Wondering how to get cheap shipping rates for your small business?

Scoring the best shipping rates for your small business doesn’t happen by accident.

If you truly want to save on shipping costs, you’ll need to invest some time and do a little homework.

Luckily for you, we’ve put together this ‘cheat sheet’ to make it a little easier to learn what you need to know to get cheap shipping rates for your small business.

What to consider first, so you can get the best shipping rate

Trying to determine the best shipping rates for your small business can be an overwhelming experience because there isn’t one single solution you can use that will address every shipping scenario you may have.

As a result, every carrier offers a wide variety of shipping services and options for you to choose from.

So, where do you start?

How do you narrow down all the choices that are available?


The first thing you need to do is figure out the shipping requirements for the item(s) you need to ship.

To do this, here are some basic questions to ask yourself:

  • When does the item have to arrive?
  • Do you want guaranteed delivery?
  • Would you like to be able to track the shipment’s progress?
  • Is the item going to a commercial or residential address?
  • Do you require a signature to confirm delivery or any other add-on service?
  • Are you shipping alcohol, other specialized products, or any hazardous materials?

How to check what the cost of shipping will be

By confirming your shipping requirements beforehand, you’ll be setting yourself up for landing the best shipping rates for your small business.

Now that you know what you need, you can source the shipping solution that best addresses your requirements at the best price. There are a few different ways you can do this.

Check online yourself

If you’ve got the time, you can visit the websites for carriers such as USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Take note of the service that best meets your shipping requirements on each carrier’s website and then compare them to one another.

Check using an online shipping platform

If your time is limited, a more efficient way to conduct a quick comparison of what each carrier has to offer is to use online shipping software.

With just a few clicks, you can see a comparison of the best shipping rates for small businesses on the platform’s dashboard.

Call the rep

If you’re really crunched and can’t afford the time to conduct your own online research or purchase and get up to speed with an online shipping platform, go old school.

Pick-up the phone and call reps at three different carriers.

Tell them what your shipping requirements are and ask them what their best shipping rate for your small business would be.

How you can save even more on small business shipping rates

Want to make the best shipping rates for your small business even better? Here are a few tips to ensure you’re getting the cheapest shipping rates for your small business.

Ask for a discount on your shipping rate

Like a lot of things, the ‘sticker price’ you’ll see on carrier websites isn’t always the best shipping rate you can get for your small business.

If you’re shipping a decent volume of items each month, you may qualify for a lower rate.

If your volume is low right now but, based on market trends, you feel strongly that your volume will be trending higher, you can use this forecast as the basis for negotiating a lower rate on your shipping.

And of course, just by shopping around and letting your current carrier know that you’ve been investigating what kind of shipping rates you could get from their competitors, they may end up giving you a better shipping rate.

Optimize your shipping packaging

When determining how much to charge for their shipping rates, carriers consider the weight and dimensions of the package in which your item is being shipped.

If the box you’re using is larger than it needs to be, it will take up more space in the carrier’s truck. It will also be heavier since it will require more packaging inside to protect the item.

By using the smallest box possible, less space will be taken up in the carrier’s truck, and the box will be lighter. Both conditions will result in a lower, better shipping rate.

Some carriers provide shipping software which can help choose the smallest box possible for each order so you don't end up wasting money on larger shipments than neccessary.


What is the simplest way to get the cheapest shipping rate for small business?

To make life simple for many of their customers and themselves, most carriers offer flat-rate shipping.

With flat-rate shipping, you pay one flat rate, up to a certain weight, to ship your item anywhere in the US if the item fits into a standardized, flat-rate box supplied by the carrier.

If most of the items that your small business ships are of a similar size, flat-rate shipping can result in the best shipping rates for your small business.

How much should your small business charge as its shipping rate?

In a survey conducted by Usabilla, 58% of the respondents said the top reason they abandoned an online shopping cart is the high shipping costs.

So how can you reduce the chances of this happening to your small business and still cover the unavoidable shipping expense? Here are a few solutions:

  • Offer free shipping by building the cost of the shipping into the price of the item you’re selling.
  • If you believe that building in the cost of the shipping will make the price of the item too expensive for your customers, charge customers for half the shipping cost and build the other half of the shipping cost into the price of the item.
  • Do the math and take the total cost of shipping you incurred the previous year, divide it by the number of items you shipped, and come up with an average shipping cost. Use this blended amount as a flat-rate shipping charge that is standard for every customer.
  • Offer free shipping on orders that are over a certain amount. This will provide a way for your customers to get ‘free shipping’ and allow you to generate additional sales.

The best shipping rate for your small business can be yours

Every small business owner wants to increase their profit margin.

Reducing expenses is one way of achieving this.

With shipping being one of the largest cost centers for your business, it has great potential for cost-cutting.

By asking a few basic questions, doing a little detective work, comparing your options, putting on your negotiator’s hat, being efficient with your packaging choices, and applying some shipping tips, you can achieve the best shipping rates for your small business.


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