The Ultimate Guide to Shipping Heavy Items Affordably

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Even when a customer is ready to purchase an item, high-shipping costs can be a major deterrent. Thankfully, there are ways to keep costs low when you’re shipping heavier items. While there’s a lot of research involved in securing the right shipping rates and packing with the most cost-efficient shipping materials, it can be done. Whether you’re shipping across the country or within the state, consider this ultimate guide to shipping heavy items affordably.

Tip 1: Factor In the Difference Between DIM Weight vs. Actual Weight

Weight is a major factor in the shipping costs. For shipping purposes, know the difference between DIM weight and actual weight. DIM weight stands for dimensional weight. The dimensional weight is the length, width and height of the packaged item. When you place an item on the scale, the number you see is the actual weight of the item.

For many carriers, if the DIM weight is higher, they’ll charge according to that. If the actual weight is higher, they’ll charge the customer that instead. The key is to develop a packing strategy that decreases the DIM weight as well as the actual weight.

If you have an item that’s 31 inches in length and the cutoff for a certain rate of DIM weight is 30 inches, you’ll need to learn how to strategically position the item in the box so that it can still get under the 30-inch requirement. This also saves you from paying additional fees for a larger dimension.

If your company regularly ships heavy items like 20-pound dumbbells, the actual weight will far exceed the dimensional weight. This is when it’s most cost-efficient to research carriers that offer the best rate for heavier packages.

Tip 2: Perfect Your Packaging Strategy

Closely review the items your company typically needs to ship. If you know that you’re going to ship those items on a regular basis, connect with a company that offers custom-sized boxes to perfectly fit your items. When you’re able to customize the dimensions, you can also create customized options that fit within the dimensions of the most cost-efficient carriers.

Once you’ve secured the right box size and purchased bulk shipping boxes to lower your shipping rates, it also helps to be strategic about the way you pack an item. The lighter your packages are, the cheaper the rate will be. Knowing this, use extremely lightweight fillers when you’re trying to pack and protect the item. Depending on the size of the item, many companies use packing peanuts or bubble wrap. Others use air pouches for shipping. You can research and run experiments to discover the best option for your company.

Tip 3: Research Various Carriers for the Best Rates

USPS and FedEx are some of the most well-known carriers. Others include DHL and UPS. Their rates vary. Out of all the carriers, UPS and FedEx are considered the most affordable for larger items.


UPS is known as one of the least expensive shipping solutions. If you opt to ship with USPS and your product is under 70 pounds, Retail Ground shipping is the cheapest option. Retail Ground shipping takes anywhere from two to eight days to arrive at its destination.


If you’d like to ship heavy items through FedEx, this company ships with a weight limit of 150 pounds. Be sure that it fits within the dimensions of 10 x 165. FedEx Ground® is another one of the cheapest ways to ship heavy, oversized items. For large pallets, FedEx Express® Freight Services is the option to choose from.

Tip 4: Be Willing to Negotiate

As a business owner who plans to regularly ship heavy items, youre consistently providing business to different suppliers, carriers, and businesses. Because of this, partner with those various vendors in order to see if you can negotiate better rates for your company.

Tip 4: Be Willing to Negotiate

After all, your company provides more revenue for their business as well. Whether you’re partnering with fulfillment centers or third-party shipping companies, always negotiate your prices. Always look for rates that work for your company’s needs. The worst thing a company can do is turn down a potential partnership.

However, when you’re able to prove that your business will provide revenue consistently, leverage that information in order to negotiate a sweeter deal that allows you to ship heavy items at a more affordable rate.

Tip 5: Connect With Fulfillment Centers

The United States has various shipping zones. If your business is stationed on the East Coast, you’re going to pay a lot more money when you’re shipping heavy items to the West Coast. In many cases, you’ll end up paying double the amount just to get it across the country.

Partnering with fulfillment centers in a number of shipping zones helps cut costs. When your items are located in fulfillment centers in various shipping zones, you’ll pay less in shipping costs because the items are now much closer to the customers within that particular shipping zone.

It’s also wise to research where the majority of your orders come from. Then, find fulfillment centers in those zones that can make the process more cost-efficient in holding and shipping your items.

Tip 6: Get Insurance Coverage

Accidents happen. That’s an unavoidable fact. Whether it’s a big package or a small, heavy one, it’s not uncommon for items to disappear, break or get damaged en route. Depending on the cost of that item, it can be significantly cheaper to insure it rather than refund or replace it. This is especially true when you’re shipping extremely heavy items like furniture or pallets.

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For every 500 items that get shipped in one month, there’s a chance that at least two or three of those items will incur some sort of damage. When your items are insured, you’ll save money in the long run. Insurance helps protect and maximize your profits when you look at the bigger picture.

Fine-tuning the Details

You don’t have to throw away your profit into high shipping costs. Use this guide to help you create the right approach for your company. As you perfect your packaging strategy and learn the details of rates and dimensions, it’ll become easier to learn which carriers and solutions work best for your company’s growth and expansion.

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