How can I save costs on shipping internationally?

Shipping mail and packages overseas may be a necessity for your remote business, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Whether you ship via USPS, UPS, or FedEx, you can use these tips to help you save money when shipping internationally:

  1. Ship mail and packages with USPS instead of a private courier. USPS will typically be your cheapest option. If your package or large envelope weighs less than 4 lbs, you can ship using First-Class Package International Service (prices begin at $14.85). Envelopes weighing less than 1 lb can be shipped using First-Class Mail International (prices start at $2.60).
  2. Don’t wait until the last minute. If your package isn’t time-sensitive, you can save a ton of money by shipping via economy.
  3. If you are mailing items to either Mexico or Canada, shipping with UPS Standard will most likely be more economical. It’s a ground option, so it’s not as expensive as Express shipments.
  4. Most countries will impose duties and taxes for products shipped internationally into the country. However, many of them also have an exemption when the product is less than $25-$35 . Therefore, declaring items less than that will normally save you from having to pay extra taxes and duties on top of the shipping fee. Note: This doesn’t apply to EU countries anymore as they have removed this exemption amount and now taxes for all values.

Here’s another helpful tip for business owners when it comes to your shipping.

Optimize your item dimensions and weight for cheaper packaging.

The four main factors that affect shipping prices are weight, dimensions, speed of delivery, and distance traveled.

  1. Weight: this determines how much fuel is used to transport the package. Extra weight drives up of costs for carriers.
  2. Dimensions: this determines how much space is used in trucks, planes, and seafaring vessels. The bigger your package is, the less room there is for other packages in the truck, therefore meaning the carrier has to charge you more.
  3. Speed: delivering packages quickly means taking shortcuts. Bypassing the normal process causes the carrier to send your package through less cost-efficient routes in favor of speed.
  4. Distance: more miles means more fuel means more cost. This is pretty straightforward but still bears mentioning. The same package might cost $8 to ship in the US and $50 to ship to Australia.

If you know that you will be shipping your product in the mail, look at the difference in cost for different box/bag sizes and weights. If you can find a way to make your item fit into a smaller box or to weigh less, you can save a ton of money on postage in the long run.

Consolidate Items Together When Possible

A BIG way to reduce international shipping costs is by packing several different items together.

B2C business, your customers often order more than one item at once, you can consolidate packages for a lower rate.

B2B businesses or supplier companies that sell parts to other manufacturing companies, you may want to find the most efficient way to get your products to their destination in as few packages as possible.

Calculate to determine which route would make the most sense for your budget.

UPS and FedEx, are two of the top international shipping carriers because they have the resources to carry large amounts of packaging around the globe in a timely fashion, so most business owners look to these two outlets first. USPS also offers international shipping, though not on quite as large of a scale.

International shipping to:

  1. UPS
  2. FedEx
  3. USPS

Sharing these 30 tips from other business owners and reducing shipping here.