Calculating Freight: Understanding Dimensional Devil-in-the-Details

“Why can’t I ever get a handle on figuring out freight costs when it comes to containers?”

“Why am I getting charged a 30 lbs rate for an item that only weighs 10 lbs?”

“Why does it cost three times more to ship a 20-inch pot than it does a 16-inch pot?”

These are frustrating questions Interiorscapers find themselves asking when ordering decorative containers. It is not uncommon to miscalculate the freight from a wholesaler, include that miscalculation in a bid and discover the wholesaler charged you far more for freight than expected. Unlocking the freight conundrum is linked to one concept used by all major freight companies like FedEx and UPS: dimensional weight.

Understanding dimensional weight is important when trying to order containers since Interiorscapers must also determine their mark-up. By charging only by actual weight the lightweight, low density packages that contain plastic decorative containers becomes unprofitable for freight carriers to deliver. Why? A package containing a large but lightweight item takes up a lot of space in a delivery vehicle relative to its weight. So a vehicle filled with 20 large, lightweight packages means less profitability for a freight company than a truck filled with 100 boxes of smaller, heavier items.

Understanding the formula
 carriers use to determine dimensional weight is straightforward: length times width times height then divide that amount by 166. FedEx includes a calculator that can be viewed by clicking HERE. In NewPro’s case, FedEx uses this number for boxes that are 17in x 17in x 17in and larger to determine the cost of shipping an item. For boxes under this size, the shipper charges by actual, or gross, weight.

Decorative container wholesalers like NewPro must wrangle with the dimensional shipping issue frequently. Considerations such as distance from our warehouse are also considered.

Here’s a real-world example: A 20-inch Vista pot from NewPro weighs 15 lbs. But because it ships in a box that is larger than 17 in., FedEx will use the dimensional weight formula to determine its shipping weight. Using the FedEx formula, that pot now weighs 58 lbs.

To make cost estimating issues easier for Interiorscapers, NewPro includes the cost of freight to your door on virtually all orders to the continental US. Do you find it helpful when calculating your quotes that NewPro includes freight in the pricing? Please respond in the “reply” box below.


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