The Cheapest Way To Ship Large Packages

Discover the cheapest ways to ship large packages by exploring shipping options, comparing carriers, and learning how to save on shipping costs.

Jim Sharkey
October 19, 2023
Discover the cheapest ways to ship large packages by exploring shipping options, comparing carriers, and learning how to save on shipping costs.

In the world of ecommerce, shipping can significantly impact your bottom line and customer satisfaction. This becomes particularly challenging when you're dealing with large and heavy packages. The cost of shipping large items can sometimes be as much as the item itself, making it a critical area for cost optimization.

With our experience in the ecommerce fulfillment industry, we understand the intricacies of shipping large packages. We know that finding the most cost-effective way to ship these packages is vital for your business. Shipping large packages involves more than just finding a carrier. It includes understanding the weight, size, destination, and delivery time.

Here’s some comprehensive information on how to navigate these elements and identify the cheapest ways to ship large and heavy packages, whether they are domestic or international.

What Are the Different Shipping Options for Large Packages?

When it comes to shipping large packages, several options are available. The major carriers in the market are USPS, FedEx, UPS, and DHL. Each of these providers offers different services, rates, and delivery times. Understanding these differences helps you make an informed decision.

Flat-rate shipping is a popular option among ecommerce businesses. This service allows you to ship packages up to a certain weight for a fixed price, regardless of their destination. USPS, for example, offers several Priority Mail Flat Rate box options.

Another important concept to understand is dimensional weight. Shipping carriers use this calculation to price packages that are light but take up a lot of space. To find it, carriers multiply the length, width, and height of a package, then divide by a standard divisor, which varies by carrier.

Understanding these terms and concepts can help you choose the most cost-effective shipping methods. You also need to compare the major carriers and their services to help you identify the cheapest way to ship large packages.

How Does Package Size and Weight Affect Shipping Costs?

The size and weight of your package determine the shipping cost. As we mentioned, most carriers use dimensional weight or volumetric weight to calculate the shipping rates for heavy packages. This method considers both the size and weight of the package, charging you for the space your package occupies on their aircraft or truck, not just its actual weight.

When it comes to oversized packages, carriers often apply additional surcharges. These fees can quickly add up, making the shipping cost significantly higher. That's why it's essential to accurately measure your package's size and weight. Using a shipping calculator can help determine the most cost-effective shipping method based on these metrics.

If you're shipping furniture or other heavy items, consider using pallets. Pallet shipping is a method used for shipping or handling goods that are awkward or bulky. It's often more efficient for heavy items, as it allows for easy loading and unloading, reducing the risk of damage.

What Special Considerations Should Brands Take When Shipping Large Items?

One challenge of shipping large items is ensuring they reach their destination safely. Fragile items, such as electronic devices, glassware, and jewelry, require extra care. Using proper packaging materials like bubble wrap, foam, or packing peanuts can provide additional protection and prevent damage during transit.

Heavy boxes also pose a unique challenge. They're more difficult to handle and may require special equipment for loading and unloading. Some carriers may charge extra for heavy packages, so be sure to check the weight limit for each shipping method.

Correct shipping labels are also important to shipping. They contain vital information like the sender's and recipient's addresses and the package's weight and dimensions. Ensure the labels are clear and securely attached to avoid any delivery issues.

Shipping discounts and promotional offers can be a great way to save money. Many delivery services offer discounted rates for businesses that ship in large volumes. Some also provide discounts for online shipping or when using their packaging.

Even with all these considerations, remember that the cheapest shipping option may not always be the best. It's essential to balance cost with reliability and delivery speed. After all, ensuring your customers receive their packages on time and in good condition maintains customer satisfaction and trust in your brand.

How Fast Are Different Delivery Options?

Delivery speed is foundational to the ecommerce shopping experience. In today's fast-paced world, customers expect their orders to be delivered quickly. However, faster delivery often comes with a higher cost, and this is notably true for large and heavy packages.

Major shipping companies offer a range of delivery options, from next-day and overnight delivery to less urgent options that take several business days. For instance, UPS Ground guarantees delivery within one to five business days within the continental United States. FedEx Ground, on the other hand, promises a day-definite delivery within one to seven business days. 

Transit times can also impact the total delivery time. This refers to the time it takes for a package to get from the shipping carrier to its final destination. Major carriers often have more predictable routes, leading to more predictable transit times.

When choosing a delivery option, consider your customers' expectations and your budget. A balance between speed and cost is key to maintaining customer satisfaction and keeping your shipping costs manageable. You may want to give customers several shipping costs and delivery window options to help balance the cost of choosing express shipping.

FAQs on Shipping Large Packages

Let’s address some of the frequently asked questions about shipping large and heavy packages.

What Is Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Shipping? 

Less-than-truckload shipping is a method used to transport relatively small freight. It's ideal for businesses that have freight shipments that are larger than a parcel but don't require a full truckload.

What Does Girth Mean in Shipping? 

Girth is a measurement used by shipping companies to determine the package's size. It's calculated by adding the package's length to the doubled sum of its width and height.

Can I Use My Own Packaging for Flat-Rate Shipping? 

This depends on the carrier. USPS, for instance, requires you to use their specific for flat-rate shipping.

How Can I Ensure Heavy Items Are Safely Delivered? 

Proper packaging is the difference between a smooth delivery and broken products. Use high-quality packing materials, secure the item well inside the box, and make sure to place the shipping label in a visible spot.

Putting It All Together

Shipping large boxes and heavy packages doesn't have to be a daunting task. By understanding the various shipping options, comparing the services of major carriers, and considering the size, weight, and destination of your packages, you can find cost-effective ways to ship your items. Remember, the cheapest option isn't always the best. Balancing cost with reliability and delivery speed is crucial to ensure customer satisfaction.

Here at Mochila, we're committed to helping you navigate shipping prices and keep your customers satisfied. Our personalized approach and dedication to providing solutions customized to your unique needs set us apart. If you'd like to learn more about how we can help your business optimize shipping costs and improve customer experience, feel free to schedule a call with us.


Priority Mail | USPS

Freight Shipping: What is Freight & How it Works | FedEx

A Complete Guide To Different Types Of Freight Charges | Indeed

How E-Commerce Fits into Retail’s Post-Pandemic Future | Harvard Business Review

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