How to Save Money on Shipping Bulky Items

How to Save Money on Shipping Bulky Items Most postal carriers charge either by gross weight or by dimensional weight, whichever one is greater. Large items, even lightweight ones, are typically charged by dimensional weight because they take up much space, which results in a high shipping cost. Luckily, there are ways to save money on shipping bulky items. Let us give you a few tips.

All oversized shipments fit into one of the two categories: large parcels or freight. Generally, the combined length and girth of a commercial parcel may not exceed 108 inches, and its maximum weight is 70 lbs. Some shipping carriers allow to ship packages that exceed this limits (typically up to 130 inches in combined length and girth), but charge an oversized price for them. Packages with the combined length and girth over 130 inches and/or heavier than 150 lbs are normally classified as freight and charged according to different rates.

In this article, we’ll focus on how to ship large parcels cheaper because freight shipping is a different story altogether. The first thing you should know about shipping large and oversized parcels is that they can be charged in three different ways (two of which we have already mentioned above):

  • by gross weight
  • by dimensional weight
  • by flat rate

Gross weight is the combined actual weight of the items in a parcel and its packaging. Dimensional weight, also known as volumetric weight, is calculated according to a special formula based on the dimensions of a parcel (length, width and height). Although the formula itself is the same for all carriers, the so-called dimensional factor used in the calculations may vary from one carrier to another.

As we’ve said, bulky parcels are usually charged by whichever weight is greater; heavy parcels are typically charged by gross weight, whereas large, but lightweight parcels are charged by dimensional weight.

Finally, flat rate shipping is a shipping method where the shipping cost is determined by the size of the standard box that the item or items you want to ship can fit into. This shipping option is typically available for large but lightweight parcels, the weight of which does not exceed 70 lbs.

So, the first thing you need to do in order to save on shipping bulky items is to make sure that they are properly packaged. For example, the box you use for shipping shouldn’t be too large for the items inside, because the larger the box, the greater the dimensional weight. To reduce the gross weight of your package, you should use light but sturdy packing materials; for example, corrugated cardboard is both lighter and more durable than regular cardboard.

Once your parcel is properly packaged, you need to determine its gross and dimensional weight in order to compare the cost of all tree shipping options. Here you can find a detailed instruction on how to calculate dimensional weight for three major carriers (USPS, FedEx and UPS). If you’re planning to use another carrier, they should have the formula or a shipping calculator on their website.

When you known the gross and dimensional weight of your package, you can compare the cost of all three shipping methods (by gross weight, by dimensional weight and flat rate shipping) offered by different carriers and choose the most affordable option.

You should keep in mind that the weight and size of your packages aren’t the only factors affecting the shipping cost. If you want to ship an oversized parcel cheaper, you need to understand that in this case, cheap almost never means fast. Ground shipping and shipping by sea may help you save on shipping because they are generally cheaper than shipping by air, but they are also slower. So you need to figure out your priorities and decide what’s more important for you, the cost of delivery or its speed.

Finally, you can save on shipping large parcels by using discounted shipping labels. There are services that allow their customers to print shipping labels at a lower price than the official shipping rates thanks to cooperating with major shipping carriers. Carriers give such services a shipping discount due to the large amount of shipping labels they generate, which allows the services to share this discount with their customers. For example, with PostageMaker, you can save up to 25% on shipping with the USPS and UPS.

Getting a discounted shipping label with PostageMaker is as easy as ABC. All you need to do is create an account in the system, deposit money on it using a credit/debit card, PayPal or a Bitcoin wallet, use our shipping calculator to choose the best shipping option, and fill out a brief form. The shipping cost is charged from your PostageMaker account the moment your shipping label is generated. All that’s left to do is print the shipping label, affix it to your large package, and schedule a package pickup.