5 Cheapest Ways To Ship Packages (Guide)

Shipping costs can make or ruin your business. Why? They determine the total price of your products. 

If prices go too high, the products become too expensive for the customer. Subsequently, this leads to low sales and losses for your business. 

Research shows that around 49% of cart abandonments occur due to shipping costs and taxes. Finding affordable ways to ship products is essential for any business. 

But are there good and affordable options? Or does going cheap mean affecting delivery times or the quality of service?

Well, cheap methods sometimes offer better services. But that only happens sometimes. 

Today, we have compiled a list of the cheapest ways to ship packages without affecting the quality of work, products, or customer service. 

What are these options? Let’s find out:

Cheapest Shipping Options for Small Packages

The cost of shipping a package is affected by several factors. Size is among the top factors. This is because the size of the package also determines the shipping cost of the carrier you use. 

If you are shipping small packages, the cheapest way to deliver them to customers is through USPS (United States Postal Service).

The USPS offers priority mail services starting from $10.40 and a three-business-day delivery timeline. That means that deliveries are still made in good time. 

Small packages include items in boxes or mailer bags. However, the definition of a small package depends on the shipper’s guidelines. 

Factors like weight and distance also affect shipping costs. The USPS is the cheapest method among its peers.

Here is a list of other shippers in this category and how much they charge for delivery from New York to Chicago.

With this comparison, you can easily pick a shipper that meets your small package shipping needs and costs.

These are estimates for shipping your small package from NY to CHI (New York to Chicago). 

Luckily, if you have a Shopify store in the US or Canada, you get incredibly discounted shipping prices from USPS, DHL, and UPS.

Cheapest Shipping Options for Large Packages

USPS is still the best way to ship an oversized package if you want affordable means. However, what shippers consider a large package varies just like a small one. 

For instance, when mailing with USPS, the kind of service you require will affect the delivery.

Do you want your package delivered by air or ground?

Your choice affects how they classify your package.

Here are the dimensions for a regular package by different carriers:

Cheapest Ways to Ship Packages

The cost for shipping these types of packages is as follows. These are estimated shipping costs from New York to Chicago.

Cheapest Ways to Ship Packages

The difference can be huge depending on the company you use. However, you’ll also notice that the delivery time gets shorter as the shipping costs increase.

Cheapest Shipping Options Based on Time

Sometimes, all you can think of is speed. You want the package delivered to the customer as soon as possible, regardless of size or weight. Here are your best options for delivering the package on time and at an affordable price. 

Two to Three Days

USPS is the cheapest option if you want the package delivered in 2 to 3 days. USPS Priority Mail offers shipping services from $10.40 for small packages to $19.15 for larger ones. 

However, the destination matters. UPS and FedEx might also be better options for larger packages here. 

One Day Deliver 

If you want the fastest mode, USP is your best option for next-day delivery. Their Priority Mail Express option guarantees a next-day delivery starting from $30.45. 

UPS and FedEx also offer next-day delivery options at affordable prices. This is, however, available for US domestic deliveries only. The prices are influenced mainly by size and destination. 

Cheapest Shipping Options for International Packages

The cost of international shipping is primarily affected by distance and taxes. For businesses in the US, the lowest global prices are usually for sending a package to Canada. But when it comes to going globally, the prices vary. 

Generally, most of the big shipping companies offer international shipping services. And like with domestic ones, size and speed also matter. 

The best international shipping companies include:

USPS

USPS is always an economical option for domestic or international shipping services. For global services, the company offers three options to its customers as follows:

  • First Class Package International: The maximum weight here is 4 lbs, and the cost starts at $15.75. It is ideal for small packages, and delivery time varies by destination.
  • Priority Mail International: The maximum package weight here ranges between 4 lbs and 20 lbs for small and large flat-rate boxes consecutively. Prices start at $30.35, with delivery time between 6 and 10 days.
  • Priority Mail Express International: The maximum weight for small packages is 20 lbs, but 70 kg for Mailboxes. Prices start from $54.75 or $56, depending on package size, with an average delivery time of 3 to 5 business days.

UPS

UPS is also known for its reliable international shipping services. It also has several shipping options, as follows:

  • UPS Worldwide Saver: Next-day delivery for Canada, two business days for Europe and Latin America, and three business days for Asia-bound packages.
  • UPS Standard: the most affordable option for ground shipping.
  • UPS World Expedited: Three business-day delivery for Latin America, Europe, and Asia-bound packages. 
  • UPS Worldwide Express: 2 business days delivery to Europe and Latin America, and three days for Middle East packages.

FedEx

FedEx also offers reliable international shipping services. Their prices are calculated based on size, weight, and destination. Its main options include:

  • FedEx International Priority: Up to 3 days delivery timelines
  • FedEx International Economy: 3 to 5 days delivery timelines around the globe
  • FedEx International First: Delivery is in 2 to 3 business days globally. Depending on the destination, packages arrive at 9:00 a.m. or 10:00 a.m. 

DHL

DHL shipping is more expensive than the others on this list. However, it is one of the fastest carriers if you want your package to arrive on time. And the best thing is that it operates in around 220 countries and regions.

Its services include:

  • DHL Express Worldwide:
  • DHL Express 9:00
  • DHL Express 12:00
  • DHL Express Envelope

The company’s international shipping rates vary depending on the package size, weight, and destination. 

Main Factors Affecting Shipping Costs

Several main factors will influence your shipping costs regardless of your chosen carrier. These include: 

Size 

The cost of shipping a package from one place to another is directly affected by its size. The larger the package, the costlier it is to ship. 

This is because larger packages take more space, which limits the number of packages that can be transported in a particular space.

However, different carriers define a small or large package using different dimensions and measurements. 

For example, while the combined inches for a large package are 108 for USPS packages, they are 47 inches for DHL packages.  

Weight

The weight of the package also determines the shipping cost. Heavier packages attract higher costs. 

For instance, the cost of shipping a 70 lbs package from New York to Chicago by USPS is $19.15. On the other hand, a smaller package costs $10.40 for the same distance.

Mode of Transportation

The choice of transportation mode also affects the cost of shipping. If you choose air freight, which suits perishables and urgent shipments, the price tag is higher, though it offers faster delivery. On the other hand, affordable ocean freight takes more extended transit periods and is preferred for bulky cargo. 

Therefore, it is crucial to know your needs before you pick a mode. Consider cargo type, urgency, destination, and budget when choosing your preferred mode of transport. Also, compare the services, rates, transit times, and fees, like the carriers’ accessorial charges and fuel surcharges.

Destination Distance

Shipping costs increase with distance. When a shipment covers a longer distance, it equates to extended workforce hours, increased consumption of fuel, and potentially multiple transportation modes. These factors will inflate the cost of shipping a package.

Types of Shipping Methods

Different shipping methods exist. Depending on your location and the delivery time, you can choose the ideal one for your cargo.

Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Free ShiShippingtails a recipient getting their package delivered for free without incurring a cost. This marketing tactic is used mainly for online shopping. Businesses incorporate the cost of shipping into their pricing models.
  • Flat-rate Shipping – Customers are charged a single rate when the weight and size of their package fall within a specific category.
  • Real-time Carrier Rates—In this type, the carrier decides the rate to charge at checkout based on the package’s weight, dimensions, and distance to its destination.
  • International Shipping– It’s the importation and exportation of goods between different countries via air, ocean, and road.
  • Local shipping involves transporting cargo or goods within a specific country or geographical area.
  • Expedited Shipping – A customer is guaranteed to receive the goods faster than the standard delivery method.
  • Pick-up – This is where the customer must go to a specific location to receive or pick up their order. 
  • Next-day Delivery – The order reaches its destination the next day after purchase.
  • Same-day Delivery—This is a shipping method in which the customer receives the shipment the same day they purchase. 

Best Tips for Saving on Shipping Costs

Identifying the cheapest ways to ship packages is crucial for any merchant. Without it, you might incur substantial shipping costs that consume your profit margins, leaving you with a meager income. If you want to save on shipping costs, here are the best tips on how to do it:

Choose the Right Carrier

Your first and most effective option is to find the right shipping partner. Choose a company that offers cheap shipping options while maintaining quality services and fast delivery times. 

This article clearly shows that USPS is a good option almost every time, whether shipping small or more significant packages. However, depending on your package destination, size, and the speed of delivery needed, you could choose a different carrier. 

Choose the Right Packaging 

The size and weight of the package determine how much it costs to reach its destination. 

Therefore, ensure you pick a packaging option that perfectly fits the contents without wasting space. 

Packing your shipment in ample packaging wastes space and gets you charged more. 

Consider Flat-rate Shipping 

With a flat-rate option, you know exactly how much your package costs to ship anytime. The prices are set constantly, and variables like weight do not change. 

Usually, the shipping price stays the same as long as the package is in a particular box size and you stay within the maximum weight. This way, you can predict your shipping costs at any time.

Choose your Packaging Materials Right

The type of packaging material you choose determines the weight of your package. Some materials are heavier than others, meaning the same package can cost you different prices when packed in various packaging materials. 

Packing your shipments on cardboard adds weight. Therefore, choose lighter packaging materials like bubble wrap, packing paper, foam inserts, or air pillows. That way, your packaging material doesn’t add substantial weight to the package. 

Shipping Cost Calculators for Various Carriers

Shipping costs for different carriers change, and it is challenging to choose the best option. 

However, the carriers have shipping cost calculators available for you. Anytime you want to do some deliveries, you can use the following calculators:

With these, you can estimate the exact cost to ship a specific package at any time. 

Making Your Ecommerce Successful

Minimizing operational costs is among the best ways to make your business profitable and successful. However, you should always ensure that lowering costs doesn’t affect customer service delivery. 

Shipping costs significantly contribute to the overall costs of a business’s operations. Therefore, keeping them as low as possible is a goal to consider. 

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In addition, automating your e-commerce processes reduces operational costs and streamlines them. It is ideal to consider incorporating e-commerce AI automation tools into your operations. EcommerceBot is among the best choices here. 

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