Flat Rate Shipping for Small Businesses

Monday, Nov 14th 2022
woman holding a package

If you’re a small business that ships a lot of items, it can get complicated and time-consuming.

The size, weight, distance your package needs to travel, and the speed at which you want it to get there must all be considered before you can fulfill an order.

One way to simplify the process and free up employee time is to use flat rate shipping for your small business.

What is flat rate shipping?

Flat rate shipping is a shipping service where the cost is based on the size of the envelope, box, pack, or tube you are using to ship the item, not the item’s shape, weight, or dimensions. 

If the item’s weight is equal to or under the maximum weight allowed by the carrier, and it fits into the package, you pay a single flat rate fee.

The flat rate charged by some carriers is based solely on the size of the package. Other carriers also factor in the speed and delivery distance to calculate their flat rate shipping price.

Packages small businesses deliver by flat rate shipping, typically take 1-3 business days to arrive at their destination.

How to get flat rate shipping for small business

Flat rate shipping for small businesses is offered by all the major carriers, including USPS, FedEx, and UPS. Placing an order for flat rate shipping is as easy as placing a regular shipping order. Just visit the chosen carrier’s website or call them to initiate your flat rate shipping order for small businesses. 

flat rate shipping could reduce your shipping costs by 15% and save you time

Why use flat rate shipping for your small business?

There are various reasons why flat rate shipping may be a good fit with your operation.

  • Predicable shipping costs: with flat rate shipping, your small business has nothing to figure out. You know exactly what it will cost to ship your item before you even put it in the package.
  • Weight doesn’t matter: flat rate shipping for small businesses is especially cost-efficient when sending heavy items. With USPS flat rate shipping for small business there’s no difference in cost whether your item is 1 pound or 70 pounds. With FedEx and UPS there’s no difference in cost whether your item weighs 1 pound or 50 pounds. As a result, the savings can be substantial. 
  • Gain efficiency: flat rate shipping will streamline your fulfillment because if you only need a few package types and sizes to accommodate all your products, the shipping and handling process will move a lot quicker.
  • Increase productivity: no more having to weigh and measure each item and then calculate the shipping costs. You and your employees gain back time which you can then use to focus on other areas of your small business.
  • Free packages: opt for flat rate shipping, and the carrier you go with will provide you with complimentary packages.
  • Boost profit margins: standardized shipping will help reduce one of your biggest operating costs i.e., shipping, allowing you to increase margins on items sold and give your bottom line a shot in the arm.
  • Easier to offer free shipping: when you know what your shipping costs are going to be, it’s easier to do the math and figure out how much to build into the purchase cost of an item so you can offer your customers free shipping. 

Two situations where flat rate shipping doesn’t make sense

Many small businesses will find that flat rate shipping is the ideal solution most of the time, but there are two occasions where regular shipping is probably the better option.

  • If your small business must ship an item that weighs less than a pound, regular shipping will cost less than flat rate shipping.
  • if most of the items you’re shipping are local or short haul. Depending on how close your customer is to your location, regular shipping may be cheaper than flat rate shipping.

How to use flat rate shipping as a small business

Using flat rate shipping by USPS, FedEx or UPS is a straightforward process. Here are the general steps to follow.

  1. Compare carriers and decide which one you want to use for flat rate shipping. They are similar, but there are a few distinct differences. For example, with USPS and UPS, you can ship across multiple zones for one flat rate. With FedEx, you can’t, so FedEx will likely cost you more.
  2. Order the flat rate shipping packages you need (remember to aim to get the smallest packages for your needs so you can get the best flat rate shipping price possible) and have the carrier drop them off at your small business. Note: if you prefer, with UPS you can use your own packages if they match the dimensions that UPS requires.
  3. Place the item into the package and fill out the label and other required paperwork.
  4. Decide on how quickly (1, 2, or 3 days) you want to send your item with flat rate shipping.
  5. Adhere your shipping label to the package and either drop off your package at the nearest carrier location or arrange to have them pick it up from your place of business.
if you are shipping small, heavy items, flat rate is the best deal out there

Compare and see if flat rate shipping will benefit your small business

If you’re looking for a way to spend less time on shipping and handling and more time on other aspects of your business, flat rate shipping may be just the solution.

With its standardized pricing, flat rate shipping streamlines the shipping process, freeing up employees to work on other things. 

It also makes shipping costs more predictable.

Greater cost predictability makes it possible to build shipping costs into the price of your items, which will further encourage people to buy from you.

Crunch the numbers and see whether flat rate shipping will deliver for your small business.