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Questions Checklist: Hiring an Amazon FBA Prep Center

A woman looking at the products in Amazon FBA prep Center

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Amazon FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) has exploded in popularity in recent years. 63% of Amazon sellers in Canada leverage FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) services, highlighting the increasing demand for efficient fulfillment solutions.  With so many sellers turning to FBA, a new industry has emerged; Amazon FBA prep center. These centers specialize in prepping products and shipping to Amazon warehouses on behalf of sellers. 

However, not all FBA prep centers are created equal. You want to partner with one that offers exceptional service, advanced technology, and a seamless inventory system. The key is asking the right questions before choosing an FBA prep center. 

In this guide, we have penned down all the important questions that you need to ask a FBA prep center before hiring. 

What is an Amazon FBA Prep Center?

An Amazon FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) prep center is a warehouse facility that specializes in preparing and shipping products to Amazon’s fulfillment centers on behalf of third-party sellers. 

A staggering 81% of Amazon customers expect same-day or next-day delivery, emphasizing the importance of choosing an FBA Prep Centre that prioritizes fast and reliable shipping. FBA prep centers provide services to sellers who want to take advantage of Amazon’s Fulfilment by Amazon program without having to handle logistics and shipping themselves. They receive the seller’s inventory, prepare it to Amazon’s specifications, and ship it to Amazon’s warehouses for storage and order fulfillment.

Key services provided by FBA prep centers include:

1. Labelling 

Properly labelling products with FNSKU labels, codes, and any other required information. This ensures your products can be properly identified and tracked by Amazon’s fulfillment network.

2. Packaging 

Safely and securely packaging your products to protect them during shipping and storage. This includes putting products in polybags, using bubble wrap/dunnage, and properly sealing boxes.

3. Shipping 

Handling the shipping process of getting your products to Amazon’s fulfillment centers. This includes palletizing products, coordinating pickup, and managing shipping paperwork.

4. Bundling 

If you sell products in sets or bundles, have them assembled before shipment to Amazon. This provides a better customer experience with fewer issues.

5. Inspection 

Thoroughly inspect products for damage, defects, or other issues before sending to Amazon. Catching problems early prevents problems down the line.

6. Storage 

If needed, temporarily store your inventory before shipment to Amazon during peak seasons or inventory ramp-ups.

Read Also: FBA Vs FBM

Why It’s Important to Choose the Right Amazon FBA Prep Center?

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) has become an extremely popular way for businesses to grow and scale their eCommerce operations. With FBA, you send your inventory to Amazon’s fulfillment centers and they take care of storage, picking, packing, and shipping your orders. This frees up your time to focus on things like marketing, product development, and customer service. 

73% of North American shippers expect on-time or before-time delivery. Prep centers offer more affordable, timely deliveries because of their massive scale and quicker shipping options. 

Also, FBA prep centers can ensure that your inventory performance index remains more than 400, on a scale of 1000, such that you are allowed ample space in Amazon fulfillment centers. 

Choosing the right partner can impact the success of your Amazon business. An experienced, high-quality prep center makes the process smooth and seamless. But the wrong partner can cost you time, money, and headaches.

Read Also: Signs You Need a New Canadian Fulfillment Center

Questions to Ask About Services

Here are service-related questions you should ask: 

  • What specific services do they offer for prep? The prep process involves removing products from their original packaging, applying FNSKU labels, and prepping items according to Amazon’s requirements. A prep center should be able to receive pallet or box shipments from your manufacturer, break down the shipments, and prep each unit properly.
  • Do they provide barcode labelling services? Applying high-quality barcodes and FNSKU labels is essential for tracking inventory and sales. A prep center should use advanced labelling equipment and software to ensure 100% accuracy. Ask about their label sources, customization options, and verification process.
  • What types of packaging do they offer? Packaging has to meet Amazon’s specs for durability and presentability. A prep center should have experience determining optimal packaging for different product types. They may offer a range of packaging options including poly bags, boxes, bubble mailers, and more.
  • Will they handle the entire shipping process? A major benefit of using an FBA prep center is they take on the hassle of shipping. This includes securing reliable rates, scheduling regular pickups or deliveries to Amazon fulfillment centers, and providing tracking information. Make sure to understand their full-service shipping capabilities.

Questions to Ask About Pricing 

One of the most important considerations when choosing an Amazon FBA prep center is how much they will charge for their services. 

  • How do you charge for FBA prep services per unit, weight, or another method? Get specifics on their pricing structure.
  • Do you offer volume discounts? Many centers will lower per-unit costs as your shipment sizes increase.
  • Are there minimum fees per shipment? Even small shipments may have minimum charges.
  • Do you charge extra for labelling, bagging, bundling, or other special services? Know any add-on costs.
  • What is your charge for storing inventory? There is usually a per-day storage fee.
  • Do you offer monthly plans or prepaid packages? This may save money for high-volume sellers.
  • Are there additional fees for picking up pallets or delivering to Amazon? Ask about any hidden costs.
  • Will I be charged for adjustments or fixes on orders with errors? Find out if they charge for rework.

Questions to Ask About Quality

Quality control helps minimize errors, maintain consistency, and provide transparency. 

Here are some specific things to look for:

  • Inspection Process

Do they have checks in place during each step of the prep process? This includes evaluating inventory for damage, confirming products match the listing, checking expiration dates, and ensuring packaging meets requirements. Regular inspections ensure standards are met.

  • Tracking Methods

Are there tracking systems to monitor the progress of each order? This helps catch any issues early. Barcode scanning and inventory software help automate tracking.

  • Accuracy Rate

What is their overall accuracy percentage? A high rate (98%+) indicates strong quality control. Ask for samples or reviews to verify their rate.

  • Training Procedures

How are employees trained on protocols and best practices? Ongoing training helps improve quality standards. Look for robust training programs.

  • Compliance Standards

Do they follow Amazon’s strict prep requirements? Are they familiar with rules for restricted products, labelling, bundling, etc? Proper training on Amazon’s guidelines is a must.

  • Quality Assurance Team

Is there a dedicated QA team or manager overlooking the process? This oversight adds accountability and consistency. A robust QA team indicates a focus on quality.

  • Correction Process

If an error does occur, do they have a streamlined process to correct it? The ability to quickly remedy issues reflects a commitment to quality.

Questions to Ask About Technology

When vetting an Amazon FBA prep center, it’s important to understand what systems and technology they use behind the scenes. 

Key questions to ask include:

  • What inventory management system do you use? You want a center that uses advanced software to track inventory and orders, not spreadsheets. This ensures accuracy as your business scales.
  • How do you keep track of shipments and inventory in transit? They should use a unified system that gives live tracking information and inventory counts. This visibility helps you stay informed.
  • Do you provide a portal for me to access tracking and inventory data? You need real-time transparency into prep status, not just periodic reports. This enables proactive management.
  • How do you identify and resolve errors or mismatches? Robust error-checking processes using automation and algorithms minimize mistakes. This prevents losses. 
  • What tools do you use for workflow management and quality checks? Structured procedures supported by technology reduce human error. This improves quality control.
  • How often do you invest in new technology? Adopting the latest innovations separates leading prep centers from outdated ones. This brings efficiency.

Questions to Ask About Volume

When choosing an FBA prep center, it’s important to consider the volume of inventory they can handle. You’ll want to make sure they can scale up as your business grows. Here are some key questions to ask:

  • What is your maximum inventory capacity? Can you handle thousands of units per day if needed?
  • How quickly can you scale up operations if my volume increases rapidly? 
  • Do you have enough staff, warehouse space, and resources to handle dramatic volume spikes, like during the holiday season?
  • Are there any volume limitations I should be aware of?
  • Do you have experience working with high-volume sellers and large prep requirements?
  • Will I have problems or delays if I need to send very large shipments to you?
  • How do you ensure quality control and accuracy will be maintained during periods of peak volume?
  • Can you provide references from other clients with high volumes you have handled well?

Questions to Ask About Location

The location of the Amazon FBA prep center you choose is an important factor to consider. This will directly impact the costs associated with shipping your inventory to Amazon’s various fulfillment centers. 

When evaluating potential FBA prep centers, be sure to ask the following questions about their location:

  • Where are you located? It’s important to find a prep center that is located near you to reduce the transportation costs of getting your inventory to them. Having strategically located warehouses provides convenience and optimizes the shipping process.
  • How close are you to Amazon’s fulfillment centers? The proximity of the prep center to Amazon facilities is key. The closer the better in order to reduce fees and transit time. Look for a center that has established relationships with fulfillment centers in your target market.
  • What are your shipping rates to FBA facilities? Get an estimate of what it will cost to ship your prepared inventory to Amazon. This will depend on distance, weight, and volume. Compare rates between a few potential prep centers. 
  • Do you have discounted shipping rates? Some prep centers may have negotiated deals with shipping companies to reduce costs. See if they pass these savings along to their customers.
  • What shipping carriers and options do you offer? Make sure the center has access to all the major carriers like UPS, FedEx, and DHL so you can choose the fastest and most affordable option.


By asking the right questions upfront, you can find a partner that provides the specific services, pricing, quality, technology and capabilities that match your needs. 

When comparing potential prep centers, be sure to understand their full range of services and capabilities. Look beyond just labelling and shipping to see if they offer other services like warehouse storage, packaging design, freight forwarding, customer service, and more. These value-added services can save you significant time and money.

Partnering for Success with ShipTop

Choosing the right FBA Prep Centre in Canada is crucial for the success of your Amazon business. By asking the insightful questions outlined in this blog, you’ll gain valuable insights into a prep center’s capabilities, ensuring they align with your specific needs and growth aspirations.

At ShipTop, we understand the complexities of selecting the right FBA Prep Centre. We are more than just a fulfillment partner; we are your dedicated growth ally.

We offer:

  • Competitive rates and transparent pricing: We believe in fostering long-term partnerships built on trust and transparency.
  • Technology-driven solutions: We leverage cutting-edge technology to streamline operations, providing you with real-time order tracking and inventory insights.
  • Personalized support: Our dedicated account managers are here to answer your questions and guide you every step of the way. 

Get in touch with us to partner with the perfect FBA prep center for your business. 

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