Regardless the type of business one decides to become engaged in, there will always be a need to get whatever the product from point of origin to the market. This has not always been such a significant part of doing business, though it has always been a part of the process. The greater societal development has become, the greater the need for speedy inexpensive shipping.
Adjusting the costs for inflation, a gallon of gasoline in 1970 would cost approximately $1.60 compared to its current price of over twice that. But more important than the outright cost of fuel is the inconsistency and inability to control that cost. Unlike most products that adhere to a supply and demand interaction with regard to price, fuel is unique in the introduction of international politics to the equation. In the early 1970s the so called oil crisis was not the result of inadequate supply, but a conscious decision by members of OPEC to reduce production and delivery to the US as punishment for American support to Israel.
But it is not just the cost of petroleum that has made it more expensive to move product from place to place. The cost of packaging, much of it made from petroleum has also increased. We can seen the increase in our supermarkets, the cost of paper bags had always been more than for plastic bags, but that is no longer the case.
The United States feeling about the delivery of mail and the importance of that process was immortalized by the efforts of the Pony Express which began in 1860. The task was difficult and fraught with peril. The recruiting effort of the founder, William H Russell left little doubt how dangerous the enterprise would be as he even suggested his preference to hire orphans for the job.
The impetus for this daunting task was the pathetic state of mail delivery to that point. The gold rush had accelerated pioneer travel to California, but there was no effective means for getting packages there. The population of Los Angeles did not receive notification that California had been admitted to the union for over six weeks after it had occurred.
The notion of rural free delivery was far from universally accepted. The companies that were providing postal service for price felt they were being unfairly persecuted and would lose their business. The shops and stores in towns feared the rural patronage would dwindle and cost them dearly. In the end everyone survived and farm communities had the same access that city folk had.
The fairness of the practice belied the cost of delivering the service. Eventually the idea of prepaying for postal service was made compulsory to deal with the expense of making the deliveries. This cost would be amplified as the effort to extend service to the west all the way to California was attacked in earnest. The pony express was probably one of the nations more notable and romantic efforts in the continued work to assure total international package delivery.
None of these expenses related to getting the product to market is a surprise, except for the increasing percentage cost of shipping to the overall expense of being in business at all. It is important for new business owners to be sure their product has an eager and active market for their product before they invest too much in expansion. If they are not careful, the cost of delivering the goods can exceed the cost of the product itself.
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