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How To Save Money On Business Shipping

Updated on September 3, 2012


The costs for doing business seem to only go up. The cost of mailing and shipping is just one more thing to add to the cost of being in business.

However, there are some money-saving tips that a business can employ to cut or at least reduce significantly the costs of shipping and mailing. If shipping and mailing is part of your business, you'll definitely want to take a look at a few tips.

Let’s explore some of the options available.



Businesses that rely on mass mailings for advertising of new products or simply trying to drum up new business can find the cost of mailings exorbitant. There is also no guarantee that you will make a sale or pick up new customers after all that mailing.

While the cost of doing mass mailings is a business write-off expense, it makes sense to think of alternative routes to drum up new business rather than throwing your money into the US Postal Service’s coffers. Especially when you consider that if you mailed out 500 letters or advertising postcards, you MIGHT get 1 call back.


Consider other going virtual. There are services that are email marketing firms and take that route instead. Firms like Vertical Response or Constant Contact charge you a monthly fee and then do an email mailing.

You say you could do that yourself for free? Well, possibly but your carefully constructed email may end up in the spam filter or you may get back a nice nasty email from the recipient asking that you never contact them again!

These folks know how to mass mail out via email and have the emails actually get to their intended recipients!

Consider trimming down your target audience. If you’re just sending out snail mail business mailings randomly and getting at least 10 returned envelopes, you’re not doing enough research. Your mailing lists need to be accurate or you’re throwing money away.

The costs of printing and mailing do add up. Be certain that you are targeting the right people before you do any mailings and do the same with your email potential customers.

Legitimate potential customers mean more than selecting ‘potential customers’ at random.

Consider your invoicing practices. If your business does invoicing, consider 2 other possible ways of getting your invoice to its destination rather than mailing them out. If you have multiple clients, this too can become costly, especially if you bill twice per month!

Call the accounts receivable person at your customer’s place of business, and ask if you can either fax or email your invoices. It serves you well because it is there instantly. No waiting for it to arrive, possibly get lost in the internal mail delivery system or sit on someone’s desk for days before they finally open it and see it! Always ask for confirmation that the invoice arrived.

If you use Quick Books, you can actually fax directly from the program. Or you can use an online web invoicing plan like Fresh Books. If you have only a few clients, Fresh Books offers unlimited invoicing for free. If you have many clients, they charge you a monthly rate.

Intuit's Billing Manager charges you a minimum rate per month for unlimited invoicing that is about one-third the price of Fresh Books when it comes to the monthly billing rate.



The US Postal Service will give you a break on the rate if you’re sending at least 200 pieces of the exact same mail out (or 50 pounds). Contact them to see if you qualify for standard class rate on the mailings which will save you a considerable amount of money on postage. You do have to consider the fact that it is an annual charge and in order to profit from it, you’d need to do several of these bulk mailings per year and also from the same place.

The US Postal Service also will provide a business discount for sorting your own mail! You can receive over a 10% discount if you sort your outgoing mail by zip code and then take it to a bulk mailing center yourself.

You can also print your own postage on your computer! Too bad they don’t have a program where you can print your own money on your computer! Programs such as Pitney Bowes, Endicia and allow small businesses to print out USPS-approved postage at a discount! Savings on this kind of postage? It’s estimated between 3% and 12% depending on what type of mail you’re sending and by what method.

If you have newsletters and updates that you want your customers to see, do them all byemail . Similar to keeping your mass mailing lists up to date though, make sure your email lists are accurate to avoid them being bounced back to you or going to the wrong person.

For folks sending 6000 plus pieces of Express Mail per year or 100,000 plus pieces of Priority Mail per year, check out DataWorks. This company is approved by the U.S. Postal Service to offer Commercial Plus postage rates for overnight and priority mail shipping. Commercial Plus rates average 14.5% less than USPS retail rates for Express Mail and 7% less for Priority Mail. If you’re a mass mailer, this can add up to big savings. You do have to use one of the USPS-approved online postage programs like Pitney Bowes, Endicia and but you’ll save big bucks and electronic delivery confirmation is free!



If your business sends packages of any sort or if you sell on eBay, shipping costs can either make you or break you. Check out the package calculator at Shipping and

Before you decide how to ship your package, find the best carrier for the least amount of money!

Never buy boxes or mailing envelopes. They are free from the US Postal Service. They will even mail them to you or you can pick them up at any post office. You can order as many as you want!

Save money by asking friends, family and neighbors to save boxes for you. You should never have to buy a single box to ship anything in....or a mailer to send brochures, etc. Even FedEx and UPS will give you boxes free of charge!

TIP FOR EBAY & CRAIGSLIST SELLERS: It can be a total letdown to make money on something you’ve sold and then find out that you undercharged for shipping. If you don’t know the exact amount that it’s going to cost you to ship so you don’t know what to charge for shipping, look up similar items that have sold on eBay. Base your shipping cost on that figure.....or use the calculator above and figure it out before you post the ad!



Don’t spend money on packaging materials!! Save bubble wrap, shipping peanuts, and other cushioning materials. Store them up and use them when shipping packages. Or use tissue paper or newspaper crumpled up surrounding the item in the box. It works just as well as long as there is enough in the box to keep the contents from shifting around.

Here are the US Postal Service’s flat rate shipping costs and sizes.

Flat Rate Envelope
12-1/2" x 9-1/2"
Small Flat Rate Box
8-5/8" x 5-3/8" x 1-5/8"
Medium Flat Rate Box
13-5/8" x 11-7/8" x 3-3/8"
Medium Flat Rate Box
11" x 8-1/2" x 5-1/2"
Large Flat Rate Box
12" x 12" x 5-1/2"
Large Flat Rate Box
12" x 12" x 5-1/2"

With the following restrictions:

  • Flat rate prices are available if the material is sent in a USPS produced Flat Rate Envelope or a Flat Rate Box
  • The container flaps must close within the normal folds
  • Tape can be applied to the flaps and seams to reinforce the mailing enclosure BUT
  • The mailing enclosure has to be the same, i.e. it cannot be enlarged by opening sides
  • The mailer cannot be reconstructed in any way


  • Domestic 70 pounds
  • Priority International for Flat Rate Envelope and Small Rate Box is 4 pounds
  • Priority International for Medium and Large Flat Rate Boxes is 20 pounds



In short, there are a lot of ways to save on the high cost of mail and shipping if you’re a business.

Try some of these methods and see if you don’t eliminate some of the cost of doing business.

Today, it’s all about saving money. However, in the process of using some of these techniques, you also are helping your business become a greener business by stepping away from using fuel and other natural resources such as trees.

Many of these ways are efficient ways to get the same job done but without relying on traditional methods to do it and you're being kind to the environment as well!


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