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10 Tips to Save on Project Shipping Costs

This post is sponsored by Finale Inventory [ad]

This article was written by the team at Finale Inventory.

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If you need to buy things for your project, you know that shipping takes time and money. And delivery costs are often ‘forgotten’ in project budgets.

Thankfully, there’s a ton of methods that you can use to save on these costs. Take a look.

1. Invest in a Label Printer

Often on projects we have things that need to be shipped. For example, I’ve had to transfer equipment between different sites, and even send laptops out to remote workers.  

If you have a lot of things that need to be delivered, why not skip the post office and print your own labels? Most label printers cost less than $300 and they’re super easy to use. You’ll be able to speed up the time it takes to get items ready for posting as well.

2. Try a Consolidation Service

If your project needs to deliver items to a few locations, you can use zone skipping to cut costs. After you gather specific packages together, you’ll send them to a consolidation service. Then, they’ll deliver your shipments through their own distribution centers.

This way, you’re able to get your items out quickly – and inexpensively.

working on ipad

3. Use More Than One Carrier

If you use multiple carriers to ship, you can save a lot – especially when 61% of customers would pay more for same-day delivery. A package sent through UPS could be much cheaper at FedEx, so it’s crucial to explore your options.

If your organisation has multiple locations and you are shipping between offices, see if you can use the in-house delivery service that might already be in an existence.

4. Buy Third-Party Insurance

Often, carriers offer expensive insurance. If you need to move pricey items, your business should consider third-party insurance. Most carriers charge around 80 cents per $100, which adds up if you plan to send out valuable shipments. Other insurance companies offer lesser rates.

Your company might already have the relevant insurance in place. Talk to your Finance team (or the Post Room staff) before you put insurance on the project budget.

Pile of books on desk

5. Know Your Measurements

It’s essential to know the measurements of your shipments. When you know the exact dimensions, weight and size, you can choose the cheapest way to ship.

6. Calculate Landed Cost

Many projects need to receive goods as well as transfer them out.

When you order products from an overseas supplier, you may incur extra fees – and those can make a difference.

Before you agree to any purchases, you need to calculate the landed cost. That’s the total amount of money that it takes for your shipment to arrive at your doorstep.

[Note from Elizabeth: A supplier sent me a T-shirt and some other promotional material recently and it cost me £12.20 to accept delivery because of the custom fees!! Check these ‘hidden’ costs before you sign deals with oversees vendors.]

Elizabeth Harrin working together

7. Join an Association

Sometimes, professional associations work alongside carriers to offer discounts. If you already belong to an organization, inquire about any possible deals. Or, seek out specific groups that align with your business needs. You’ll enjoy many other useful resources, too.

8. Choose Online Shipping

If you want to mail through the U.S. Postal Service, consider online shipping. You can lower expenses on both priority mail and express orders. Plus, priority mail is already less pricey than other services. You can get a few freebies, too, like delivery confirmation.

If you’re outside of the USA, your national delivery service may have a similar service.

9. Talk to Carriers

A lot of project managers aren’t aware that they can negotiate with carriers. If you currently ship through one carrier, calculate similar costs for another. It may turn out that you could save money through that second carrier. Use that number to your advantage.

Negotiation is a core skill for project managers – it never hurts to ask!

Elizabeth on phone

10. Get Creative with Packaging

You don’t always have to buy new packaging. Instead, you can reuse boxes that aren’t damaged. You could also work with a local recycling center to get materials.

We do this all the time. Simply tape a fresh piece of paper over the old address and write the new address on. If your packaging has a barcode printed on it, be sure to cover that up or scribble it on in case it’s used for identifying the package incorrectly.

Use These Tips to Lower Delivery and Shipping Costs

These tricks come in handy when you want to save money on shipping costs – and who doesn’t want those fees to have a lower impact on your project budget?

Check out the infographic below for a handy cut-out-and-keep version.

Infographic on shipping costs

About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin is a Fellow of the Association for Project Management in the UK and the award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.

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