Regardless of the size of your business, your shipping costs probably account for a big chunk of your expenses. If you have not carefully evaluated all aspects of the process, you are probably spending more money than you need to get your goods out; considering the amount of money that goes to shipping, this could seriously be affecting your company’s bottom line. Here are some tips that can help cut your shipping costs and increase your profits.
Considerations for Packaging Materials
The packaging you use to ship your goods is a major factor in your shipping expenses; this could be a whole article within itself but for now, here are a few considerations to help you cut costs. Most goods only need about two inches of space around them to offer adequate protection—if you are using boxes with more than this, you can probably switch to smaller ones. You also want to evaluate if you are using higher grade materials than are necessary to adequately house the product—maybe you could switch to a lower-grade cardboard or plastic. Stay in the loop about the prices of paper and paper board so you can be in a better place to negotiate price with your vendors.
Work with Your Carrier to Map out Shipping Criteria
Major carriers will have small-business specialists who can help you get a clear idea of service fees based on the type of shipments you handle, how you typically deliver them and the standard time frame of delivery. By carefully mapping out these details, the specialist can help you determine when you should use air versus ground, for example. Taking the time to match all your shipping scenarios and the associated fees can help you use the most cost-effective measures each time. Failure to do this could result in spending up to 40 percent more than you need to on shipping costs.
Inquire about Discounts
When it comes to something like shipping costs, the greater the volume, the more room there is to negotiate lower shipping charges. If you are a smaller business, you may think that you do not have much room to negotiate since you are not shipping thousands of pounds worth of goods every day. This is not necessarily true, however, and it can never hurt to ask; the worst that will happen is that they will say no. You may be able to negotiate a lower price even if you ship as little as 100 packages per month.
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Get a Postage Meter
A postage meter can add up to big time savings over the long run. Using one will help eliminate paying extra postage costs associated with guessing about how much a package weighs, and purchasing more postage than you might need to be sure you are covered. Postage meter producer Pitney Bowes estimates that this device can save small businesses up to 20 percent on postage fees yearly. If buying one is not in the budget, you can lease one for as little as 20 dollars per month.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who has covered a range of business topics and particularly enjoys pieces that offer tips for saving money and increasing profit. If you are in need of packaging materials and bags at a good price, check out StockPKG, who offers wholesale plastic bags and other discounted items.