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3 ways your microbusiness can save on shipping

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Keeping a lid on the cost of moving your product is easier than you might think.

When a company focuses on sales and customer service, shipping and logistics often take a back seat. Costs can get out of whack – and drain profit – before you know it. Here are three basic ways small businesses can avoid overspending, from Walter Fleming, a manager in UPS's small business and consumer market segment:

With UPS CONNECT, you get an immediate discount on ground shipments and nearly 20 percent off air and international shipping.

1. Right size the box. "Use the smallest box you can," says Fleming, "so you don't pay more than you need to for shipping." The industrywide switch to include dimensional weight calculations even on ground packages means UPS will charge you based on the shipping weight or the dimensional weight, whichever is greater. So, it's important to choose a box that isn't too large but still allows for the proper amount of cushioning materials on all sides of the box.

It can be "penny wise but pound foolish" to reuse incoming boxes, if they trigger higher dimensional pricing. "Your best bet is to standardize your boxes so they are just right for what you're shipping," Fleming says. "You will save on packing materials, too." The UPS Packaging Advisor can help you ensure whatever you are shipping will arrive safe and sound.

2. Choose the right service. UPS Ground service provides guaranteed next-afternoon delivery on packages destined for delivery within about 450 miles of the drop-off location. For short distances, "unless what you are shipping needs to get there the next morning, there's no need to pay a premium for air shipping," Fleming says. You can download a UPS Ground time-in-transit map for your ZIP Code at ups.com or get advice at The UPS Store® location closest to you. Exceptions are perishable items or those packages that need to travel across the country. In these cases, UPS Next Day Air® or UPS 2nd Day Air® shipping can make more sense. You can check out all your shipping options at ups.com so you can balance cost with delivery commitment times.

3. Sign up for UPS CONNECT. Small businesses can tap into many UPS logistics and shipping resources by taking advantage of UPS CONNECT, an innovative program that provides phone support 24/7. "Whiteboard" sessions with UPS experts can map your processes and spot ways to streamline shipping. "Plus, you get an immediate discount on ground shipments and nearly 20 percent off our air and international shipping," Fleming says.

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Paul Gomez
Compass Guy - This is a great suggestion and one idea I have taken advantage of! Thanks!!
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Compass Guy
Susan, no question that air shipping is costlier than ground shipping. The point was to use UPS Ground for destinations fairly close by instead of choosing an express air service because you still get overnight delivery on the ground. However, if you are shipping across the country and need it to arrive fast, you may need to upgrade.
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Susan Monahan
Surely you're not serious in your suggestion for packages traveling more than 450 miles, "UPS Next Day Air or UPS 2nd Day Air shipping can make more sense." This idea won't save money but greatly increase overall shipping costs. When is the last time you looked at your "Air" rates? Such a suggestion may be good for the UPS bottom line, but not the small business bottom line.
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