2023 Saltbox Review: 3PL Fulfillment & Workspace Rentals
This article is part of a larger series on Retail Management.
Saltbox is a third-party logistics (3PL) order fulfillment company that provides purpose-built workspace rentals and flexible on-site services for small and midsize ecommerce businesses. It has fulfillment centers in nine major metropolitan areas throughout the US.
In our evaluation of the best order fulfillment companies for small businesses, Saltbox came in second place with a score of 4.43 out of 5. It offers a unique range of services to support in-house, hybrid, and outsourced fulfillment at various stages of growth.
- Customized solutions include any combination of in-house and/or third-party services
- Easy access to inventory and facilities keeps sellers in full control
- Membership includes valuable resources and amenities for your business
- Limited scalability
- Business-only customer support hours
- No refrigeration or frozen warehousing for cold chain compliance
When to Use Saltbox
- Ecommerce retailers: Saltbox is one of the top choices for direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce fulfillment
- In-house fulfillment operations: Use its purpose-built workspace rentals and on-demand labor
- Growing businesses: Saltbox offers hybrid fulfillment with no long-term contracts
- Amazon sellers: Saltbox is Seller-Fulfilled Prime (SFP)-eligible
- Crowdfunding projects: Saltbox accommodates batch fulfillment and limited product runs with month-to-month workspace rentals and flexible third-party services
When to Use a Saltbox Alternative
- High-value, heavy, oversized, or hazardous products: Red Stag Fulfillment is more economical for special-handling needs
- Hands-off outsourced fulfillment: Whitebox offers full-service fulfillment and marketplace management
- Global distribution: We recommend ShipBob for its wide international warehouse network
- Mid-volume and enterprise-level scalability: ShipNetwork is a better choice for accommodating growth
There’s no minimum order requirement to use Saltbox, making it accessible for startups and small businesses. It provides private warehouses and workspaces for rent that can help businesses expand their in-house fulfillment operations. Additionally, the company offers third-party services that can provide extra help without the need to hire more employees.
Our Saltbox review finds the company’s fully outsourced fulfillment option provides unmatched levels of control over your inventory, orders, and processes—making it ideal for transitioning from in-house fulfillment.
Since Saltbox’s platform prioritizes control, it’s a poor fit for retailers and multipreneurs who want hands-off outsourced fulfillment. Additionally, it’s not the most cost-effective option for high-value, oversized, or fragile products, and Saltbox doesn’t allow the production or sale of hazardous materials. In these cases, we recommend seeking a specialized alternative.
Saltbox Deciding Factors
Supported Business Types
Small to midsize businesses, startups, ecommerce stores, retail stores, DTC sellers, business-to-business (B2B) sellers, crowdfunding ventures, resellers, and subscription-box services
Setup & Onboarding Fees
Warehouse suite and office suite rentals:
US Warehouse Locations
International Warehouse Locations
Shipping Partner Options
FedEx, UPS, US Postal Service (USPS), and open-ended regional carriers
Via phone, email, and in-person 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time Monday through Friday
Best for: B2B and DTC ecommerce fulfillment
Best for: Oversized, heavy, high-value, or fragile items
Best for: Multichannel sellers seeking Seller-Fulfilled Prime (SFP) fulfillment
Best for: Combined fulfillment and full-service marketplace management
Monthly minimum: None
Monthly minimum: ≈200 orders
Monthly minimum: 1,000 orders
Our evaluation of the top fulfillment companies considered pricing transparency, billing transparency, and billing predictability. Saltbox scored well but lost a small amount of points for pricing transparency.
Saltbox’s pricing for order fulfillment is listed online, whereas prices for its workspace and warehouse rentals are custom-quoted based on size and location.
Its third-party fulfillment services are charged separately from workspace rentals, and most services are available a la carte with no long-term contract. This allows users to choose whatever combination of services makes the most sense for their business and scale to meet fluctuating demand effortlessly.
For business shipping fewer than 100 orders per month (or startups unsure of what order volume to expect), Saltbox has a $500 per month flat-fee program that includes pick and pack for up to 100 orders, storage for two pallets, and coverage for up to 120 stock keeping units (SKUs).
Here’s a look at Saltbox pricing for standard ecommerce fulfillment. For the price of warehouse suites, office suites, and other customized options, contact Saltbox to receive a quote.
What It Covers
Onboarding and account setup is free
(Included in fulfillment fee)
Full-service inbound stock receipt, unpack, and check-in
3.3 cents per cubic foot, per day
Secure storage and inventory management
$3.25 per order
Receiving, pick and pack, and packaging materials
Pick & Pack
(Included in fulfillment fee)
Picking unlimited items from inventory and packing them for shipment
(Included in fulfillment fee)
Free standard boxes, mailers, and dunnage
Calculated per-package based on weight and shipping distance
Shipping costs vary depending on the size, weight, and destination of your goods
$35 per person-hour
Versatile labor to handle open-ended additional needs, such as product labeling and supplier management
Saltbox performed well in this category and ultimately earned a solid score. We awarded points for its efficiency and helpful shipping options as well as its overall quality of services.
Although the company has facilities in key metropolitan areas around the US, its warehouse network is smaller than some of our top-ranked providers. This impacted its final score, along with its catalog of available integrations, which doesn’t cover as many selling tools as providers like ShipMonk and ShipBob.
Click below to expand on the features that contribute to Saltbox’s Quality and Functionality score.
Saltbox’s fulfillment services are highly flexible and can be easily customized to meet your business’ needs. This is particularly helpful during periods of rapid growth or fluctuating demand.
A fully outsourced option is available in which your inventory is received, sorted, and stored by Saltbox staff—who then pick, pack, and ship all orders on your behalf. This program works similarly to the other providers on our list of the best fulfillment companies.
But unlike its competitors, Saltbox’s third-party services are designed to keep the client in full control of their inventory and orders. This is achieved through high-level communication and operational flexibility.
The company is highly startup-friendly and requires no minimum order volume to use its fulfillment services. Each Saltbox location can accommodate businesses processing up to 20,000 orders per month. For clients with greater sales volume, their inventory and workload can be distributed among multiple fulfillment centers.
While a number of Saltbox’s clients take advantage of fully outsourced fulfillment, most customers use its third-party services in conjunction with a rented warehouse suite or office space (explained in detail below).
This hybrid approach serves as a functional alternative to the standard methods used for in-house fulfillment. Rather than using a guest bedroom, garage, or rented storage unit, you can use purpose-built spaces for your ecommerce businesses that are already equipped with all the resources you need.
Instead of hiring a permanent staff or taking on seasonal employees to help during sales spikes, you can enlist the help of Saltbox’s “Elastic Workforce” as needed (billed in 15-minute increments).
Saltbox also provides Flex Storage services to supplement your workspace with additional warehousing for your goods. It features temperature control, precise digital tracking, and advanced security, and clients are only charged for the space they use.
Saltbox currently has nine facilities located in the following metropolitan areas:
- Los Angeles
- Washington, D.C.
The fulfillment centers are strategically located to be accessible for dense populations, enabling fast and cheap shipping as well as click-and-collect or BOPAC options. This proximity also allows business owners to stay close to their inventory for quality checks, custom orders, and last-minute changes.
Saltbox reports that it plans to further expand its footprint in coming years with dozens of additional locations.
Clients can distribute their inventory throughout Saltbox’s warehouse network to optimize their reach and reduce shipping costs.
While Saltbox can handle cross-border shipping, it doesn’t have any international warehouse locations and hasn’t announced plans to expand globally. This may be an issue for sellers who frequently ship internationally or wish to target foreign markets (we recommend ShipBob for its wide global warehouse network).
Support for Saltbox clients is available by phone, email, and in person from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time, Monday to Friday. It offers some of the best client support services of all the fulfillment companies on our top ranking list.
According to Saltbox, its fulfillment centers have intentionally limited volume capacities to ensure that operational demand never compromises staff’s ability to interact directly with clients.
Most competing fulfillment companies use a ticket system to receive support queries and promise to respond within a set timeframe (typically one to two business days). Users report that particularly high-volume operations (such as FBA) can take up to weeks to respond. Saltbox’s support structure eliminates the wait time by putting clients directly in touch with support team members, which leads to efficient issue resolution.
Each Saltbox member also has easily accessible, direct contact with the salaried manager of their local fulfillment center. This approach is far more personalized than the majority of 3PLs, including ShipBob and Deliverr, which often rely on outsourced representatives to handle client support.
Saltbox operates on ShipHero warehouse management software (WMS), which extends a wide array of one-click native integrations to Saltbox clients. The list includes a large number of connections with shipping solutions as well as the leading ecommerce platforms and marketplaces.
For integrations not currently available, the WMS offers developer-friendly open application programming interface (API) that can be used to build custom connections.
Here’s a complete list the current direct integrations available to Saltbox clients:
- Ecommerce platforms: BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Magento, Magento 2, MyStore, MyStoreNo, and Shopify.
- Online marketplaces: Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Etsy, and Google Shopping
- Shipping carriers: 99Minutos (eShip), APC, Bring, DeutschePost, DPD UK, RRDonnellley, Estafeta, Global-e, Globegistics2, Hermes, Ontrack, Segmail, RoyalMail, Sendcloud, UPS, Canada Post, DHL Express, Endicia, Fedex, InterlinkExpress, purolator, sendle, USPS, Asendia, Canpar, ePost Global, FedEx Cross Border, Globegistics 2.0, Joeyco, Shippo, Webshipr, Australia post, CouriersPlease, DPD, eShip, Firstmile, GLS US, NZ Post, Royal Mail, Startrack, and Xdelivery.
- Returns management platforms: LoopReturns and Returnly.
- Integration partners: ConstaCloud, Pipe17, and vicking.
- Other integrations: 6 River Systems, FlavorCloud, Klaviyo, SPS Commerce, Alloy Automation, Flxpoint, Nulogy, Brightpearl, Inventory Planner, Oracle NetSuite, Channel Advisor, inVia Robotics, and Order Desk.
Saltbox provides impressive specialty services, including rare and hard-to-find offerings as well as standard services like international shipping, assembly/kitting, and the use of custom packaging elements.
Saltbox is also one of the few providers on our list that offers climate-controlled storage spaces, making it ideal for temp-sensitive goods. It’s also eligible to send Amazon SFP orders, which is a crucial feature not all 3PLs offer.
Saltbox lost points in this section for its lack of international warehouse locations and its inability to produce custom packaging in-house.
Saltbox’s standout specialty services include:
As mentioned above, Saltbox’s biggest differentiating factor is its ability to provide solutions for a variety of fulfillment models. In addition to third-party fulfillment, the company can facilitate in-house and hybrid fulfillment through workspace rentals.
Clients can rent warehouse and/or office suites that were designed to accommodate ecommerce businesses. Saltbox aims to provide a purpose-built alternative to the ill-fitting spaces commonly used by ecommerce startups and small businesses.
Three sizes of each space are available; warehouse suites range from 100–8,000 sq. ft. and office suites range from 60–170 sq. ft.
Saltbox’s workspaces can be rented on a month-to-month basis with no penalty for starting or stopping. Industrial warehouses and office buildings typically require long-term leases and can be very difficult to scale up or down, making Saltbox a much more user-friendly option.
Each rental comes with enterprise-grade equipment as well as reliable Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and other amenities listed below. Security is ensured by video surveillance, an enterprise-grade security system, controlled access, and a nightly security patrol. The spaces are also fully customizable to suit your needs and reflect your brand, and flexible supplementary storage options are available.
Saltbox’s turnkey facility rentals are charged at an all-inclusive monthly price that varies depending on location and suite size. Contact Saltbox to receive a quote, schedule a tour, or get more info.
Prices for Saltbox’s Denver location start at $315/month for a 100 sq. ft. warehouse suite and $495 for 60 sq. ft. office suite. The average office rental rate in Denver is $33.82 per square foot, so Saltbox’s workspace rentals are an incredibly affordable option.
Saltbox members renting a warehouse or office suite get access to all the resources needed to power their business at no extra cost. The company also provides unique perks and other opportunities.
Saltbox offers up its enterprise-level logistics infrastructure for clients to use, including loading docks, pallet jacks, and hand trucks—plus daily carrier pickups from FedEx, USPS, and UPS.
Members get anytime access to conference rooms, phone booths, kitchens (with free coffee and snacks), co-working areas, and a well-equipped product photography studio. It also provides cleaning, in-house printing services, free parking, fast Wi-Fi, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), and on-site employees ready to assist with logistics expertise.
While most fulfillment companies occupy sprawling plots in outlying industrial zones, Saltbox’s facilities are all centrally located in major metropolitan areas. This gives business owners and their customers easy access to merchandise.
Fulfillment clients can take advantage of Saltbox’s proximity to stay in control of their inventory. They can easily visit a fulfillment center to inspect a shipment, make customizations, or train staff members on their ideal packing procedure.
Saltbox’s locations also enable merchants to offer curbside pickup and same-day delivery for nearby customers. With the company’s Elastic Workforce, off-site fulfillment clients can arrange for Saltbox employees to facilitate these orders on their behalf. For standard ecommerce orders, the facilities’ proximity to major city centers can help save on shipping costs.
Saltbox earned a solid score for its overall usability. We awarded points for the company’s exceptional operational transparency and lack of minimum order requirements as well as its fulfillment software (which uses the powerful ShipHero WMS).
It earned points for scalability, although companies that serve small businesses and enterprise-level clientele, such as Rakuten and ShipBob, scored higher. The company was also docked for having business-only customer service hours, although it should be noted that its customer support capabilities are highly accessible in other ways.
Here’s an overview of the factors we considered when evaluating Saltbox’s ease of use:
- Customer service: Support is available by phone, email, and in person from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time Monday through Friday. The company takes measures to ensure staff is always available to work directly with clients, so you won’t need to create a ticket and wait for a response.
- Operational transparency: Saltbox’s third-party fulfillment services run on ShipHero WMS, which offers high levels of visibility into inventory and order processing.
- Billing transparency: Invoices are available monthly from an online billing portal, fulfillment charges are visible by line item. Workspace rentals are charged a single, all-inclusive monthly fee.
- Scalability: There’s no minimum requirement to use Saltbox’s services. Each fulfillment center can accommodate businesses selling 20,000 orders per month, and clients with greater volumes can distribute their load across multiple locations.
- Policies: Saltbox’s error policies aren’t disclosed online. Limited liability insurance is required to use its services.
- Accuracy: Saltbox doesn’t disclose its accuracy rate in fulfilling and shipping orders.
We gave Saltbox perfect marks in our Expert Score category. It delivers high-quality services with unmatched levels of flexibility, which lets the company support small businesses in ways that competitors simply can’t.
Saltbox is also popular among its users and delivers an outstanding value. This is especially true of its workspace rentals, which provide a wide array of valuable resources at an incredibly affordable price.
While we appreciate Saltbox’s unique hybrid offerings for many use cases, it’s not the best choice for businesses seeking a hands-off experience. Its services are built to keep the business owner in control of their products, orders, and processes, which revolves around communication, proximity, and the option to participate.
If you’re not seeking hands-on control, we recommend ShipBob for turnkey, third-party fulfillment services that come with better fulfillment software, friendlier pricing, and more integrations.
What Users Say in Saltbox Reviews
Saltbox is a young company founded in 2019. Although it has healthy funding, a steady customer base, and rapid growth, there aren’t many Saltbox reviews available. It’s also hard to find any mention of the company on popular forum sites used by small business owners.
That said, the available Saltbox reviews are mostly positive. Users commend the provider for its effective solutions, responsive support, and high-quality service. Multiple Saltbox reviews mention receiving 24/7 support from branch managers while others report that the warehouse rentals saved them significant amounts of money and time by providing everything they need.
There are a few one-star Saltbox reviews but, unfortunately, they don’t include an explanation. A couple of 1-star reviewers left comments such as “Do not make the costly mistake of doing business here or you’ll be sorry,” but the issue is not described further.
- FeaturedCustomers: 4.8-star rating from 240-plus reviews
- Google Business Profile (Dallas Location): 4.8-star rating from more than 10 reviews
- Google Business Profile (Atlanta Location): 4.9-star rating from around 15 reviews
- Google Business Profile (Denver Location): 4.1-star rating from about 10 reviews
- Google Business Profile (Los Angeles Location): 3.7-star rating from around 10 reviews
Methodology: How We Evaluated Saltbox
For our Saltbox review, we consider the factors that matter most to small retail and ecommerce businesses. We evaluate each provider on a 23-point scale shaped by industry experience, reader surveys, and competing providers’ attributes. Our criteria weighs functionality, scalability, and transparency throughout a range of processes.
30% of Overall Score
We evaluated the quality of service and functionality of each company by weighing critical details like order turnaround time, shipping partner options, size of fulfillment center network, and accuracy rate.
We also considered how each service integrates with ecommerce shopping carts, marketplaces, operational tools, and solution providers that your online store may use.
Points for this category were deducted due to Saltbox’s small warehouse network. It received some points for its catalog of integrations, but providers with better connectivity scored higher. Ultimately, Saltbox’s efficient services and shipping partner options helped it achieve a score of 4.10 out of 5 points.
20% of Overall Score
This category examines the providers’ pricing transparency, billing transparency, and billing predictability
Saltbox’s pricing is moderately transparent, so it didn’t receive as many points as companies that fully disclose all costs online. However, it does offer high levels of billing transparency and predictability, which helped it earn a total score of 4.75 out of 5.
15% of Overall Score
This score considered customer service accessibility, software usability, and operational transparency. Lastly, order minimums and service scalability were weighted heavily to provide the best recommendation for small businesses that need a fulfillment partner that can grow with them.
Saltbox received points for its software that provides high levels of operational transparency. It also scored for its lack of order minimums and accommodating scalability. We deducted points for the company’s business-only customer service hours, giving it a final score of 4.03 out of 5.
15% of Overall Score
We awarded points for the availability of special services like climate control, international shipping, custom packaging elements, and different types of assembly. Being crucial to ecommerce operations, return handling, and reporting/analytics were prioritized. Lastly, we assessed whether each company was eligible to fulfill Amazon Prime or SFP orders.
Saltbox doesn’t have any international fulfillment centers and can’t produce custom packaging in-house. But overall we gave it high marks for having features, such as climate control, Amazon SFP-eligibility, flexible on-demand labor, and workspace rentals.
20% of Overall Score
This score combined our retail and ecommerce experts’ final evaluation of value, ease of use, and standout features with scores from real-world users on trusted third-party review sites
Saltbox received perfect marks in this category for its excellent value, painless usability, and unique specialty services.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Saltbox is designed for businesses that manage and/or sell physical goods—particularly ecommerce companies. Its workspace rentals offer all-inclusive solutions for merchants performing their own order fulfillment, and its third-party services can be used by businesses wishing to outsource the fulfillment process.
The company’s on-site resources are also useful for light production and other operational tasks.
Saltbox is mainly used for DTC ecommerce sales but also works for B2B sales, crowdfunding ventures, product launches, and subscription box services.
- Since Saltbox specializes in facilitating in-house and hybrid fulfillment, businesses seeking a fully outsourced, hands-off fulfillment experience may work better with an alternative 3PL. We recommend Whitebox for its full-service fulfillment and marketplace management programs.
- Local international fulfillment has a number of advantages over cross-border shipping. Saltbox’s warehouse network is limited to the US, so sellers targeting foreign customer bases may find better success with a global 3PL. We recommend ShipBob.
- Saltbox requires you to carry your own limited liability insurance, and it doesn’t allow hazardous products to be made in or sold from its facilities. For sellers who need special handling, we recommend Red Stag Fulfillment
Saltbox is a highly innovative 3PL that works best for in-house and hybrid fulfillment. Its flexible services and top-notch customer support make it an ideal solution for supporting growth and transitioning between fulfillment models.
The company’s fully outsourced fulfillment services are also effective and economical but may not be the best fit for business owners who wish to hand the process off to a partner company without playing an active role.
Are you looking for something else? Broker sites, such as WarehousingAndFulfillment.com, compare your specific needs to more than 500 prescreened companies to find the best fit for your business. Plus, the service is completely free to use.