FreightWaves Ratings cuts through the noise of freight technology product reviews to make you a smarter buyer

How To Get Cheap Shipping Rates

Shipping is a vital part of many businesses throughout the country. Without shipping, businesses couldn’t get their products in the hands of the consumers. 

But constant shipping without price checking can have a drastic impact on your bottom line. Keep reading to explore the best way to get cheap freight shipping rates to help your company save costs. 

What Are Shipping Rates? 

Shipping rates are fairly straightforward, they are the cost that you pay for the transportation of a package from the shipping point to the end destination. This fee will vary depending on the carrier you use, the size of the item, the distance traveled, and other factors, which we’ll outline below.  

Components of Shipping Rates

The goal of your business is to make a profit, and when you’re shipping products across the country – or even across the world – you want to ensure that your shipping costs aren’t cutting into your profit. That’s why it’s important to understand the components of shipping rates and how they impact your business. 

Speed of Delivery

Speed of delivery is one of the more expensive components, or it can be. A shorter timeframe for delivery will mean a more expensive shipping rate. 

Unfortunately, thanks to large retailers like Amazon, consumers are used to getting their products faster than ever. A 1- to 2-day delivery is now what customers are expecting. 

However, anywhere from 3 to 4 days is still an acceptable timeframe for many customers. Anything longer than 3 to 4 days will usually be deemed less than ideal, except for larger products, like furniture and bulk deliveries. 

Distance of Delivery

Your shipment has to go from Point A to Point B, and the further the distance between the points the more expensive the cost. The majority of carriers have shipping zones that help determine the cost between each zone. 

The further the gap between them, the higher your shipping costs will be. This also includes finding cheap international shipping rates. The further the distance of delivery, the more expensive it will likely be. 

Weight of Delivery

The weight of your delivery will impact your shipping cost. A heavier package will have a greater shipping cost than a lightweight package. 

Size of Delivery

The shipping costs also factor in dimensional weight. A smaller box that can easily fit inside a mailbox will be cheaper than a large, pallet-sized box that requires more handling to get to its destination. Plus, these larger and heavier packages take up more space on the truck, which is another reason you’ll be paying a higher fee. 

Benefits of Lowering Shipping Rates 

When you offer your clients free shipping, like many companies have adopted, you are cutting into your bottom line. By lowering the costs of shipping, you’ll ultimately improve your profit margins. 

Alternatively, if your business model does not include free shipping, your customers will have a much better experience, and hopefully become repeat customers, if their shipping costs are low. 

5 Steps to Getting Cheap Shipping Rates

How to get cheap shipping rates for business? When you’re trying to reduce your company’s shipping costs, consider the following ideas to get cheaper rates. Here are a few ideas to help you try and lower your shipping costs and improve your bottom line. 

Step 1: Reduce Your Dimensions

As we explored above, having a larger package dimension can increase the cost of your shipping since it takes up more space on the truck to get to its destination. Consider reducing the size of your packaging, unless you’re using a flat-rate shipping option. 

If you’re using a large box for a lightweight item, that could fit in a smaller box or even an envelope, you’ll have higher shipping costs. Decrease the size of your packaging to as small as possible. 

Step 2: Look For Discounts

Depending on the volume of what you’re shipping, you can find discounts on packaging supplies, like bubble wrap or packing paper. Some shipping carriers even offer small businesses free or discounted boxes and envelopes to help save money. 

While the cost may be higher up front to purchase everything in bulk, you’ll ultimately save money. This is great as you’ll reduce the shipment costs in the long run. 

Step 3: Use 3PL

Consider using a 3PL, or a third-party logistics company, to help reduce your shipping costs. These companies are a great way to outsource the shipping process. 

They will store your inventory, pull and pack orders, and then ship the orders for you. Ultimately, this can lead to an enormous savings if you have extensive fulfillment costs. 

Step 4: Change Your Packaging Materials

Are you selling non-fragile items? If so, and you’re accustomed to sending your products in a box, it might be time to switch to a different package option to save costs. 

You can utilize a mailing envelope or even a poly bag. These packaging materials are smaller in size and utilize less packaging supplies, like bubble wrap and tape, which can save you money as well. 

Step 5: Prepaid Options

If you’re looking for a way to get discounted shipping, consider using a prepaid option. UPS and FedEx offer discounts up to 20% when you purchase a bulk amount of shipping labels in advance. You will have these labels ready to print when orders come in! 

This shipping option is only ideal for businesses that regularly ship the same dimensions or weight. If you have orders that fluctuate in size, this might not be an ideal solution. 

Help Save Money With Shipping Costs

The shipping process can make or break your bottom line. If you’re losing a substantial amount or profit to ensure your clients are getting their products quickly, it’s time to consider utilizing the tips above to help recover some money. 

The shipping process is ever-changing, and consumers are wanting the immediate satisfaction of getting their products in a timely manner. Stay on top of keeping clients happy by doing what you can to cut costs and improve delivery speeds. 


What is the cheapest method for shipping?

The cheapest method for shipping depends on the size of the package. USPS priority mail is the best for envelopes and smaller boxes. FedEx home delivery is the best for oversized items.

How expensive is it to send a 5 pound package?

Depending upon the destination and the shipping speed, you can expect to pay anywhere from $7.95 to $20.56 for a 5 pound package with USPS Ground rates.

What is the cheapest way to send a heavy package?

For items that weigh under 70 pounds, the USPS Parcel Select is the best option for shipping heavy packages.

Sign up for a FreightWaves e-newsletter to stay informed of all news and trends impacting supply chain careers and operations.

Ship The Way You've Always Wanted

uShip helps you find and book with the right feedback-rated transporter who can haul your large items at the right price. Our technology makes rates and tracking transparent from pickup to delivery.