10 Quick Tips for Dealing With Dim Weight

The dimensional weight pricing rule that the major small parcel carriers have adopted can be complicated. As our article on Understanding Dimensional Weight Pricing pointed out, dim weight calculations more accurately reflect what it costs a carrier to ship an oversize, lighter-weight package.

But depending on the carrier and type of service, there are different calculations, rules and exceptions that can add to the complexity of dim weight. The bottom line is you want to get the best shipping rates possible. So here are some things you can do to avoid—or offset—paying dim weight charges.

· Use smaller boxes.

· Use boxes that properly fit the product to be shipped. Don’t overpack!

· Pack your merchandise more densely so you’ll be charged for the actual weight not the dim weight.

· Reduce the use of packing materials.

· Keep track of your total shipping charges monthly to make sure you’re not being incorrectly charged the dimensional weight price.

· Invest in dimensioning equipment to calculate the dimensional weight of your packages to avoid additional charges from your carriers.

· Accurately enter dimensions into rate lookup systems that can quote UPS or the U.S. Postal Service. Remember that dim dimensions are rounded up (i.e., a length of 12.1” would be rounded up to a dim length of 13”).

· If your customers prepay for estimated postage charges, make sure you understand the products that result in dim weight charges and factor that into the postage charges.

· If you build real-time rate shopping into your order entry process taking both weight and dimension into account, you can help offset the hassles of dimensional weight pricing. But that means that that you have to be able to integrate a rating engine into your order entry system and/or shopping cart.

· If it makes sense for your business, consider an order fulfillment partner for your top sellers. The right fulfillment service provider can help you understand the impact of dimensional weight to your business and provide free shipping estimate tools and software to help you streamline your business.

Nate Gilmore is vice president of marketing and business development for Shipwire (www.shipwire.com), a provider of outsourced product fulfillment in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

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