Shipping is one of those expenses that can creep up when you’re not expecting it. After all, these costs tend come is smaller increments, rather than huge predictable chunks. So it can be easy for business owners to either underestimate these logistical costs, or possibly overlook them entirely, that is, until they’re coming in over budget far too regularly. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to cut shipping costs significantly.
1. Be Prepared.
It’s impossible to stay on top of your shipping costs if you don’t know what to expect. Make a record of all your costs, and be sure to review them periodically to ensure you’re getting the best rate possible. Also, don’t be afraid to do a little research on your shipping companies.
2. Utilize Flat Rate Shipping
Does the variability of shipping costs make it difficult for you to predict spending? Consider using flat rate shipping options to avoid the ups and downs that conventional pricing can cause. Most flat rate options are set by geographic zones, or by distance, rather than by weight. This may not be the ideal option for every situation, so it’s important to compare prices. But if you want to streamline your process, this can be a great way to go.
3. Weigh and Measure Your Packages
Did you know that carriers consider size, not just weight, when determining shipping costs? Boxes that are too large end up taking too much space collectively. So if you’re putting items in boxes that are too big for them, it may be that you’re being charged for the extra space. Take care to reduce package dimensions, so you’re not paying for air.
Use the power of volume shipping whenever possible. Even if you don’t have huge shipping orders every month that are thousands strong, you still probably qualify for a volume discount of some sort. Ask your representative about which options are available to you.
5. Use Good Quality Packing Materials
It’s a bit of a paradox in the shipping world: spending more on your materials saves money. But if you consider the inevitable hazards of shipment, it makes sense to avoid disaster by making your packages as trouble-free as possible. After all, you may be saving a bit by using cheaper materials, but the cost of refunds and re-shipping are not worth it in the long run.
6. Automate the Process with Technology
Most likely, you are using a small army of different carriers to fulfill your orders. And keeping track of everything can be tricky, to say the least. Thankfully, there are a number of different software solutions available to help you manage everything (and prevent errors) more or less effortlessly. Your representative can help you find a solution that works best for you.
7. Avoid Shipping on Peak Days
Sometimes, saving on shipping can just mean waiting a day or two. What is considered a peak day does vary a bit, but as a general rule, Mondays and Fridays tend to be low-volume shipping days because of the way retail stores like to stock, so if you have some wiggle room with how long you are able to wait, and especially if you ship non-consumer products, this might be a good option for you.
8. Use a Freight Broker
Brokers often have access to information and systems (as well as expertise) that the rest of us don’t have. If you’ve got some serious shipping demands and want to cut costs, a freight broker may just be your new best friend. Not only can they get you the best freight quotes, they can also help you scout out false invoice charges and help you avoid unnecessary reclassing and reweighing.
With careful planning, a few good systems, and possibly the help of an expert, getting your shipping costs down is definitely doable. Happy shipping!
Discuss your shipping needs with our friendly experts - contact us today.