4 Ways to Save Money on Domestic Shipping

4 Ways to Save Money on Domestic ShippingDomestic shipping is way cheaper than international shipping, but when you’re on a tight budget, every penny counts. Luckily, there are ways to make domestic shipping even more affordable than it already is. Here are four ways to save money on domestic shipping.

Choose Ground Shipping Whenever Possible

More often than not, ground shipping is the most affordable domestic shipping option. Transporting packages via roads or railroads is less costly than transporting them by air for a number of reasons (cost of fuel, less personnel required, etc.), so ground shipping, also referred to as standard shipping, is cheaper than express shipping options.

Of course, it’s also slower, but not as slow as it used to be; most packages shipped via ground get delivered in 2–5 business days within the contiguous United States. If your shipment is time-sensitive, you may want to pay more for express shipping, but when you’re not pressed for time, ground shipping is your best option cost-wise.

Ground shipping options are offered both by the United States Postal Service (USPS) and by major courier companies. They include, for example, USPS Retail Ground, USPS Media Mail, FedEx Home Delivery, FedEx Ground Shipping, and UPS Ground. Some carriers have special ground shipping options for businesses such as USPS Parcel Select and UPS SurePost.

Keep Your Package as Small and Lightweight as Possible

The cost of shipping typically depends on the weight and dimensions of your package. Carriers calculate rates based on either gross weight or dimensional weight, whichever one is greater. Gross weight is the actual weight of your package (the items you’re shipping + cushioning materials + the box), whereas dimensional weight indicates how much space the package takes up and is calculated based on package dimensions using a special formula.

Large/heavy packages generally cost more to ship than small/lightweight ones, so you should try to make your package as small and lightweight as possible. If the box is too big for the item or items you’re shipping, buy a new one; you’ll still save money because you will have to use less cushioning and because shipping will be cheaper.

Consider Flat Rate Shipping (But Don’t Choose It Blindly)

Flat rate shipping is a shipping service where the cost of shipping does not depend on the weight of the package or the distance it has to travel. It is meant to simplify things; with flat rate shipping, you don’t need to weigh your parcel, measure it to figure out its DIM weight, and calculate the price of shipping. All you need to do is choose the right size flat rate box that already has a shipping price assigned to it based on its size.

It should be noted that flat rate shipping is not always cheaper than regular shipping. Flat rate shipping may be a more cost-effective option when you ship small, heavy packages, but it will cost you more money to ship large, lightweight items via flat rate. So while you definitely should keep flat rate shipping in mind when shipping domestically, you shouldn’t choose it before comparing all your options.

Print Shipping Labels Yourself

When you ship packages the old-fashioned way, a clerk at a Post Office (or UPS/FedEx location) prints the shipping label for you. However, most carriers offer their clients the opportunity to pay postage and print shipping labels online. This helps shippers save time and reduces the load on postal workers.

To encourage customers to generate shipping labels online, carriers offer shipping discounts to those who print their shipping labels themselves. In addition, there are third-party shipping label services that offer even bigger discounts; for example, PostageMaker offers discounted domestic shipping rates that are up to 25% off from the USPS and UPS retail rates.