Not so long ago couriers, and the services they provide, were essentially the preserve of businesses sending out product samples, fulfilling orders or sending important documents. Much has changed over the last decade though, and at least some of this can be traced back to the way in which the internet has become an integral part of modern life. More of us are shopping online than ever before, we’re maintaining ever wider circles of friends (many of whom will live overseas) and there are entire companies that exist more or less entirely online.
Consequently, even the briefest of online searches will reveal an astounding number of courier companies offering low prices and outstanding quality of service. It seems that no matter where you’re sending parcels to these days, the range of choice open to you is greater than it has ever been. In fact, the hardest part can often be picking the right courier for the job.
With that in mind, I’m going to take a (very) brief look at how most couriers calculate the cost of a delivery and (hopefully) make the choices available a little less opaque.
Factors in Shipping Costs
The majority of global courier services will use two primary factors when calculating exactly how much it will cost to deliver a particular parcel. It should not come as too much of a surprise to find out that these factors are the volumetric weight of the package and the distance it needs to travel. The distance part of this calculation should be fairly self-explanatory – the further a parcel needs to travel the more expensive the task is likely to be. Volumetric weight, on the other hand, is a concept rarely used outside of logistics and merits a closer look.
The volumetric weight of any parcel is based on the dimensions of the package itself – essentially allowing the courier to determine how much space a given delivery is going to take on the various vehicles required to transport it from A to B. The effect that volumetric weight can have on the cost of a delivery is often why you’ll find that it is less expensive to send a small but heavy box rather than a larger but lighter one.
There are, of course, many other factors that can come into play when calculating how much a delivery will cost; how fast you want it to arrive for instance or whether you want to take additional insurance out. The main thing to bear in mind, though, is that each courier has its own unique method of making that calculation which is why shopping around can unearth some amazingly cheap deals.