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How 71 lbs Is Getting Money Back for Small Businesses

How 71 lbs Is Getting Money Back for Small Businesses 71lbs / Credit: 71lbs

Keeping track of all the aspects of business is an enormous challenge for every small business owner. However, a new service is aiming to lighten their load by keeping track of their shipments.

The company, 71lbs, is not just interested in making sure that packages get to their destinations, however. Instead, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company, which takes its name from a shipping accessory fee that results from shipping packages weighing more than 70 pounds, is interested in making sure that companies are not missing out on money from their shipments.

"Every FedEx and UPS Shipment comes with a money-back guarantee policy," said Jose Li, CEO and founder of 71lbs. "When you ship an overnight or ground package, if FedEx or UPS delivers a minute late, you are supposed to get 100 percent of your money back. The catch is, they will never give you the money automatically, you have to initiate the claim and most people in most companies are not aware of this."

[Higher Shipping Costs Don't Deter Online Shoppers]

In fact, Li says 80 percent of people 71lbs spoke to are not aware of those policies. That results in more than $2 billion in unclaimed refunds each year, 71lbs says. That is where 71lbs comes into play.

"We are trying to make this as easy as we can for small and medium-sized businesses to get their refunds," Li said. "We call it a set-and-forget, as a customer you provide us your FedEx or UPS account information and you don’t have to do anything else. On purpose we don’t charge a monthly fee or signing fee, instead we take 50 percent of the refund."

Li, who worked for FedEx for several years before starting 71lbs, says there are a number of competitors in the space. However, 71lbs is looking to distinguish itself by focusing on small and medium-size businesses. The company's software will automatically check shipments, automate a claim and inform businesses of a potential refund once businesses sign up. The service is simple and free to use with users only paying a service fee to 71lbs if they collect money themselves. 

However, marketing a company looking to solve a problem that most people do not know exists has presented several challenges for the 6-month-old company. One way Li and his team of six employees have solved this problem is through a partnership with online marketplace Etsy, which allows sellers on the site to sign up with 71lbs.    

However, Li says the best way to publicize the company is to get people to use it so they can see what it can do to help a business.

"Businesses are astonished, excited and happy with the money that we give them every week," said Li.

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