Shipping orders can mean financial disaster for the small business owner. The broad range of shipping prices means you could be spending too much to ship documents, mail products, and market your advertising materials. I know they can’t be avoided entirely, but you can drastically lower shipping costs by sticking to these ideas:

Look at the Competition
Different shipping companies have different prices, which means that you shouldn’t stick to one vendor if you want the best choice. The only options you have for shipping are Airborne Express, DHL, FedEx, UPS, and USPS. Get to know their prices, and ask the following questions:
  • Will I get a refund if my shipment is late?
  • Are there any fees in setting up an account?
  • Are there any discounts for repeat shipping or being a member in a certain organization?

Talk to Someone at the USPS Business Center
They specialize in offering small businesses with several types of shipping services, such as package design, mail supplies, bulk mailing, and national database access. Also, they can let you know when your customers change addresses. Just go here to find your nearest Postal Business Center.

Never Send Anything Overnight
I know it’s pretty obvious to you, but it may not be to others, namely, your employees. Make sure everyone knows how shipping expenses affect the business–their salaries and holiday bonuses–and they’ll keep the company budget in mind.

Negotiate Lower Rates
Shipping companies offer their repeat customers lower prices, but they won’t say a thing until you ask for it. If your business ships out more than ten packages every week, negotiate a lower rate. Let the shipping company know that you’re looking at the competition, and they will do their best to keep you as an existing customer.

Packaging Paranoia
Damaged goods cost a pretty penny. You have to replace the ordered product and pay for more shipping to redeliver it. To lower your chances of damaged shipments, use a couple of inches of filler around the product–even more for glass–and tightly pack the order in firm boxes. If you ship globally, wrap the packages with pressure-sensitive tape.

Insurance for Costly Orders
The majority of shipping companies insure packages up to a hundred dollars. Insurance beyond that goes up about 50 cents for every 100 dollars.

Outsource Shipping
If your company ships thousands of products, think about hiring an outside firm to take care of your shipping. These firms usually handle large numbers only, and they can pass on the savings to your customers. You will see that your company fares better–financially–by focusing on the things that are important and leaving the shipping headaches to an expert.