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Reducing costs and outgoings is a chore that can plague the average CEO of small start-up companies, but money can be saved by ‘shopping smart’ and choosing how to spend your money effectively, and that applies to courier delivery. Here are 5 tips to save your company money when shipping items.

1. Negotiating Rates Saves Small Businesses Big Bucks

Counting pennies is more or less an automatic requirement of the small business owner. Thankfully, more can be added to the change pot by negotiating your courier rates. Without bulk-buying power, small businesses will struggle to gain much in negotiations with big courier companies like UPS or TNT, but there is a solution. Aggregated parcel companies with significant bulk-buying power can save businesses and individuals a surprising amount of money. In some instances, its 70% cheaper than booking directly with the Post Office. These types of companies are great when you are in need of a bargain delivery while still using premium couriers.

2. International Shipping Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated or Expensive

Shipping abroad can be as simple as sending a parcel down the road but usually isn’t. However, avoiding getting financially stung by excessive fees is easily avoided if you choose the right courier. Different carrier groups have their own specialities, and prices reflect this. FedEx for example, is renowned for its Air Express Fleet while DHL has a long established trucking logistics network. It may better to deal with FedEx when shipping something that requires flight, say to the USA, but better to pick a ground based logistics group like DHL for cross channel or inter-continental shipping in the EU. If you are sending a larger parcel, or even delivery via pallet, an aggregated service can in effect ‘pick’ the best courier for your specific needs.

3. Consider Volumetric Weight with Delivery Rates

Each delivery company has its own method when calculating total volumetric weight. Volumetric weight, in layman’s terms, is the calculation of space in the delivery vehicle your package requires.

For example, a large box of feathers will cost you more to transport than a box of bricks, regardless of weight – as the large box of feathers takes up more room than a box of bricks. To be more technical, all companies tend to multiply weight, height and volume by 5000. This can vary from courier to courier. The packaging is therefore very important. Choosing the right size of packaging will ensure you avoid any excess fees and will prevent the item being transported from being damaged. Most boxes will be transported at waist height while in the depots so make sure your parcel is well packaged to deal with a drop from that height. This will reduce the chance of incurring refund claims from customers whose items have been damaged in transit.

4. Membership Normally Means Discount

A lot of delivery companies now offer membership accounts that incentivize discount rates. Comparison websites also offer this, which proves invaluable when small companies are dreading the shipping fees after a particularly tight month. Look for business or personal account options when surveying comparison websites and reap the rewards of brand loyalty. On the assumption every penny counts, an extra 5% discount on a hopefully already heavily discounted service, can make a significant difference.

5. Quality Over Economy

It sounds obvious but cheaper couriers can mean a lower standard of service. When you are a small business, reputation is a monumentally important asset, so don’t skimp out on a cheaper courier to save on costs unless it definitely works for your business model. Late or damaged deliveries will induce negative reviews and tarnish your brand before it’s even managed to establish itself. This is particularly important if you are an eBay seller, where reviews are fundamentally essential. If you are dealing in soft items like T-shirts then low-cost lifestyle couriers within the UK may be okay, but fragile items to China would absolutely require a professional courier service. As well as reputations for handling care and reliability, find out if your courier offers full parcel tracking, free insurance cover and, if required, timed-services with a money back guarantee.