When she first started her shop, my wife used a digital kitchen scale with a weight limit of five pounds in 1/8 ounce increments. The weighing platform was small making it challenging to read when weighing boxes larger than its 4” square platform.
An item weighing five + pounds read five pounds. When re-weighing any package, it often showed 1/8 to ¼ ounce discrepancies. The limitations weren’t insurmountable, but inconvenient.
After a few months of questionable guesstimates, we bought an AWS-Postal® digital, self-zeroing shipping scale with a decent- sized weighing platform, and 55 pound capability. Out-of-pocket expense was less than $20 on Amazon, including shipping. [If you don’t need as high a weight capacity, there are plenty of other scale options available for even less.]
The scale weighs to 1/10 of an ounce and the weight always matches the calibrated scales at USPS and FedEx. It runs on either AA batteries (making it portable) or a power cord. It has already paid for itself many times over.
How does it pay for itself? Its great accuracy allows you to manage the weight of your finished shipment. Here’s why that’s important:
The carriers have you round up the shipping weights to the nearest pound (or ounce if under 13 ounces for USPS). If you can manage the weight of your shipment accurately, you can sometimes remove 2 ounces or more from shipment. Doing this, a 1.1 pound shipment, ships as one pound rather than 2. For a Zone 8, USPS Priority Mail shipment, this difference is $3.37 ($9.88 for two pounds, $6.51 for one pound). There are similar savings for both USPS Standard Post and Parcel Select.
I would say that for about 10% of my wife’s shipments, by substituting a lighter box and/or packaging materials, we are able to shave off enough to reduce the package chargeable weight by one pound.
In a previous post, I wrote about my wife sending scissors for 1st Class Package rates. In that instance, an accurate scale may present the opportunity to shave a little off the shipment and bring it down to a 13 ounce package, instead of paying a one-pound charge on the shipment.
If you have shipping questions on material covered in any of my blogs, please send me an email to email@example.com. I’ll include answers to some of them in later posts.
Next – we start talking about carrier choices