Another step in research for TKD woodworking – shipping costs?

I’ve gone through and determined most of the bills of material for the items I hope to sell. This will establish my base costs to produce (labor, materials, gross margin). One of the other costs, though, is shipping – getting the items to the customer.

For that, I’ve got a variety of ways I could ship product (Parcel with UPS or Fed-Ex, the US Post office, etc.). One of the interesting design features that most folks don’t pay attention to is how manufacturers size items and build packaging so that the items can be shipped as efficiently as possible, with the lowest cost. In my primary job, its fascinating to see companies change the thickness of their cardboard by hundredths of an inch, just to shave off a little cost and weight, or design something so that it is 23-3/16” long in the package (because if its 23-1/4” long, UPS will charge them more).

Most of my items are going to be fairly small, but still, it doesn’t hurt to determine potential costs and benefits of sizing something correctly.

I went to the US post office and checked the costs of their flat rate postage boxes. These you can pick up at the post office, and they will charge you for the box and shipping once you ship something out – just one flat rate. The costs and dimensions of the items are:

No Type Size Cost Length Width Height
1 US Postal Flat Rate Small $7.90 8  5/8 5  3/8 1  5/8
2 US Postal Flat Rate Medium $14.35 11      8  1/2 5  1/2
3 US Postal Flat Rate Medium – flat $14.35 13  5/8 11  7/8 3  3/8
4 US Postal Flat Rate Large $19.95 12      12      5  1/2
5 US Postal Flat Rate Large – flat $19.95 23 11/16 11  3/4 3     

As you can see, the difference in a ¼” can raise your costs significantly. I’ll need to check the rates of other providers to see if I need to adjust my designs. Right now, only one of my items can fit in the small. I need to see what I can do to keep my other designs in the “medium” area.

Just part of the analysis one needs to do when planning to produce items and sell online (or via catalogs or direct mail).

Mr. 39 Months

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