It can be very rewarding to run a small business. There is power and freedom in being able to call your own shots and make all the calls. You decide which direction your business heads, your hours, and how you want to present yourself.
There are plenty of challenges that come with the role as well. It can be difficult, especially in the early stages, to keep a small business afloat. There are many costs involved with running a business, and it’s your duty to keep your budget balanced.
Finding the right business shipping rates is one of the most essential tasks you can take on when it comes to the financial viability of your business. Read on, and we’ll walk you through what you need to know about keeping your shipping rates low.
Understand Your Own Constraints
When it comes to the process of self-discovery, many say it’s important to look inward and understand yourself before you start to look outward. This philosophy is actually the same for small business shipping.
Before you can start taking quotes and comparing rates, you need to have a solid understanding of the unique needs of your own business. There are some questions you’ll need to take the time to answer: what regions are you most commonly shipping to, and how many regions are there?
What is the average size and weight of your shipments? How quickly do you need things delivered? Are the products you intend to ship fragile in nature?
All of these elements will severely impact what kind of shipping options are best for you. If you don’t take the time to iron these details out, you could be sinking your business before you even get started.
Talk With Different Shipping Companies
Once you have a good idea of what your business needs, you can work more efficiently to ensure that you find someone who can provide it. That will mean a lot of getting on the phone with representatives and seeing how they can help you.
Remember, at this early stage, you have the upper hand with these shipping companies. They want your business, especially if you’ll be shipping things consistently over a long period of time. They may be inclined to cut you a deal or outbid another company to get you on their side.
In order for them to do this, you need to be able to provide all the detailed information we talked about above. Look far and wide for the best carrier options. You should look into the bigger companies, like USPS, FedEx, and UPS.
But you should also look into alternative companies, like those who offer ltl freight shipping or focus on more specific regions. These companies all might have different ways to keep your costs low, and should be willing to work with you to find out the best solution.
Some of the shipping carriers you talk to might be able to offer you a flat fee for all your shipments. Even USPS is able to do this.
A flat fee is a consistent shipping cost for all your packages regardless of size and weight. There is usually a limit to what is allowed under this flat flee. There might be a size or weight cut-off where you no longer would receive the deal.
But for the most part, flat-fee shipping can help you have consistent expectations of what your shipments will cost to send out. This can be a huge help in budgeting monthly for your shipping needs and can make you big savings in the long run.
LTL Freight Shipping
Some carriers specialize in freight shipping, which utilizes the open space in large trucks that travel the country. Often, your packages aren’t so big. They could probably fit squarely in the back of a corner truck.
Some carriers will let you do just that and get discounted shipping rates as a result. It just depends on what carrier you’re talking to and what your shipping needs end up being.
Other Tactics You Can Take
In addition to making a good deal with a carrier, there are some steps you can take in your business to keep shipping costs low.
One thing you can do is to print your own shipping labels. It’s easy to print them from a computer at your home or office. Taking this task on yourself can limit how much you’re charged later by a professional.
You can also work to reuse packaging from other sources. If you have to buy new packaging every time you need to ship something out, you’ll be digging severely into your profits. But if you look around, you probably have more boxes coming in from outside sources than you’d initially assume.
Re-using these packages to send out your products can help to keep your shipping costs low.
If you’re still struggling after all of these steps, it might be worth considering slightly raising your prices. While customers would obviously prefer free shipping, you can’t take that on at the expense of your profits.
Working the cost of shipping into your asking price is one way to avoid going under when shipping things out to customers.
Getting The Best Business Shipping Rates
It can be difficult to keep your head above water as a small business owner. Getting a handle on business shipping rates is one of the best ways to ensure a healthy financial future for your business.
Have more questions about small businesses? Check out our How-To page for more.