Cheapest Shipping For Small Businesses | (2022 Guide)
Do you have an online store or eCommerce business that requires shipping goods to your customers? If so, you probably want to take advantage of the cheapest shipping rates available. Lower shipping rates allow small business owners to reduce their operating expenses. Lower expenses usually mean higher profits, so getting the best shipping rate has a significant benefit to your bottom line. So, which carrier has the cheapest shipping for small businesses? Keep reading as we tell you which carrier offers the best shipping rates, and we will also give you full pricing details on most of the other major carriers out there.
Cheapest Shipping Rate For Small Businesses — USPS
The United States Postal Service usually offers the cheapest way to ship a package for small businesses. The post office offers many different services depending on your needs, and they also offer many commercial discounts. Let’s dive into the details. If your business primarily ships small and lightweight items, then you certainly won’t find better rates than USPS. Their first-class package service can be used to send items up to 13 ounces, and those rates start at just $3.37. Parcel Select service begins at just $3.50, and USPS Priority Mail starts at $7.37 for commercial accounts. First-class service and Parcel Select service are at least a few dollars cheaper than entry-level options with other carriers.
In addition to the services mentioned above, USPS offers several different flat-rate shipping options. The cost of these flat-rate services varies based on the size of the box or envelope. Flat-rate box prices start at just $7.75, and the item’s weight does not matter. As long as the item fits inside the box, it will ship for the same price.
Not only does USPS offer great prices on most of their services, but they also offer some great discounts to small businesses and online stores based on their shipping volume. Commercial rates for United States Postal Service small business customers can save business owners a significant amount of money over regular retail rates. Couple that with the fact that USPS provides reliable delivery, and it is easy to see why USPS is the best choice for small businesses. Most USPS packages are delivered within 2 to 8 business days, and they offer full tracking capabilities for your packages as well.
While USPS is considered the cheapest option for small businesses, there are a few drawbacks. International shipping with USPS is somewhat limited, and their service is slower than many of the other large carriers. Sunday delivery is not available with most of their services, and they cannot handle extremely large or heavy packages. If your package weighs more than 70 pounds, then you will need to find another shipping alternative.
Other Shipping Options For Small Businesses
So, are there other options available besides USPS? Absolutely! Here are some of the most common carriers, along with some details about each. Depending on your specific needs, you might find that one of these carriers works better for your business.
FedEx offers many different shipping services to meet your needs. They have some of the fastest delivery speeds in the business, and they offer both Saturday and Sunday delivery with most of their services. On average, they have a delivery time of about three days for most items. You will typically receive excellent customer service from FedEx, and their tracking capabilities are excellent. In addition, you can register for a FedEx small business account which will allow you to print your own shipping labels and manage all your shipments online. FedEx offers easy-to-use shipping API integrations that can be added directly into your online store.
One of the biggest drawbacks of FedEx, however, has to be their shipping costs. They are one of the more expensive carriers, with delivery rates for a small package starting around $12. They do offer discounted rates for commercial customers, and you can easily get a rate quote for shipping right on their website. If you frequently ship international orders, then FedEx is also a great option as they have great international coverage. Finally, they can handle large items as well. Even if your package weighs a few hundred pounds, then FedEx Freight can deliver it for you.
UPS is one of the most popular shipping carriers with small businesses and eCommerce stores. They provide a great blend of fast delivery times and low prices. UPS offers many different delivery services to meet your needs, from regular ground service to next-day delivery service. Delivery rates for ground service start around $10 for a small package. Delivery times range from 1 to 5 days in most cases, so UPS is a great cost-effective shipping service that will have your items delivered quickly. UPS is often the cheapest way to ship large packages since USPS will not handle packages weighing more than 70 pounds.
Another popular service offered by UPS is flat-rate shipping. This can be a great shipping strategy if your eCommerce shipping needs include shipping small yet heavy items. As long as the item fits inside the box, it will ship for the same rate regardless of the weight. This can help keep the cost of shipping on these heavier items down. Like most other carriers, UPS also offers shipping discounts to their UPS small business customers. You can sign up for a UPS account and manage all your shipments online. You can also use your account to print labels and get tracking information in near real-time. UPS typically provides a great customer experience, and they can be a great option if you are looking for a shipper for your small business.
DHL is a great shipping method for small business owners who need fairly cheap international shipping. DHL is not as popular for domestic shipments. This company is headquartered in Germany, and they have large operations in Europe. Their shipping prices are typically higher when compared to other domestic carriers within the United States. However, if you are shipping packages internationally, then DHL is the way to go.
The carrier offers full tracking capabilities and API integrations. They also offer expedited services like same-day shipping in some cases. While they may not have the best rates for domestic shipments, they are usually the best shipping solution for international orders. You can also get a large discount from DHL if you ship a large volume of orders. Some online stores frequently ship items from China to the United States, for example. DHL can be the perfect carrier in situations like that.
Sendle is a somewhat new shipping company that just began operations in 2014. The great thing about this company is the fact that it guarantees it will beat competitor prices. For instance, it charges one penny less than USPS to ship small packages — charging $8.29 instead of $8.30. This service is great for anyone looking for cheap small business shipping. The company offers free integrations with many of the online business platforms out there like Etsy, Shopify, and eBay. Most package deliveries through Sendle are made within one to four days, and the company operates throughout the United States.
There are a few drawbacks to the shipping process with Sendle, though. First, no international shipping is available. So, if you need to send orders internationally, then Sendle will not be an option. Next, Sendle does not offer any expedited services like 2nd day or overnight delivery. Sometimes a customer might want their order expedited and delivered quickly, and Sendle will not be able to do this.
ShipBob is not only a great option for shipping, but they do so much more than that! They are a third-party logistics (3PL) company that can handle many different services for your online store. As a 3PL, ShipBob will also take care of your warehouse needs as well. They offer full inventory management of your products, and they can perform the entire order fulfillment process for you.
So, when a customer places an order from your store, that order gets passed to ShipBob. The company will then pull the item from your inventory in their warehouse, package it for shipping, and send it to the customer. They even offer free shipping boxes, and their rates for handling this entire process are extremely competitive. If you are looking for more of a full-service shipper, then ShipBob might be the way to go — especially if you need assistance with the warehouse and inventory aspects of your business.
Shipping Speed Considerations
Another consideration when selecting a shipping provider is the speed at which you need your packages delivered. The faster your packages need to be delivered, the more it is going to cost you. This applies to every carrier across the board. Express delivery services are going to cost more than standard ground services. For instance, first-class mail service could be used to send a small package to a customer for around $4. However, it might cost $28 to send that same package to your customer via overnight service. If your small business shipping requirements include express delivery service, then make sure that you are aware of the costs associated with that service.
Amazon provides free two-day shipping on thousands of items to its Prime customers. They contract with the postal service to make most of these deliveries. Since Amazon ships such a large volume of packages, they are able to obtain deep discounts from USPS. Another benefit of integrating a carrier’s API directly into your website is the fact that your customer can immediately see the available shipping options, along with their prices. Your customer can then decide whether they want to pay for premium shipping to have their item delivered sooner.
Saving Money On Your eCommerce Business Shipping Costs
So, how can you keep your shipping costs low while still meeting your customers’ expectations? Here are a few tips for keeping shipping costs as low as possible. First, you need to understand that carriers use both physical weight and dimensional weight when calculating postage cost. That means that they take into account both the weight and size of the package. If the box is large, then the cost of shipping will be higher, even if the box is lightweight. So, you should always use packaging that appropriately fits the item being shipped. Using a box that is too large will cause you to waste money on shipping charges.
Next, you should make sure that you use appropriate packing materials. Some packing materials can unnecessarily add to the weight of the package. Use a material that will sufficiently protect the item while not adding more weight to the box. Also, make sure that you do not pay extra for unnecessary services. For instance, if the customer is fine with normal ground shipping, you should not spend the extra money for 2-day shipping. Similarly, you may be able to drop off the packages with the carrier and save money on pick-up service.
The biggest thing is to be aware of the services that you need and the cost of each. Compare different carriers to see which one will be the best fit for your business. Also, don’t be afraid to use multiple carriers. For instance, you might decide to use USPS for small packages and UPS for larger ones. Many businesses use a different carrier depending on the type of package, and you might be able to save money by doing that as well.
Do You Need Shipping Insurance?
Is shipping insurance included with your postage, or do you need to purchase it separately? It usually depends on the carrier and type of service you select. First-class package service through USPS usually does not include any insurance. If you are shipping an item worth more than a few dollars, you probably want to go ahead and purchase insurance separately. While most packages are delivered successfully, a few get lost or damaged during shipment. Purchasing this insurance would allow you to recoup your money for that item from the carrier.
UPS and FedEx both include around $100 worth of insurance on all their shipments, as does USPS on their Priority Mail and higher services. In that case, you should only purchase additional insurance if the value of the item you are sending is higher than this amount. Package insurance usually only runs a few dollars, and it can be beneficial if something happens to the item during the shipping process.
The Bottom Line
If you are looking for the cheapest shipping company for your small business, then USPS will likely be your best choice. However, USPS does have some drawbacks. If you need to send large packages or are looking for international shipping options, you should probably consider other shipping carriers. Make sure that you follow the tips in this article to keep your shipping costs low and keep your customers happy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What shipping company has the cheapest rates?
USPS usually has the cheapest rates of all the major shipping carriers. Their rates can be as much as $10 lower than UPS and FedEx for small packages, and they also offer volume discounts for shippers who send a large number of packages. For larger package sizes, you will find that UPS and FedEx rates are more competitive with USPS. Also, remember that USPS cannot deliver packages that weigh more than 70 pounds. You will need to utilize a different carrier for those deliveries.
What is the best way for a small business to ship?
The best way to ship an item depends on your specific needs. If you also need the services of a 3PL, then ShipBob might make the most sense for you. They provide receiving, warehousing, inventory, packing, and shipping services. They offer competitive hourly rates for many of their services, and they provide flat-rate pricing for others. However, if you are only looking for a carrier to ship your items, then USPS usually has the lowest rates.
What is the best way to ship a small package?
The best way to ship a small package is through the U.S. Postal Service. Typically, USPS is at least $8 cheaper than UPS or FedEx on rates for small packages. They also deliver most packages in two to eight days, so your customer should have their item pretty quickly. Insurance or other services, like delivery confirmation, can be added for about $1.
What are the cheapest rates for small-sized shipments?
There are several cheap shipping options available for small-sized shipments. If the shipment weighs less than 13 ounces, then first-class mail service is going to provide the cheapest rates. You can send a small shipment with that service for less than $4 in some cases. USPS Parcel Select also offers great rates on small shipments that exceed the 13-ounce limit. Shipments can be sent through that service starting around $4, but make sure you understand that the delivery speed may be a little slower.