If you’re learning how to start an eCommerce business or how to start a subscription box business, there’s no doubt you’ve come across the topic of shipping. While it’s crucial to employ DTC marketing strategies and read how to increase eCommerce sales, at the end of the day, customers only care about one thing--getting their order when it’s expected.
To accomplish this, you need realistic expectations of shipping and handling costs. This is especially true when selling food online or selling alcohol online, which often means thousands of units shipped per week.
It’s not enough just to guess your expenses and hope you’ll be profitable. You need all costs written down in your eCommerce business plan, which is a key part of successful inventory management and a high sell through rate.
No matter what kind of product you’re shipping, the costs of the package will depend on the size, weight, and destination. eCommerce shipping providers offer discounted rates for bulk shipping, typically once you reach a given threshold of products shipped. This creates long-term cost savings once your business has reached a certain amount in revenue.
So, how much does it cost to ship a package? Does that change if you're interested in knowing how to print shipping labels at home? There are multiple factors to look at, whether you’re selling coffee online or other high demand products. Keep reading for useful information on how to calculate shipping costs and differences between carriers.
How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Package UPS?
The cost to ship a package via UPS will depend on a number of factors, such as the item’s dimensions, weight, and final destination.
UPS offers multiple flat rate shipping options for eCommerce packaging of various sizes. These flat rates apply to package sizes from one square inch up to 1,728 square inches.
If there are products you sell online like t-shirts, books, or goods of similar shape and size, you can expect to pay anywhere from $7 to $12 for shipping. If you're wondering about costs associated with how to ship large items or how to ship frozen food, you may pay between $14 to $23 for shipping, or more.
To determine your final shipping cost, go to UPS’s website and navigate to the shipping area. Enter basic information requested about the origin and destination of your package, and select your desired shipping service.
The website will then display a shipping cost that corresponds to your current settings. You can review different shipping costs by changing the destination, shipping date, and package size. Make sure you know how to measure a box for shipping so you don't overpay, as well.
How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Package USPS?
The cost to ship a package via USPS depends on the individual service chosen, whether the package is private or commercial, and the delivery time specified by USPS.
USPS offers numerous shipping options that are suitable for many kinds of businesses, whether you’re selling cookies online or something completely different. There are four main shipping categories with USPS: priority mail, first-class mail, media mail, and retail ground mail.
Priority Mail Express is USPS’s flagship service, offering a next-day to 2-day guarantee by 6 p.m. local time delivery. Their commercial rates start at $22.75 per package and have $100 of product insurance included. Regular Priority Mail starts at $7.16 commercially, is delivered in one to three business days, and includes $50 of product insurance.
First-Class Package mail is another prominent option provided by USPS, starting at $3.01 for commercial shipments. Deliveries are handled in one to three days with optional insurance available.
Media Mail is used for items like books, CDs, DVDs, tapes, and other audio media. Commercial rates start at $1.76 per package and are delivered within two to eight business days.
Finally, there is USPS Retail Ground. This is a variable-price shipping option starting at $7.70 per package. Deliveries are made within two to eight days, and no bulk shipping discounts are available. If you're researching how to ship cookies or how to ship food, this is a great option to consider.
How Much Does It Cost To Ship a Package FedEx?
The cost to ship a FedEx package depends on the package’s dimensions, the shipping service, shipping speed, and the item’s destination. FedEx provides multiple packaging and flat rate options to suit various business needs.
If you’re shipping a file or packets of paper, flat rate envelopes run as low as $8.90 per item. Small boxes (enough space to fit a large book or several magazines) start at about $10.
Medium to large boxes range from $13 to $20 per item, with extra-large boxes starting at $32.35. You can ship lengthy items like posters, golf clubs, and canes for the same amount.
FedEx also provides convenient cost reference grids that simplify estimating how much your package will cost to ship. Your final cost will fluctuate based on the shipping service and flat rate package you choose.
Shipping Costs By Weight
The total cost paid to ship an item depends on the eCommerce shipping service you’ve selected, their fees, and any applicable taxes. However, it’s useful to have a reference point for common package weights.
Some eCommerce shipping companies offer discounted or flat rates for items like media products that weigh less than a specific amount. The reason for this is because many books, DVDs, and other media items come in predictable sizes, thereby making a shipping company’s work simpler. This is worth looking into if it applies to your business.
For purposes of simplicity, the average shipping costs below assume packages are being shipped within local, Zone 1, and Zone 2 regions. Here are typical costs for packages ranging from one pound to seven pounds:
How Much Does It Cost To Ship a 1lb Package?
A package weighing up to and including one pound costs $5.04 on the low end to $13.22 on the high end to ship. Your final cost will depend on the shipping service you’ve selected and whether or not your product weighs less than one full pound.
How Much Does It Cost To Ship a 2lb Package?
Shipping a package that weighs up to two pounds costs about $7.02 on the low end to $13.55 on the high end. Your cost per unit shipped may be lower depending on any bulk shipping discounts you can take advantage of.
How Much Does It Cost To Ship a 3lb Package?
The shipping cost for packages weighing three pounds averages $7.61 to $13.78, depending on the carrier you use. Keeping shipping costs low is fairly easy at three pounds or less.
How Much Does It Cost To Ship a 5lb Package?
A five-pound package costs $7.81 to $14.32 to ship, depending on the destination and your carrier of choice. Depending on the nature of your business, if you’re able to keep most shipments at five pounds or less, it can save a lot of money in the long run.
How Much Does It Cost To Ship a 6lb Package?
Shipping a six-pound package costs about $8.06 to $14.90 and up. Some carriers impose greater price increases after packages reach the five or six pound limit.
How Much Does It Cost To Ship a 7lb Package?
A seven-pound package costs between $8.33 and $15.20, depending on your shipping carrier and the product’s final destination. In many cases, you can get flat rate shipping for goods up to 10 pounds, which may translate to greater savings long-term.
Shipping costs are known to vary greatly based on package destination, current market rates, the weight of an item, and seasonal demand. Use the above numbers as reference points for your eCommerce business, but remember to afford wiggle room in your budget. This allows you to maintain reliable turnaround times during unexpected events, which keeps your fill rate high.
Before shipping any package, be sure to double-check that all of the following information is correct:
- Package origin
- Package destination
- Dimensions of package
- Shipping date (sometimes the pick-up date)
- Package weight
- Shipping service
- Any necessary add-ons (product insurance, faster delivery, etc.)
If you are unable to check this information yourself each time, there is eCommerce software that can do it for you. You may already have a warehouse management system that produces shipping labels and warehouse labels and it simply needs to be activated.
Frequently Asked Questions About Package Shipping Cost
Getting your package shipping costs right can feel like a never-ending battle. The good news is that with the right tools and knowledge, it can be simpler than before. Check out these commonly asked questions and our answers:
How much does USPS shipping cost per pound?
USPS packages cost about $2.74 if less than one pound; if one pound or more, most packages start at $7. USPS rates for packages heavier than one pound typically increase by 10 to 25 cents for each pound added. Per pound shipping costs for USPS ultimately vary based on package dimensions, weight, and shipping destination.
The greater a package’s weight becomes, the lower the per-pound cost becomes. In other words, the heavier your package, the cheaper it is to ship per pound. You can use USPS’ online shipping calculator to determine the final price for your package.
Does USPS charge by weight or size?
Both. Packages that are one pound or heavier are subject to different rates than those lighter than one pound. Also, if your package is over 108 inches but not more than 130 inches in combined length and girth, it will be subject to oversized rates.
Is it cheaper to mail USPS or UPS?
USPS is cheaper if you’re shipping small and lightweight items, but UPS offers better rates if you’re shipping heavy or semi-large items. Small objects like CDs, cookies, and socks work well for USPS’ First Class option. Medium or heavy items like pottery, electronics, and appliances will be cheaper to ship via UPS.
When It Comes to Shipping, It’s All In The Delivery
Shipping is an area of any eCommerce business that takes time to set up but pays noticeable dividends. More than two-thirds of shoppers deem shipping speeds a deciding factor in their purchases, so you can’t afford to offer poor service.
If you need help perfecting your customer service strategies, check out our shipping policy template, read about the RMA meaning, and see why each package you send needs a packing slip. You should have a shipping label printer and warehouse management process flow, too, so your goods reach customers on time.