3 Ways Small Business Owners Can Save Money on Shipping

Author: Jose Li | February 18, 2015

Do you know the #1 pain point most small-business owners have in regards to shipping? They need help reducing shipping costs. But how can the average business shipper cut costs while FedEx and UPS keep increasing rates and the Postal Service threatens to close branches and reduce personnel? Unless you ship at Amazon-level volumes, it can be more difficult to gain leverage and cut a break with your shipping carriers.

But there is some good news: A number of opportunities exist for small businesses to save on shipping. They all involve a certain level of investment in time and, to a certain degree, knowledge. As a 15-year veteran of the shipping, logistics, and e-commerce industry, having not only worn the shipper’s shoes—managing shipping and logistics for a retail chain—but also the carrier’s shoes—running a FedEx group that helped thousands of small businesses optimize their shipping operations—here are three suggestions to save money on shipping and put it where you need it—back into your business.

Get a Refund

FedEx and UPS offer a money-back-guarantee policy for late deliveries –even if late by 60 seconds. Claims must be submitted within 15 days or they are gone forever. Many people don’t know about the policy as $2 billion dollars are left unclaimed every year.

Woman looking at laptop

Understand Your Shipping Spend

When was the last time you looked at your carrier’s invoices? Did you REALLY understand it? Shipping invoices can be very difficult to understand, as carriers print various product codes and acronyms that are seldom used in daily business. Their invoices carry mistakes that you end up paying.

Talk to Your Shipping Carrier

Next on your list: talk to your carrier. Meet with your carrier’s account representative periodically. Ask to go over the last six or twelve months of shipping history.

The more you know about your numbers, the more you know about your business. Leverage your data to have more productive discussions with your rep.

Your rep should be continually working to earn your business. Ask what else the carrier can do for you. The more knowledgeable you are about your company’s shipping history and profile, the more your account rep can help. They will be better equipped to support your shipping operations which in return will help you to grow your business.

Extra tip: More than half of small businesses get zero discounts from their shipping provider. You may get one just by asking. As the saying goes, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.

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