By Eileen O’Shanass
Small business owners often struggle with shipping costs. The rising price of vehicles, gas, and shipping supplies can easily eat away at your profits. If shipping costs are hurting your small business, there are many ways to reduce the load and still keep your customers happy and coming back.
Flat Rate Shipping
Most major shipping companies have a flat rate shipping option. Some even provide free flat rate supplies, which can save you money when buying packaging and moving supplies. This option saves money and makes the whole operation process easier. The flat rate removes the variability that normally comes with shipping. In most cases, it is just much easier – especially when you ship a large volume of products. The flat rate usually depends on the distance the package travels, but the shipping company might also charge based on zones. If you are unsure about how flat rate works, then speak with a representative for a better understanding. Compare flat rate to regular shipping to see which is most beneficial for your situation. You can also inquire about other savings that might be available for your business. For example, a Flatbed Trucking company might offer special Expedited Flatbed rates if your package ships via a flatbed shipping truck.
Use Shipping Company Equipment
As mentioned earlier, many shippers provide free supplies when you use flat rate shipping. These supplies can include flat rate boxes and envelopes which can save a great deal of money on typical shipping supplies. You might also have access to printers, scales, and computers to print shipping labels. That might not sound like a big deal, but the savings do add up. Even if the shipping supplies are not free, they might cost less if you buy them directly from your shipper.
Negotiate Lower Rates
Shippers like to secure long-term business which is why some shipping companies are willing to negotiate shipping rates for small business owners. Not only does this save you money, but it assures the shipper of your continued business. It is a smart idea to occasionally check prices to see what other shipping companies are offering. You might find a cheaper option elsewhere, but this does not mean you should switch shippers. Instead, speak to a representative and see if you can negotiate new rates for your business. Also, keep in mind that some shipping companies offer lower rates for high-volume shippers. If your shipping volume increases, make sure to inquire about lower rates.
As a small business owner, you will often compete against online retailers who offer free or discounted shipping. Because of this, consumers often expect to pay little or nothing for shipping. When you keep your shipping costs low, you can then pass those savings on to your customers.
Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.