November 26, 2008
A recent Endicia® survey of more than 500 small businesses that sell goods online reports more than one third (34 percent) of the surveyed businesses do not know if their shipping provider has instituted a fuel surcharge.
Here is what you need to know about fuel surcharges:
- A fuel surcharge is an additional fee that is added to the base shipping charge.
- UPS, FedEx, and DHL and many regional carriers impose a fuel surcharge on all their services.
- Fuel surcharges today are an additional 8.25% on ground shipments and 28.5% on international and air shipments.
- The US Post Office does not impose a fuel surcharge.
- The fuel surcharge also applies to accessorial charges, like residential delivery, rural area charges, etc…
- Many shipping systems, like WorldShip & Clippership, require the user to configure their software to add fuel surcharges.
- Fuels surcharges can change any time, so users have to monitor what the carriers are doing and change their system in order to have accurate rates.
In order to save on your shipping costs, the best advice I can provide is to compare services and prices amongst multiple carriers and make sure that the fuel surcharge is included.
November 25, 2008
Most Amazon sellers make mistakes when shipping packages. When you sell an item on Amazon, you receive a fixed amount as a shipping credit to help cover shipping costs, so it is important to know your shipping costs or you could lose money. If you ship smart, you can make a profit.
Taylor’s Tip “Don’t assume; compare different services.”
Most Amazon sellers assume that Media Mail, available from the United States Postal Service (USPS) is the least costly method of shipping and don’t even bother to compare rates. This is a mistake. If you have a package that weighs less than seven ounces, then you should consider First-Class Mail. The USPS has a special rate for packages weighing less than 13 ounces, and for lighter weight packages it is cheaper than Media Mail! First-Class mail is delivered in three days or less, so your customers should be delighted. You can also add Delivery Confirmation.
November 24, 2008
Here is some good news in the parcel industry!
UPS and FedEx have announced significantly lower fuel surcharges for December. With the cost of a barrel of oil falling, you have been probably wondering why you are still paying nearly 30% in fuel surcharges on express and international shipments.
Here are the new rates beginning December 1 through January 4, 2009.
Happy Holidays from your parcel carriers!
November 20, 2008
Did you ever have trouble trying to fit a bulky item into a USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope? The US Post Office is coming out with a new Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box that will have the same rate as the Flat Rate Envelope on January 18, 2009. The dimensions are 8 5/8″ x 5 3/8″ x 1 5/8″ which is perfect for small items about the size of a video tape. Here is the best part—It is only $4.95 retail regardless of weight or destination!
- No residential extra fee
- No fuel surcharge
- No Delivery Area Surcharge
- No Extended Delivery Area Surcharge
You can send this box anywhere within the United States for this one flat fee.
And, if you process your label online or use PC Postage, your cost is only $4.80 and you get Delivery Confirmation for free. That is a savings of $.80 or 16%.
Did I mention that the box was free? Customers can begin to order it at usps.com around January 10 in packs of 10 and 25, up to a maximum of 200.
November 19, 2008
FedEx gets the credit for inventing guarantees of delivery. Who can forget, “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight?”
All packages that were shipped by FedEx, UPS, and DHL were guaranteed to be on time or your money back, including packages shipped ground.
DHL eliminated service guarantees as of November 17, 2008 on packages shipped within the US.
UPS does not guarantee ground shipments that are “picked up or scheduled to be delivered during the period December 1 through December 31.” So that could mean anything after next Monday, November 24 is not guaranteed.
FedEx guarantees do not apply if the “package was tendered for transportation during the 14 calendar days before Christmas”. According to my calculations, that means anything shipped after December 10 is no longer guaranteed to be on time.
The US Post Office guarantees delivery of Express Mail to most destinations 365 days a year – even Sundays and holidays.
The guarantee is based on the origin and destination zip codes and the time that the package is dropped off. You can go the USPS Commitment Calculator to find out about your specific situation.
Most people don’t even ask for their money back or even check if their item was delivered when promised. Delivery guarantees will be back soon and you will find out more in future blogs.
November 18, 2008
As Gomer Pyle used to say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”
FedEx has announced that they too will be increasing their ground and home rates on January 5. The price increase will be an average of 6.9%.
Wait a second, isn’t that the same as UPS?
Yes, it is. UPS and FedEx have the same base rates for ground service.
When a company named RPS started in 1985, they came out with the same base rates as UPS but with something new—a discount! To my knowledge, UPS did not give discounts prior to then, but to remain competitive began discounting as well. FedEx purchased RPS in 2000 and kept the same pricing policy. So that is why it is not surprising to see this price announcement.
However, just because they are the same, does not mean that you should not compare rates and services between carriers. I wouldn’t compare UPS Ground to FedEx Ground because a shipper will have a better discount with one of the two. So ground shipping will always be less with the carrier that provided the better discount.
I would suggest that you compare service and prices with the US Post Office, regional carriers, international carriers, and for heavier weights, Less than Truckload (LTL) carriers.
November 16, 2008
Last week, I announced that FedEx was offering discounts up to 16% for DHL shippers. A reader informed me today that there are discounts up to 30%!
Of course there are terms and conditions and it is only for a limited time. But still, it is a pretty good deal for smaller shippers.
I am not an agent or employee of FedEx nor am I endorsing them; my intention is simply to share information that could be valuable to you.
November 15, 2008
In January 2009, shipping is going to cost more. UPS and FedEx have already announced rate increases to become effective on January 5. Now the US Post Office has announced that they will increase their rates on January 18. Overall, shipping services prices will increase an average of 5 percent.
The new prices are available at http://pe.usps.com/PriceChange_Jan2009/PDF/PriceList/PriceList.pdf
November 14, 2008
Have you ever found yourself in this situation?
It is Saturday and you realize that you absolutely need to get an envelope delivered by Monday. Where do you go and how much will it cost?
Fortunately, there are multiple choices, UPS, FedEx or the US Post Office.
For me, the least expensive choice was sending it Express Mail with the US Post Office.
But, I almost made a little mistake. I grabbed a Flat Rate Envelope which would have cost me $3.90 more than a regular Express Mail Envelope.
Here are today’s Taylor’s Tips:
- Compare the price of the Express Mail Flat Rate Envelope to regular Express Mail. In my case, it was 25% less.
- Print your label online. I saved 3% compared to paying for it at the post office.
November 13, 2008
Some people are sour that DHL is shutting down their domestic ground and express operation in the U.S.
Can lemonade be made out of this lemon?
According to John Mullen, CEO of DHL Express, in early 2009, DHL will introduce their first deferred international (day definite shipping) product for U.S. customers, named Economy Select International. If this product is priced right, it could be a great option for shippers wanting an economical way to send their product internationally.
In addition, DHL Express will introduce time definite Express products from the U.S. with 9AM and 12 noon delivery to select destinations internationally.
DHL’s commitment is to focus on their core competence, international shipping. According to Mullen, “DHL will offer the latest pickup and the earliest delivery times into and out of many U.S. major metropolitan areas for international shipments and will continue to have a strong presence in the U.S. coupled with an unparalleled global network.”
Let’s hope that DHL will make shipping international more competitive with more options, better service, and lower prices.