Questions & Answers

Posted by Lisa Evans on 2016-01-15 08:53:00
Title: shipping costs
Category: Operations

I'm starting up a new monthly subscription service for children's books and I'm trying to calculate shipping costs. Canada Post's online calculator is saying the cost to ship one 10x10x2" box is $9.80 which seems outrageous. I know I can save around 8% by setting up a small business account, but that would still mean a very high shipping cost. Does anyone know how I can reduce shipping costs? I will be sending out two picture books per month to subscribers across Canada. I need shipping costs per package to be around $2 otherwise the service fee will be too high. Any advice?


David Druker
2016-02-01 10:37:00

Thinking about your product, children’s picture books which may be odd sized and made of heavier stock, and the distance your items may need to travel (Canada is a huge country!), you are right to be concerned about shipping costs. While it’s difficult to give you a firm answer as I’m unsure if the product will vary in size or weight month to month, or of the distances your products will need to travel, I can offer you some considerations and directions you can explore.

To begin, know that shipping services typically base their costs on size and weight of the items being shipped as well as distance being travelled by the package. Happily, most couriers will offer a preferred rate for small businesses like yours, especially when you can offer volume. Given the size of the geography you may need to cover, rather than focusing on the per package cost (which may vary depending on where you are shipping from and to), determine what your average cost per package would be, and work your budget from there.

Typically, businesses will have 1 of 2 priorities when it comes to shipping products:  meeting a set delivery date or meeting a set budget. If you are flexible with time in transit for your package, then you have a bit more flexibility in your options.

A couple of other ideas you could also explore: sending the books out as regular lettermail. While this can extend the length of  delivery time, it may be a cost-effective option. You would need to look at the size specifications to ensure your product can meet those requirements.

Finally, you could consider a drop ship solution. Depending on the volume you are working with, and how widely spread your subscriber base is geographically located, that might be the right fit for your business.  For example, say you are shipping from Toronto but you have a large number of subscribers in Vancouver. You could ship that larger volume of the products in one larger package to one courier location. Then, that location in Vancouver could work with a local  service complete the final delivery. A network like The UPS Stores could certainly assist in this type of process.