How Businesses Can Save Money on Shipping

published Oct 15, 2018
2 min read

Business Shipping Packages

A successful business depends on the efficiency of its operations. The goal of any model is to minimise expenditure and maximise profitability, seeking new ways to innovate old practices to keep pace with a modern market that demands more. More novelty, more value and more convenience.

That last element — convenience — is often a sticking point for business owners and budding entrepreneurs. Advertising a product or service, attracting the right audience and making the final sale all come with their own set of challenges, but the subject of shipping is distinctly different.

A business that fails to reduce its shipping expenses will lose money. This is particularly true of small businesses, to which inefficient shipping methods pose a real danger. In this article, we’ll detail five different methods a business owner can use to save on shipping costs.

1. Negotiation

Most business owners choose a shipping provider and remain loyal to them for a prolonged period of time. These providers are aware of this and are usually willing to negotiate should the owner take the time to call. However, before they do, it’s smart to contact a competitor for a quote.

When a business owner speaks to UPS, FedEx or another provider about their current rate, they can use a competitor’s quote to leverage a better deal for themselves. In the end, a single phone call can earn an entrepreneur substantial savings in their shipping expenses with very little work.

2. Refund Policies

Several large shipping providers offer money-back guarantees if their service doesn’t meet certain specifications. However, this money is only available if the business owner dedicates a significant amount of time to the process, making a package auditing company a smart idea.

If involving another company doesn’t seem worth the trouble, business owners should note that providers fail to meet their guarantees on a semi-regular basis. More than this, most package auditing companies only make a profit off of the percentage of the refund that the business receives.

3. Reconditioned Bulk Bags

A business owner who invests time in searching for cheaper substitutes to their current shipping materials will almost always benefit. They might choose to invest in reconditioned bulk bags, an excellent alternative to conventional means of shipping — often less expensive than other types of container.

More than this, reconditioned bulk bags are easier to handle than rigid items like pallets and drums. They provide a sustainable method of delivery, with a reclamation process that returns the bags to the shipping cycle. And for eco-conscious entrepreneurs, they’re also environmentally friendly.

4. Postage Meters

Mailers shouldn’t need to estimate the weight of packages before shipping them, an outdated custom that occasionally results in excessive postage. If enough of these miscalculations occur, the cost of shipping quickly adds up to impact a business’s bottom line. But there’s a simple solution.

Every business should use a postage meter when assessing their packages. For small business owners who don’t want to rely on a guess, or waste time in line at their local carrier’s office, a rented postage meter can weigh a package, determine charges and print a shipping label.

5. Thermal Printers

The costs associated with producing shipping labels — from the ink to the labels themselves — can build at an alarming rate. But business owners don’t have to rely on traditional methods of printing during the course of their shipping process. They have options in handling this unavoidable expense.

A thermal printer is one of these options, not as costly as its counterparts. Instead of using ink, thermal printers print directly onto adhesive labels through selectively heating a special kind of paper. And in addition to this, they operate far more quickly, creating images in milliseconds.

Shipping Doesn’t Have to Hurt

Business owners and entrepreneurs who follow the advice in this article will find that shipping expenses are nothing to worry over. With a push toward best practices, a little initiative and the adoption of technology, shipping becomes a non-issue, regardless of a company’s size or output.
After all, a business should focus on selling products, not delivering them.


Emily Folk is a conservation and sustainability freelance writer. Check out her blog, Conservation Folks, or follow her on Twitter for the latest updates.