5 Tips for Shipping Heavy Packages

5 Tips for Shipping Heavy PackagesWhether you’re moving across the country and need to mail some of your staff to your new home, or you run an online store that sells heavy items, you need to know the nuances of shipping heavy packages. Let us offer you a few tips that will help you save money on shipping heavy items and ensure they arrive at their destination intact.

Pack Your Heavy Items Properly

We cannot emphasize enough how important proper packaging is when it comes to shipping heavy items. They need to be packed in a sturdy box that will keep them secure while in transit. A regular cardboard box won’t do; we recommend that you opt for a box made of corrugated cardboard because it is strong yet lightweight enough to help you cut shipping costs

If the items you’re shipping are particularly heavy, look for a double-walled or reinforced box; if you can’t find any, put the items into a smaller box and then place it in a larger box. And please, never ever reuse old boxes to ship heavy items even if they look okay to you.

Before sealing the box securely with heavy-duty packing tape to keep it from bursting open, make sure to fill any empty space inside with a cushioning material such as packing peanuts or bubble wrap. If your heavy items are also fragile, consider purchasing shipping insurance on top of default coverage offered by the carrier.

Weigh and Measure Your Parcel

You know that your parcel is heavy, but how heavy is it exactly? You need to know this because the weight of your parcel affects the cost of shipping and can limit the number of delivery options available to you. Carriers calculate shipping cost based on the parcel’s gross weight, i.e. the cumulative weight of the items inside the parcel and packaging materials, so simply weighing the items you’re shipping is not enough; you need to weigh the entire parcel once it’s packaged.

You also need to measure your parcel and calculate its dimensional weight, also known as DIM weight or volumetric weight. Dimensional weight reflects the amount of space that your parcel takes up in a truck or on a plane. Carriers usually charge by whichever weight is higher, so you need to know both.

If you don’t know how to measure your parcel the right way or determine its dimensional weight, check out our articles titled “How to Measure a Shipping Box and Determine Package Dimensions” and “What Is Dimensional Weight and How to Calculate”; hope they will help.

Choose a Shipping Carrier and Type of Service

The biggest catch when it comes to shipping heavy items is that shipping carriers have a weight limit. For example, the United States Postal Service (USPS) does not ship commercial parcels that weigh more than 70 lbs; if your parcel is heavier, the USPS is not a viable option for you. UPS and FedEx ship parcels weighing up to 150 lbs, but they may charge an additional fee for large or heavy packages if your package weighs over 70 lbs. Packages weighing more than 150 lbs are classified as freight.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your heavy parcel might not qualify for flat rate shipping. Flat rate shipping is considered an economical way to ship small but heavy packages, and rightfully so, but you shouldn’t forget that it has a weight limit: 70 lbs for USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate and 50 lbs for UPS Simple Rate and FedEx One Rate. If your flat rate package is heavier than that, the carrier won’t accept it.

Consider Splitting Your Heavy Parcel into Several Shipments

We should warn you that this tip will not necessarily work for you, but you won’t know it for sure if you don’t compare your options. So if you feel like the cost of shipping your heavy parcel is too high for you, consider dividing it into several smaller and lighter parcels, use a shipping calculator to calculate their overall shipping cost, and compare it to the cost of shipping a single heavy parcel. In the end, choose whichever option is cheaper.

Print a Discounted Shipping Label

Shipping a heavy parcel can be quite expensive, but you can reduce your shipping costs by printing discounted shipping labels. Most carriers offer a shipping discount if you print shipping labels yourself from your account on their official website. However, you can get an even bigger discount if you use a third-party shipping label service such as PostageMaker.

At PostageMaker, we offer not only discounted shipping labels, but also a convenient shipping calculator, so using PostageMaker helps kill two birds with one stone: you can compare several shipping carriers and types of service, choose the best option, and print a discounted shipping label for your heavy parcel with very little effort.