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Shipping

Cheapest Way to Ship Large or Oversized Packages


When you sell large or bulky products online, you’ll need to figure out how to ship them. Shipping large items has some challenges. If you want to ship large items cheaply, it pays to compare rates from different shipping companies (FedEx, UPS, USPS, and DHL). 


No one wants to pay an oversize package fee. That’s why it is essential to know what the Big 4 shipping companies consider ‘oversize.’ Each company has its own package size and weight limits. This is must-know information for e-commerce companies that sell large products. More on this below!


First, let’s talk about how shipping prices are calculated.


What is dimensional weight?

Dimensional weight takes the package size and weight into consideration using a formula that may vary by carrier. It is basically the volume of space that the package takes up in relation to how much it weighs. The carrier usually bills you for whichever is higher: the actual package weight or the dimensional weight.


Why does dimensional weight matter?

Shipping carriers need to know dimensional weight so that they can fill up the box trucks to the maximum, safely, both in terms of space and weight. This allows them to ship products efficiently across the country. It also ensures that the weight of each vehicle, once it is filled with packages, will not exceed the weight limit of the truck itself.


What is an oversize package?

Oversize packages are determined by calculating the dimensional weight. If the package exceeds a specific dimensional weight limit set forth by the carrier, it triggers an oversize package fee. Actual weight and package length may also trigger the fee.


How much is the oversize shipping fee?

It varies by carrier. 


  • FedEx oversize charge: If the package weighs more than 90 lbs. Or if it is more than 130” in combined length and girth, $100-120 is the 2020 FedEx oversize fee. The same goes for packages that are longer than 96” on any side. FedEx also offers freight shipping.


  • UPS large package surcharge: If the package is more than 165” in combined length and girth, an oversize fee applies. The fee also applies to any package weighing more than 150 lbs. Finally, if the package is longer than 108”, the fee also applies. The fee is $95-115. UPS freight services are available for exceptionally large or heavy packages.


  • USPS oversize fee: If the package combined length and girth is more than 108”, it is considered an oversize package. And you can’t ship packages that exceed 130” in combined length and girth. Weight is not a factor.


If you are shipping huge items, USPS will probably not be your first choice. USPS has lower limits that trigger the oversize package fee than other carriers, as you can see. USPS does not offer freight services.


  • DHL oversize package fee: Packages that weigh more than 70 kg (about 155 lbs.) or those that exceed 47” L x 31” W x 31” H are subject to the DHL oversize fee of $89. DHL freight shipping is also available.


  • Freight shipping: Shipping oversized products are one thing, but freight shipping is another story. The costs can suddenly rise to double or triple the cost. However, you can ship packages or pallets of nearly any size or weight imaginable. You could even ship a whole house if you want! As long as you are willing to pay for it, that is.


3 TIPS FOR THE CHEAPEST WAY TO SHIP LARGE PACKAGES

If you sell large, heavy, or bulky items, there are some ways to lower shipping costs. 


1. Flat-pack assembly

Flat-pack shipping may help you avoid the freight shipping conundrum. For example, Ikea has mastered this concept with Ikea flat-pack furniture. This means the item ships disassembled in a large, flat box, which is cheaper to ship than a bulky, fully assembled product. For online sellers, if you can source products that come disassembled, you too can take advantage of cheaper shipping rates this way.


2. Ask for a volume shipping discount

If you sell a lot of products online, ask your shipping company for a volume discount. Don’t be afraid to negotiate and hunt around for the cheapest shipping prices. You need one carrier to say yes. The savings will really add up! 

 

3. If you get denied for volume shipping discounts, here’s what to do

Let’s say you want to ship large products to customers, but you don’t sell enough to qualify for a shipping discount. Getting denied may feel like you hit a roadblock, but there is another solution. 


3PL online order fulfillment companies like SimplFulfillment can negotiate a volume shipping discount on your behalf.


Since they handle picking, packaging, and shipping orders for you and numerous other online sellers, they qualify for volume shipping rates that individual sellers normally don’t qualify for on their own. The savings get passed along to you!


Read the next blog post: What Is a Delivery Exception and How to Handle It as an Ecommerce Store Owner?