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Shipping Forum for all issues concerning shipping, shipping companies, and anything directly related to moving animals and products via commercial carriers.

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Old 01-11-2006, 12:26 AM   #1
How do I stay competitive with new shipping regulations?

I use USPS to ship 90% of my roach/bug orders. With that said, please don't slam me with comments about how I shouldn't use USPS to ship anything live because that's not my concern here. Most people in the invertebrate hobby use USPS because it's very cost effective, especially when you're dealing with constant shipments of $5 and $10 critters and feeder insects like roaches.

Well, USPS recently started new regulations that prevent ALL live shipments from being delivered next day even if they're shipped Express mail and would've otherwise been guaranteed to arrive the next day. This is because any packaged marked as live is handled and kept separately in a different facility with controlled temperatures. This helps ensure live arrival, but it also slows down delivery time. On top of that, there is a new 99 cent per pound handling charge tacked onto the total shipping cost.

I mark all of my packages as LIVE INSECTS, PERISHABLE, and I disclose what the contents are to the carrier. The workers at my local post office know me and what I ship regularly. So there really is no way for me to bypass these regulations unless I stop marking my packages and maybe even go to a different post office. The reason why I'm bothered is because I don't know how to keep up with my competitors who aren't marking their packages when they ship them through USPS. I know that's how they're able to keep their shipping costs low.

As I'm revising my price list for 2006, I'm pondering my options. I've considered not shipping through USPS at all, but that will probably significantly reduce my sales because I'll have the highest shipping costs out of all the roach dealers. I've considered altering my live arrival guarantee so that shipments don't have to be delivered next day, but I'm a little worried about having people take advantage of that.

Any ideas?
Old 01-11-2006, 12:37 AM   #2
Jeremy Letkey
Olivia, how do you currently charge for shipping. i.e. Is it a flat fee, is it included in the pricing or is it determined by the order size?
Old 01-11-2006, 12:42 AM   #3
I charge a flat fee unless it's shipped through another carrier or it's a large ($200+) order, in which case I usually include free or reduced shipping.
Old 01-11-2006, 12:56 AM   #4
Jeremy Letkey
What does the average shipment weigh? Maybe two pounds? I would tack a few dollars onto the flat fee that you charge currently. I think that most people understand the cost of shipping.
Old 01-11-2006, 12:42 PM   #5
Golden Gate Geckos
With the rising costs of shipping, (fuel surcharges, etc.) the carriers are charging dimensional weight instead of actual weight in most cases. They are charging for what a particular size box should weigh and not necessarily what it does weigh. There are some solutions that may help:

1.) the USPS has Priority Mail 'flat-rate' boxes available for free, and the charge will be the same no matter what the weight of the shipment. I think you can open an account online and order these boxes.

2.) UPS has an 'incentive' department you can contact and order pre-paid shipping labels at a significantly lower bulk price. The downside is that you have to buy them in quantities of 25, which is a big up-front expense.

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