping will work for nationwide shipping, but product weight and dimension will change the costs in this case too.

To better estimate the shipping costs, think about how much it will cost to ship the custom box design and packaging based on the product and packaging’s weight and dimension.

This will also be beneficial for international orders through air or sea, but again, shipping time will be a challenge.

Understanding the combined weight of the item and its packaging will help determine what your custom packaging shipping journey will look like and how much it will cost to ship packages overall.

We know custom packaging and custom boxes can be daunting when planning for cost and time-saving.

example of custom packaging
Source: Behance

Luckily, PakFactory has a wealth of experience in the field and is always happy to help you review and optimize your packaging options.

Our services include;

  • price optimization
  • request for quotation
  • packaging consultation
  • Structural and artwork design
  • sourcing vendors & manufacturers
  • fulfillment warehouses
  • logistics optimization
  • and much more!

If you’re thinking of starting a packaging project now or have related questions about packaging costs, please contact our product specialists to assist you in your packaging journey!