You know how important it is to reduce costs and save time when it comes to shipping. In recent years, saving on shipping has been an uphill battle for many businesses due to the record level of packages being sent out and the increase in shipping rates.
However, you don't have to accept high shipping costs. We've got three steps you can take to reduce your overall shipping costs, and it all starts with one thing: rate shopping.
What is Rate Shopping?
Rate shopping is when you compare the prices of different carriers and services. This allows you to compare rates and delivery options. It helps you get the best price for your shipment and make the best decision. By rate shopping, you're helping your business by better controlling your budget and finding more opportunities to save. If you are only shipping with one carrier right now, you are missing out on options. One of the other major carriers might be able to provide faster or less expensive service for your delivery…and now you'll know!
How Do I Start Rate Shopping?
How you rate shop depends on the frequency and size of your shipments. Your business may only ship a handful of times a year. So, you may rate shop on your own by going to different carrier websites and choosing the services and prices available. If your business ships regularly or semi-regularly, manually shopping across the different carriers might be too tiresome and time-consuming. You may need a quicker, more convenient way to make comparisons. The best way to do that is with multi-carrier shipping software.
Multi-carrier shipping software can be uploaded right to your desktop and integrated with a scale to easily weigh items. From there, you can choose the best carrier and service options for your budget and then track your shipment. One of our Quadient representatives can help you get started on figuring out if multi-carrier shipping software is right for you. Or if you prefer to do research on your own, check out our shipping solutions to see our full range of solution options.
Negotiating directly with shipping carriers is a great way to reduce shipping costs and learn more about the carrier's different services. If you are shipping a lot of large or heavy items – or even sending certain items in bulk – UPS or FedEx may have advice or service recommendations to reduce your shipping costs. However, don't be intimidated or come into a negotiation empty-handed. You'll need to prepare before you start throwing out prices with your shipping carrier.
A good place to start is auditing. Review your invoices to see what is driving the bulk of your expenses. This helps you and your shipping carrier better understand your shipping workflow and what they can do to help you. Another way you can help negotiations is to have competitive carrier rates handy. Learn what you would be paying if you were to ship with other carriers, leveraging their rates against your current ones to get the best price.
At this point, your rate shopping checklist should look like this:
1. Shop around using software (or manually) to see what carriers are charging for services you use.
2. Audit your invoices to see what you're spending & Negotiate with your shipping carrier.
But, what if we told you there is a third item you should be adding to your list?
3. Research to see if you are eligible for commercial shipping rates
Commercial shipping rates are discounted service prices that the USPS® offers for companies that buy and print barcoded shipping labels via shipping software. This means that any business – big or small – can reduce their shipping costs with the USPS® by up to 40%. And the barcoded labels enable the USPS® to deliver your packages more efficiently and you to easily track them online.
If you're ready to explore shipping software or want to upgrade your shipping strategy, check out our All-In-One Mailing & Shipping Solution. Neoship is the must-have multi-carrier shipping software for small and medium-sized businesses.