How to Lower Shipping Costs

How to Lower Shipping Costs

No one likes to be surprised with outrageous shipping fees while they’re at a post office or shipping center. Unfortunately, a lot of different factors can lead to high shipping costs, like bulky packaging and long shipping distances. Don’t worry—there are a lot of easy hacks and tricks that may save you a bit of money on your next trip to the post office.

Method 1 of 13:
Take advantage of discounted shipping rates.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 1
1
Compare rates with different shipping groups and see if you qualify for a discount. Some shipping groups offer special discounts for shipping certain kinds of items, which may save you a little bit of money in the long run. [1] X Research source Other shipping services offer association discounts—if you’re working with a larger company, you might qualify for a pretty hefty discount on your shipping. [2] X Research source For instance, some larger businesses can get up to half off on shipping costs with some big-name shipping companies, like UPS or FedEx. Some groups, like USPS, will discount your shipping if you’re mailing DVDs, CDs, or books.[3] X Research source
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Method 2 of 13:
Double-check for unwanted fees.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 2
1
Some companies will charge extra, depending on when and where you’re shipping. Be on the lookout for extra costs like Saturday delivery, or extra fees for delivery signatures. Some shipping groups also charge extra to ship to residential neighborhoods. If you’re noticing a lot of these fees with a certain shipping group, you may want to take your business elsewhere. [4] X Research source Some groups might charge extra for fuel surcharges.
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Method 3 of 13:
Scope out third-party companies for shipping insurance.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 3
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Don’t buy insurance with your default shipping company. A lot of times, big-name shipping companies charge more for shipping insurance, which can hurt your wallet in the long run. Instead, browse online for different types of shipping insurances. Choose a plan with a third-party company—chances are, this won’t cost nearly as much. [5] X Research source Companies like Cabrella and Shipsurance are examples of third-party companies.
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Method 4 of 13:
Sign up for prepaid shipping.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 4
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Use prepaid shipping if you’re mailing the same types of items out. Prepaid shipping can save you up to 20% on shipping costs, depending on which company you’re working with. This is a great option if you tend to mail out the same types of packages frequently. Instead of paying at the shipping center, print out the label and tape it to your package ahead of time. [6] X Research source For example, if you run a small craft business from home, you could really benefit from prepaid shipping. With prepaid shipping, you’ll need to buy shipping labels in bulk instead of buying them for each individual package.
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Method 5 of 13:
Use poly mailers instead of traditional boxes.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 5
1
Stick your item into a poly mailer and see if it fits. Believe it or not, boxes aren’t always the best shipping option for your wares—in fact, they tend to jack up your shipping rates a lot. Pick out an envelope, instead. You might be surprised at how much you can fit in a single poly mailer! [7] X Research source
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Method 6 of 13:
Opt for hybrid shipping services.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 6
1
Look into companies that offer to be the layperson between larger groups. Services like SmartPost and SurePost act as a liaison between big groups—by doing this, they can shave some money off the original shipping cost for you. [8] X Research source Essentially, hybrid services will take the packages directly from your location and bring them to the post office, which will then ship the package. [9] X Research source Since there are a few extra steps involved, hybrid shipping services are a little slower than traditional shipping. For example, SurePost is a hybrid service run by UPS, and SmartPost is run by FedEx.
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Method 7 of 13:
Negotiate with different companies.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 7
1
Don’t settle for a shipping service right away. Call up different groups and let them know what you’re trying to ship, and what your budget is. Ask if they can give you any wiggle room—depending on your situation, some shipping groups might offer lower rates. [10] X Research source It’s a lot easier to negotiate if you plan on shipping a lot of packages at once. If you’re only shipping a couple of items, you probably won’t be able to negotiate a lower price.
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Method 8 of 13:
Charge the customer for the full shipping price.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 8
1
It can be easy to overlook some extra shipping costs. Double-check your invoice before you send it out to the customer. Some carriers tack on extra costs to their shipping services, like fuel surcharges and delivery fees. Include all of those costs in the final invoice that you give the customer, so you don’t end up paying extra for shipping. [11] X Research source
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Method 9 of 13:
Save money by shipping online.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 9
1
Check if your main shipping group offers an online shipping service. Some organizations offer discounts when you place your shipping orders online. Certain groups offer anywhere from 16 to 60% off your total shipping cost! [12] X Research source For example, USPS offers a free pick-up service and other handy services when you use online shipping.
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Method 10 of 13:
Work with a regional carrier.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 10
1
Search for local shipping groups in your area. National postal and shipping groups definitely get the job done, but they might be more expensive than your local options. Check online to see if there are any shipping businesses in your area. They might have cheaper rates than the bigger companies! [13] X Research source
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Method 11 of 13:
Use flat-rate boxes for heavy items.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 11
1
Don’t use your own packaging for bulky wares. Instead, ask your local post office or shipping center if they carry flat-rate boxes—these are packages that have a default rate, instead of being charged by weight. If your package is really heavy, you might be able to save a good chunk of money with flat-rate boxes. [14] X Research source Flat-rate boxes aren’t necessarily the best solution for lightweight parcels. If your package weighs less than 15 lb (6.8 kg), ask if you can ship it in a regional rate box instead—these are boxes designed for traveling a short distance, instead of being shipped cross-country or internationally.
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Method 12 of 13:
Ask your carrier for free packaging.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 12
1
Some big-name shipping groups will let you package your items for free. Stop by your local post office or shipping center and let them know what you’re planning to ship, and where you’re expecting to ship it. They can let you know what sorts of packaging supplies are available to you. [15] X Research source For instance, some places let you package your items for free in a flat-rate box.
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Method 13 of 13:
Decrease the package dimensions.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 13
1
See if your package will fit in a smaller box before you ship it. Package dimensions play a big role in your shipping costs—generally, the larger the box is, the higher your price will be. If your current package has a lot of wiggle room, grab a smaller box and see if you can save some space. You might be able to save some money that way! [16] X Research source
Advertisement

Method 1 of 13:
Take advantage of discounted shipping rates.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 1
1
Compare rates with different shipping groups and see if you qualify for a discount. Some shipping groups offer special discounts for shipping certain kinds of items, which may save you a little bit of money in the long run. [1] X Research source Other shipping services offer association discounts—if you’re working with a larger company, you might qualify for a pretty hefty discount on your shipping. [2] X Research source For instance, some larger businesses can get up to half off on shipping costs with some big-name shipping companies, like UPS or FedEx. Some groups, like USPS, will discount your shipping if you’re mailing DVDs, CDs, or books.[3] X Research source
Advertisement

Method 2 of 13:
Double-check for unwanted fees.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 2
1
Some companies will charge extra, depending on when and where you’re shipping. Be on the lookout for extra costs like Saturday delivery, or extra fees for delivery signatures. Some shipping groups also charge extra to ship to residential neighborhoods. If you’re noticing a lot of these fees with a certain shipping group, you may want to take your business elsewhere. [4] X Research source Some groups might charge extra for fuel surcharges.
Advertisement

Method 3 of 13:
Scope out third-party companies for shipping insurance.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 3
1
Don’t buy insurance with your default shipping company. A lot of times, big-name shipping companies charge more for shipping insurance, which can hurt your wallet in the long run. Instead, browse online for different types of shipping insurances. Choose a plan with a third-party company—chances are, this won’t cost nearly as much. [5] X Research source Companies like Cabrella and Shipsurance are examples of third-party companies.
Advertisement

Method 4 of 13:
Sign up for prepaid shipping.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 4
1
Use prepaid shipping if you’re mailing the same types of items out. Prepaid shipping can save you up to 20% on shipping costs, depending on which company you’re working with. This is a great option if you tend to mail out the same types of packages frequently. Instead of paying at the shipping center, print out the label and tape it to your package ahead of time. [6] X Research source For example, if you run a small craft business from home, you could really benefit from prepaid shipping. With prepaid shipping, you’ll need to buy shipping labels in bulk instead of buying them for each individual package.
Advertisement

Method 5 of 13:
Use poly mailers instead of traditional boxes.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 5
1
Stick your item into a poly mailer and see if it fits. Believe it or not, boxes aren’t always the best shipping option for your wares—in fact, they tend to jack up your shipping rates a lot. Pick out an envelope, instead. You might be surprised at how much you can fit in a single poly mailer! [7] X Research source
Advertisement

Method 6 of 13:
Opt for hybrid shipping services.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 6
1
Look into companies that offer to be the layperson between larger groups. Services like SmartPost and SurePost act as a liaison between big groups—by doing this, they can shave some money off the original shipping cost for you. [8] X Research source Essentially, hybrid services will take the packages directly from your location and bring them to the post office, which will then ship the package. [9] X Research source Since there are a few extra steps involved, hybrid shipping services are a little slower than traditional shipping. For example, SurePost is a hybrid service run by UPS, and SmartPost is run by FedEx.
Advertisement

Method 7 of 13:
Negotiate with different companies.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 7
1
Don’t settle for a shipping service right away. Call up different groups and let them know what you’re trying to ship, and what your budget is. Ask if they can give you any wiggle room—depending on your situation, some shipping groups might offer lower rates. [10] X Research source It’s a lot easier to negotiate if you plan on shipping a lot of packages at once. If you’re only shipping a couple of items, you probably won’t be able to negotiate a lower price.
Advertisement

Method 8 of 13:
Charge the customer for the full shipping price.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 8
1
It can be easy to overlook some extra shipping costs. Double-check your invoice before you send it out to the customer. Some carriers tack on extra costs to their shipping services, like fuel surcharges and delivery fees. Include all of those costs in the final invoice that you give the customer, so you don’t end up paying extra for shipping. [11] X Research source
Advertisement

Method 9 of 13:
Save money by shipping online.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 9
1
Check if your main shipping group offers an online shipping service. Some organizations offer discounts when you place your shipping orders online. Certain groups offer anywhere from 16 to 60% off your total shipping cost! [12] X Research source For example, USPS offers a free pick-up service and other handy services when you use online shipping.
Advertisement

Method 10 of 13:
Work with a regional carrier.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 10
1
Search for local shipping groups in your area. National postal and shipping groups definitely get the job done, but they might be more expensive than your local options. Check online to see if there are any shipping businesses in your area. They might have cheaper rates than the bigger companies! [13] X Research source
Advertisement

Method 11 of 13:
Use flat-rate boxes for heavy items.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 11
1
Don’t use your own packaging for bulky wares. Instead, ask your local post office or shipping center if they carry flat-rate boxes—these are packages that have a default rate, instead of being charged by weight. If your package is really heavy, you might be able to save a good chunk of money with flat-rate boxes. [14] X Research source Flat-rate boxes aren’t necessarily the best solution for lightweight parcels. If your package weighs less than 15 lb (6.8 kg), ask if you can ship it in a regional rate box instead—these are boxes designed for traveling a short distance, instead of being shipped cross-country or internationally.
Advertisement

Method 12 of 13:
Ask your carrier for free packaging.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 12
1
Some big-name shipping groups will let you package your items for free. Stop by your local post office or shipping center and let them know what you’re planning to ship, and where you’re expecting to ship it. They can let you know what sorts of packaging supplies are available to you. [15] X Research source For instance, some places let you package your items for free in a flat-rate box.
Advertisement

Method 13 of 13:
Decrease the package dimensions.

Image titled Lower Shipping Costs Step 13
1
See if your package will fit in a smaller box before you ship it. Package dimensions play a big role in your shipping costs—generally, the larger the box is, the higher your price will be. If your current package has a lot of wiggle room, grab a smaller box and see if you can save some space. You might be able to save some money that way! [16] X Research source
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