9 Easy Ways to Save on Shipping


Ecommerce sites and any business selling online in addition to their storefront will find that shipping costs add up fast, along with this, it’s better for a buyer to issue a purchase order that will help them keeps tracks of their purchases. These costs seem to be fixed, but there are actually a number of methods available to reduce shipping costs, while every dollar you save on shipping goes directly to the bottom line. Here are nine easy ways to save on shipping, no matter what you send.

Lighten the Load

When you pay for shipping by the pound, packing peanuts are an investment compared to wool blankets. If it needs more protection than packing peanuts, research using small sheets of foam instead. Using heavy duty cardboard boxes instead of wooden crates, where possible, is worth the effort. Skipping on the free samples unless the items weigh so little it doesn’t increase the shipping cost may be worth it, especially if marketing doesn’t know if including free samples increases the customer conversion rate.

Reuse and Recycle

You can reuse shipping materials like packing peanuts and bubble wrap on materials you receive, putting them in boxes you’re about to ship out. Reuse cardboard boxes as much as possible, as long as they are durable enough to handle another set of contents and any remaining logos don’t detract from your own shipping labels or branding. Every item you reuse is something you don’t need to buy, and you are recycling it instead of disposing of it.

Plan Pickups Carefully

Schedule your packing activities so that items are ready well before pickup. If you’re rushing to prepare shipments before the freight driver arrives, you may take shortcuts that affect the product or be left with items not ready to go when your driver arrives. The cost of expediting the shipping on the next pickup or using alternate shipping methods for the leftovers is one you can and should avoid. And, if your freight driver arrives and has nothing to pick up, you still have to pay the “dry run fee” to the company in addition to the later costs of shipping things when they are finally ready. So, plan shipping activities and pickups to give yourself plenty of slack, instead of trying to pack after learning the driver is on his way. This planning also allows you to consolidate as much shipping as possible.

You should consider scheduling wider delivery windows, since this is cheaper than paying for a delivery “appointment”. Depending on the size of the shipment, paying someone minimum wage to wait two hours by the dock is cheaper than what you’d pay for a 2 PM sharp delivery. If you plan other tasks the person can do by the dock like sweeping, sorting packing materials or cleaning, that time isn’t wasted and you save quite a bit on delivery costs.

Organize Your Packing Area

Organize your packing area so that everything is right there when someone is packing an item, including scissors, tape, bubble wrap and boxes. Use a dedicated workbench or work space for packing so that these supplies don’t end up scattered around the warehouse. Have a designated place for items ready to be shipped to stack up before they are loaded up in the truck. The ideal layout puts printers, computers and barcode scanners in the same packing and shipping area so that you can print a packing slip or barcode label on demand and scan things as they leave the facility.

Buy Shipping Supplies in Bulk

For small business owners, the cost between picking up large envelopes at the Post Office and buying them in bulk from a big box store is fifty cents or more per order. These costs eat into your profit margin. Buy shipping supplies in bulk so that you don’t pay the higher prices in the office supply store or Post Office as you make each run.

Don’t Overpay Based on Assumed Weight

Too many businesses pay for postage based on the assumed weight of the item. That 9 ounce package you assume is 10 ounces ends up costing you a few cents more to ship if sending it the cheapest route and much more if sending it international or priority. The literal cost increases by the inflation of the weight. You pay more than you have to if you underestimate the weight, too, since you either have to pay employees for the time spent waiting for the Post Office staff to check and apply extra postage to the shipment or the much greater cost of resending the returned package to the customer, often expedited.

Another variation of this problem is paying the highest shipping rate by default to simplify shipping processes, but paying more than necessary for shipping large or unusually shaped items. One solution is to use a density calculator to calculate density of the items and known volume to more accurately estimate the weight.

Check the Shipping Company Paperwork

Learn your shipping class for each type of product and make certain the paperwork lists this correctly at the start; reclasses are painful and you’re likely overpaying for shipment if the classification is wrong. Don’t trust the freight calculators blindly, since they can give you a deliberately low bid for your shipping and then charge you more. Pay attention to invoices so that you aren’t accidentally overcharged because of their errors, such as incorrectly assessed fees not appropriate in your case.

Inspect Deliveries

Inspect deliveries so you can note any damage when it comes in. You cannot file a freight claim for damage or loss if you don’t make this inspection and put it on the delivery receipt. If you don’t verify you received what you paid to have delivered, you will face an uphill battle getting reimbursed for lost or stolen items.

Shop Around

Shop around for shipping services. You should shop around for quotes both for the volume you ship and the weight you ship. While you may not find cheaper services than your current shipper, most businesses save 5% or more. You should also compare the services for the niche shipping jobs you have like expedited delivery, shipping of bulky items or shipping to small markets outside of your geographic area. You may save significantly by using a different shipping company for those particular shipments than paying extra with your main shipper.

You should also shop around for freight insurance. Third party insurance may be more expensive than what the carrier offers, but it is worth the cost if you have expensive or a load of fragile items get damaged.

Keep the above tips in mind and you should save your business some money.

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