Strategies – Choosing the Carrier to Use


Three shipments

You just received three new orders.  Someone in California bought the 1950’s radio, someone in Georgia bought a set of silver plate forks, and someone in Honolulu bought the cut glass pitcher.  You used the strategy described in the previous post to price the shipments so the amount should cover the shipping cost.  Now, which carrier should you actually use and what will it actually cost?

Here are the specifics:

Item                             Price          Ship Charged         TTL Weight        Zip Code

  • 1950’s Radio                 $95                 $15.00                 6 LBS                92549
  • Silver plate Forks          $30                 $  4.00                10 OZ                 30303
  • Cut Glass Pitcher         $65                 $17.50                  9 LBS               96706


You used the FedEx/UPS rates to price the shipping and rounded up to the nearest $. For a Zone 8, six pound shipment it was $14.25, rounded up to $15.  The shipment from Oregon is a Zone 5 and the zip code is a rural one, adding $3.50 to the shipment for UPS/FedEx.  OK, so the actual cost for those carriers is $16.46.  That would include insurance for the whole value of the shipment.  If you use the UPS/FedEx option, you would lose $1.46 on shipping.  There is an option that will cost less.  You can use Standard Mail and insure it using the USPS insurance.  That cost would be $15.57 and the package would deliver two days later than UPS/FedEx.  There is almost a $1.00 savings to do it with USPS, but we would opt to eat the extra dollar and use the UPS/FedEx option.  Would you?

By the way, if the radio shipment was not to a rural area, but still to Zone 5 the cost on UPS/FedEx would actually be $12.70.  In that case, you would have $2.30 to rebate or use for shipping supplies.


This is much simpler.  You figured that you would be able to package and ship the forks anywhere in the US for $4.00.  The actual cost using USPS 1st Class Package is $3.60.  We would not insure it and you have covered the cost and helped pay for the packaging.

Cut Glass Pitcher

This gets a little more complicated.  You have charged $17.50 for shipping, which will cover shipping and insurance anywhere in the Continental US (48 States).  The customer is in Hawaii.

If you included in your listing a request for buyers outside the continental US to message you for their shipping costs you are in good shape.  Just quote what shipping and insurance will cost to Hawaii, and you are covered.

If not, take a look at the USPS options.  You can use Standard Mail Parcel service and insure the item for a total of $19.45.  Yes, you will eat almost $2.00 on shipping, but your customer will receive the item for quoted cost.  Two dollars spent on goodwill may yield a repeat customer.  And consider adding to your listings the request to buyers beyond the continental US to message you for additional shipping cost.

Next up – Curve balls in Pricing

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