The Best Third-Party Logistics Providers (3PL) of 2023

Best 3PL Fulfillment Providers Featured Image

Every business owner that sells physical products will tell you that one of the biggest challenges is inventory management and shipping. The time it takes to pick, pack, and ship products to customers is sizable, especially with extensive inventories or high order volumes. We’re looking at what we think are the best third-party logistics providers for e-commerce businesses and businesses that sell physical goods online to decide which is the best for your business and how you can benefit from them.

What is a Third-Party Logistics Provider?

A Third-Party Logistics provider (often shortened to 3PL) is a company that provides outsourced or external logistics services for businesses. These services may include inventory management, warehousing, transportation, and other logistics-related activities. 3PL providers help businesses manage the “last mile” of their supply chain by providing an end-to-end service from when goods are received until they are delivered to their final customers. The services offered by 3PL companies help businesses save time and money as they don’t have to manage every element of their supply processes.

Using a 3PL also means businesses can access more expertise and resources than they would have if they manage their logistics operations in-house. They can use a wider network of warehouses, suppliers, and transportation options, higher levels of customer service, and better consumer experience when using a third-party provider. For example, 3PLs often use advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and analytics to provide more efficient services to their clients.

Why Should I Use a Third-Party Logistics Provider?

There are several reasons to offload logistics and fulfilling orders to a third-party logistics provider.

Reduced Costs. A 3PL is more cost-effective, as they are better equipped to find competitive shipping rates and provide discounts on bulk orders. They also manage large warehouses and often thousands of other clients, meaning your fractional cost of warehousing is minimal and often so low it’s not worth breaking out on an invoice.

3PLs Can Handle It All. Third-party logistics providers offer scalability, allowing businesses to easily adjust their shipping needs as the number of orders grows. A 3PL’s staff is often equipped to handle a dozen or a thousand daily orders.

Offloading Risk. Outsourcing to a third-party logistics provider reduces the risks of handling shipping and logistics in-house, such as missed delivery deadlines or damaged goods due to improper packaging.

What to look for in a Third-Party Logistics Provider?

Customer Service. First and foremost, a small business should look for a 3PL that offers reliable customer service and can quickly answer any questions. The last thing you need is to have an issue with orders and be unable to reach someone.

Tailored to your needs. A 3PL that can provide flexible solutions tailored to their specific needs and scalability to meet the small business’ growing requirements over time. Look for a provider to support you in your early days and after your business has grown.

Guarantees and SLAs. An experienced 3PL with a proven track record of success will reflect their performance in their SLAs. It’s then in their best interest to ensure every order goes out correctly and on time.

Flexible storage options. Some third-party logistics providers charge for floor space only when you use it, and often break down that space into smaller chunks, so you’re not paying for an entire pallet’s worth of room when a bin will do.

Useful locations. A 3PL’s footprint isn’t always indicative of its performance, but if you find most of your customers are in one specific region, partnering with a 3PL that has a warehouse in that area can save you on shipping costs and result in orders arriving at a customer’s home or business much sooner.

Largest Fulfillment Network: ShipBob

ShipBob’s pricing transparency and lack of minimum monthly spending requirements make it a great solution for new businesses. While some 3PL services charge upwards of $500 per month, ShipBob’s $0 minimum spend gives small businesses access to high-quality logistics solutions and fulfillment nationwide. 

Inventory will always be close to your customers, with nearly two dozen warehouse locations across the continental United States and Canada, as well as a location in Australia and a handful of locations in Europe.


  • Substantial U.S. presence, with almost two dozen locations across the United States.
  • Over 90 integrations across the E-commerce landscape include a storefront, logistics, marketing, and more.
  • Two-day shipping is the default offering for orders in the United States.
  • No minimums are required to sign up
  • 99.95% order fulfillment accuracy rate
  • Transparent pricing for all of their standard services
  • Self-service Growth Plan for getting started at no cost


  • Support for Amazon businesses is decent, but they lock out many potential clients with the 400-order/month minimum.
  • Takes no responsibility for damage to a customer’s inventory in their control (you must provide insurance of your own)
  • Storage costs are high, though they may not be an issue if your inventory moves quickly.
  • Does not offer Amazon Seller-Fulfilled Prime (SFP) services.

Fulfillment Costs

  • Receiving: $25/hour for the first two hours; $40/person/hour thereafter
  • Storage: $40/pallet/month; $10/shelf/month; $5/bin/month
  • Pick and Pack: FREE for the first 4 picks; +$0.20 each thereafter
  • Materials: FREE
  • Shipping: Varies based on several factors (carrier, destination, weight, size, and more).
  • Returns: $3 per order
  • Special Projects: $45/person/hour
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Seller Journal Rating 4.5
at ShipBob Read the full review

Subscription Boxes: ShipMonk

Copious amounts of warehouse space turns ShipMonk into a great solution for businesses selling various products. ShipMonk also offers dedicated workflows and handling for subscription box services, making them a unique choice on this list for those who sell monthly collections of curated goods. 

With their optional MonkProtect service, your business can offer insurance for orders automatically at checkout–potentially increasing revenue and trust in the company–and guaranteeing each customer is satisfied, even if their order arrives damaged.

ShipMonk Pros

  • Extensive integrations list with support for every major platform
  • Dedicated support for subscription box services, with specific internal workflows
  • Two-day shipping is the default offering for orders in the United States.
  • Offer shipping protection at checkout for a small fee paid by the customer
  • Good distribution of warehouses across continental North America, including Canada and Mexico 
  • Provides Amazon FBA prep services
  • Seller-Fulfilled Prime support

ShipMonk Cons

  • The minimum spend is on the higher end of the scale than others on this platform.
  • Takes no responsibility for damage to a customer’s inventory in their control (must provide insurance)
  • No guarantees for same-day shipping
  • Spikes in orders result in delays in order processing

ShipMonk Costs

Above all else, ShipMonk has a minimum $250/month fee. The difference is charged if storage and order costs do not exceed the $250/month minimum. Prices are based on up to 500 monthly orders and up to 500 monthly subscription boxes. Prices are lower for higher volumes.

  • Storage (calculated daily)
    • Small Bin: $1/month
    • Medium Bin: $2/month
    • Large Bin: $3/month
    • X-Large Bin: $4/month
    • Pallet: $25/month
  • Pick and Pack
    • Single Order
      • First: $3.00/order, Additional: $0.75/each/order
    • Subscription Box
      • Box assembly + kitting (5 items): $2.50/order, Additional: $0.20/each/order
      • $15 batch processing fee if less than 50 identical subscription boxes are assembled at once
  • Returns
    • Base (1 item): $2.00
    • Each Additional item: $0.50/each
  • Materials
    • Packaging materials: $0.15-$2.00/order
    • Promotional inserts: $0.20
    • Bubble pouches: $0.50/item
  • Shipping: discounted carrier rates
  • Other
    • Separate charge(s) for custom packaging
    • Gift messaging
      • Blank 4×6″ card: $1.00
      • Custom 4×6″ card: $0.80 + insert cost
    • Fragile items and items over 5 pounds may incur additional charges.
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Seller Journal Rating 4.0
at ShipMonk Read the full review

Custom SMB Solutions: The Fulfillment Lab

The Fulfillment Lab is built for small, medium, and large businesses that operate complex e-commerce and supply chains. Integrates with every key e-commerce platform (and many lesser-known ones). With a robust SLA and substantial international presence, established businesses looking for a more tailored, custom 3PL solution will likely find it with The Fulfillment Lab.

The Fulfillment Lab Pros

  • Integrates with over 40 different e-commerce platforms, including Shopify, BigCommerce, Squarespace, Etsy, and more.
  • Use the provided management software to track your inventory in real time.
  • In-house design and print services for custom, bespoke marketing campaigns with your orders.
  • With the help of The Fulfillment Lab’s team, create custom packaging and shipping material for your orders.
  • Partnership with Sloan Health Products is an opportunity for growth for supplement and health-centric businesses.
  • 99.9% SLA
  • Great international presence

The Fulfillment Lab Cons

  • Only two U.S. locations (planning a third with no ETA at this time)
  • No up-front estimation of pricing
  • Minimum run of $500 per month or 10+ shipments per day.
  • No climate-controlled facilities

The Fulfillment Lab Costs

Pricing is dependent on several factors. For orders in the $80-$160 range, the average total fulfillment cost is about $8 per shipment, given 10-20 orders daily. An example item TFL provided would be a candle (shipped about 6 inches cubed).

Inventory that hasn’t moved in 90 days results in a charge passed on how much space those items occupy in the warehouse.

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The Fulfillment Lab

Seller Journal Rating 4.0
at The Fulfillment Lab Read the full review

Flat-rate Pricing: ShipHero

Bucking the traditional pricing structure of most 3PL companies, ShipHero offers a flat rate for each shipment. Paying the same price for each shipment can mean big potential savings, though depending on the variance in each order’s cost and retail value, lower-priced, lower-margin items may suffer at the hands of inadvertent loss-leader status, even if that’s not your intention.

The Fulfillment Lab Pros

  • Free onboarding and account setup
  • Receiving inventory is also free
  • Amazon Seller-Fulfilled Prime support
  • Flat-rate fulfillment costs can mean significant savings for orders heading longer distances.
  • PostHero’s detail and usability make for easy whole-business order tracking.
  • 99.9% SLA
  • ParcelView offers top-notch transparency, so you’re not asking customers for photos of how an order was packed.

The Fulfillment Lab Cons

  • While the fulfillment cost is a flat rate regardless of order destination in the United States, it’s unclear what the costs are.
  • Takes no responsibility for damage to a customer’s inventory in their control (must provide your insurance)
  • Flat-rate fulfillment costs can make local deliveries more expensive than they need to be
  • Does not provide FBA Prep services
  • No locations outside of North America

ShipHero Costs

  • Onboarding: FREE
  • Receiving: FREE
  • Storage: $0.65/square foot
  • Fulfillment: Flat rate based on shipping weight, dimensions, and service level (Standard vs. Overnight, for example). 
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Seller Journal Rating 3.5
at ShipHero Read the full review

Niche & High-Value Inventory: Red Stag Fulfillment

With the most generous guarantees in the industry, Red Stag Fulfillment stands by its SLAs. It is an excellent option for established businesses looking to move to a provider offering a more tailored, custom solution. Red Stag Fulfillment isn’t a service provider for everyone; however, with a higher minimum than most, limited warehouse locations, and higher-than-average costs for smaller items. They excel for businesses that sell high-end, valuable, or hazardous products with their bespoke access controls and chain of custody processes in each of their warehouses.

Red Stag Fulfillment Pros

  • Hands-on service and support team for building out and modernizing an existing 3PL workflow after it comes over to RSL
  • Industry-leading SLA policies and guarantees for order processing and fulfillment mistakes, including $50 compensation for each error.
  • Deep integration catalog with all the major platforms
  • Specializes in high-value, fragile, hazardous, and oversized goods
  • Shipping boxes are custom-fit to each order, matching the item’s size to ensure less material waste and a more secure shipment.
  • Seller-Fulfilled Prime support
  • Low order minimums
  • 100% on-time order SLA, 99.97% accurate order SLA

Red Stag Fulfillment Cons

  • Minimum of roughly 200 orders per month, though that is flexible.
  • Extra fee for small shipments (less than 1 pound)
  • Lack of automatic itemized invoicing (creating itemized invoicing falls under “special project” costs)
  • No international locations
  • No support for batch fulfillment, crowdfunding campaigns, or high-volume subscription boxes

Red Stag Fulfillment Costs

  • Receiving: $14.25 per pallet
  • Storage: $0.75 per cubic foot
  • Pick and Pack:
    • First item: $1.80 to $2.25
    • Additional item: $0.32
  • Materials: $0.80
  • Shipping: discounted carrier rates
  • Returns: $6 per order plus return shipping cost
  • Other:
    • Special Projects: $40/hour/person
    • Small package fee ($1) for shipments less than 1 LB.
Red Stag Fulfillment logo

Red Stag Fulfillment

Seller Journal Rating 4.0
at Red Stag Fulfillment Read the full review

Wrap Up

Third-party logistics providers can play an important role in businesses looking to outsource shipping and supply chain needs. It is important to choose a provider that best fits one’s specific needs, and it is essential to consider factors such as price, location, technology offerings, and scalability. No provider is a one-size-fits-all solution, so it is wise to research the best fit for your business before engaging a third-party logistics provider.


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