Let’s talk about shipping
If you’re lucky enough to be able to ship all of your products via the US Postal Service, I’ll tell you right away that I’m jealous. For those of us who need to use FedEx and UPS, here are some things to know:
- Shipping continues to get more and more expensive. That’s not really a surprise, but the carriers are finding new ways to charge us. Remember when fuel prices were high a couple of years ago? FedEx and UPS started adding a fuel delivery surcharge. This hasn’t gone away. It is especially applied to packages delivered to remote areas. What they deem remote is completely at their discretion. It is based on the distance from a terminal.
- In 2017, the carriers adjusted the dimensional weight calculation to 139. Now if you’ve never heard of dimensional weight, allow me to explain. If your package is 12 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches, multiply 12 x 12 x 12. This will give you 1728. Now divide 1728 by 139 (the dimensional weight number) and you will get 12.43. With shipping, we always round up, so the answer is 13. Now what does that mean? This box, even if we were to ship a feather and it were to weigh less than one pound, would be calculated as shipping at 13 pounds. This is a big deal for those of us who have large items that are lightweight. I often call this the Amazon rule. Have you ever ordered something small from Amazon that was shipped in a ridiculously large box? Well, these boxes filled the trucks, so FedEx and UPS fought back by adjusting the dimensional weight shipping rule.
- If you’re shipping to residential addresses, shipping costs will be higher than shipping to businesses. One bonus for residential is that FedEx will deliver on Saturday and UPS has recently started doing the same in some locations.
So how can you save money on shipping?
- When possible, encourage customers to ship orders to a commercial address.
- Ship orders in the smallest box possible. Be sure to pack well to avoid breakage, but don’t go overboard on the box size.
- Seal any bottles that contain liquids with an additional sticker/seal. I don’t know how it happens, but some packages seem to be dropped off of buildings and caps come undone sometimes during transit. While this extra step doesn’t save on the initial cost of a shipment, it saves you from losing both the product and the shipping cost of a second shipment.
- Decline the insurance in most cases. Now this is a personal preference, but in the hundreds if not thousands of shipments I’ve sent, I’ve had one package that was lost and 4 or 5 that have had breakage/spillage. These losses are far less than what I would have paid in insurance. The exception to this is some high dollar items.
I hope these tips help. Happy Shipping!