Automation can be the key to a startup’s growth. Automation allows startups to limit the amount of time spent on manual tasks. It allows startups to reduce the number of part- and full-time employees needed to meet growing demand. And it allows startups to keep overhead low as they bootstrap their way to success.
Snap Tax & Lien Search launched as a startup in April 2018. Its mission was to provide residential tax certification and lien search services to clients like title companies, clearinghouses and other vendors in the industry.
Automation fueled its growth through 2018 and into 2019. To collect the information needed to serve its clients, Snap Tax & Lien Search puts together packets of information and materials that include: a correct address, a letter requesting the needed information, completed relevant forms, and printed checks needed for payment. After automating the process of gathering the needed information and forms, Snap Tax Lien & Search was able to send off 5–10 packets each week on behalf of its clients.
But one thing continued to hold the company back from accelerated growth: shipping.
Throughout most of 2019, Snap Tax & Lien Search tasked multiple team members to handle the shipping side of its business. They would manually re-key information and cut-and-paste into carrier portals to print postage. In many cases, the packets the company sent out required a return label, too, which further complicated the process. Outbound packets and inbound packets were difficult to keep up with, and tracking was always an issue — no matter the carrier used.
This unwieldy shipping process made it impossible for the company to increase its volume and bring on new clients. Rick Rourk, Snap Tax & Lien Search’s chief technology officer, started searching for a solution to the company’s shipping problems.
Rourk initially looked at integrating directly with carriers. During his search, he found multi-carrier API options, including ShipEngine. The option to integrate with the United States Postal Service (USPS) as well as UPS and FedEx was an appealing alternative to integrating directly with each carrier’s API.
When Rourk signed up for ShipEngine and received his API key, things came easily.
“I printed my first label in a couple of hours,” Rourk said of his ShipEngine testing. “There wasn’t much coding — just a little trial and error time. The responses that came back were clean and easy to understand, and it took me only about three round trips to get things right.”
Snap Tax & Lien Search went live with ShipEngine two days later. The ShipEngine integration was built into a basic interface that allowed team members to go step-by-step through a fully automated process including:
The ShipEngine integration created efficiencies and helped streamline the production process for Snap Tax & Lien Search.
Our backend guys were saying, ‘It’s a full-time job, this takes 8 hours a day.’ Now they do a run that takes 15 minutes just twice a day.”
– Rick Rourk, CTO at Snap Tax & Lien Search
The time savings allowed Snap Tax & Lien Search to accelerate its growth and take on new opportunities in Pennsylvania. After months of shipping 5–10 packets a week, the company shipped 394 in the first 25 days after going live with ShipEngine — more than 10x what it was shipping before.
Snap Tax & Lien Search also enjoyed cost savings. Not only did it gain access to discounted rates available through ShipEngine, it also slowed its headcount growth. “ShipEngine has saved us at least two full-time positions,” said Kirk Kessler, executive vice president at Snap Tax & Lien Search.
Full automation fueled by ShipEngine has given Snap Tax & Lien Search the option to seize new opportunities and to follow an accelerated growth path.
Ready to seize your own opportunities? Get your free ShipEngine API key now.