It is not often that I post endorsements of commercial companies or products on my blog. In fact, I can’t remember ever having done it.
So, let me start with a disclaimer: I am about to do that. I would add that I do not work for this company and I am in no way affiliated with them. I do not receive any financial kickbacks or other perks because I have written about them here. I just think they’re worth talking about.
For years, I bought my office supplies at Staples or Costco, but I’ve found something better. Their prices are unbeatable and the quality of their products is very good. The company is Uline. They are a web-based company that sells everything from envelopes to cleaning supplies to office machinery. They have a U.S. site and a Canadian site.
Types of products they sell
- Office supplies – This place is like Staples on speed. If you are like me and you luuuurrrrrve office supply stores, you’ll love Uline
- Envelopes – regular envelopes, bubble mailers, self-sealing envelopes
- Packaging materials – boxes, crinkle paper, bubble wrap, packing tape, you name it. (For my friends who sell on Etsy or ship other products to customers, you really gotta check out their prices…)
- Safety products – Everything from disposable gloves to protective eyewear
- Cleaning products – Need cleaning products for your office? They’ve got it all.
Most people in my social and professional circles work in the non-profit or educational sectors, or they are entrepreneurs. In other words, they’re always looking for a bargain. If you are watching your budget, this company offers warehouse prices on their products to everyone. You do not have to be a business to buy from them. The difference in price between retail and these guys is staggering in some cases, and nominal in other cases. If find them particularly good for office supplies and packaging materials.
Delivery to your door
Although they use UPS to deliver their products and UPS often charges horrific tarrifs on their deliveries, Uline guarantees that Canadian customers to not pay extra tariffs. I have put in about six orders with Uline over the past year and so far, I have never paid extra UPS tariffs. My orders have usually arrived within 3 days of ordering.
The only downside
You can’t buy just one envelope or just one box. You have to order in quantity. Providing you have space to store a carton of envelopes, this is a great service. Depending on what it is, sometimes the minimum is 6 or 12. Other times it is 100 or more. It depends on the product.
Check out their sale products. I just ordered a case of bubble mailers for my books. When people order a book from my website, I usually send it in a bubble envelope. I have been buying these from Staples in a 12-pack for about $7. I just ordered a case of 100 from Uline for $25. Big price difference, eh?
Google “Uline coupons” before you submit your order. There are a couple of services that give you discount codes. Often these codes are available on the Uline site itself, but they are not always easy to find. Googling the discount codes helps to ensure you find the discounts you may be eligible for.
Who would benefit from Uline?
I am pretty sure that their target market is big corporations, but the deals are open to everyone, including:
- Non-profit organizations
- Schools and other educational institutions or academies
- Small businesses
- Entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and mompreneurs
- Freelancers, independent authors, independent musicians, artists and others who sell and ship books, CDs and other self-created products
Like I said… I can’t remember ever giving a commercial company a plug on my blog — and I certainly do not plan to make a habit of it. But these guys are for real. I have used them several times and I think they are one of the best kept secrets that “the little guy” needs to know about.
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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.