RS Academy Training


The most successful store operators in the industry understand that Retail Shipping is not a simple business. There are literally tens of thousands of rules, regulations, best business practices and details that you must know before you can represent yourself as a real expert. Quality training and education for you and your staff is an absolute necessity.

The Retail Shipping Academy was created to provide professional training materials and content, delivered by qualified industry experts using a variety of modalities to deliver the knowledge — and to quantify your expertise.

Whether you prefer do-it-yourself manuals, CDs and DVDs or “live” training, the goal of RS Academy is to deliver relevant, up-to-date materials that will ensure the title of “Retail Shipping Expert” is accurate when you display it to your customers.


RS Academy Certification Training

RS Academy live classes are 3-hour, college level certification courses developed by RSA exclusively for RSA Members. All course content has been fully vetted for accuracy and cover any and all relevant rules, science (physics of packaging), regulations, and best business practices. RS Academy instructors are industry professionals and have been certified by RSA as subject matter experts.

All students must pass a final exam for each class in order to receive RS Academy Certification. Course certificates are intended to be displayed in your store so clientele can see the measures you’ve taken to invest in your knowledge base.

RS Academy classes are taught live and online throughout the year.


Basic Members: $100.00 per class.    Premium Members: $80.00 per class


Shipping Training

Topics Covered:
  • Carrier rules and terms of carriage
  • Shipment size and weight limitations
  • Insurance and shipment value protection
  • Carrier packaging requirements
  • Shipping options
  • Package processing
  • Shipping product options
  • Service guarantees
  • Automation options
  • Carrier account setup
Shipping 101
Basics of Small Package Transportation

Designed for new store owners and staff, this course covers the basics and the essential rules, requirements, science, and best practices for small package shipping in the United States. Subjects covered: specific carrier (DHL, FedEx, UPS, USPS) rules and terms of carriage, shipment size and weight limitations, insurance and shipment value protection, packaging requirements, package processing, pricing, shipping product options, service guarantees, automation options, and carrier account setup.

Topics Covered:
  • Carrier-specific regulations & updates
  • Customs documentation
  • Restrictions and Prohibitions
  • Red Flag countries
  • Shipping options
  • Resources & Forms
Shipping 102
International Shipping

International shipping is a substantial profit center for retail shipping centers, but remembering every detail, procedure, and regulation can be a challenge. Rules and services can change every day - and knowing how to adjust to those changes can mean the difference between great profits and great losses! Course curriculum includes:

Topics Covered:
  • Carrier rules and terms of carriage
  • Shipment size and weight limitations
  • Insurance and shipment value protection
  • Carrier packaging requirements
  • Shipping options
Shipping 103
Freight & Air Cargo

Large freight is an increasingly important menu item for today's successful Retail Shipping Store. As a high-potential profit center, freight can be complex and certainly has risk, so understanding the rules, options, and opportunities is crucial. This course covers the details-National Motor Freight Classification, trade lanes, carriers, Full Truckload, Less Than full Load (LTL), Air Cargo, Sea Container, shipment preparation (crating, palletizing, specialty packaging/handling), pickup and delivery options, and pricing. Become your neighborhood freight expert and start packing the profit pounds on your bottom line.



Packing Training

Topics Covered:
  • The Distribution Environment
  • Carrier Requirements
  • The Dynamics of Packaging
  • Shipping Containers
  • Cushioning Materials
  • Packing Tools
  • The Packaging Process
  • Packaging Demonstrations
Packing 101
Packing Essentials

Find a box in the nearest dumpster, throw your stuff in, slap some duct tape on, mark it "Fragile", then ship it. Simple, right? Wrong. Many Retail Shipping Store operators make a grave mistake in thinking that packaging is simple. But in order to properly prepare your packages to survive the rigors of the transportation network, you must follow very specific carrier rules and the physics of packaging dynamics. This class covers both the science and rules; containers, packaging/cushioning materials and how to use the "right" one for the job, packaging techniques, sealing, carrier rules, and tricks of the trade that will make you a true packaging expert. Topics include:

Topics Covered:
  • Packaging Dynamics
  • Carrier Considerations
  • Packaging Design
  • Corrugated Carton Design & Construction
  • Carton Design Diagrams
Packing 102
Advanced Packing

Stock box sizes don’t always fit items being shipped or sent via freight.  Custom box/container design and construction is an art, and the product can be a significant profit center with extraordinary margins.  Learn – and practice - professional techniques for custom box building for fragile, large, awkward and valuable items. Become your neighborhood Packaging Expert. The lab-based course curriculum includes:


Packing 103
Professional Crate Building

Most Retail Shipping stores are adding freight shipping to their existing small package shipping repertoire. This means preparing large, awkward, and heavy items for transportation. In many cases, a crate is the best method of protection for these items. Although you can always out-source your freight packaging needs, the profit margins in crate building can be very attractive, so it makes sense for you to handle the entire transaction. In this hands-on class, you’ll learn how to build a variety of different types of crates using standard tools. Once you’ve mastered a few techniques, you’ll be able to build crates for virtually anything. This class will pay for itself on the first crate you sell. es:



Store Operations

Topics Covered:
  • CMRA Guidelines
  • Compliance Issues
  • Mail Center Security
  • Aviation Security and Hazardous Materials
  • USPS Approved Shipper Program
Operations 102
CMRA Mailbox Rental Management
& USPS Approved Shipper Program

If postal services are a part of your product mix, the United States Postal Service plays a vital role in your day-to-day operation. As a regulator, the USPS requires compliance with the rules and regulations imposed on private mail box rental services through the Commercial Mail Receiving Agent (CMRA) program. And as a business partner, the USPS Approved Shipper Program provides marketing tools and operational support for reselling USPS products and services in your center. This three-hour operations course covers all the basics – and all the bases. Topics include:

Topics Covered:
  • Industry-specific chart of accounts
  • Financial Statements
  • Reconciliation
  • Accounts payable/receivable
  • Tax planning/filing
  • Forecasting
Operations 103
Administration & Small Business Accounting

Proper accounting, tax planning, banking, and financial analysis are mandatory in any successful business. This course teaches established best practices on how to manage your income, accounts payable, cost centers, payroll, profit and loss analysis, and sales forecasting. The course instructor is a career accountant with extensive experience with retail shipping stores.

Topics Covered:
  • Introduction to Quickbooks
  • Company Set-up
  • Chart of Accounts Set-up
  • Vendor/customer set-up
  • Entering Transactions
  • Reports
Operations 104
Quickbooks Essentials

This class is designed for the new store owner, new user of QuickBooks or a current user that wants to learn the basics of how to use QuickBooks more efficiently. Subjects covered: company set-up, chart of accounts set-up, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, how to enter transactions, what financial reports are available and how to use QuickBooks as a tool to measure the success of your business.


Sales & Marketing 102
Marketing for Retail Shipping Stores

One of the most challenging aspects of the retail shipping business is determining how to continually “prime the pump” with new customer prospects and, once you’ve done that, to maximize every selling opportunity for the highest revenue-per-transaction. Marketing, merchandizing, and up-selling are acquired skills that you will learn in this class.




Notary 101
Notary Basics

Notary services can be a very robust and profitable offering for your customers, but the list of rules, regulations, and best business practices is long and often confusing. This class covers the spectrum to ensure you properly represent and execute the duties of a Notary Public. In addition to the general rules of notary services, state-by-state requirements and restrictions are also addressed.

Topics Covered:
  • Site Selection
  • Store Operations
  • General Administration
  • Products & Profit Centers
  • Product & Service Pricing
  • Store Design & Finish-Out
  • Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment
  • Marketing Strategies
  • Hiring & Training
  • Merchandising
  • Point-of-Sale Systems
  • Carrier Account Setup
  • Store Inventory
  • Store Security

RS BootCamp

Owners & Managers Seminar

RS Boot Camp was developed by RS Academy for both new store owners and veteran operators and staff. As the seminar title indicates, this 8 hour intensive program provides a comprehensive overview of what it takes to thrive in the retail shipping and business services industry. Store owners will learn all the right steps, but of equal importance, we also show you how to avoid the costly mistakes many owners make. Veteran owners and staff will fine-tune and get their stores ‘back in fighting shape’. Our goal is to help you build a Million-Dollar-Store.

This seminar is presented by Brandon Gale, RS Associates President and 30+-year industry veteran and multi-store owner along with industry suppliers, carriers and service providers.

Whether you are just getting started or a 10-year industry veteran, BootCamp will get you into “fighting form” so you can compete at the highest level.

Upcoming BootCamp Classes:

FEBRUARY 9TH | FT. Lauderdale, Florida

HOTEL: Courtyard Fort Lauderdale North/Cypress Creek — Reserve A Room

MARCH 22ND | Santa Ana, California

This RS BootCamp training will be offered as a part of the RS Workshop Weekend event. Registration for this RS BootCamp will be a part of the overall event registartion and will be available soon.

HOTEL: To Be Announced

APRIL 6TH | Charlotte, North Carolina

HOTEL: To Be Announced

APRIL 25TH | Dallas, Texas

This RS BootCamp training will be offered as a part of the RS BootCamp Week event. Registration for this RS BootCamp will be a part of the overall event registartion and will be available soon.

HOTEL: To Be Announced

MAY 4TH | Denver, Colorado

HOTEL: To Be Announced

SEPTEMBER 21ST | New York, New York

HOTEL: To Be Announced

NOVEMBER 16TH | Southern California

HOTEL: To Be Announced

Register For BootCamp

NOTICE: RS BootCamp is presented as part of the 2019 Road Show training weekend series — a tandem event with PostalMate© point-of-sale system User Training. There is a separate fee for RS BootCamp and PostalMate User Training. Additionally, these events run concurrently on Saturday afternoon, so if you register for both RS BootCamp AND the PostalMate User Training, you will need to choose to miss the end of BootCamp or the beginning of User Training.



Vision Alliance Network (VAN) is the self-study division of RS Academy. Designed for the do-it-yourself owner, VAN has been providing training manuals, CDs and DVDs to the Retail Shipping industry for over 14 years. VAN materials are fully vetted for content accuracy and are updated annually to reflect any and all changes in shipping rules, regulations, requirements and best business practices.

You simply can’t find more detailed and comprehensive industry-specific self-study materials anywhere else.

PACKING & SHIPPING Training Videos with Manuals


This video and manual covers the essential packing and shipping rules you need to know to run a successful business. The materials starts with the very basics: how to measure and weigh, how to determine length plus girth, how to determine dimensional weight, etc. It continues with rules for services and value. Major common carrier rules are highlighted in the video, and specifics with carriers are covered in the store manual.


Prevent damage during shipment. Several methods of preparing and packing fragile items are shown. Different packaging techniques (peanuts, bubble packing, foam-in-place, void fill, double-boxing) are presented.


Make custom corrugated fiberboard boxes so that you can package large or unusually sized items. Don't miss these large sales or forgo this easy yet great profit center of custom box making for your business.


We show how to make three basic crates in this video, other variations of crate design and style are presented, lumber is discussed, and cutting and assembling instructions are shown.


Learn professional gift wrapping techniques for retail stores, how to do effective displays, and how to process orders quickly. This gift wrap training video is designed for companies that want to tap into the gift wrapping service business, want good training instructions, and want to know how to do it quickly and professionally.

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OPERATIONS & SALES Training Manuals


Tips and answers to commonly asked questions from packing and shipping store veterans and consultants on how or whether to open a packing and shipping store.


This manual shows an example of an operations manual for packing and shipping stores. The included CD has the manual and forms in Word® and Excel® so that you can change and customize the operations manual, forms, and files to your business procedures and policies easily.


This manual gives you training on sales and marketing for packing and shipping stores, and it offers suggestions and ideas on how to approach the target markets.


Learn the basic rules of operating a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency and how to keep your PMB (Private Mailboxes) rented . . . and make this business more profitable!.


This manual is a guide to adding additional revenue and profits to your pack and ship store. It gives you ideas and suggestions on products and services to offer, how to market these, what they cost, and where to buy.


Developed to assist packing, shipping, and other retail stores in planning for a profitable December, this manual covers estimating sales day by day, budgets, operations, advertising, and inventory. December can make or break your business, so prepare for it now.


This employee manual is written specifically for the small business owner, with special suggestions for those who do packing and shipping within their company. This helps you to easily design your own employee manual, which is a "must have" document.

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SOFTWARE for Crating and Custom Box Making


Enter a few item details, select packaging method preferred and The Packaging Expert quickly gives pricing, provides crate and box building diagrams and provides a quote form for your customer or for your reference.

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RS Academy Is Going Online!

COMING SOON — RSA's online training development team is hard at work converting our in-person training and workbooks to an online format, giving members access to content 24/7 so you can take training when it fits your schedule. Members will be notified via email when the online training is available.

Training Events

RS Academy Professional Skills Certification Training classes are presented “live” throughout the year. Our entire course curriculum is offered at the Retail Shippers Expo and Trade Show, the annual national convention for our industry. RSA also hosts RS Weekend Workshops and participates in other regional events throughout the year in which we present the most-requested certification classes.

  • Feb 9
    RS BootCamp - Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    RS BootCamp – Owners & Managers Seminar
  • Mar 22 - Mar 24
    RS Workshop Weekend - Santa Ana, California
    RS Workshop Weekend - Santa Ana
  • Apr 6
    RS BootCamp - Charlotte, North Carolina
    RS BootCamp – Owners & Managers Seminar
  • Apr 25 - Apr 28
    RS BootCamp Week - Richardson, Texas
    RS BootCamp Week - Richardson, TX
  • May 4
    RS BootCamp - Denver, Colorado
    RS BootCamp – Owners & Managers Seminar
  • Aug 21 - Aug 25
    2019 RS Expo - Dallas, Texas
    2019 Retail Shippers Expo & Trade Show
  • Sep 21
    RS BootCamp - New York, New York
    RS BootCamp – Owners & Managers Seminar
  • Nov 16
    RS BootCamp - Southern California
    RS BootCamp – Owners & Managers Seminar