Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Value of Records in Sales and Shipping

Keeping Track of Transactions

The operations of a small home business requires detailed records be kept for protection of self and your customer. Setting up your business presence online will generate sales by mail via the internet therefore ensuring evidence of your product, is on it's way, is a priority.

A few options are available for us to use, that will be quite beneficial for the business owner, no matter your size. A few services are as follows:

Insured Mail

The customer must provide a signature for the item delivered. This signature provides proof of delivery and will withstand any court of law and is acceptable by business regulators or government group(s). A 'Certificate of Mailing' form is provided and available free at your postal office.

Recorded Delivery for Overseas

A service provided also by your post office. A numbered yellow ticket (USA) is available for free and again requires a signature from the customer and records are also kept by the Overseas post office department. Evidence is provided with your own ticket and records in the post office.

Express Mail

Use of next or second day delivery with express mail. You are provided with a $500.00 insurance coverage for each item shipped, as part of the standard fee you will pay. A signature is required from the customer to receive the delivery.

Courier Services

The use of courier services such as FedEx, UPS, Airborner, etc. Each service offers a minimum insurance coverage and again, requires a signature upon delivery UNLESS you, as the shipper chose to not require a signature.

Personal Delivery

Keep a receipt book (with carbon copy) on hand, and again, request their signature. This provides proof that delivery was completed.

Keeping a record of sales and deliveries, will provide you with 'physical' documented evidence, that your customer did receive their goods. This practice ensures that a customer cannot make claims, that they did not receive their order.

A few benefits of the service you choose to use, will provide a 'date stamp' to show when you sent the order to your customer. Compliance with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the USA, requires that orders be delivered within their '30 days' rule. Another good service that's available, is access to 'tracking' where your product is en route via online, which you can share with your customers.

Providing detailed evidence, to government regulators or groups (FTC, Better Business Bureau, FBI, IRS) will show that you care about your business and your customers. Orders placed by customers can be forgotten and a record of the order helps dispel any misgivings and legitimizes you, as a serious business owner.

One last note to pay attention while doing business online. Do not ship orders until cheques or money orders have cleared. Talk to your bank and make certain the monies have been drawn and inform your customers that their order will ship, as soon as the monies are recieved. This practice will ensure you do not recieve fraudulent cheques or money orders. I'm sure we've all experienced 'bounced' cheques at one time or another.

Operating a business requires attention to details and especially transactions. Staying legal and safe with laws, ensures maintaining a good business reputation. Good record keeping of documents are valuable for all businesses and owners.

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