How expensive are your shipping costs? Probably not as bad as Amazon’s. In 2017 the online retailer spent $21.7 billion.

No matter what your shipping costs are though, it’s smart to look at ways to reduce this overhead. The cost of shipping online eats into your bottom line.

We have 9 ingenious ways you can reduce your shipping costs this year. So which ones will you use?

1. Use the Right Service

If you don’t use the right type of shipping service for your needs, then you’re probably overpaying. Different shipping services specialize in their particular area. While they will offer other services, they do so at a premium.

If your shipments are smaller then mailing services like USPS, FedEx, or UPS are smart options. However, these options are not the best choice if your shipments are heavy or large.

A good general rule is that when you package crosses the 100-pound threshold, it’s time to get an LTL freight quote. Freight shipping services are set up and ready for these larger shipments.

2. Negotiate Your Rate

Once you have selected the right type of shipping service, now is the time to start negotiating. This is especially true if you have a high volume of shipments.

The more shipments you have, the lower your individual rate will be. Once you have secured your volume rate, be sure to program it into your business. You want to make sure that all of your employees are using the lower rate.

Don’t lock yourself into one company either. Shop around and negotiate with a couple of different carriers. That way you can compare rates and ensure you have the best.

3. Don’t Forget the Fees

It’s great that you have negotiated this lower rate, but don’t get caught up on the fees. These fees should be a part of your negotiation process. If not, you risk a nasty surprise on your bill.

Some carriers will charge a special fee for deliveries that are made on Saturdays. Others will charge you a fuel surcharge fee, delivery signature fee, or residential delivery fee.

Before you start negotiating these fees, evaluate whether or not you even need them. You may find that you’ve been paying for Saturday delivery, but your customers don’t care about this service.

If your customer doesn’t need it, stop wasting your money on it.

4. Know Your Locations

If you ship nationally then the big name shippers are a smart choice. However, there are a lot of regional carriers that can give you competitive local delivery rates.

If the majority of your business comes from one region, look for a shipping solution that focuses on that region. Their smaller territory and overhead means shipping savings for you.

5. Get Creative with Your Insurance

Your shipping company is going to charge you a premium for providing insurance. So stop buying your shipping insurance from them.

Instead, look for a third party insurance company. A third party provider will charge you about half of what the carriers charge.

The individual charges may be pennies, but the overall savings will add up to significant savings. 

6. Buy Packaging in Bulk

Take a look at your shipping materials. If you are buying them in minimal numbers, then you are paying more than you need to for them. Instead, turn to a shipping materials supply company. 

Buy your shipping materials in bulk for a lower per item cost. You’ll also want to look at the materials you’re using.

For instance, if your items are fragile, you’ll need cushioning material within the box. If you are currently using paper, then you are wasting money.

Paper packing material is heavy and expensive. Instead, look for air-filled bags. These will reduce your material cost, and reduce your package weight.

Free Supplies 

If you use certain shipping providers, you may have access to cheap or free supplies. If you ship with USPS, they offer free packing materials for flat rate shipping services.

7. Use the Right Sized Box

Carriers will determine your shipping charge based on the destination and package size and weight. So the larger your box, the more expensive the shipment cost will be.

When packaging up your shipment, use the smallest box possible. Not only will the size cost go down, but so will the weight cost.

8. Chat with Your Suppliers

Take a look at your invoices from suppliers. We are willing to bet that they have included shipping costs on the invoice.

Save money by convincing your suppliers to use your shipping account number. Now you’ll get your lower negotiated rate on your supply shipments.

Doing it this way also prevents your suppliers from padding the shipping cost. You will be able to see how much the shipment cost and then compare it to the invoice you receive.

9. Use a Hybrid Service

This is the new trend in shipping. The way it works is multiple carriers will be used to move your shipment.

A company with a robust national infrastructure will move your shipment across the country. Then a carrier with a strong local infrastructure will take over for the final mile phase of the delivery.

This lets carriers focus on their core strengths. It also saves you money.

Lower Your Cost of Shipping

When it comes to lowering your cost of shipping you want to do multiple things. Most of the strategies on this will save you pennies. Those pennies add up to dollars though.

Before you get started on these strategies, make sure you know and understand your business. You’ll want to know your shipment volume, average shipment size, and popular destinations.Is your business an e-commerce store? Then make sure you know everything you need to for successful shipping.

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