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3 Small Business Shipping Tips

February 12, 2020 Published by

It’s not easy being a small business owner; you wear many hats and delegating tasks is a luxury you don’t have. And you probably don’t have the time or the patience to deal with shipping methods and costs. But if you’re not paying attention to this area of your business, you might be overpaying for services.

Here are three small business shipping tips that can save you time and money.

3 Shipping Tips for Small Businesses

1. Brush-up on DIM Weight

DIM weight, which stands for dimensional or volumetric weight, is calculated by multiplying the length, width and height of a package, using the longest point on each side. Prior to DIM weight, shipping carriers measured transportation costs based solely on weight. That calculation, however, made large volume, light-weight boxes unprofitable for carriers, who were filled to capacity while carrying very little actual weight. The DIM factor solves that by calculating the dimensional “weight” of on object.

All major carriers, including UPS, FedEx and USPS, apply the DIM factor to determine every rectangular parcel’s dimensional weight. To counter this increased shipping costs, be sure to use the right amount of packaging and use the DIM factor published by your carrier to establish the correct dimensional weight.

To maximize cost savings for our clients, Fulfillment Works uses Cubiscan parcel dimensioning systems to measure the exact cubic volume and weight for each SKU in their inventory. Because our parcel dimensioning systems provide exact measurement data, it can dramatically improve the accuracy of shipping cost estimates and decrease fees and other freight charges—even on small packages.

2. Practice Proper Packaging

Another way to save money is by using lighter and smaller packaging versus large boxes. Don’t use a large box, for example, if a smaller box or poly mailer will do. Poly mailers require less packaging supplies and take up less space on delivery trucks—both of which will lower costs.

If boxing is your only option, you might consider using a packaging designer. Most shipping carton manufacturers have staff and laboratories that can help you redesign and optimize your packaging. Major carriers make these resources available to customers.

Lastly, make sure you are optimizing your dunnage. Padding your goods with dunnage will keep them safe during transit, but it can also add unnecessary weight and volume. Air pillows are extremely light, have variable size and effectively protect shipments.

Check out 5 Ecommerce Packaging Mistakes to Avoid for more packaging tips.

3. Outsource Your Shipping

Did your business start off small, with warehousing, marketing and fulfillment all done from one building—and all done by you? If your businesses has since grown beyond its initial capacity and you’re struggling meeting shipping demands, it might be time to consider outsourcing.

One option is dropshipping you packages so that your items can be sent directly from your product manufacturer or supplier to your customers. While the process seems simple, there are some disadvantages to dropshipping, however, including a loss of control over order fulfillment and shipping. This is especially challenging if you have multiple suppliers. Dropshipping can also be problematic from a customer service standpoint since you are constantly dealing with customers, but with little control over the order process.

You can also outsource your shipping to a third-party logistics provider. A 3PL can store your products, process your orders and ship your packages to your customers. A 3PL has plenty of other advantages as well, including connections and relationships with carriers, which they can leverage to minimize transit time and maximize shipping discounts for their clients.

Did you know you can also negotiate with your carrier? Review your previous shipping bills to find the major cost driving factors and research the prices from competitors to get a better understanding of average shipping costs. We pass 100 percent of our shipping discounts on to our clients, which allows them to give better shipping rates to their customers.