5 Ways to Save Money on Shipping Materials & Costs

  •    Law graduate and journalist who specializes in helping entrepreneurs market and grow their businesses.

Your customers appreciate prompt and reliable shipping. If their product comes in late or broken, you might just lose them forever. It's important to consider their perspective when it comes to shipping and materials.

But as a business owner, your priority is also lowering costs and finding predictable rates. Your business model depends on a good expense-to-income ratio, and you don't need high shipping costs eating up your profits.

There's no reason why you can't have the best of both worlds. Here are five practical ways that you can save money on shipping without sacrificing superior customer service.

1. Use Weebly's Special Rates

Weebly has negotiated special rates with USPS and DHL for all shipments within the United States. Because of the combined purchasing power of Weebly small businesses, Weebly is able to get a group discount. This means you have access to better prices than you could get by yourself. Make sure you take advantage of the lower rates available exclusively to Weebly users through its Real Time Shipping (RTS) system.

(Note: This feature is only available to Weebly customers on the Business plan or higher)

2. Experiment Regularly with All Major Shipping Services

Using Weebly's RTS, you can easily compare pricing from all the major carriers. Once you've connected FedEx, UPS, DHL, and USPS to your account, experiment with the shipping options and consider the price differences. These services may change their prices often, so make sure you re-evaluate your shipping options every now and then. Your customer will appreciate the thought you put into getting a lower shipping cost, and your business will benefit as well.

Don't worry about integrating the multiple shipping services. Weebly offers integration with Shippo. This service helps you to print shipping labels and track packages with all the major companies.

Need some step-by-step instructions on setting up Weebly for shipping? We've got you covered.

3. Consider Shipping Non-Fragile Items in Bags Instead of Boxes

Bags are not only cheaper than boxes, but they weigh less as well. If your product isn't fragile and can easily be shipped in a bag, you can save a lot of money with this option. Soft items, like clothes, are a perfect choice for shipping in bags. Look to see if "Opaque Self-Enclosing Poly Shipping Bags" fit your shipping needs. You'll want to make sure you use dark- or neutral-colored bags, not clear. They're often sold at a discount on eBay.

4. Compare Prices on Shipping Materials from Your Local Office Supply Stores

All the major carriers will let you order shipping supplies from them directly. This can be a great convenience, but usually will cost more than local dealers — especially if you buy in bulk. Compare prices locally to make sure you're getting the best deal.

5. Try USPS Flat Rate Boxes

Not all flat rate boxes are available in USPS stores, but you can order them online to have access to all the sizing options. This is a great way to make your shipping costs more predictable. If it fits, it ships!

With a little work on the front end, a well thought out shipping system will save you time and money and lead to happier customers. Just remember: you can always change your shipping policy if you find out something isn't working for you. The important part is to get started and experiment with different methods. Jump in with both feet and before long, you'll be shipping like a pro.