Shipping without breaking the bank?

Shipping without breaking the bank?

Postby aquagrrl » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:23 pm

Hi all, according to this thread, I'm at the hobbyist level, but I'd kind of like to push it to the serious breeder level. I raise seahorses with occasional success, and being that they're a somewhat specialty item, I want to be able to sell non-locally. But shipping, ho-boy.

So my question is, how does one ship a small number out without breaking the bank? I have a fedex account with the automatic discount, but pricing things out is still insanely expensive. Is there something more I can do? I don't know that I'll ever be to the point where I'm shipping a lot out at once, because this really is a hobby for me. But I'd like to be able to get a reasonable enough discount to ship without breaking the bank.

I'm also wondering about styros. I've just been reusing what I have, but I'm getting to the point where I don't have styros I need, at least not appropriate sized ones. I'm going to start bugging local club members, but eventually I could see needing to buy them. Where do you get them from, with paying an arm and a leg?

Forgive me if this has come up before. I did in fact search the forums, but shipping is such a common word that the results weren't really relevant to me.
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Re: Shipping without breaking the bank?

Postby ClownfishHatchery » Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:22 am

You are right, it is expensive unless you do a lot of volume. You can always ask the buyer to share the expense. Another option is your local post office. Explore their overnight options. Its a lot cheaper than the other guys.


Visit Uline.com The have the boxes you need in all sizes.

Link
http://www.uline.com/BL_2157/Insulated-Shipping-Kits


Visit Kens Fish for bags and other shipping supplies
Link

http://www.kensfish.com/shipping-supplies.html

Good Luck
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Re: Shipping without breaking the bank?

Postby aquagrrl » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:55 pm

Is that really just how much shipping boxes cost these days? Looking at ULINE, and a 11" x 9" x 12" box comes to about $10 per box. Is that just what shipping these days is?
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Re: Shipping without breaking the bank?

Postby Armadus » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:27 pm

I recently sold a bunch of fish and the buyer had a freight account with SouthWest Airlines. It cost $98 to ship a box via next available flight (their "overnight"). If you have an account with them, it would be possible to schedule something to reduce the price. They have a few different options. Also, if you get an account with FedEx/UPS, the price will go down. The only downside of shipping freight is that someone has to pick it up at the destination airport and, unfortunately, your package might get lost. I don't know if airlines loose luggage more or less often than FedEx/UPS but it is a risk no matter which service you use.
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Re: Shipping without breaking the bank?

Postby aquagrrl » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:21 pm

I'll update what I've done so far to get the costs down a tiny bit. I found the same boxes I was originally looking for at a much bigger discount, so they come to about $7.00/box. I've been getting them through polar tech. Nice guys, I don't know how much shipping would cost if you're not close to them, but being about 3 hours from me, the cost for shipping boxes was very cheap so didn't add much to the overall box cost.

I also am selling through ebay, which gives me a discount through fedex of 27%. I can get up to 37% if the volume is big enough. It's still very pricey, but is doable; whereas before I was finding it at least $100 to ship.

I had very little luck with the post office. It seemed that everywhere I needed to ship to, the express option was 2 day. Only one person actually ended up being in the 1 day zone, and they were one state over from me.
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Re: Shipping without breaking the bank?

Postby Clownfish75 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:26 pm

Shipping in Australia works very differently but I have a feeling it can be done similarly in america.

Here i have an account with an airline and i just use their freight arm. Does fedex collect form your door? do you need this service? perhaps if you go for a lower service level the costs reduce?

Honestly i would suggest you need to throw out what you know about shipping now and approach it completely differently, ring the freight arms of various airlines, factor in time to get ot an airport, find local couriers to get it to the airport? get the slack arse customers to collect it if they want frieght cheaper.
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Re: Shipping without breaking the bank?

Postby Greshamh » Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:16 pm

Becoming a known shipper after 9/11 is not easy. You cannot just utilize air cargo in the US with out it. It's only getting harder and harder as well. Air cargo + terrorism is a hot topic in the security industry.

That is why so many us FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc.
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Re: Shipping without breaking the bank?

Postby DanUnderwood » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:45 pm

There is no two ways about it, shipping is a major PIA. We resorted to fabricating our own boxes out of 1 1/2 in styro sheets. I bought a table wire cutter for nice straight cuts. This allows us to get to smaller dimensional weight which helps.

When we started shipping, with a 10% discount we could ship across country for about $40 to $45. Today, with almost a 40% discount, the same box runs around $65.00. Styrofoam prices have gone up as well. Depending upon the box, our prices run from about $5.50 to $12.50 each without freight. I take a trailer and pick them up myself.

Customers don't understand shipping costs. Because the high volume companies offer deeply discounted shipping or free shipping, they expect the same from the little guy. The reality is, we don't get close to 80% discount that some of them get. Some customers will cancel an order because of shipping price even if the total is less than a competitor. It is principle in their eyes. Many think that shipping is a profit center. We finally did some cost averaging, raised the price of the seahorses slightly and then offered a discount flat rate shipping price for seahorses. In the end, it works out to the same but we stopped getting cancellations due to shipping prices.

Dan
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Re: Shipping without breaking the bank?

Postby aquagrrl » Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:11 pm

Yup. I've been selling a few on ebay, and have gotten a few people asking if I can lower the shipping. I am already frequently eating part of the shipping because ebay doesn't integrate with fedex, so I have to put a flat rate. When I explain why I can't, I usually get responses like "I understand, it's just hard to get healthy seahorses in [city name]." And then opt not to buy.

It's frustrating because as you said, shipping used to be much less for overnight 10 years ago, and it's risen faster than inflation and gas prices (which is often blamed). Yet I worked at a company that had a deal where certain high volume times of the year, they were paying $20 for overnight shipping. I can't help but feel like the little guys are subsidizing the big companies. That's probably not true, but I'm sure little companies are more of a "hassle" so the little guy gets penalized. But what frustrates me even more is that more of the process is automated - I weigh and print my own shipping labels, so they have less to do and I end up dropping off at fedex, meaning it's going through a centralized location where a bulk collection of packages are being shipped. Beyond that, shipping channels have become more efficient in the past decade, so we should be seeing prices drop, not go up. And they are dropping, just not for the little guy.

And you are absolutely right about customers not wanting to pay shipping. My old job we did tons of testing on that front, and by in far the biggest motivator for people to buy was free shipping. It's irrational. I've done the same thing you describe, gone elsewhere because it has free shipping even if the end price is the same or sometimes more. If you haven't read it, the book "Predictably Irrational" by Dan Ariely (here) delves into this mentality. Anyone involved in business should probably have a look at it, as it at least gives you some idea why you'd bang your head against the wall with seemingly irrational customer actions.
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Re: Shipping without breaking the bank?

Postby Clownfish75 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:54 pm

Ahhh the joys of terrorism and a paranoid government, I dont envy y ou lot.

Can i suggest a different approach since it seems so difficult.

Put the price of the livestock up and the shipping down?

Christian
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