What people can do to cut courier rates and actually get better service

November 4, 2020

Your business has many expenses, and shipping is high on the list. When shipping cargo it’s usually best to work with an experienced logistics company. However, when you just need to send a simple or single package you can find the cheapest way to ship a package internationally on your own. All you need is industry knowledge and guidance, on what to look for and where to look.

This is an informative guide providing the details you need to find the cheapest and most suitable options for your courier packages. Because cutting your shipping expenses is doable.

Cutting transportation costs is important to your bottom line.

The cheaper your costs are, the cheaper you can sell the goods for, which can lead to more sales. Or, if you don’t transfer the lower costs to your customer, you benefit from a better profit margin for each sale.

Transportation costs don’t remain static. It’s important to constantly explore and evaluate the opportunities so you can keep shipping prices low and increase your profits. 

Below we will outline the main options and what you need to evaluate every time you select an international service. 

What are the general prices for shipping international packages?

When sending packages (as opposed to cargo), there are 3 dominant international carriers. These main carriers are USPS, UPS, and FedEx. Let’s explore the rates and services offered by these companies, so you can choose the best option at any given time. 


Usually the cheapest international rates for small packages under 10 lbs. They don’t schedule a specific delivery time. Real-time scanning is faulty, so the recipient may not be able to track the package correctly.


Widest array of services for overseas deliveries. Reliable point to point tracking. More expensive than USPS for small packages.


Arguably the best quality service.Precise parcel tracking at any given time.Usually the most expensive option.

For more in-depth analysis of USPS, UPS, and FedEx and clear factors on when to choose what click here.

Price and service though are not the only determining factor. You’ll also want to consider how long it will take for the package to arrive. 

Here we compare the general pricing and delivery times for a 5 lb package shipping from the US to Israel. This is an estimate, excluding additional discounts, that can further lower your price.

CompanyPrice RangeDelivery time
USPS$65.37-$79.846-10 days / 3-5 days
UPS$184.44-$204.157 days / 4 days
FedEx$174.70-$216.197 days / 4 days

We see that although USPS is the cheapest, their delivery times lag behind UPS and FedEx, which may cause UPS to be the better option here depending on your needs.

How can I determine my specific costs?

The USPS pricing manual is a comprehensive compilation of graphs stating all the relevant costs. 

UPS and FedEx have a pricing calculator on their portal. Just fill in the necessary information and they will give you a decent estimate. 

You can also use a calculator to determine the prices, services, and options that best suit your needs.

How to cut corners on shipping costs without compromising on quality service?

Discounts: Carriers offer discount options for businesses using their services for large shipment volumes. If you are not shipping many packages you can access these discounts by shipping with a group company. Large companies get bulk discounts from the main carriers and some of these service companies will pass on the discount to you. 

UPS discount rates are summarized in a chart for clarity.

The ‘FedEx Save More Program’ offers discounts based on your average annual shipping revenue. You can save up to 32% on eligible FedEx Express services, and up to 11% on eligible FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery services when you use FedEx electronic solutions.

There is shipping software, like Shippo, that gives you  access to various discount options for cheap international shipping.

What factors affect shipping costs?

The size and weight of the parcel: The size and weight of the parcel: Most carriers compare the actual weight and the volumetric weight, commonly referred to as the dimensional weight (DIM), to calculate the shipping rate for a given package. The customer is charged the greater fee.

How to calculate the DIM of your parcel: 

To calculate dimensional (DIM) weight, multiply the length, width, and height of the package, using the longest point on each side. Then, divide the cubic size of the package in inches by the DIM divisor to calculate the dimensional weight in pounds. Important! Each carrier uses a different DIM divisor to calculate the DIM weight. View Dimensional Weight information from the basic companies to ensure that your parcel is being measured properly.

  • Distance: The greater the package needs to travel, the higher the costs will be. 
  • Surcharges: There are many different surcharges depending on what is in the package and where it is going. Some fees apply to fuel surcharge, dangerous goods, remote territories, odd-sized packages, and address corrections. 
  • Taxes and duties: This is determined by the importing country as well as the value of the goods and its classification.

How can I limit these expenses?

The size and weight of the parcel:

By better matching your package size to your product — or by switching to lightweight mailers — this process can be significantly cheaper. You can also use packaging provided by your carrier, as they do not have dimensional fees. If you use your own packaging, you can be charged the dimensional weight which can be significantly more expensive.

Distance and time:

Planning your route with an experienced company like W Group can help you meet your timeline, product requirements, and pricing needs, while factoring in current transit times.

Surcharges, taxes, and duties:

Most of these are unavoidable, but with careful planning you will be well prepared for any of these fees. 

We all want the cheapest international freight shipping. When you need guidance for a large container shipment check freight services to see how WGroup can handle your international shipment smoothly, efficiently, and with a clear price breakdown.

Get shipping visibility in your palm with data you can trust.

Choose W Group for your international freight services