Contract packaging services package and/or label products that are manufactured by other companies. They work on a contractual basis and often perform specialized applications. Some contract packaging services perform only basic assembly tasks. Others prepare and send products to customers, performing a range of activities such as taking orders, packaging items, shipping items, and reporting shipments. Package design services provide design support for packaging development throughout the entire design cycle, from project planning to presentation to final testing. Package testing services use equipment or other resources to subject assembled packaging to standard or custom testing. Contract packaging services are located across the United States and throughout the world. 

There are many ways to package and label products. Some contract packaging services place materials in bags, bottles, boxes, cans, cartons, or pouches. Others put products in blister or clamshell packages, or on a tape that is rolled into a reel. Shrink banding fits packages with plastic wrapping bands that are heated until they shrink to fit tightly. Shrink or skin wrapping encloses packages in protective plastic wrapping that is heated and shrunk. Stretch or over wrapping is used to package groups of products such as cans. Machinery is often used to form, fill, and seal products. Custom hand-assembly is performed when automated methods are not possible or cost-effective. Labeling techniques include bar coding and radio frequency identification (RFID) tagging. Repackaging methods include wrapping or inserting cello packaging.

Contract packaging services can provide specialty packaging and labeling for bulk and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) supply shipments, industrial equipment and machinery, and freightliner cargo holds. Some companies specialize in packaging warehouse club products, promotional or display assemblies, gift sets, kits, or sampler sets. Others are experienced with packaging materials that consist of granular or fine powder particles, or that consist of thick, flowing substances such as paste. Specialty packaging is often necessary for liquid goods that have a specific volume and are only slightly compressible.

Contract packaging services meet the needs of a wide variety of products, applications, and industries. Examples include military and aerospace equipment, medical and surgical devices, automotive parts, chemical and petrochemical products, electronic components and semiconductors, garments and clothing, stationery and paper goods, cigarettes and tobacco, health and beauty aids, and non-food household items such as soaps and cleansers. A variety of general industrial packaging types are available. Packaging for music, video, software and other consumer goods is often designed to maximize aesthetic appeal and minimize shelf space.