8 Ways to Cut Shipping Costs


Shipping costs are one of the biggest expenses for small businesses, but it is possible to reduce them. Here are a few ideas.

1. Negotiate.  Shipping carriers will negotiate their rates based on your annual shipping volume. The more you ship, the lower your rate. Once you have secured a lower rate with your carrier, you can easily add it to ShipWorks.

2. Know where you’re shipping. If you primarily ship to one specific region, a regional carrier may be your best bet. Regional carriers often provide lower rates than national shipping carrieres because they cover a small geographic area. For example, OnTrac is a ShipWorks partner that covers the West Coast and they offer fast deliveries within California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado and Idaho.

3. Use 3rd party insurance. Carriers charge more for shipping insurance than third party companies. Carriers charge about $0.90 for every $100 of insurance, and third party companies charge about $0.55 cents for every $100. This savings can add up, especially if you ship expensive items.

4. Watch out for fees. Depending on the shipping carrier you use, you may be charged for things like Saturday delivery, fuel surcharges, delivery signatures, and residential delivery charges. Understand these fees in advance so that you don’t pay for a delivery feature that isn’t important to you and your customers.

5. Use online shipping. This one is obvious to ShipWorks users, but if you’re new to shipping, you’ll quickly learn that there is a huge cost savings when you skip the post office counter and print your postage online. The USPS has authorized Endicia and Stamps.com to provide internet based postage. You’ll use your computer to buy postage from either of these companies, and then the USPS will deliver the package for you.

6. Discounts for Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail. If you prefer to ship with USPS Priority Mail Express or Priority Mail, make sure you purchase postage through Express 1. Express 1 is a USPS partner and they provide substantial postal discounts to companies. The really great part of this is that you get the discount regardless of your shipping volume and without signing a contract. If you’re using ShipWorks, Express 1 is free and it’s easy to use.

7. Right-size it.  Shipping carriers charge based on the package’s size, weight and destination. You will save money by using lighter and smaller packaging versus large boxes. Don’t use a large box if a smaller box or bubble mailer will do.

8. Use free or discounted shipping supplies. Depending on shipping method you plan to use, you can often get free shipping supplies from USPS, FedEx and UPS. Alternatively, you can purchase discounted supplies when purchasing in bulk online. If you use your own packaging, you may have a “dimensional fee” for packages that exceed the carrier’s size regulations.  You can avoid these charges by using the carrier’s packaging.