How Package Dimensions Affect Shipping Costs

by | Aug 17, 2020

2 min read



When it comes to shipping, every inch matters — because just one inch more can cost you big money if you don’t know what to watch for. There are three ways that your package’s dimensions can affect how much you pay, and understanding each one will help you lower your costs.


#1 Dimensional Weight

When you ship a package, you’re charged for its actual weight or its dimensional weight, whichever is greater. The dimensional weight, often called the DIM weight, is calculated with a formula based on the length, width and height of the package and a rate called the DIM divisor.

Let’s say you want to ship this 2-pound piggy bank. To make sure it arrives safely, you pack it in a 12”x12”x12” box. Because you’re charged for the higher of the actual or DIM weight, all of a sudden you’re paying to ship a 13-pound package. No matter what discounts you might have in your contract, that’s a big jump.

And what if your warehouse team accidentally selects the wrong box and chooses one that’s 13”x13”x13” — just an inch more on all sides? That mistake will boost your DIM weight to 16 pounds. It’s just an inch, but now this shipment is eating into your profit even more.


#2 Additional Handling Surcharge

When your package exceeds certain dimensions, it will trigger the additional handling surcharge. If it’s longer than 48” on the longest side or more than 30” on the second-longest side, you’ll tack quite a bit on to your package cost.

Choosing the right packaging can keep you from paying this surcharge unnecessarily. Keep in mind that this surcharge is not instead of the DIM weight charge — you’ll be charged for both if the package meets the qualifications.


#3 Oversize/Large Package Surcharge

The major carriers have different names for this surcharge, but they both apply it to packages larger than 96 inches in length or 130 inches in length and girth (two times the width plus two times the height of the package). Beware that this surcharge also triggers a minimum billable weight of 90 pounds, costing you even more.

If you sell large items, you might not be able to get around this cost, but you could find it cheaper to ship in two packages if possible. The right shipping software can help you find out.


The dimensions of what you ship can be even more important than the weight, so it’s important to make sure you know how to optimize shipping for the items you sell. VeriShip has powerful tools and knowledgeable experts to help you nail it every time. See how we can help.

Topics: Dimensional (DIM) Weight, Dimensional Weight Contract Negotiation, Large Package Surcharge, Oversize Surcharge

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