Guest Author - Kim O´Shea
There are many shipping calculators available to help you find out in advance how much your package will cost to ship and how long it will take. You will need to know the destination to get an accurate cost but for small packages the rates are fairly standard.
The shippers divide the shipping routes into zones and each have a fixed price by weight and size. The size is very important when you are shipping a light, fragile item with lots of packing as you may have to use the volumetric weight instead of the actual weight.
To find the volumetric weight you simply multiply the length by the width by the height and divide by the volumetric divisor. This divisor is usually 6000 but DHL use 5000 so check with the individual shipper to find the correct figure.
The good news is that most shipping calculators ask you to input these measurements and will work out the volumetric weight for you .
Shipping zones are important as they decide the cost of transport. This means that you can offer worldwide shipping by giving the price for the various zones. Remember however that there is often an extended area surcharge for international shipments outside the normal shipping routes. It is best to offer worldwide shipping but request that the bidder contact you for the correct shipping cost before they place a bid.
The first thing you must decide is what shippers you will use. Pick the most convenient for you as you will have to drop the package off to the office or depot unless you have a high volume of shipments. The Postal service, UPS and DHL are the most routinely used shippers and can give you help and advice on your shipping.
Go to the relevant website and find the shipping charges section. You can input your details and the shipping charges will be calculated for you. You will be asked for your location, the intended destination, the weight or size of the shipment and the type of service you require.
You can input these details several times giving various destinations or you can look up the shipping rates page and see the costs by zone. The type of service you offer will also make a big difference to the shipping costs. Ground is the cheapest rate but the shipment times are relatively slow. For international shipping it is best to offer express and charge accordingly.
Always state in your terms the shipping service you are quoting and give the bidder the option of upgrading or downgrading the service. Some bidders need the item the next day and are willing to pay a premium for that while others are not in a hurry and would prefer to pay lower transport charges.
All the major shipping companies have online calculators to help you offer the best service to your bidders. Check out these calculators and get used to them by inputting fictitious shipments until you feel confident using these fantastic tools.