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Shippin’ Ain’t Easy

There are months where our UPS bill is ridiculous. Judging by what I’ve read from others in the business, both taxidermy and tanning, a lot of us seem to be in the same spot. Obviously there are only so many shipping options. There is the almighty UPS, the secondary FedEx, and up-and-comers like Speedee in the Midwest, but there just isn’t much else to choose from. We currently use both UPS and Speedee and have noticed that there are some loopholes in the shipping business that lead to some of the outrageous prices people are seeing.

The first thing is that they gouge the customer if you can’t wait the normal amount of time. The rates for second-day air from UPS are typically a 300% upcharge, where next-day air is over 600%. That means for a 30 lb. box that would ship ground for around $40, would cost $124 for second-day air and almost $250 for next-day air! There are overages with other companies as well so the key here is just be patient, and if you can, wait the extra handful of days. Doesn’t everyone wish we could all get the “Amazon Deal”, free 2-day shipping?

Another cost is weight overages. The UPS website says that over weight fees don’t begin until your package exceeds 150 lbs, but they can actually begin upcharging you for anything over 70 lbs. The rates vary but it can get pricy for sure. Anything over 150 lbs, from what I understand, will be charged an overage fee of $650 which is an increase of $150 from last year’s charges.

Last but not least is the most complicated and questionable charge. Have you ever heard of dimensional weight? Me neither, until last year. Dimensional weight is basically the volume of the package. UPS measures each package for weight and dimensional weight and uses the greater of the two as the shipping charge. So here's how it's calculated. First the package is measured (length, width, and height), then multiplied to get the cubic size, then divided by a divisor of 139 for daily rates and 166 for retail rates. That will give you the dimensional weight of that package. For example, we have a box that weighs 22 lbs. shipping from central Illinois to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This would normally cost us just under $15 to ship. So to get the dimensional weight we multiply the length, 15 inches, by the width, 20 inches, by the height, 38 inches, to get a cubic size of 11,400 inches. Then we divide that by the 139 daily rate divisor to get a dimensional weight of 82 lbs. The new charges under UPS are now $37 which is more than double the original charge. This is why whenever a taxidermist orders forms they get charged like crazy for shipping because that's how UPS works with dimensional weight. The company either charges their customers the extra shipping or eats that cost.

In other words, don't blame the messenger. Shipping companies are in the business to make money and unfortunately the customers are the ones paying all of the overages and hidden charges. Direct pickup is a great way around this. Our company started offering direct pickup years ago and it has saved our customers thousands of dollars each year. If you're in fairly close proximity to the supplier or company you're purchasing from, make the drive and buy in bulk if you can. I understand that most don't have this option, so your best step is to research the costs of shipping and ask before hand. See if the purchasing company can use a different shipping company that might save them and yourself a little money.

Ultimately we are under their control. We are a society that wants what we want and we want it as fast as possible. There's a reason that Amazon Prime offers same-day shipping to major metropolitan areas. It's because we'll pay it. But, if you are one that tries to take care of every last cent and be a good steward of your money then I'm sorry to tell you when it comes to getting your stuff, shippin' ain't easy.

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