An Insider’s Look at the Full-Time FBA Processing Desk

Desk TitleIt’s critical, when working from home, to make sure your work environment is set up in such a way that you can best use your time and energy. In my last blog post, I showed you exactly how my shipping and work station was set up and all the tools that I use to process my inventory before I send it all off to Amazon. Today, I’m pulling back the curtain a little bit further as I let you take a peek into my Full-Time FBA desk.

Here is a diagram of my desk that I use almost daily. Below is a description of each and every item I use and why. 

Desk Diagram

If you’re interested in learning more or want to add any of these tools to your own FBA work station, click on the name or picture of the tool below. 

41MNr5dy0HLA. USB Barcode Scanner –  Who wants to enter every single UPC number each time you process inventory to Amazon? Not me, that’s for sure. This barcode scanner saves tons of time and frustration. Just point the scanner at the barcode, pull the trigger, and “BAM!” The barcode number is now magically entered in your computer. The adjustable hands-free stand is a really nice option too. 

91zhsBYJxGL._SL1500_B. MacBook Pro – I absolutely love my MacBook Pro. It’s the perfect computer for an optimized FBA work desk. I have owned this MacBook for almost 3 years and have only had to restart it about twice a year. It’s the most dependable laptop in existence, and I can’t imagine using anything else. 

PIXMA_MG3250_FRT_Default_tcm14-945029C. Canon Pixma InkJet Printer – This is the printer I use to print my shipping labels, and any other standard printing needs. This is not the printer I use to print my FBA labels. Amazon’s guidelines state that FBA labels must be printed by a thermal or laser printer only (see the Dymo LaberWriter 450 thermal printer below). 

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 11.20.05 AMD. Amazon Sales Rank % Chart – Throughout the year, I update this PDF document to show you the latest sales rank numbers for all of the major Amazon categories. The chart shows the top 1%, 5%, and 10% in almost 30 different categories. The PDF is FREE to all of my subscribers. To grab this PDF, simply click here and subscribe. 

41ooe8-PAJLE. Self Adhesive Shipping Labels – These are the labels I use when shipping boxes to FBA warehouses. They stick to the boxes well and are very dependable. You can also get free shipping labels directly from UPS by clicking here and signing up for a UPS account. 

81z-MzfxG-L._SL1500_F. Magic Eraser – I love my Magic Erasers. They help me clean up items I plan on selling on Amazon. I use them when I’m cleaning up a book cover or if there is any residue on the box of an item I want to sell. It helps get out most pen and marker stains. It’s abrasive enough to get the dirt or grime off of an item, but not so abrasive as to damage the item itself. 

mlb-tapered-metal-waste-basket-d-20130812161358607~7243521wG. Houston Astros Trash Can – Ok, so this isn’t vital to my FBA business, but I’m a big Astros fan and it adds some fun to my office space. Think of things that can add some fun to your office space. Don’t let work get too boring. 

business-textbooksH. Book, Books and Books – I love to read, and I keep some of my favorites right at my desk. I keep books close so I can take a break from working while continuing to improve myself and my business. To see the 14 books that most improved my Amazon FBA business, click here

I. Scanner Monkey – This little guy was the mascot of the Scanner Monkey Facebook group. Scanner Monkey is no longer an active Facebook group as in mid 2017, it has transitioned to become Scanner Society. 

71Eh+14PBWL._SL1500_J. Dual Computer Monitors – I simply love having two computer monitors. I can’t ever imagine going back to using just one. I love being able to work on my FBA shipment on my laptop, while watching a training video on the other monitor. No longer do I need to switch back and forth between windows, when all I need to do is scroll over to the other monitor. It’s made life much simpler. And in case you’re curious, I use this to connect my dual monitor to my laptop.

7198lLjvmsL._SL1200_K. Awards & Accomplishments – It’s a good idea to post near your desk things that remind you of accomplishments and wins you have experienced. Hang your diplomas on the wall, frame the first dollar bill you made, or maybe display the Amazon order of the item you made the most ROI on. For me, I decided to frame the certificate Amazon awarded me for being a Top Holiday Seller (that means that my sales ranked in the top 25% of all Amazon sellers, while additionally keeping an A+ customer satisfaction rate). Find something that you are proud of and display it. When you’re feeling discouraged, seeing these reminders might help. 

66463_10201911046874888_1974517186_nL. Inspiration – Everybody needs some inspiration now and then, and some of the things that inspire me the most are my family and my faith. I love to display pictures of my family, as well as scripture verses on the wall in my office.  They help remind me that there is so much more to life than work. 

DoTerra BLiss and DiffuserM. Essential Oil Diffuser – One of the ways that I say focused while working is to diffuse doTERRA essential oils in my office. My favorite oils to diffuse are Citrus Bliss and InTune. If you’re interested in getting some essential oils for your home or office, check out my wife’s doTERRA page here. 

41IWrVLa8yLN. Dymo LaberWriter 450 Printer – This little printer is a huge time saver when it comes to processing my FBA inventory. I used to print 30 FBA labels on one sheet via my regular printer and then try to match up the right labels to the right items. Now, I can print the labels one at a time with my Dymo printer and place the label directly on the item as I’m listing it on Amazon at my computer. It’s a thermal printer, so there is never any need for ink. Just be sure you have the right labels to use for FBA. 

Scanner Pro AppO. Scanner Pro – Here is where I keep all of my retail arbitrage receipts. I use this scanning app to keep a digital version of my receipts on file. The NeatReceipts scanner is probably much better, but the Scanner Pro app is a more affordable way to scan your reciepts. This is especially helpful when I paid for items with cash, or when I pay using a different account other than my business card. 

31Pz8s6Fw3LP. Clear Round Stickers – I have these for a variety of uses. The number one reason is to replace older clear round stickers on new items. Many items that are still in brand new condition might have the original clear stickers coming off (or have come off completely). I use these stickers to replace the ones that are no longer working well. 


81R8SLFKf1L._SL1500_Q. Dymo Labels – These are the perfect size to use for your FBA labels. They cover up the original barcode well and come off easily in case the customer wants to take off the label. Each box comes with 700 labels. I also use these labels to print out my own “This is a Set. Do Not Separate” and “Do Not Open. Ready To Ship” stickers. 

613uKT2qhvL._SL1000_R. Dymo Printer Cleaning Cards – These cards help you keep your Dymo printer in tip-top shape. These cards safely remove contamination from print heads and improve print quality. The best thing they do is extend the life of any Dymo LabelWriter printer. 

41K1Oo-hSNLS. “Thank You” Stickers – If you have an item that has a small tear, mark, or even residue that you just can’t get off, then placing one of these stickers over the blemish might just save the day. Plus, it’s a nice way to show your customer that you’re thankful for their purchase. I don’t recommend using these stickers on all items that have a blemish. Use your best judgement. 

91CdT0sRKwL._SL1500_T. Hologram Stickers – I use these stickers the same way I use the “Thank You” stickers, but for smaller blemishes. I also use them for items that a “Thank You” sticker would just not work for. 

51hEMvaoe7LU. Resealable DVD Bags – Whenever I sell a used DVD or video game, I always put it in one of these bags. The DVD or video game usually snap closed, but even the smallest bump can cause these cases to open and the disc to come out. You do not want someone to buy a used DVD or video game and only get an empty case. Not only do these bags keep the discs safely stored in the case, but they also keep the DVD case clean. 

81mkVS3VWGL._SL1500_V. Label Sheets – These are the labels I used before I got my Dymo LabelWriter 450 printer. I still use these labels in many different ways. I use them to cover up bar codes on items that I’ll be poly bagging, as well as for expiration date labels. I also have these on hand just in case the Dymo printer malfunctions and I still need to print labels that day. This “back-up” plan has only been implemented a few times since 2011, but has come in handy when needed.

I’m sure there are even more items that I use at my Full-Time FBA desk, but these are the main ones. Each of the above help me be more efficient and make better use of my time and money.

I’d love to hear from you. What tools listed are your favorites? What would you not do business without? Did I miss something? I’d love to hear what you use in your own processing desk. Comment below and let me know. 

25 responses to “An Insider’s Look at the Full-Time FBA Processing Desk

  1. Great stuff Stephen! Neatest FBA desk area I have seen!

    • Thanks! Oh, and maybe I should post an “after processing” picture to show everyone just how messy my desk can be when I’m done with processing a shipment.

  2. Great article, Stephen! I really appreciate all of your hard work that went into this. Where do you get the dual month calendar you have hanging on the wall? Here is one item I really love and couldn’t do without:

    • The dual month calendar is actually the one that Half Price Books gives out in December of each year. It’s full of coupons to use throughout the year, and works as a great calendar. I would have posted a link to where someone can get it, but it’s only available in December and January.

      And I love the dual tape dispenser. A great addition.

  3. Excellent info!!

  4. Great info Stephen! Thanks!! I learned a lot and got some new ideas from your blog this morning. I especially like the Houston Astros Trash Cans!

  5. Did you have trouble setting up your Dymo label printer to work with your Mac? I was about to order one, but then read some negative reviews that people had trouble setting it up.


    • I had no issues with setting up the Dymo printer at all. I’ve used it on multiple computers and it’s worked just fine. I use a Mac computer, so that may be one reason it works so well.

  6. Cynthia Stine

    Great blog! I love the hologram sticker idea. There were several essentials from my office that you forgot like all the coffee mugs and glasses that seem to multiply on my desk every day (!). A big wall calendar with all my Amazon distribution dates (helpful because I also get Associate fees, book royalties, etc.) and my husband’s salary dates. I also have a crate in my office for my dogs who supervise, distract and keep me company on lonely days. There are just some things that can’t be automated, made more efficient or outsourced! 🙂

  7. Stephen,
    What kind of cart is that where the E,F,N,O,P items are on …beside the chair, next to the window? Is that a roll-about type cart?

    • I wish I could be more helpful, but I don’t know what kind of cart it is. It was given to my wife years ago and we don’t know where it was originally made. Sorry.

  8. Hi,
    Your posts have been very helpful!
    I’m a new FBA seller trying to get my 1st shipment sent. I have a Dymo 450 turbo for the FBA barcode labels. But I’m confused regarding the shipping labels. Do those have to be laser/thermal printed also? I only have a inkjet printer. Would that work if I cover shipping labels with clear packing tape?
    Thanks in advance,

    • The shipping labels can be printed with an inkjet printer. That’s what I do. You can use adhesive labels or print to regular printer paper and tape it on the box with clear packaging tape.

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  10. Great Tips !

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  12. Best Credit Card to use when starting out.

    • We don’t suggest using credit to build a business. There is WAY too much risk involved to tie up money on something that you’re just learning. It’s better to grow slowly and build a strong foundation. Slow and steady wins the race.

  13. Great post! I am slowly getting all the supplies I need to start shipping product to Amazon this week. I am utilizing all of your blog posts and FB group posts to help me build my own Empire. 🙂 Love the trash can, been a Stros fan since I was a kid. I live in The Woodlands / Magnolia area and I took my son to the Astros Parade downtown, it was unreal how many people were there! Kinda cool seeing the old schoolers (Biggio and Bagwell) on one of the firetrucks. Heres a short clip I took from the parade 🙂

    Anyway thank you again for sharing all this information on how to get this business rolling. I know I will succeed in this venture thanks to people like you who are willing to share their strategies and successes. Slow and steady 😉

  14. You have the link to the labels that are 1 1/8 x 3 1/2 but it looks like amazon says that they can’t be longer than 3? Or am I misreading it? Thanks in advance!

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