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Jul 14, 2023

Reduce shipping costs with 5 FedEx hacks

Women packaging products for FedEx program

In a time when managing business operating expenses is extra important, reducing shipping costs is a priority. Analyzing how to improve your small package shipping can be a detail-oriented process, and not everyone has the time to audit invoices and compare rates. If you want to get the job done quickly and easily, you’re in luck: here are five quick small pack hacks that smart shippers can easily implement to help reduce costs. 

1. Obtain carrier discounts

You might not realize that the current pricing structure with your carrier can be negotiable, and different types of shipping discounts exist. Some carriers offer discounts for new accounts when created online, but these discounts are usually temporary and pricing may fluctuate based on terms and conditions. You could lose the discounts entirely if you aren’t meeting shipping minimums and your pricing is subject to change at any time. 

The more you ship, the better the discounts you’re likely to receive directly from your carrier. However, even if you have a lower shipping volume, there are still ways for you to score discounts. If your business belongs to a trade association or a local chamber, you may have access to discounted rates through your membership. For example, members of Excelerate America’s group purchasing organization can get up to 50% off FedEx Express® and 30% off FedEx Ground® and FedEx Home Delivery® through our Benefits program.

2. Take advantage of free packaging⁠

The packaging and supplies you need to properly contain your shipments are important, but let’s face it: they can be costly. You don’t want to skimp on new materials or reuse old packaging – this could compromise the integrity of your shipment and increase the risk of damage. Instead, take advantage of free packaging. FedEx offers free packaging supplies like envelopes, packing tubes, boxes, and poly bags. Now your small package shipment can travel safely to its final destination and you’ll still have space in your shipping budget. Win Win!

3. Make the most of Multiweight option

From insurance plans to your cable bill, everyone knows you can save money from bundling. That same principle applies to shipping. FedEx offers efficient and cost-effective pricing options for businesses that frequently ship multiple packages to the same location. One important caveat to note: FedEx Multiweight is only available through negotiated contracts and comprehensive shipping programs like ours. 

4. Avoid dimensional weight pricing⁠

To combat the increase in bulky packages entering their system, FedEx has implemented dimensional (DIM) weight pricing where the cost is calculated based on package volume, rather than weight. The higher the volume, the more space it takes up in delivery vehicles, meaning less room for other packages. If a package isn’t particularly heavy but is taking up a lot of space, that’s costly for the carriers. 

After calculating your DIM weight, measure the result against your package’s actual weight; the greater of the two will become your billable weight. The best way to offset volume-based pricing is to take a hard look at your current packaging procedures. Unused space is a cost-conscious shipper’s worst enemy, so don’t use a package that’s oversized for the product inside. Consolidate orders when possible to ensure you’re not wasting space.

5. Take control of inbound shipping⁠

Another way to save on small package shipping is to take control of your inbound shipping procedures. It’s common practice for businesses to allow their inbound small package orders to be arranged by the vendor. But that leads to higher order costs for you. Instead, instruct your vendor to ship through your account to reduce costs. Here are few simple steps to take control:

  • Review your vendor invoices to determine whether you have access to better pricing through your FedEx account vs. your vendor’s account.
  • Create routing instructions with clear directions on which carrier, account, and service to use for your shipments. 
  • Provide routing instructions to your vendors and regularly review invoices for accurate pricing to ensure compliance.

⁠⁠While taking an in-depth look at how to minimize operating expenses can be time-consuming, these small package hacks give you a few quick ways to ship and save smarter. Remember to take advantage of discount programs, free packaging, and negotiated pricing. And don’t forget to fine-tune your packaging procedures and shipping instructions! 

⁠Want to learn more about how you can get up to 50% off FedEx Express® and 30% off FedEx Ground® and FedEx Home Delivery® through our shipping program? Set up a quick call with our team

⁠To find more discounts on software, tools, and programs negotiated exclusively for members of our group purchasing organization, check out our Benefits program


Michelle Keller

UX writer, content editor, small business storyteller.