Small Business Shipping Cost Hacks

Nothing is more counterproductive to making a profit than logistical expenses. One of the most common ways a company experiences thinner margins is by not researching shipping options. Shipping times and expenses are also one of the key factors in growing a loyal customer base. If high costs are passed along to the consumer, it means a greater potential for losing them. Here are a few tips for adding value to your business products and services using various shipping methods.

Contracts and Negotiations

Many carriers will respond to clients who regularly ship a certain volume of goods. In general, large annual shipments can garner an overall lower schedule of rates. Also, explore new options offered by carriers like load sharing. This is a great way to get the advantages of full load shipping, but with the lower cost of less than full load designations.

Specific Destinations

If you know you will only be shipping to a certain domestic region, research regional carriers operating there. Utilizing local routes is usually less expensive than having another carrier deliver out of their preferred zone. OnTrac is an example of a reputable carrier that has affordable shipping for delivery on the West Coast and in mountain states.

Private Insurance

If a shipping company offers to extend package insurance, it will probably be at a premium. On average, carrier insurance is about 1 percent of the shipment value, while third party rates are about half that. These savings can add quickly, especially for something that might not be used.

Read the Fine Print

Often, businesses are in a hurry to ship items. They will find the right carrier for their needs, but fail to read the contract’s details. Some carriers will include surcharges for things like weekend delivery, delivery confirmation, market fuel costs, and non-commercial unloading.

Explore Technology Options

The nature of commerce is shifting from brick and mortar, to online stores. Fortunately, the government and the USPS recognize this. New services like Stamps.com and Endicia have been given permission to issue postage for online shipping. Using virtual postage might be far less expensive than hiring a traditional overland carrier.

Priority Discounts

Use an online service like Express 1 to buy postage. This will allow your priority shipments to receive a USPS discount. Of course, this only applies if your shipment is being made through USPS Priority and Priority Express avenues. The best part is that no binding contracts are necessary.

Volume is Key

Most carriers calculate costs by volume, weight, and distance. Rarely are costs calculated by item value. Always be sure to size your shipment properly. Consolidate items into smaller packaging whenever possible, but do not compromise the safety of the items. Do not always use a large box simply because that’s what is stored in your backroom.

Take Advantage of Freebies

While branding is important, it is not always economically savvy to use custom shipping supplies. Many carriers like USPS, UPS, FedEx, and others will offer free and discounted shipping supplies. Bulk online supply purchases are also a great way to earn discounts. Some carriers will extend rate reductions if you adhere to their dimensional requirements by using their boxes.

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