Fulfilling a campaign is one of the most expensive and time consuming aspects of running a Kickstarter campaign. Many first-time creators do not realize just how much work and money are going to spent on distributing the games to their backers. I have now fulfilled two campaigns, shipping the US rewards out myself, and I wanted to take the time to discuss the methods I chose for fulfillment in the hopes that it makes your lives easier when fulfilling your own campaigns!
Today I will be discussing my experience in fulfilling my Kickstarter campaign for Dirigible Disaster.
The campaign at a glance:
- Number of backers: 443
- Total amount raised: $16,054
- Number of Packages shipped within the US: 321
- Number of Packages shipped internationally: 113
Method of Fulfillment:
- All US backers were fulfilled (by me) using the United States Postal Service Priority mail service (321 games)
- Asian and Australian backers were fulfilled by our printer Wingo Ind Ltd (12 games)
- All remaining International backers were fulfilled by Gamesquest (101 games)
Freight from China to Rochester NY.
After the games were printed, the first step in getting them out to my backers was to ship them from our printer in China to me in Rochester NY. All of the games (except for the 12 fulfilled by Wingo) were ocean shipped to me with the help of my freight partner OTX Logisitcs. Many people ask about the cost to ship a print run of games from China to USA as it is very important in estimating final costs; however it is very hard to gauge the costs as size, weight, and time of year can all have large effects on the freight cost. For Dirigible Disaster, the total weight of the freight was about 850 pounds and it cost us about $1,212.00. This cost is the door to door cost including all taxes and fees.
Asian and Australian Fulfillment
I only had 12 backers from Asia and Australia, so I decided that it would probably be best to save time and money and have Wingo Ind Ltd, our printer, fulfill these 12 games. Wingo has a fulfillment service and as far as I can tell, they will do it for larger quantities of games as well. We had to be very specific how we wanted the games sent and what type of shipping service we wanted. They originally quoted us a very high cost for express shipping but we were on time for delivery and the remainder of the games had a very long journey to make, so we went with standard shipping using their services and the games still arrived to the Asian and Australian backers before any of our other shipments went out.
For EU fulfillment, we partnered with Gamesquest. This was our first time working with Gamesquest and it ended up being a fantastic partnership that we will be happy to make again for future campaigns. Gamesquest was fulfilling 101 games for us and in order to get the games to them, we first had the games shipped with the entire stock to Rochester NY. 101 games were then sent via DHL express to Gamesquest in Great Britain. Using DHL, it cost us only $156 and took only 3 days. This was AMAZING! For our previous campaign, Dino Dude Ranch, it cost almost three times us much USPS Priority International, to ship half the number of games and it took at least a month to get through customs. As you can tell, this is fantastic for so many reasons (time, cost, peace of mind) and we are happy to use this method for freighting games to the EU for every campaign we have from here on out.
Once the games arrived in the EU, Gamesquest was tied up for a week or two before they were able to process our games and begin shipping them. However, they did apologize for the delay and once they got started, the games were shipped out rather quickly. All of the packages arrived to our backers on time and without incident. Gamesquest’s costs are unbeatable and their service was very very good. Our representative, Andrew, helped guide me through every step along the way, from the DHL shipment up until the games were in our backers hands. I cannot recommend Gamesquest’s services enough.
I decided that I would try to tackle self-fulfillment myself again. I had done this for Dino Dude Ranch and I wanted to do it again as Dirigible Disaster is almost the exact same size as Dino Dude Ranch and we had a very similar number of backers between the two campaigns. The games are a funny size that is somewhere between the small and medium sized priority flat rate boxes. The games do fit great inside a flat rate padded envelope and this is how we fulfilled the Dino Dude Ranch campaign, so we figured this would be the best way to send the games out. We also shipped all multiple game purchases (Dirigible Disaster and Dino Dude Ranch combo packs) using medium flat rate boxes.
One upgrade I went with this time around was a DYMO postage printer. The DYMO printer is a thermal printer that uses no ink and will pair directly with Endicia to print postage and address labels. Not only did this speed up the process (considering we hand wrote all of the addresses for Dino Dude Ranch), but it saved us a lot of money. Printing postage through Endicia saved us $0.60 per flat rate envelop and $1.50 per medium flat rate box. Although packing up over 300 games took up a good portion of mine and my wife’s nights for about 4 days, we had everything shipped out to backers in just about a week.
After fulfilling two campaigns using the padded flat rate envelopes and having 0 backers complain about direct damage due to shipping, I am now confident that this is a great method for shipping out the games. The money saved using this method can go towards replacing any of the few (if at all) incidents that may arise in shipping using the envelope vs. a box. As I mentioned though, we have yet to have any issues using this method.
So here we are with another campaign fulfilled. We are still learning as we go and developing our process to make sure fulfillment goes as expected time-wise and cost-wise. We are fortunate enough to say that we have had very little incident, our backers have received their games on time, and they have arrived with no major issues. This is definitely getting easier each time we do it and we hope to find the best ways to move forward with fulfilling our next campaign, Gadgeteers. If you will be fulfilling a campaign soon and you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me. I am happy to help in any way I can! This is one of the most difficult parts of a campaign but it is literally the FINAL step before your backers get the games. You are almost there, you can do it!