How to Reduce Shipping Costs

Published on
1/24/2024
A man standing in front of a box truck, full of an LTL shipment

Shipping costs have never been higher and the pressure from customers to deliver goods on time has mounted to an all-time high. This goes without mentioning the hardship the supply chain has experienced in recent years.

Finding the sweet spot of fast, reliable, and well-priced shipping is more important than ever before. To reduce shipping costs you need to:

  • Choose lightweight packing options
  • Pick the right-sized box
  • Consolidate shipments
  • Shorten shipping distance
  • Ship quickly
  • Partner with a better carrier

Reducing shipping costs for small businesses can make a world of difference in your bottom line. Follow these tips to cut your shipping costs.

Choose Lightweight Packing Options

Cargo weight takes up a major portion of the cost of shipping. The higher the weight, the higher the cost.

For some businesses, the weight can’t be helped. Shipping cars is a bigger beast compared to shipping t-shirts. However, for e-commerce businesses, or companies shipping smaller items, slimming down package weight can make a huge difference in costs.

Lightweight packing fill includes:

  • Corrugated boxes
  • Paper
  • Shipping Bags
  • Paper bubbles and cushions
  • Airbags

Your best option will depend on what you ship. If you sell apparel, you should use shipping bags that add virtually no weight to your packaging. If you sell things like books, airbags will serve you well.

Think about what you need to make sure your goods get to where they need to be without getting damaged, and just do that.

Pick the Right Size Box

The size of your shipment matters just as much as the weight. Both are included in what is called the dimensional (DIM) weight. This is a pricing technique used by commercial freight companies. 

DIM weight is calculated using the formula: (length x width x height) / shipping rate. Typically, DIM weight is only used if it’s larger than the package weight. This discourages people from packing small items into large boxes.

How to calculate dimensional (DIM) weight

Finally, if you’re a manufacturer and can produce boxes with specific dimensions and cutouts for items, do it. Produce your product packaging with shipping in mind to streamline the process. If it’s not going to be sold in a store, make the packaging shipping-friendly.

Be Aware of Box Sizes

Boxes are measured by their interior dimensions to help you find how your items will fit. However, the exterior size will be slightly different. This is important when shipping whole pallets of items. 

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your shipments, choose the right size box. Try to find a box that leaves room for package filling, but is not so big that the item could get lost in the box. 

You also don’t want to break the box. Consider how fragile the item is. If it’s not delicate, like coffee beans, consider a box that’s snug around the item.

Consolidate Shipments

This should be standard practice for all businesses that package goods for shipment. Consolidate shipments by combining items into one shipment. This is obvious for companies with packing warehouses. If someone orders a shirt and a wallet, include both items in one shipment.

This is trickier for businesses needing to ship large items like construction equipment, cars, and manufacturing equipment. The best bet would be to make sure you include everything you need so you won’t have to send out another shipment later.

Shorten the Shipping Distance

Shipping costs include:

  • Weight
  • Dimension
  • Speed
  • Distance

Finding a route that’s as straight as possible will decrease the shipping time and cost. However, it’s not your responsibility to choose the route. When you ship a package, the courier chooses how your package reaches its final destination, and it’s not always the most straightforward.

Get a Direct Shipping Route

The most direct option for shipping is hotshot drivers. 

If you don’t move enough product to fill an entire semi-truck you’re going to have to ship less than truckload (LTL). However, his option isn’t always viable for businesses. LTL takes a longer time, travels a farther distance, gets passed between trucks, and costs more than it needs to. Learn more about LTL trucking here.

Hotshot shipping offers a direct shipping route that decreases cost and increases speed. When you choose hotshot shipping your package will go directly to its final destination.

This shipping solution is what Open Road is built on. We connect businesses with drivers that fit your needs. Open Road is a platform that makes it easy to find available drivers to ship your goods. Learn more about us and how we can help small businesses.

Related Articles: Open Road as a Small Business Shipping Solution

Eliminate Distance With Local Pickup

The best way to cut costs on shipping is to not ship at all. More and more people are expecting to order things for pickup. If you can include pickup and local delivery for your store, you should. It’s a great option that customers can choose that makes their life easier and decreases your shipping costs.

Avoid Extra Shipping Costs by Shipping Early

Last-minute shipping is pricey. If a customer puts in an order and expects the package to ship in 2-3 days, get it shipped by then. If you wait too long to ship items you’ll end up having to pay for expedited shipping.

You can’t control when customers will make an order or how quickly they expect it. Make your shipping options clear and stay on top of it by sending out shipments as soon as possible. 

Expedite Shipping Times

Hotshot shipping is one of the fastest options for shipping. Especially shipping large quantities of goods. You not only cut shipping time, but you don’t have to pay extra for expedited shipping.

For last-minute shipping business solutions, consider Open Road. We have a network of drivers available at a moment's notice. Don’t wait for LTL, find a driver through Open Road.

Partner with A Better Carrier

Some businesses only ship on occasion or in small batches. Shipping carriers like UPS, USPS, and FedEx are fine options for sending single items, but businesses that ship large quantities of goods need specialized options.

When you partner with a carrier you’ll find better support for your shipping needs as well as smooth out your shipping process. If you need a shipping partner that can move pallets, large equipment, and cars, Open Road is for you.

Related Articles: 6 Small Business Shipping Tips

Choose Open Road Shipping

Open Road offers simplified shipping for businesses. We can ship anything from pallets to packages. Our platform also stores all the information from past shipments so you can easily repeat shipments without having to fill out the information again.

Choose Open Road and start enjoying the best rates to ship your materials and goods fast.

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