How Businesses Can Decrease Shipping Costs

published Mar 19, 2019
2 min read

Optimising your shipping practices can help you to reduce your business’ expenses and improve customer satisfaction. If shipping is costing you more than you’d like, you don’t have to stay stuck with the same shipping setup. You can take numerous steps to reduce your costs. Here are 10 tips for doing so.

1. Consider All Your Options

If you want to reduce your shipping costs, take the time to consider all your options. Compare the prices of carriers, and don’t forget to think about regional shippers as well. While these smaller companies may not have networks as large as the bigger names, they may be able to offer you a lower price for regional deliveries.

2. Negotiate Prices

Many business owners don’t realise that they have some negotiating power when it comes to shipping prices. Carriers want your business, especially if you ship a considerable number of goods. To get you to choose them over a competitor, a carrier may offer you discounts on shipping.

3. Use Pickup Points

Many major shipping companies, as well as some other businesses, offer the use of pickup points. You can send all your deliveries for the surrounding area to these pickup points, and customers will then go to the location to pick up their items. This setup can save you money because it will allow you to ship multiple items together. Consider offering this option to your customers.

4. Find Association Discounts

Is your company a member of a professional association for your industry? If so, your industry association may have a partnership with a carrier that provides its members with discounts. The size of these discounts can be considerable — ask your association if any exist so that you don’t miss out.

5. Ship in Bulk

If possible, consider shipping items in bulk. Doing so can reduce costs by allowing you to send numerous items in one shipment. It can also decrease the number of supplies you need and reduce the volume that your shipments take up. Consider packaging materials designed especially for bulk shipping, such as bulk bags. One five-pound bulk bag can hold 4,000 pounds of goods.

6. Use Pre-Paid Shipping

Many carriers offer discounts for customers that prepay for a large order of shipping services. If you know you’ll have a relatively steady stream of shipments and many of them will be the same size, weight and type of package, this option may be a good one for you.

7. Buy Third-Party Insurance

When it comes to buying insurance for your shipments, make sure you consider all your options. Often, purchasing insurance from a third-party provider is cheaper than buying it from the shipping company itself. Like with shipping costs, considering all your options can result in savings.

8. Seek Savings on Supplies

You can also save on supplies like boxes, envelopes and packaging materials such as styrofoam and bubble wrap. Consider buying these supplies in bulk. Many carriers and some other businesses will even give you packaging supplies for free. You can also recycle and reuse your packaging materials.

9. Minimise Packaging

Many carriers price their services according to the weight and dimensions of the package you want to ship, so reducing these aspects of your packaging can decrease your costs. Pack your items as tightly as you can without sacrificing the protection of your goods and customer convenience. Use as small of a box, envelope or bag as you can, and consider using materials that weigh less.

10. Calculate Fees Before Billing

Before you bill your customers for shipping, make sure you include all the fees the carrier may charge in your calculations. Neglecting these extra fees can mean you take a hit on shipping costs. As long as you’re upfront with your customers about why shipping costs what it does, you shouldn’t run into any problems.

All businesses want to reduce their costs by cutting extra expenses. Shipping presents numerous opportunities for doing so — try the tips above to save.


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